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Google Helps Celebrate 100 Years of Cr_sswo_ds

samzenpus posted about 9 months ago | from the old-school-wasting-time dept.

News 27

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Google recently helped celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first "word cross" puzzle (the name soon changed), which appeared in the New York World on Dec. 21, 1913. Credited to cruciverbalist Arthur Wynne they soon spread to other papers and by the 1920s, the decade of fads and fashions, crossword puzzles were up there with flagpole sitting, goldfish swallowing, raccoon coats, monkey gland implants, Charleston contests and ukuleles as the very embodiment of mad, reckless youth on its never-ending quest for novelty. When crossword puzzles were at the height of popularity, they spawned a cadre of haters — mostly self-styled intellectuals, who found them idiotic, exasperating, even alarming. The sight of a dozen commuters doing crossword puzzles on the morning train was as irritating to some cranky people, then, as the sight of a dozen teens absorbed in their iPhones might seem today. These days, crossword puzzles are the highly respectable pastime of brainy people. The New York Times runs crosswords that increase in difficulty throughout the week; its crosswords editor, Will Shortz, is a minor celebrity. Champions vie to out-cross each other in the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament. Merl Reagle, who creates crosswords for the Washington Post, believes that while puzzles have changed over the years, their basic appeal remains the same. 'My theory is that it's because of their interlocking nature. Unlike a lot of other kinds of puzzles, every answer you get helps you get the next one.' Bernice Gordon, a 99-year-old crossword constructor who designs puzzles for The New York Times and other publications, says she owes her longevity in part to crosswords. 'I couldn't live without them,' says Gordon. 'It's my lifeblood. I don't sleep at night because I think, 'What rhymes with "ritz" and "sits" and "pits"?' I do my best work from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m.'"

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ritz, sits, pits (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45770653)

Tits

The $#!+$ (1)

tepples (727027) | about 9 months ago | (#45770715)

Or bits. Or dits (short pulses in Morse code). Or fits. Or hits. Or JITs (rapid recompilers). Or kits. Or mits. Or nits (louse eggs). Or wits. Or zits (acne). Or gits or twits (general terms of abuse). Or a slang word meaning diarrhea [wiktionary.org] .

Re:The $#!+$ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45770767)

<spelling-nazi>
I think you mean "mitts", as in oven, right?
</spelling-nazi>

Re:The $#!+$ (4, Funny)

Frnknstn (663642) | about 9 months ago | (#45771013)

Leave it to a Nazi to be pedantic about ovens.

Re:The $#!+$ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45771015)

Resistance is futile for this wire. (4)

Re:ritz, sits, pits (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45770957)

Mitts (Romney's five adult sons, all of whom "served their country by working in my campaign")

LOL (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45770803)

Google's also celebrating being a whore of the US government.

surely helps my Mom (3, Interesting)

turkeydance (1266624) | about 9 months ago | (#45770821)

she's 91 and still "with it". crossword puzzles in the NEWSPAPERS have helped immensely. among her much younger friends, she is the one who finishes them first. right now, i can't think of any non-drug therapy, or ANY therapy, which has kept her going day after day after day. her epitaph should be a crossword puzzle.

Re:surely helps my Mom (2)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about 9 months ago | (#45770879)

In the home of actress Betty White (in her 90's also, and sharp as a tack!), it's considered a sin to throw out an unfinished crossword puzzle. Doing puzzles regularly keeps the brain sharp, especially in old age.

Re:surely helps my Mom (2)

vlueboy (1799360) | about 9 months ago | (#45771381)

In the home of actress Betty White (in her 90's also, and sharp as a tack!), it's considered a sin to throw out an unfinished crossword puzzle. Doing puzzles regularly keeps the brain sharp, especially in old age.

Ages: 99, 91 and 90-something from your own sample.
No disrespect meant: I'm starting to notice a generational pattern here ; )

It is a shame that today's middle aged and youths regard the horoscope sections more highly for entertainment. Sudoku itself isn't my thing, but I recall it WAS brainy and extremely popular. They don't require actual culture or dictionary lookups to solve (just math skills). From what I recall back in 2007 - late 2009, I'd see lots on solvers on the way to work.

They were all gone at some point between 2010 and late 2011 while I was out of the workforce. Mobile happened!
You'd think we'd be seeing a transfer from paper to Sudoku apps, but when people aren't passively reading, it's all Bejeweled, Angry birds and other games, Facebook, email and texts. I doubt these will be pushing back Alzheimer's.

Re:surely helps my Mom (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45774475)

> Bejeweled, Angry birds and other games, Facebook, email and texts. I doubt these will be pushing back Alzheimer's.

Why? Bejeweled and Angry Birds are interactive puzzle-solving exercises. Almost certainly working a different part of the brain than a crossword, but working it nonetheless. Facebook, email and texts are means of communication with other people. That's another important part of staving off dementia. Just because it's new, doesn't mean it's necesarily bad.

I wonder if, a hundred years ago when crosswords were new, some old fart was saying "look at these kids sitting about playing with their new-fangled wordcrosses. I bet that won't keep them healthy and mindful when they get to old age. They should be out running around playing brick-on-a-string or drown-the-kitten like when I was young." *

*For best effect, read that text in a pythonesque Yorkshire accent.

Re:surely helps my Mom (1)

newcastlejon (1483695) | about 9 months ago | (#45774501)

One small niggle: Sudoku need no maths skills whatever; substitute A-I or Apple-Cat and they work in exactly the same way. Sudoku are pure logic puzzles.

Re:surely helps my Mom (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45775161)

So according to you, logic isn't math? It's the very core of math.

Re:surely helps my Mom (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | about 9 months ago | (#45775531)

You may want to work on your logic. Math is based on logic. this does not mean that everything based on logic is math.

Re:surely helps my Mom (2)

Guppy (12314) | about 9 months ago | (#45771261)

surely helps my Mom

Oh hey, You just helped me figure out what rhymes with "ritz" and "sits" and "pits". Thanks!

Re:surely helps my Mom (1)

antdude (79039) | about 9 months ago | (#45773075)

What did she think of Google's doodle version? ;)

Better in Finnish (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45770847)

English crossword puzzles look so bland. Those in Finland contain picture hints and the hints are embedded.

Finnish happens to be an excellent crossword puzzle language because of the nice consonant-vowel distribution. You can form grids with rather long words and few gaps.

See [sanaristikot.fi] these [sanaris.fi] for [kaapeli.fi] example [sanaristikot.net] .

Re:Better in Finnish (1)

newcastlejon (1483695) | about 9 months ago | (#45774507)

English crossword puzzles look so bland.

On a similar note, I find the American style to be vaguely unsatisfying with the larger number of smaller words alongside each other rather than the English style that tends to favour longer words with fewer crossings.

Counter Strike? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45771023)

Anybody else thought cr_sswo_ds it was a Counter Strike map?

I salute those who build them (1)

wcrowe (94389) | about 9 months ago | (#45771101)

I've always loved crosswords. I have the NYT app and play every weekday. An unfinished crossword turns me into a veritable Sheldon Cooper. I cannot rest until it is complete. As much as I like to play them, I cannot build one to save my life. My hat is off to those who can create crossword puzzles.

Damn kids (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45771173)

Yea, I hate those damn kids absorbed in their iPhones. But those kids absorbed in their Android phones seem like a pretty nice group. Say, I like Slashdot, they think like I do!

"Crasswoods"? (2)

linear a (584575) | about 9 months ago | (#45771175)

"Crasswoods"? I don't get it...

Here it is (1)

WalksOnDirt (704461) | about 9 months ago | (#45771699)

Why do these things always make the main page a day late? I had to search for this [google.com] .

Took me almost an hour, a lot of which was trying to figure out "one way to store data".

Re:Here it is (2)

LordKronos (470910) | about 9 months ago | (#45772427)

Why do these things always make the main page a day late?

Or three (I saw it on Friday).

Took me almost an hour, a lot of which was trying to figure out "one way to store data".

From the other clues, I had the first 3 letters. The only think that made sense to me for the 4th letter was "E". I thought "well, I guess that kind of makes sense, though that's a really awkward way of phrasing it". It wasn't until later I realized that was the wrong answer. When I found the correct answer I was a bit surprised. Not being a big fan of crosswords, I didn't realize they did that in answers (trying to be vague in my reply, so as not to spoil it for anyone).

Re:Here it is (1)

kaatochacha (651922) | about 9 months ago | (#45776421)

That's where I got stuck as well.

1906 earliest so far (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45772639)

Looking on the Australian Trove site shows many Crosswords back to 1912 and a few back to 1906.

Maybe this 1913 date is for for the birth of Crosswords in American newspapers - Delayed 7 years from the rest of the world.

Monkey gland implants? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45774005)

OK, just googled "monkey gland implants" and I'm starting to wish I hadn't. Apparently it really was a thing.

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