Crossword Puzzles

All About Crossword Puzzles

Are you a lover of cryptic or speed crosswords? Did you know there are actually a lot more different types of crossword puzzles? If you didn’t, stay on board with us and find out all about the various styles of crosswords and crossword puzzles benefits.

Do you do the crossword puzzles to relax? Or to keep your brain stimulated, blow off stress and unwind, or just for the fun of taking time out for something you enjoy. Whatever your reasons, grabbing a cup of your favourite brew and spending some time playing your favourite word game is one of life’s simple pleasures that doesn’t really cost you anything. 

Although did you know that crossword puzzles have had other uses than simple fun? While crosswords come with varying degrees of complexity, they have been used as tests of intelligence. During WW2, they were used to recruit codebreakers.

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The Evolution Of Crossword Puzzles

Wynne’s original puzzle is known as a definitional puzzle, one where the clues define the answer. For example; A Muslim woman’s veil (7) is yashmak.

In the UK, the popularity of these was soon overtaken by the cryptic crossword. This is where we find word-play like anagrams, abbreviations, homonyms. A cryptic clue is generally a mix of literal definitions and cryptic ones. In the national newspapers, they traditionally get more challenging as the week goes on.

A Walk Down The Memory Lane Of Crossword Puzzles

Dating Back To Pompeii

There is evidence of puzzles with words dating back to Pompeii, where a Latin palindrome with the terms Rotas, Sator, Arepo, Opera and Tenet can be found scratched on a wall. This is also thought to be one of the earliest examples of a Sator Square—where a five-word Latin palindrome makes up a word square.

Word puzzles appeared in numerous publications on an irregular basis. Still, the beginnings of contemporary crossword puzzles had their birth in The New York World, Sunday edition 21st December 1013, courtesy of Arthur Wynne. Wynne was a violinist turned journalist who created the ‘Word-Cross’ for the paper’s supplement. Although the precursor of modern crossword puzzles, it did have some differences from the puzzle we see today. It was not square-shaped but diamond-shaped.

  • It did not have the black, blocked out squares.
  • It had a different numbering system for the answers & clues.

Gossip is the name changed due to a typing error to Cross-Word. But that did not deter the puzzle from becoming very popular. Crossword puzzles became regular features, even becoming a bit of a craze in 1920s America—according to The Times, who ran an article called “An Enslaved America”. The Times itself started to feature its own crosswords in the 1930s, and they have continued to grow and evolve ever since.

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Not One or Two But Many Styles Of Crosswords

Today we can find many different word puzzles, from a variety of cultural and national crossword puzzle variations to logic puzzles and word searches. These can be found  in papers, books, magazines and online via various Apps.

Grids tend to be 15 x15 squares, which is about 30 – 32 words. Occasionally with barred grids, they can be 12×12. A barred grid is where the word endings are separated by a bar, not a blocked square. These type of crosswords can often have 32 -36 words packed in. 

Another type of crosswords include codebreakers where you will not find clues but letters replaced by numbers. You have to find the letter the numbers represent. Keep an eye on our blogs for more information on the different crosswords and word puzzles, as well as number puzzles such as sudoku available.