The first crossword puzzle ever, appeared in the December 21st 1913 edition of the New York World. It was created by Arthur Wynne whose first attempt, using a diamond shaped grid, was an instant success, and a crossword became soon a regular feature of the New York World and other papers.
The first crossword to be published in Britain was also an Arthur Wynne puzzle and it appeared in the Sunday Express in 1924 and was by then in the more common square format.
Prize puzzles-also known as pruzzles- became popular in the 1920s. This was a huge source of revenue for newspapers. Profits often lined the pockets of racketeers, but in some cases they went to charity funds, like aiding the blind.
George McElveen , a Baptist pastor of Pittsburgh, was the first of many preachers to use the crossword puzzle to attract bigger congregations. He announced that a large blackboard would be placed in front of his pulpit. On it was an original puzzle and the audience was required to solve it before he would begin his sermon. The solution to the puzzle contained the text for his sermon.
In 1926, a waiter in a coffee house in Budapest, Hungary committed suicide and left a suicide note in the form of a crossword. The police had to seek the help of the public in deciphering it.
In 1944, MI5, the security service, interrogated the chief crossword compiler for the Daily Telegraph when 5 of their D-Day code names appeared as crossword solutions within the space of a month.
Crosswords were forbidden in Paris at one point during the World War II, in case they would be used by fifth columnists.
Crosswords have been in our lives for almost two centuries and sometimes we don't realise the long way they have gone through to become as they are known today.
For fans of software design patterns here is a puzzle that might please you. It's basically meant to test your knowledge on the subject! :D
For now it's a farewell from me. Take care dudettes and dudes and my puzzled aliens. Long live crosswords!