The Crossword Century

The Crossword Century

100 Years of Witty Wordplay, Ingenious Puzzles, and Linguistic Mischief

Book - 2014
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A journalist and word aficionado salutes the 100-year history and pleasures of crossword puzzles
Since its debut in  The New York World  on December 21, 1913, the crossword puzzle has enjoyed a rich and surprisingly lively existence. Alan Connor, a comic writer known for his exploration of all things crossword in The Guardian , covers every twist and turn: from the 1920s, when crosswords were considered a menace to productive society; to World War II, when they were used to recruit code breakers; to their starring role in a 2008 episode of  The Simpsons .
He also profiles the colorful characters who make up the interesting and bizarre subculture of crossword constructors and competitive solvers, including Will Shortz, the iconic New York Times puzzle editor who created a crafty crossword that appeared to predict the outcome of a presidential election, and the legions of competitive puzzle solvers who descend on a Connecticut hotel each year in an attempt to be crowned the American puzzle-solving champion.
At a time when the printed word is in decline, Connor marvels at the crossword's seamless transition onto Kindles and iPads, keeping the puzzle one of America's favorite pastimes. He also explores the way the human brain processes crosswords versus computers that are largely stumped by clues that require wordplay or a simple grasp of humor.
A fascinating examination of our most beloved linguistic amusement--and filled with tantalizing crosswords and clues embedded in the text-- The Crossword Century  is sure to attract the attention of the readers who made  Word Freak  and  Just My Type  bestsellers.
Publisher: New York, N.Y. : Gotham Books, 2014.
ISBN: 9781592408580
Branch Call Number: 793.732 CON
Characteristics: xi, 191 p. : ill. ; 22 cm.


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FindingJane Feb 14, 2016

This book sums up everything that is fun, amusing or baffling about crosswords. A puzzle that challenges people’s literary knowledge of things common and obscure, the crossword has been a fixture of various newspapers practically since its incarnation. If any newspaper held out, they soon found that including crosswords was a sure way to boost sales.

Other word forms have existed throughout the years to tickle human fancy and prod cogitation. The clerihew, spoonerisms, acrostic, etc., have all proven challenging and amusing. But crosswords get people coming back again and again, providing sources of entertainment for people as diverse as Stephen Sondheim, Frank Sinatra and P. G. Wodehouse.

Lest you fear that the crossword may disappear with the printed word, fear not. This book holds out hope that the crossword will continue in one form or another. Until then, grab your pen and pencil, keep your dictionary in sight and start with 1 Across.

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