Shelbyville Daily Union

Community News Network

November 30, 2013

Happy 100th to the crossword puzzle

(Continued)

Such technology has made my puzzling life much less puzzling. And it was while surfing the Web in the 1990s that I found Wynne's grainy Associated Press obit from the Jan. 17, 1945, Toronto Daily Star. It was one paragraph:

"Clearwater, Fla. (AP) — Arthur Wynn, credited with inventing the crossword puzzle, died Sunday. . . . Wynn was born in Liverpool, England, and came to the U.S. 50 years ago to enter the newspaper business."

First, I was stunned that the man who had invented a feature that was in nearly every newspaper in the world, even in 1945, was given such short shrift. Second, that they spelled his name wrong. And third, that he died in Clearwater. There I was, a lifelong puzzle guy in Tampa, reading that the man who invented the crossword puzzle had died 25 miles from where I was sitting.

Or, standing, since I had bolted out of the chair. I asked an editor friend at the St. Petersburg Times (now the Tampa Bay Times) to check its archives for articles. There were precious few, with nothing new.

I did know what most of us in the crossword world knew. Excellent books have been written about the crossword's early days: "The Compleat Cruciverbalist," "Creative Cruciverbalists" and "What's Gnu?"

I knew that when Wynne was a boy he loved word games and the violin. He wanted to be a newspaperman, but his father, a newspaperman himself, forbade it. At 19, Arthur packed one bag and his violin, and with $30 in his pocket sailed to the United States. (Strangely, this mirrors my own life: At 20 I was a puzzle fan, played the organ and piano, and worked as a newspaper copy editor.)

Wynne found a newspaper job in Pittsburgh and played the violin in orchestras. Then he got the job at the World. He moved to Cedar Grove, N.J., and commuted every day. After inventing the crossword he became a frequent customer at New York's famous Palm restaurant, where a wall caricature of him remains to this day. He worked for the Hearst papers in the 1930s. In 1941 he moved to Clearwater for health reasons and died four years later.

Text Only
Community News Network
  • The Simpsons still going strong

    The groundbreaking animation first hit the air Dec. 17, 1989, but the family first appeared on television in "The Tracey Ullman Show" short "Good Night" on April 19, 1987.

    August 21, 2014

  • Police chief resigns over racial slur repost to Facebook

    A repost on his personal Facebook page of a racially-charged comment by the original poster of a comedy video has forced the police chief of an Oklahoma city to resign his office.

    August 21, 2014

  • Does Twitter need a censor?

    Twitter decided last year to make images more prominent on its site. Now, the social network is finding itself caught between being an open forum and patrolling for inappropriate content.

    August 21, 2014

  • sleepchart.jpg America’s sleep-deprived cities

    Americans might run on sleep, but those living in the country's largest cities don't appear to run on much.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Who should pay for your kids ACT?

    Thirteen states paid for 11th-grade students in all public high schools to take the ACT college admission test this year, with several more planning to join them in 2015.

    August 20, 2014

  • Pets.jpg Why do people look like their pets?

    As much as we might quibble over the virtues and vices of Canis domesticus, however, and over whether human nature is any better or worse than dog nature, even dog fanciers don't usually want to look like a dog.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ice bucket challenge trending up

    Internet trends are a dime a dozen these days. Everything from Tebowing to planking to the cinnamon challenge can cause a wave of social media activity that can last for weeks before fizzling out.

    August 19, 2014

  • Africa goes medieval in its fight against Ebola

    As the Ebola epidemic claims new victims at an ever-increasing rate, African governments in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia have instituted a "cordon sanitaire," deploying troops to forcibly isolate the inhabitants in an area containing most of the cases.

    August 18, 2014

  • Democrat? Republican? There's an app for that

    If you're a Republican, you might want to think twice before buying Lipton Iced Tea, and forget about Starbucks coffee. If you're a Democrat, put down that Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, and throw away the cylinder of Quaker Oats in your pantry.

    August 18, 2014

  • Five myths about presidential vacations

    In the nuclear age, presidents may have only minutes to make a decision that could affect the entire world. They don't so much leave the White House as they take a miniature version of it with them wherever they go.

    August 15, 2014

Featured Ads
AP Video
US: We Do Not Pay Ransom to Terrorists Ferguson Teachers Training to Deal With Trauma Jon Hamm on the Unrest in Ferguson Tit for Tat? McDonald's Shuttered in Moscow Life on the Professional Video Game Circuit TX Gov Perry in Washington: 'Confident' in Case Hospital Releases Two Missionaries Who Had Ebola Ramen Health Risks: The Dark Side of the Noodle NYC Doctor-in-chief Seeks Community Approach Indonesian Police Fire Tear Gas at Protesters Raw: Shots Fired in Liberian Shantytown DOJ, Bank of America Reach Record Settlement Raw: Cubavision Airs Images of Fidel Castro Raw: Grief After Deadly Airstrikes in Gaza Officer Who Pointed Gun at Protesters Suspended Kathy Griffin Challenges Minaj to 'a Booty Off' Johnson: Six Arrests, No Tear Gas in Ferguson Raw: Rescue, Relief Efforts at Japan Landslide Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream California Drought Stings Honeybees, Beekeepers
Poll

Should the minimum wage for workers be raised in Illinois?

Yes
No
     View Results
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Helium debate
Helium