Antedating of "Crossword" (Courtesy of Mr. Will Shortz)

Shapiro, Fred fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Sat Feb 9 23:40:09 UTC 2013


Are you suggesting that Will Shortz is not familiar with the second crossword puzzle ever published?

Fred Shapiro

From: American Dialect Society [ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] on behalf of Joel S. Berson [Berson at ATT.NET]
Sent: Thursday, February 07, 2013 10:23 AM
Subject: Re: Antedating of "Crossword" (Courtesy of Mr. Will Shortz)

1)  Mr. Will Shortz is, of course, the cross-word-puzzle editor of
the New York Times.  (To forestall Larry, not the cross word-puzzle editor.)

2)   Mr. Shortz wrote his "college thesis" on early American word puzzles.

3)   Surely we need look no further back than 1913 Dec. 21, since the
fourth weekly puzzle appeared on Jan. 11, 1914.  And FUN was clearly
searching for the right word to coin.  (That is, I infer that no-one
else had used the word "cross-word" previously.)

But might we find "cross-word" (literally) one week earlier in the so
far unrevealed Dec. 28 issue?

4)  Was the 19th-century "cross word puzzle" an acrostic puzzle?  I
note from a quotation in the OED that by 1928 both terms were in use,
apparently to distinguish them from each other:
1928   Syracuse (N.Y.) Herald 19 Mar. 20/5   Cross word puzzles,
acrostics and word ladders are the fads of the day.


At 2/7/2013 06:30 AM, Shapiro, Fred wrote:
>The following information was graciously supplied to me by Mr. Will Shortz:
>crossword (OED Dec. 1914)
>[1913 _New York World_ 21 Dec. (Fun section) 14  FUN'S Word-Cross Puzzle.]
>[1914 _New York World_ 4 Jan. (Fun section) 8  Find the Missing Cross Words.]
>1914 _New York World_ 11 Jan. (Fun section) 12  Fun's Cross-Word
>Puzzle. ... The fourth in Fun's series of new cross word puzzles is
>given herewith.
>NOTE:  In addition to the information supplied by Will Shortz, it
>should be noted that the term "cross word puzzle" was used in the
>19th century for a different kind of puzzle, not involving squares
>to be filled in.  The earliest I find this in some quick research is
>in _Merry's Museum for Boys and Girls_, Sept. 1871, page 145
>(American Periodical Series).
>Fred Shapiro
>YALE BOOK OF QUOTATIONS (Yale University Press)
>The American Dialect Society -

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