On a snowy evening in the early 1900s, a newspaper editor at the New York World was hunched over his desk trying to think of something special for the Christmas issue.
Remembering the small word squares he’d solved as a young Brit in Liverpool, he drew a diamond-shaped grid with numbered squares and numbered clues. It contained 32 words, and his simple instruction read: “Fill in the small squares with words which agree with the following definitions.”
The puzzle appeared Dec. 21, 1913, and what 42-year-old Arthur Wynne had created was the first crossword puzzle.
It was an instant success.