That Puzzle Guy's Blog No, I will not play Words With Friends with you


Puzzle of the century

(Everybody's already made the "One Hundred Years of Solvitude" joke already, okay? Let's just move on.)

I return to the blogosphere today to commemorate what most of my readers already know: Exactly a century ago, Arthur Wynne's "Word-Cross Puzzle" appeared in the New York World, birthing the pastime we know and love today. The articles and special puzzles are almost too plentiful to run down; the crossword even made it into the Google doodle on Friday!

For my part, I'll take a little time here to look into the future. The crossword has undergone a great deal of evolution in a hundred years and that should continue in some fashion. The easiest prediction to make, I think, is the continued rise of online and independent distribution. Solvers these days are spoiled for choice; they don't have to turn to a major newspaper to find a good challenge. Between online-only syndicates, blogs, and Kickstarter projects, a web browser is all you need to access quality puzzles. This is undoubtedly a good thing; in time, I believe the best puzzles will rise to the top and the prestige of the old institutions will matter less and less. However, I expect that making a living from puzzle constructing will remain a rarity.

What new innovations will we see in the crossword grid itself? Well, if I knew that, I'd probably have invented it already and raked in the accolades. We've seen cryptics, code crosswords, vowelless puzzles, diagramlesses, and so forth. Even the conventional crossword has seen a slew of clever new theme types and daring new themeless constructions. With all the puzzles that get published in a given week, it's somewhat surprising that the well of ideas hasn't run dry, but it hasn't, and I expect my fellow puzzlemakers to continue to innovate. Whatever they do, though, the results had damn well better have good fill.

Best of all, the future of crosswords seems bright. I remember the days when I was at the extreme lower end of the puzzlers' age spectrum, but now, though I haven't yet hit thirty, another generation is coming up behind me. They're filling their puzzles with modern vocabulary and lively, sometimes irreverent clues, and I look forward to seeing much more.

On that happy note, go forth and celebrate the day! I plan to do so by solving some puzzles... but I suppose I do that every day.

Comments (1) Trackbacks (0)
  1. Tyler –

    I never know what to post…but i read every one of your postings. Congratulations on winning the trophy.
    And Have a Great Christmas.


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