crossword puzzle, word game in which words corresponding to numbered clues are put into a grid of horizontal and vertical squares to form intersecting words. The puzzle is solved when a player supplies all of the words correctly. Though a type of crossword puzzle has been found inscribed on an ancient tomb in Egypt, journalist Arthur Wynne is generally credited with its invention in 1913. Crossword puzzles became popular with Simon and Schuster's 1924 publication of a crossword puzzle book and now appear in virtually all newspapers. Players vie for titles at various crossword competitions. Reference dictionaries are published to aid players with solutions. See acrostic; anagram.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.