On this day a hundred years ago, a journalist named Arthur Wynne published what is widely regarded as the first modern crossword puzzle. It appeared in the New York World, where it was called a “Word-Cross Puzzle.” By the 1930s most newspapers in America featured the games as well.
Scientific American put a toe in the water in the 1920s. We presented “Cross-Word” puzzles in February, March and April 1925, the first two created by Jack Barrett, who later popularized a form known as cryptic crosswords, producing them for The Nation from 1943 to 1947. The April puzzle had a different author, Albert Fitch of Central City, Nebraska, and a circular shape.