NATIONAL CROSSWORD SOLVERS DAY | December 8
On December 8 we celebrate National Crossword Solvers Day with nearly 50 million people who enjoy solving crossword puzzles.
Solving crossword puzzles is a favorite pastime for people across the globe. In fact, it is so popular, people who solve or write crossword puzzles have their own name–cruciverbalists! Today, we want to celebrate all the cruciverbalists in the world, plus encourage everyone to find a crossword puzzle and become a solver, too!
How Old Are Crossword Puzzles?
The crossword puzzle was first introduced in the New York World newspaper in 1913 by journalist Arthur Wynne. It was the eve of WWI and Wynne was looking for a new game for the FUN section in the newspaper as a way to take people’s minds off the impending war. Wynne began by creating a blank word search grid. Each grid came with a list of clues for readers to use in solving the letters. The original puzzle was named “FUN’s Word-Cross Puzzle” and was interestingly found in the shape of a diamond. A few weeks later an editor made a typo naming the puzzle “Cross-Word.” This cross mistake became a historical game changer.
The first records of crossword puzzles are historically found to originate in England during the 19th century. Most of these puzzles were easy to solve, and usually printed in children’s books or periodicals. Meanwhile, Americans were turning crossword puzzle solving into an adult pastime. Today, crossword solvers have many choices in satisfying their puzzle cravings, including celebrating National Crossword Solvers Day in December every year.
What is a Crossword Puzzle?
A crossword puzzle is a diagram of white and black squares with a list of numbered clues, running across and down the grid. The black squares are blank fillers, while the white squares are for the answers for the clues. One letter for the answer goes in one square. Each clue corresponds with numbers on the puzzle, interlocking or crisscrossing each other. The goal of a crossword puzzle is to solve the clues by filling the white spaces with the answers to the clues.
Benefits of Solving Crossword Puzzles
People who solve crossword puzzles are often more relaxed, especially when trying to solve day-to-day problems. Many use their puzzle-solving skills indirectly by approaching stressful situations similar to how they approach solving puzzles. Slow, calculated, and with thought. Studies show solving crossword puzzles regularly has several health benefits, including:
- Improving short-term memory skills.
- Assisting in developing better problem-solving skills.
- Increasing individual IQ by learning new vocabulary.
- Helping delay dementia and Alzheimer symptoms in at-risk individuals.
- Improving mood by lowering stress levels and teaching the brain to relax.
5 Fun Crossword Puzzle Facts
- Arthur Wynne, New York World journalist, published the first crossword puzzle in December 1913.
- A cruciverbalist is a person who loves to create and solve crossword puzzles.
- An estimated 50 million people in the US solve crossword puzzles.
- In 2014, Bernice Gorden became the oldest person to publish a crossword puzzle in the NY Times at the age of 101.
- Solving crossword puzzles is beneficial to a person’s brain health.
CELEBRATING CROSSWORD SOLVERS
- Solve the crossword puzzle in your newspaper or in a magazine.
- Gift a book of crossword puzzles for the cruciverbalist in your life.
- Find a crossword puzzle app and start playing once a day to experience the health benefits.
- Create a crossword puzzle for your friends and family.
- Enter the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament created and run by the legendary New York Times Crossword editor, Will Shortz.
- Share your photos and videos of solving crossword puzzles on social media using #NationalCrosswordSolversDay.
MEET THE FOUNDER
In November 2022, National Day Calendar welcomed National Crossword Solvers Day to our list of National Days. The day was introduced by professional crossword puzzle writer Myles Mellor, an international crossword puzzle publisher.
To date, Myles has published over 17,000 crosswords and is one of the most successful and prolific crossword puzzle writers in the U.S. Myles actively publishes around 80 crossword puzzles per month, reaching 2 million people. Appearing in over 1,000 magazines, over 55 books, hundreds of weekly newspapers and across numerous websites, he continues to delight puzzle solvers every day.
Myles’ resume includes creating puzzles for executives and celebrities. He also creates personalized puzzles for weddings, engagements, birthdays and anniversaries. Myles gives back by providing weekly interactive crosswords to the San Diego Alzheimer’s organization. In addition to creating crossword puzzles, he also creates word searches, sudokus, and other puzzles. As a world-renowned puzzle creator and publisher, Myles works with Simon and Schuster, Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Books a Million and many other top publishers to bring his passion to crossword solvers everywhere.
Related content: National Puzzle Day | January 29