3 February is National Crossword Puzzle Day in Hungary, and in honour of this rather striking occasion, we would like to present you with some interesting facts about the brain-teaser and its long international history. Throw away your pencil and learn, maybe next time you’ll come across a related riddle!
Crossword is a game we don’t have to introduce to anyone, because most of us have spent several hours of our lives solving clues, filling the white squares with letters or phrases. Other than being a very good form of entertainment, it helps to improve our memory and also educates us. But how and when did its glorious history start? We’ve got to go back to 1913, when British Army Officer Arthur Wynne invented the modern crossword puzzle after immigrating to the USA. There he joined a newspaper called New York World in which he introduced his diamond shape puzzle. He called it word-cross puzzle. He wasn’t the first to create a puzzle game, but he had many innovating ideas that made it better and better.
In Hungary, the mania started back in 1925. More exactly on 22 January, when the very first crossword puzzle was published on Ma Este (meaning: tonight) weekly paper’s pages. As a novelty, crossword puzzle got popular very fast, thanks to the prizes readers could win. First, it was only a mah-jong game they could take home. Later magazines started to offer more and more valuable prizes. Once the grand price was a new home for one lucky winner! People simply fell in love with the activity, and soon there was a demand for crossword puzzle magazines. One of them was called Füles, and it was first published on 3 February, 1957.
- In 1944, several secret military code names appeared in The Daily Telegraph’s crossword series. Allegedly, it was only a coindidence. For the sake of their planned operations, Allied security officers weren’t happy about it.
- Rumour has it that England’s former top-secret home of WW2 codebreakers, Bletchley Park selected their cryptologists based on their crossword-solving skills.
- In 1926, a shocking tragedy shook Budapest. A guest committed suicide at Café Emke’s toilet, What he left behind was not a ransom note, but a crossword puzzle; it was supposed to provide an answer for his tragic death. Unfortunately, it has not been solved yet.