English journalist Arthur Wynne is usually credited with inventing the crossword. His first puzzle, which he called a ‘word cross‘, was published “in the Fun” section of the Sunday edition of the New York World on December 21 1913.
But some people believe that the first crossword puzzle was actually published in an Italian magazine in the late nineteenth century. It was called per passare il tempo, which means “to pass the time.”
The Crossword Lexicon
The crossword world, as seems usual these days, has it’s own vocabulary and set of specialised words.
Word crosses eventually became known as crosswords, and their creators became known as cruciverbalists. (They are also called constructors, setters, and compilers.) The word cruciverbalist comes from the Latin word crux, which means “cross,” and the word verbum, which means “word.”
Crosswordese may seem like a term that could refer to crossword terminology. But in fact, it is used to describe words that frequently appear in crossword puzzles, but are rarely used in daily life. Mead, which means “honey wine,” and etui, which means “a woman’s ornamental case,” are two examples of crosswordese. Oslo, the capital of Norway, is another.
Speaking of crossword terminology, the horizontal and vertical lines of white cells are called entries or answers. Lights is another word used to refer to the white cells.