CROSSWORDS: 1920s

Highlights

  • menu"Crossword puzzles became a way of life in the 1920s...
  • "Another reason for the extraordinary success of crossword puzzles...
  • "The Pennsylvania Railroad...
  • "A New York man was arrested because...
  • dress"Pickpockets in hotel lobbies,...
  • Many "firsts" for crosswords in publications and culture. Much debate about fads and obsessions.
  • 1921: first dictionary
  • 1922: UK magazine: Pearson's
  • 1924: The Cross Word Puzzle Book -- 1st book by Simon & Schuster
  • UK newspaper Daily Express
  • crossword mamasong: "Crossword Mama You Puzzle Me (But Papa's Gonna Figure You Out)"
  • New York Herald-Tribune’s National All Comers Cross Word Puzzle Tournament
  • crossword rules, e.g., rotational symmetry
  • 1925: musical revue: "Puzzles of 1925"
  • animated short Disney film: "Alice Solves the Puzzle"
  • mystery story: "The Fascinating Problem of Uncle Meleager's Will"
  • 1926: cryptic crossword in UK
  • A Budapest man committed suicide,...

1920

  • Margaret Farrar (later, at Simon&Schuster, then even later, 1st NYT editor) is hired by The New York World as a secretary, but soon finds herself assisting Arthur Wynne with proofreading puzzles. Her puzzles soon exceed Wynne’s in popularity.

1921

  • quickway dictionary"The latest craze to strike libraries is the crossword puzzle...
  • In the 1920s, as now, there were 2 schools of puzzle solution fans:...
  • Colonel H.W. Hill publishes the first "Quickway" Crossword Dictionary.

1922

  • Pearson's [1st UK magazine w/ crossword]
  • Morning Oregonian and other newspapers published a comic strip...

1923

1924

  • simon and schusterSimon & Schuster found a company to publish The Cross Word Puzzle Book...
  • "The cross word solver becomes a collector,...
  • "All ages, both sexes, highbrows and lowbrows,...
  • "Some folks were driven over the edge by the craze...
  • crossword mamaCrossword Mama You Puzzle Me (But Papa's Gonna Figure You Out) (song) (audio: 2:32); Will Shortz on NPR On the Media: Life Squared (interview; excerpts; 4:07-4:40;9:20-12:54); MayasMix @ 13:24; lyrics:
    "You treat me like an orphan in a storm / Crossword books won’t keep my tootsies warm.
    Crossword Mama, you puzzle me / But Papa’s gonna figure you out.
    Washington, he crossed the Delaware / Columbus crossed the ocean blue
    If there’s any more crossing to be done / Papa’s gonna double-cross you..."
  • Cross-word puzzle blues (song) (audio; 2:37)
  • Rotational symmetry was one of many crossword conventions established by the Amateur Crossword Puzzle League of America
  • Daily Express [1st UK newspaper w/ crossword]
  • Ruth Franc Von Phul won the New York Herald-Tribune’s National All Comers Cross Word Puzzle Tournament the age of 20; NYT obituary
  • The Crossword Puzzle: Where’d The Women Go? 8/21/2013
  • "[The crossword] has grown from the pastime of a few ingenious idlers...

1925

  • puzzles of 1925 mamaPuzzles of 1925 (musical revue); crossword sanitarium scene: solvers who had lost their minds. "Since Ma's Gone Crazy Over Cross Word Puzzles" (lyrics):
    "The house has gone to ruin / Since all that Mother’s doin' /
    Is putting letters in the little squares /
    We live on canned tomatoes / And old cold boiled potatoes
    No wonder when he comes home / Father swears"
  • I've Got the Crossword Puzzle Blues (song) by D. J. Michaud and Marguerite A. Bruce; performed by jazz clarinettist Bob Fuller; "I'm feeling awfully down, and cross. I spend all day solving, but I still don't have a clue"
  • Alice Solves the Puzzle animated short Disney film
  • cross-words between sweetie and meCross-Words (Between Sweetie and Me) (song; 3:48);
    "Sorrow has torn at my heart strings / I wonder who is to blame
    My sweetie never has time for me / She's deep in love with a game
    Crosswords have made me blue as can be, / Cross, crosswords between my sweetie and me,
    She's been puzzling, don't seem to care / Whether I'm near her or taking the air
    I'm jealous. How can I win sympathy? I'm hoping she'll soon need L-O-V-E.
    Every night in our little home / We sit together, but I'm all alone.
    She's so contrary / Her old dictionary and crosswords are sweeter than me."
  • even more songs: Cross word papa you sure' do puzzle me;
    Cross-word puzzle of love; Cross words; Crosspuzz;
    Crossword (The) puzzle glide; Do you do cross-word puzzles;
    briggs guiltiest feelingI'm a cross word puzzle fan; My cross-word puzzle girl;
    They're doing cross word puzzles now; Your cross-words are making me blue
  • That Guiltiest Feeling cartoon; Clare Briggs; cross word craze, covering earth
  • Felix All Puzzled Felix the Cat cartoon directed by Otto Messmer; Flash: 2:50
  • The Fascinating Problem of Uncle Meleager's Will (story; Lord Peter Wimsey) by Dorothy L. Sayers
  • Puzzled by Crosswords (movie; comedy)
  • crossword magazine"Judging from the number of solvers in the subway...
  • Range of opinions about crossword longevity:...
  • "Fortunately, the question of whether the puzzles are beneficial or harmful...
  • andrew hines"A New York Telephone Co. employee shot his...
  • (at right) 100-year old Ambrose Hines solving a puzzle in 1925
  • Popular interest in the 1920s is shown by aids which were marketed to help puzzle-solvers...
  • saturday evening postThe main interest among fans in the 1920s was in the puzzle as an aid to language development...

1926

1927

1929

References

  • fancy dress circa 1920The Roaring 20s crossword; NYT Learning Network
  • Saucy "Crosswords" Postcards by Donald McGill in 1920s
  • Roaring Twenties: Fads The Charleston; 1st Miss America Pageant; Flagpole Sitting; Mah-Jongg; Crossword Puzzlel Book-of-the-Month Club; Time; Reader's Digest
  • Wikipedia: 1920s
  • The Decades That Invented the Future: Part 3: 1920s R.U.R. (robots); IBM 80-Column Punch Card; Amphibious Warfare; Art Deco; Babe Ruth; Tri-motor Airplane; Leica I and the 35mm Standard; Polygraph; Scopes Monkey Trial; McKinsey and Company; Traffic Light; Mickey Mouse; 11/2/2012
  • Paleofuture: 1920s