The Crossword Puzzle debuted on December 20, 1913

By Nate Jones
Updated December 20, 2013 12:40 PM

Hey, what’s a popular newspaper game, 15 letters, starts with C? The answer of course is “Crossword Puzzle,” and on Friday it’s celebrating its 100th birthday with an interactive Google Doodle.

In Dec. 1913, an Englishman named Arthur Wynne was tasked with coming up with a new puzzle to run in the New York World. Drawing on a game he remembered called “Magic Squares,” Wynne invented a primitive form of the crossword, called "The Word Cross Puzzle," which the World published on December 21. Later editions would set the puzzle in a square grid, add those famous black squares and flip the words in the the name – but Wynne is still considered the father of the modern crossword.

To commemorate the centennial of America’s second-favorite Sunday morning activity, Google engineers came up with a crossword-themed version of their iconic Doodle, which doubles as a working puzzle. Google’s crossword was created by Merl Reagle, one of the industry’s most wildly inventive constructors. (You may even remember him from The Simpsons.)

A word of advice: Don’t try to do it in pen.

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