Many adults and children are very fond of solving crossword puzzles, but few know what a crossword really is and where it came from. This article will tell you about this.
A crossword is a word puzzle that usually takes the form of a square or a rectangular grid of white-and black-shaded squares. The game's goal is to fill the white squares with letters, forming words or phrases, by solving clues, which lead to the answers. In languages that are written left-to-right, the answer words and phrases are placed in the grid from left to right and from top to bottom. The shaded squares are used to separate the words or phrases.
Summing up, we found out that a crossword puzzle has its own distinctive properties and its own rules of compilation. But many newspapers and magazines provide completely different tasks as a crossword, which are not related to intersection of words, or even not related to guessing words at all. And this means that such "crossword puzzles" are made by illiterate compilers and such publications cannot be considered qualitative.
So, we’ve figured out what a crossword puzzle is in its classic version, now let’s see what types of crosswords exist.
Types of crossword puzzles
Sometimes it's hard to understand, which type of crossword we have if based only on its name. The classification of crossword puzzles by their geographical name is more understandable: for example, a crossword can be American, English, Russian, Scandinavian or Japanese. Such crossword puzzles have their own rules, which are almost identical in all editions, and they are always solved by the same principle.
But it happens that the name itself makes it difficult to understand what this crossword is. For example, chine-word has nothing to do with Chinese tea or China Town. It’s a linear crossword, where words should not intersect, as in a classic crossword puzzle, instead they are put in one line. In it, the last letter of last word is the beginning of the next word.
Another type of crossword is cyclo-crossword. It also has special structure: all the words here have equal number of letters and are located around the task. So, we figured out what a crossword is, now let’s have a look at the history of crossword appearance.
Where did crossword puzzles come from?
The earliest mention of a crossword puzzle is the plate with a pattern, resembling a crossword puzzle. It was found during excavations of an ancient settlement in England and dates back to the 3rd and 4th centuries.
Modern crossword puzzles appeared relatively recently - about a century ago. But where exactly they appeared, it’s a very controversial issue. To date, the United Kingdom, the United States and South Africa are contesting the right to be considered the birthplace of crossword puzzles. Each country has its own history of appearance of the first crossword. For example, the inhabitants of England believe that the first crossword puzzles were issued by the London newspaper “The Times” in the middle of the 19th century. And in the United States it’s believed that crossword puzzles have been published in the newspaper "New York World" already since 1913.
South Africans tell a very romantic story of appearance of the first crossword puzzle: they came into mind of a prisoner, who drew puzzles on the stone floor of the jail. His jail-mates liked this novelty, later it was transferred to paper and sent by mail to newspaper.
Crossword in the life of a child
What is a crossword puzzle in a child's life? This question is answered unequivocally by teachers: it is an intellectual game, helping to develop memory, teaching the culture of thinking and ways to look for missing information. While solving a crossword, child strengthens the acquired knowledge, besides, during this he’s involved in active memorization, which helps to assimilate the material effectively.
Choosing crossword puzzles for children, it is necessary to take into account the age capability of the child, only in that case solving a crossword would do him good, facilitate further training and become an entertaining useful pastime.