The New York Times Crossword Puzzle Turns 75 Today

One of the oldest running diversions on the planet, the New York Times crossword puzzle, turns 75 today.

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It’s been through a lot! Having “begun as a way to give readers a distraction from war news” in 1942 (after calling them “a primitive sort of mental exercise” in 1924), it’s endured people being caught stealing its designs, and even once had the extreme misfortune of having one of its puzzles be created by a Kotaku reader, who went all out turning that day’s edition into a Tetris-themed nightmare.

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There’s something comforting about the fact that, despite all the new and innovative ways people have to pass time on the train and at the dinner table in 2017, there’s still a place for the humble, pencil-on-paper crossword puzzle.

The Times has an excellent retrospective on their crosswords up today, which includes some history, examples of themed puzzles and even some samples to try out.

Luke Plunkett is a Senior Editor based in Canberra, Australia. He has written a book on cosplay, designed a game about airplanes, and also runs cosplay.kotaku.com.

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Michael Anson

Shout out to Will Shortz for his many years of service to the puzzle community, both in the NYT and on NPR.