Crossword Puzzles

Barbara J. Feldman

Although the origins of the crossword puzzle can be traced to nineteenth century children’s books, journalist Arthur Wynne is credited with creating the first modern crossword puzzle in 1913. It appeared in New York World on December 21, 1913 and soon became a regular feature. More and more papers starting carrying crosswords, and by 1924 crossword puzzles were a worldwide craze. In celebration of the crossword puzzle’s eighty-fifth anniversary, here’s a tour of the best online crossword sites for kids and their families. [Editor's Note: An updated version of this topic can be found here: Crossword Puzzles]

  • Crossword Helper4 stars

    This Australian site is not for crossword diehards who feel getting any help is cheating. But for the rest of us (after we've exhausted our own brain power), here is a site that can fill in missing letters. Just enter a word, using a period for any unknown letters, and you'll be quickly rewarded with a list of possible matches. For example "b..t" returns a list of twenty-five words starting with "bait" and ending with "butt."

  • Fun Facts from Custom Crosswords4 stars

    "The first book of crosswords was introduced on April 10, 1924 for a steep $1.35 per book and each one came with a freshly sharpened pencil. The publishers, Simon and Schuster, were advised to use an alias for their first run because their advisors were skeptical and thought it might fail, ruining them in the publishing industry." The book, however, was a resounding success. In December of 1924 The New York Times condemned crossword puzzles, claiming five million hours a day were wasted in the "unprofitable trifling" of solving crosswords. Yet the following month, they started publishing their own weekly puzzle.

  • Puzzles by Puzzability5 stars

    These original interactive puzzles were created to showcase the talents of a team of three puzzle experts (including the crossword editor of The Wall Street Journal.) "We like to point out three ingredients you'll find in our puzzles: 1) A puzzle that is left unsolved is basically a failure. Puzzles are made to be solved. 2) Puzzles are not tests. They're entertainment. 3) A good puzzle is a bit like a joke. The unsolved components are a set-up, and the solution is the punch line."

  • Student.Com Crosswords5 stars

    Try your hand at this daily Los Angeles Times timed crossword and "submit your solved puzzle to find out your time and accuracy compared to other Student.Com users. If you're just starting out or having a bad day, you don't have to enter the contest. Still, if you complete our puzzle the fastest, important people will hear about it." Which important people I'm not sure, but your name will be listed on their Web site. If you choose a puzzle from their archive of previous crosswords, you won't be able to submit your game, but you can click to have your incorrect answers displayed in red or to see the solved puzzle.

  • Honorable Mentions

    The following links are either new discoveries or sites that didn't make it into my newspaper column because of space constraints. Enjoy!


    Cite This Page

  • Feldman, Barbara. "Crossword Puzzles." Surfnetkids. Feldman Publishing. 23 Dec. 1998. Web. 20 Nov. 2014. <http://www.surfnetkids.com/resources/crossword98/ >.


  • About This Page

  • By . Originally published December 23, 1998. Last modified July 10, 2014.

  • Amazing Crosswords for Kids (Mensa)
    Amazing Crosswords for Kids (Mensa)
    by Trip Payne
    (Paperback)
    - Usually ships in 24 hours
    Price: $1.74

    Crossword Puzzles (Dover Children s Activity Books)
    Crossword Puzzles (Dover Children's Activity Books)
    by Fran Newman-D'Amico
    (Paperback)
    - Usually ships in 24 hours
    Price: $0.68

    Fantastically Fun Crosswords for Kids (Mensa)
    Fantastically Fun Crosswords for Kids (Mensa)
    by Trip Payne
    (Paperback)
    - Usually ships in 24 hours
    Price: $2.46