When Brenda Schmitz, a 46-year-old mother of four boys, was dying of ovarian cancer two years ago, she composed a letter to a Des Moines radio station. Continue reading
- On Dec. 21, 1913, the New York World put a puzzle called a “word-cross” in the paper’s Fun section. Several years later a typesetter made a mistake and flipped the phrase. The name stuck.
- The crossword became such a huge fad in the 1920s, sales of dictionaries spiked. A miniature dictionary was invented that could be worn like a wristwatch.
- Staid publications such as the New York Times and The Times (in London) ridiculed the cultural phenomenon. NYT called the crossword a “primitive sort of mental exercise.” The Times wrote an editorial warning of “An Enslaved America.”
- The crossword craze revived words that were in danger of dying out of usage. Among them, words that are common today: Acute, adapt, amend, ban, carp (as a verb), cite, curt, eke, ire, leer (as a verb), nee.
The crossword shares a birthday month with the game it helped spawn: Scrabble was copyrighted 65 years ago this month.
h/t Smithsonian Magazine’s Past Imperfect blog
‘Tis the season for a man named Crist.
A retired Canadian businessman who lost his 57-year-old wife to cancer last year has decided that neither he nor his four children will spend a cent of his $40 million lotto winnings, the biggest jackpot in the country’s history, the Calgary Herald reports. Continue reading
Little did he know that it was all a setup. His son, Cpl. Zack Mucha, who’s been away from home for about two years, wanted to surprise his dad. Continue reading