Arthur Wynne

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For the British general, see Arthur Wynne (British Army officer).
Arthur Wynne
Born (1871-06-22)June 22, 1871
Liverpool, England, United Kingdom
Died January 14, 1945(1945-01-14) (aged 73)
Clearwater, Florida, United States
Citizenship United Kingdom (1871–1945)
United States (1920s–1945)
Known for Inventor of crossword puzzle

Arthur Wynne (June 22, 1871 – January 14, 1945) was the British-born inventor of the modern crossword puzzle.

Early life[edit]

Arthur Wynne was born on June 22, 1871, in Liverpool, England. He emigrated to the United States on June 6, 1891, at the age of 19,[1] settling for a time in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.[dead link][2]


Recreation of Arthur Wynne's crossword puzzle from December 21, 1913

While in Pittsburgh, Wynne worked on the Pittsburgh Press newspaper.[2] and played the violin in the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.[3] He later moved to New York City and worked on the New York World newspaper. He is best known for the invention of the crossword puzzle in 1913, when he was a resident of Cedar Grove, New Jersey.[4]

Wynne created the page of puzzles for the "Fun" section of the Sunday edition of the New York World. For the December 21, 1913, edition, he introduced a puzzle with a diamond shape and a hollow center, the letters F-U-N already being filled in. He called it a "Word-Cross Puzzle."[5]

Although Wynne's invention was based on earlier puzzle forms, such as the word diamond, he introduced a number of innovations (e.g. the use of horizontal and vertical lines to create boxes for solvers to enter letters). He subsequently pioneered the use of black squares in a symmetrical arrangement to separate words in rows and columns. With the exception of the numbering scheme, the form of Wynne's "Word-Cross" puzzles is that used for modern crosswords.[5]

A few weeks after the first "Word-Cross" appeared, the name of the puzzle was changed to "Cross-Word" as a result of a typesetting error.[4] Wynne's puzzles have been known as "crosswords" ever since.

Later life and death[edit]

Arthur Wynne became a naturalized US citizen in the 1920s.[6] He died in Clearwater, Florida, on January 14, 1945.[3]

On December 20, 2013, he was honored with an interactive Google Doodle commemorating the "100th anniversary of the first crossword puzzle"[7][8][9] with a puzzle by Merl Reagle. Numerous other constructors also created tribute puzzles to Wynne to commemorate the anniversary.


  1. ^ Declaration of Intention [to become a naturalized US citizen] dated March 21, 1917, New Jersey State Archives
  2. ^ a b "Arthur Wynne, o Desconhecido Ilustre". Archived June 1, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ a b U.P. obituary dated January 15, 1945.
  4. ^ a b Jaegar, Philip Edward (2000). Cedar Grove. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 0-7385-0452-1
  5. ^ a b Augarde, Tony (2003). The Oxford Guide to Word Games. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-866264-5.
  6. ^ U.S. Census 1920, 1930
  7. ^ Waxman, Olivia B. (December 20, 2013). "Crossword Inventor Arthur Wynne Honored with Google Doodle". Time Inc. Retrieved December 20, 2013. 
  8. ^ Cavna, Michael (December 20, 2013). "CROSSWORD GOOGLE DOODLE: Behind the scenes, here's how today's 100th-anniversary interactive puzzle came out letter-perfect". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 20, 2013. 
  9. ^ Crum, Chris (December 20, 2013). "Crossword Inventor Arthur Wynne Gets A Google Doodle". WebProNews. Retrieved December 20, 2013.