Whither Crossword Puzzles?


GOOD Magazine wants to know if crossword puzzles are doomed to die an inevitable print media death. According to the piece, the heyday of crossword puzzles was the 1920s, and at the time the black-and-white geometric confections were considered just as sinful as booze and other Jazz Age vices. OK, maybe not “just as,” but the New York Times expressly used the word “sinful” and refused to print one until 1942.

A GOOD commenter argues that crosswords have actually gotten more popular due to the web, but if you ask us, having Google at your fingertips takes a lot of the fun out of the puzzles. For the record, we’ve never finished one on our own (one that wasn’t printed in People magazine, that is), and we kind of like it that way. Also, we have to say we like magazine crossword puzzles better than those in newspapers — the form is nowhere near as unwieldy, and you don’t get newsprint on your hands. Plus, Maura Jacobson is really clever and for some reason every time we do one of her crosswords we think of Sarah Michelle Geller, who we once read does them too. The point is, everyone has their own personal crossword preferences. What are yours?

There is one thing we think we should all agree on, however: there needs to be a moratorium on the word “oleo” in crossword puzzles. The ubiquitous word, which means margarine, has long been a crutch for vowel-greedy crossword puzzle writers. Enough!

[illustration via NY Times Crossword Drawings]