December 22, 1913

About every five years, I am reminded of the fact that my mother and her favorite word game were born on the same day.  This year the “On this date” blurb that rides the top left corner of the Chronicle Herald‘s second page each day serves as the reminder.  On this day, 94 years ago, the first crossword puzzle was published in a New York newspaper called The World…or so says the local paper today.  However, according to Fun with Words.com, the crossword’s publication happened on December 21.I don’t know when my mother was born–the time of day–but it was also in New York, so I can’t argue for a time zone difference.  I do remember her positively bragging that she and the crossword came into the world on the same day, as though she had somehow inspired the fellow who upped the ante from magic squares to momentously proportioned grids.And there is irony involved here, too.  The Chronicle Herald prints Sunday’s New York Times crossword on Saturday morning, giving me a whole day’s head start over my Western friends.  But in my coffee shop reverie over the fact that my mother would be 94 now, I left today’s paper behind.  And so I go puzzless.

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