The first crosswords appeared in England in the 19th century. These were simple puzzles, derived from word squares, and printed in children’s books and various magazines. The first modern crossword was published on December 21, 1913, in the New York World’s Sunday supplement, Fun. Though it was published as one of several puzzles, it caught the fancy of the American public and crosswords became a serious adult pastime. The craze soon reached England, and by the 1920s, crosswords were being published by almost every leading newspaper in the USA and the UK. The crossword puzzle of the London Sunday Times is perhaps the best-known and most prestigious.
Crosswords are found in almost all countries and all languages today. There are many variations, in both the shape of the puzzle (which may be square or irregular, with or without blacked-out squares ) as well as in theme and content. The crosswords here are based on well-known stories and works of literature – so grab a pencil and have a go!