The Times crossword puzzle is a British daily cryptic crossword popularised by its inclusion in the London newspaper The Times and inspired by similarly themed puzzles published in The New York Tribune since 1925. It is also one of the most widely distributed crosswords globally today.
The first crossword puzzle ever to appear in a nationally distributed newspaper was “Word-Cross”, which ran in the New York Sunday World on November 10, 1924. Will Weng, who was then the puzzles editor at the “New York Tribune”, had been approached by Walter Murphy, the editor of the Sunday supplement, with an idea for a new feature that would attract more readers to his section on Sundays; he wanted something like a combination of code and chess problems and believed.
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The crossword-puzzle fad that followed eventually led to the creation of many similar puzzles in other newspapers, including some with distinctly different rules from the “New York Times”.
By 1930, Weng felt that the puzzle was growing stale. He wanted to shake things up a bit by adding an entire new level of challenge on top of what had been there before.
Weng called upon his friend Margaret Farrar (1904–1974) to help him edit and construct a brand-new cryptic crossword which would appear for the first time on Sunday January 2, 1932. The puzzle required entrants not only to fill in standard synonym squares but also to answer clues which required them to solve a second level.