100th anniversary of the crossword puzzle

PHILADELPHIA - December 19, 2013

It wasn't until the early 1900's that an English journalist came up with the idea of a word cross puzzle.

For some reason the name reversed to Crossword a decade later.

Action News picked up a newspaper and headed into Reading Terminal to see how popular they still are.

We quickly discovered it doesn't take much to engage those around you.

"I'm all in," said Ross Donolow. "As soon as I see someone doing something intellectual, I'm all in."

As a boy in Audubon, Merl Reagle was captivated by cross word puzzles.

"For some reason, the mere fact that I could lock words together was amazing to me as a kid," said Merl Reagle. "When I was 10, I said, 'I'm going to be a puzzle maker for the newspaper someday, and now I am."

And after all these years, the puzzles have remained popular.

At one point in the early 1920's, crossword puzzles became so wildly popular that company productivity declined. People were doing them too much on the job.

They were one of the earliest forms of social media.

"It's a little contagious because you start with two and end up with four and 5 people, it's very interesting," said Michael Long.

"My grandmother does them and she will be done in less than an hour every single morning, like it's nothing," said Raquel Silano.

There is only one remaining controversy surrounding crossword puzzles: pencil or pen?

Copyright © 2024 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.