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Cruciverbalist – Wacky Word Wednesday

Wacky Word Wednesday, a weekly celebration of the wackiest and most interesting words from around the world, is back to talk about the king of word puzzles.

The definition of today’s wacky word from TermWiki.com:

quo top

cru·ci·ver·bal·ist

[kroo-suhvur-buh-list]

-noun

a designer, compiler or solver of crossword puzzles

quo botCruciverbalist

This word attaches the Latin crucis, meaning cross, to the word verbalist, which describes a person skilled at using words.

The first crossword puzzle was published in December of 1913 by a man named Arthur Wynne, who immigrated to the United States from Liverpool, England. He can be considered the first official cruciverbalist. Wynne’s crossword appeared in the newspaper, New York World. The puzzle was originally identified as a “word-cross,” based off an old Pompeii game, and appeared in a diamond shape; crosswords would later evolve into the square form they take on today. The puzzle eventually made its way back across the Atlantic to England and throughout Europe. Less than a dozen years after the crossword’s first public appearance, Simon and Schuster published the first book of crossword puzzles.

Believe it or not, the crossword puzzle is a prime example of localization. The style and pattern of the puzzle is highly dependent on the location the crossword is being distributed in. In most North American puzzles, the grid design consists mostly of white squares with the black squares creating some sort of symmetrical pattern.

British and Australian grid designs are symmetric as well, but usually have more black squares. Unlike North American crosswords, where every letter crosses over into another word (otherwise known as checked), British and Australian puzzles only use every other letter.

In other words, because North American crossword puzzles intersect every single letter, it is possible to completely fill-in a puzzle by just completed either the “across” clues or the “down” clues, theoretically completing the entire puzzle by just filling in half the clues.

Japanese puzzles, on the other hand, commonly do not place black squares side by side; they are typically connected by corners. Additionally, Japanese crosswords usually have white squares in the corner.

It just so happens that TermWiki just released the beta version of a TermWiki crossword puzzle, coined as TermBea, a subject-oriented crossword puzzle. It allows users to really test their knowledge on any of the existing product categories. It is also a fun and easy study tool to help users learn and memorize new vocabulary and definitions. Head over to TermWiki.com now to check out the newest feature!

If you’re interested in learning more wacky words, make sure to subscribe to our RSS feed for automatic updates from Simply CSOFT!

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  1. Amazing that North American crosswords are completely full – it must be a nightmare putting one of those together!

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