Featured Blogger Report: The New York Times Crossword and WWII // Pacific Paratrooper #AceHistoryDesk report

The WWII home front and this generation have something in common, lock-downs. This post seemed appropriate for right about now.

There are plenty of crossword puzzles in publications across the country, but when we think of the pinnacle of puzzledom (Not officially a word, but, perhaps, it should be?), the purveyors of the most preeminent puzzles, we bow to The New York Times (NYT).

For more than 75 years, the NYT crossword puzzle has been stumping readers with its clever clues and then sending them soaring when they finally fill in all the squares.

When did the NYT Crossword begin?

When crossword puzzles first came about in the 1920s, the NYT turned up its nose at them. In 1924, the paper ran an opinion column that dubbed them, “a primitive sort of mental exercise”.

So, what absolved the crossword puzzle in the illustrious publication’s mind and made them eat their words? Reportedly, it was after the bombing of Pearl Harbor that Lester Markel, the paper’s Sunday editor at the time, decided the country could use some levity, primitive or not.

Crosswords became an American craze in the 1920s, but it took the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the urging of The New York Times publisher Arthur Hays Sulzberger, a long-time crossword fan, to convince the features editor to run a crossword puzzle each Sunday. In a memo dated December 18, 1941, an editor conceded that the puzzle deserved space in the paper, considering what was happening elsewhere in the world and that readers might need something to occupy themselves during blackouts. The frivolous” feature, he admitted, would take people’s mind off the war and give them something to do while hunkered down in their bomb shelters.

Seventy-five years later, people continue to turn to crosswords for comfort and distraction. As the first editor of the crossword noted, “I don’t think I have to sell you on the increased demand for this kind of pastime in an increasingly worried world. You can’t think of your troubles while solving a crossword …” — Will Shortz

The first puzzle ran Sunday, February 15, 1942, and it was, in fact, a primitive pursuit, (Dictionary.com’s first definition for the adjective: “Being the first or earliest of the kind or in existence”), as they were the first major US paper to run a crossword puzzle. By 1950, the paper began running a crossword puzzle daily.

Since that time, there have only been four editors of the NYT Crossword puzzle, beginning with Margaret Farrar, who served as editor from the publication of the first puzzle until 1969. Will Weng and Eugene Maleska followed in her footsteps.

To print out a copy of the original crossword – CLICK HERE!

For the solution – CLICK HERE!

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Military Humor –

“Besides that, it ruins on only 2 flashlight batteries.”

SIGN POSTED IN THE ARMY RECRUITING OFFICE:

Marry a veteran girls! He can cook, make beds,

sew and is already used to taking orders!

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Quarantine Humor – THE ECONOMY IS SO BAD THAT….

My neighbor got a pre-declined credit card in the mail.

CEO’s are now playing miniature golf.

Exxon-Mobil laid off 25 Congressmen.

I saw a Mormon with only one wife.

McDonald’s is selling the 1/4 ouncer.

Angelina Jolie adopted a child from America.

Parents in Beverly Hills fired their nannies and learned their children’s names.

A truckload of Americans was caught sneaking into Mexico.

A picture is now only worth 200 words.

When Bill and Hillary travel together, they now have to share a room.

The Treasure Island casino in Las Vegas is now managed by Somali pirates.

And, finally…

I was so depressed last night thinking about the economy, wars, jobs, my savings, Social Security, retirement funds, etc., that I called the Suicide Hotline. I got a call center in Pakistan, and when I told them I was suicidal, they got all excited and asked if I could drive a truck.

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Farewell Salutes –

Melvin Askenase – FL; US Army, WWII & Korea

Clarence “Cubby” Bair – Troy, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO,17th & 82nd Airborne Division

Lester Cheary – Havana, AR; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, SSgt., 11th Airborne Division / US Navy, Korea, USS John Pierce

Homer Dunn – Woodrow, CO; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Thomas Falzarano – Colorado Springs, CO; US Army, Iraq, Pentagon, Air Force Academy grad, Colonel, 21st Space Wing Commander

Frank Manzi – New Haven, CT; USMC, WWII, CBI, canine handler

James Mincey – Burlington, NC; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Communications / Western Elec. engineer for antiaircraft & missile guidance radar

Ron Shurer – Fairbanks, AK; US Army, Afghanistan, SSgt., Special Operations Task Force, Medal of Honor

John C. Taylor – Warsaw, VA; US Army, Vietnam, MSgt., 82nd Airborne Division (Ret. 27 y.)

Fred Willard – Shaker Heights, OH; US Army, KY & VA Military Institutes alum / beloved actor

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Source: // Pacific Paratrooper

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