Publication Date: March 16, 2021
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A delightful, erudite, and immersive exploration of the crossword puzzle and its fascinating history
Almost as soon as it appeared, the crossword puzzle had already become indispensable to our lives. Invented practically by accident in 1913 when a newspaper editor at the New York World was casting around for something to fill empty column space, it became a roaring commercial success practically overnight. Ever since then, the humble puzzle has been an essential ingredient of any newspaper worth its salt. The puzzle’s daily devotees include everyone from subway riders looking to pass the time to cultural icons such as Martha Stewart, Bill Clinton, and Yo-Yo Ma. Today its popularity is greater than ever, even as the media world has undergone a perilous digital transformation. But why, exactly, are the crossword’s satisfactions so sweet that it is a fixture of breakfast tables, nightstands, and commutes, and has even given rise to competitive crossword tournaments? There are mysteries beyond the clues.
Blending first-person reporting from the world of crosswords with a delightful telling of its rich literary history, Raphel dives into the secrets of this classic pastime. Thinking Inside the Box is an ingenious love letter not just to the abiding power of the crossword but to the infinite joys and playful possibilities of language itself. This book is a treat for diehard cruciverbalists and first-time solvers alike.
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