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Birds losing direction followed by weapon (9)


Never mind all those fancy games devised to get your brain working if you want to keep mentally sharp and alert, and at the same time increase your vocabulary, it’s difficult to beat a good crossword. Whether you prefer concise, cryptic, or general knowledge versions, once you start completing a crossword, it can be nigh on impossible to concentrate on anything else until all those little white squares are filled in (even if you have to succumb to a quick peek in the dictionary or a sneaky web search).

According to the ODNB, the concept of a crossword was first devised by Arthur Wynne in December 1913 as a way of quickly filling a space in the New York World before a tight printing deadline. Although Wynne dubbed his original creation a ‘word-cross’, just a year later these two little words had been reversed and Wynne’s puzzle had already become a weekly occurrence in the paper, by the looks of its first cited entry in the OED:

Solution to last week’s cross-word puzzle.

If you’re a fan of crosswords, or want a fun, although oft frustrating, way to learn new words and keep your brain ticking over, make sure you regularly check our crossword page where we’ll have a brand new crossword puzzle every week, featuring both concise and cryptic puzzles.

And don’t forget, if you get really stuck on a particularly tricky clue, you could always use our handy crossword solver (I promise I won’t tell).

To whet your appetite, I’ll leave you with my favourite crossword clue …

Struggling postman. ‘How many letters?’, I hear you ask … Too many!

The opinions and other information contained in OxfordWords blog posts and comments do not necessarily reflect the opinions or positions of Oxford University Press.