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 the Oxford Dictionaries Online blog posts do not necessarily reflect the opinions or positions of OUP.
- Competitions and quizzes (26)
- Dictionaries and lexicography (116)
- English in use (304)
- Grammar and writing help (58)
- Interactive features (46)
- OED Appeals (4)
- Other languages (50)
- Varieties of English (28)
- Word origins (156)
- Word trends and new words (93)