As pastimes go, crossword puzzles enjoy a pretty virtuous reputation. Why scroll grids on Instagram when you can tackle a real one with a freshly sharpened pencil? Like so many new forms of entertainment, however, when the crossword debuted it was regarded with suspicion. First published in 1913, the “Word-Cross Puzzle” was the invention of Arthur Wynne, a British expat editor at Joseph Pulitzer’s broadsheet New York World. His was more literal than cryptic. “What this puzzle is, ” one of Wynne’s first clues read: “HARD.” This story is from Kinfolk Issue Forty Buy Now Related Stories Arts & Culture Issue 39 Shelf Life The rise and rise of design objects. Arts & Culture Issue 37 Object Matters A potted history of the bonsai tree. Arts & Culture Issue 36 Object Matters A fluff-free history of the pillow. Arts & Culture Issue 49 Karin Mamma Andersson Inside the moody, mysterious world of Sweden’s preeminent painter. Arts & Culture Issue 49 Jenny Odell The acclaimed author in search of lost time. Arts & Culture Issue 49 Amalie Smith The Danish arts writer finding clarity between the lines.