New York Times marks 75th anniversary of its crossword

In 1942, the paper became the last major US paper to introduce the popular puzzle

New York Times marks 75th anniversary of its crossword

Image: Richard Drew / AP/Press Association Images

The New York Times is celebrating the 75th anniversary of its crossword puzzle today.

The US newspaper first debuted its version of the iconic puzzle on February 15th 1942.

According to the Times, the decision to launch a crossword was made in the aftermath of the Pearl Harbour attack, "responding to an audience in need of relaxation".

The paper confesses it was the "last major metropolitan daily newspaper in the [US] to offer a crossword puzzle".

The decision came despite an editorial in the paper having previously described crosswords - popular for several decades before the Times started printing the puzzles - as a "sinful waste" of time and “a primitive sort of mental exercise”.

As well as its more traditional daily crossword, the paper also features a 'mini' variation featuring a 5x5 grid and ten clues.

To celebrate the anniversary, the Times will feature a series of special crosswords from well-known figures such as astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.

A selection of archive crosswords are also available on the paper's website.

The paper's executive editor Dean Baquet said: “Through the years, the Crossword has remained one of the most loved sections of The Times newspaper, particularly on Sunday, and it’s also attracted a robust following on mobile."