CROSSWORLD: One Man's Journey into America's Crossword Obsession

Marc Romano, Author . Broadway $24.95 (238p) ISBN 978-0-7679-1757-5

With wit and verve, puzzle devotee Romano offers a bird's-eye view of the arena of crossword addicts, combining basic information with engaging anecdotes about those who populate this intense, competitive corner of the universe. Today it's the New York Times puzzle that poses the ultimate challenge (or frustration) for many. But, Romano relates, the first crossword appeared in the New York World in 1913, sparking a craze that swept across the nation during the 1920s. The author provides a detailed history of this American sensation (as well as a comparison with the British counterpart, cryptics). Once a year, Will Shortz, the New York Times 's crossword editor, responsible for elevating the difficulty of the papers' puzzles, hosts the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament in Stamford, Conn. Romano competed there and provides a consistently entertaining account of several extremely skillful and quirky puzzle solvers; he interviews Shortz and Brendan Emmett Quigley, an outstanding puzzle constructor against whom the author pitted his skill. Clearly infatuated with his hobby, Romano claims, not entirely tongue-in-cheek, that solving crosswords can help make you into a "better, more informed, fairer, and more tolerant person." Agent, Jim Auth at the Wylie Agency. (On sale June 1)

Reviewed on: 03/28/2005
Release date: 06/01/2005
Genre: Nonfiction
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 130 pages - 978-0-7679-2160-2
Paperback - 258 pages - 978-0-7679-1758-2
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