**BONUS** Merl Reagle’s Google Doodle Centennial Crossword Puzzle! (12/21/13)

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December 21, 2013 by manvspuzzle

Theme: FUN.  As explained by 1-Across: “First word across in the first ever crossword (1913) and the first of a dozen appearances of the word in this puzzle’s grid, written word-search style (left, right, down, and diagonally) … Can you find all 12?

Theme Entries: Check the grid and see for yourself!  Google isn’t releasing a solution as far as I know.  Did I make any mistakes? Seriously, I might have.

© Google and/or Merl Reagle, probably

© Google and/or Merl Reagle, probably

***

I really loved this.

And it’s not just because it’s a good puzzle, which it is.  It’s by far not the best puzzle I’ve ever solved, but the theme is cool and pretty well done, it’s a nice nod to Arthur Wynne’s original 1913 Word-Cross, and it’s, uh, FUN.

What *really* made this enjoyable, in my opinion, was that I knew I was sharing the experience with thousands and thousands of people around the U.S. (maybe other countries, too?  I have no idea). I believe that’s really worth something — and that sharing aspect can often make up for a bland/clunky theme, crappy fill, etc.  This is a feeling that you typically can only get with puzzles in a major publication, and most especially (again, in my opinion) the New York Times (yeah, you can “share” independent puzzles, but typically with a very small, specific demographic).  But I definitely got it today, too.  Google’s a pretty big deal, I guess.

I dunno.  I just finished this puzzle feeling very positive about the state of this craft.  The “bringing people together” aspect of it all is *so* important.  100 years later and that’s still happening, in ways never imagined by people like Mr. Wynne.

It’s been easy for some people over the last 5-10 years to focus heavily on a few very narrow aspects of puzzling, and then get real bitchy when those aspects aren’t “adequately” executed on a given day — often to the point of meanness.  When I think about that, and then think about the extreme variety of people that this puzzle reached, people who have different abilities, different knowledge-bases, different concepts of what a puzzle can be and so on, my heart is warmed and my faith in humanity is restored.

That’s pretty good for a Google Doodle.  Thanks, Merl.

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