It didn't take long, however, for it to be re-born as the CROSSWORD and the recreation of fitting letters into a maze of vertical and horizontal boxes rapidly became a national and international craze.
Today the crossword is as popular as ever: from simple children's puzzles with picture clues to the cryptically constructed brainteasers in The Times and other top newspapers.
Back in 1997 (under the anagrammatic name 'Basil Birney'), I compiled Many a Cross Word, a lighthearted history of the Crossword puzzle for BBC Radio 4, presented by the late John Wells (or 'Len H Jowles').
It is, I think, still quite informative and, possibly, even mildly amusing!
MANY A CROSS WORD!