The Riddles of the Sphinx

Inheriting the Feminist History of the Crossword Puzzle

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Pub Date 05 Mar 2024 | Archive Date 30 Apr 2024

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Description

Combining the soul-baring confessional of Brain on Fire and the addictive storytelling of The Queen’s Gambit, a renowned puzzle creator’s compulsively readable memoir and history of the crossword puzzle as an unexpected site of women’s work and feminist protest.

The indisputable “queen of crosswords,” Anna Shechtman published her first New York Times puzzle at age nineteen, and later, spearheaded the The New Yorker’s popular crossword section. Working with a medium often criticized as exclusionary, elitist, and out-of-touch, Anna is one of very few women in the field of puzzle making, where she strives to make the everyday diversion more diverse.

In this fascinating work—part memoir, part cultural analysis—she excavates the hidden history of the crossword and the overlooked women who have been central to its creation and evolution, from the “Crossword Craze” of the 1920s to the role of digital technology today. As she tells the story of her own experience in the CrossWorld, she analyzes the roles assigned to women in American culture, the boxes they’ve been allowed to fill, and the ways that they’ve used puzzles to negotiate the constraints and play of desire under patriarchy.

The result is an unforgettable and engrossing work of art, a loving and revealing homage to one of our most treasured, entertaining, and ultimately political pastimes.

Combining the soul-baring confessional of Brain on Fire and the addictive storytelling of The Queen’s Gambit, a renowned puzzle creator’s compulsively readable memoir and history of the crossword...


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EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9780063275478
PRICE $29.99 (USD)
PAGES 288

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