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32 down: How Google celebrates 100 years of crosswords

Google commemorates a century of puzzle-fueled procrastination with a playable doodle of its own.

Google has transformed its home page into a playable doodle in honor of 100 years of crosswords. Screenshot by Eric Mack/CNET

For a century, the crossword puzzle has been giving brainy types a socially acceptable way to waste half a morning (and the entire day on Sundays in the case of The New York Times puzzle). Google is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the famous puzzle with a doodle that transforms its search page into a puzzle itself with a nod to the granddaddy of all daily word games and its inventor, British-born Arthur Wynne.

Wynne created the first puzzle in 1913 for the New York World, which he initially called a word-cross puzzle. Within weeks the name was changed to crossword, and the rest is history.

Google's tribute puzzle hides the first word (across) of the first crossword ever a dozen times in different arrangements within its boxes.

The doodle team brought in professional crossword constructor Merl Reagle to create a puzzle that would have broad appeal, according to a report by Slate, which spoke with the doodlers about the project.

For the most part, it's mission accomplished, with some very wide-ranging (and surprisingly old-timey) clues and only one self-referential Google hint. Oh, and the clue that reads "Amazon shocker" has nothing to do with that Amazon or drone delivery. Happy puzzling!