Weatherford Democrat


November 26, 2007

The original puzzle master

Gary Clothier, Syndicated Columnist

Q: I know the first crossword puzzle appeared in 1913 in the New York World. Who created the puzzle?

— M.P.O., Daytona Beach, Fla.

A: Arthur Wynne (1871-1945) produced the first crossword puzzle. Born in Liverpool, England, Wynne worked as an editor in his home country before coming to the United States. Employed by the New York World, he was asked to come up with a new game, which he called a Word-Cross Puzzle. Wynne published the first crossword-puzzle book in 1924.

Q: Christmas is coming, and there is a gift I would love to get my husband — the motorcycle jacket worn by Marlon Brando in the 1953 movie “The Wild One.” Is it available?

— T.D., Worcester, Mass.

A: Brando wore a Schott NYC Perfecto 618, with epaulet stars added. The jacket is still available. If you have access to a computer, conduct a search. The price varies considerably depending on the materials, but you should expect to spend about $500.

Q: Someone once described a weed as “A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.” Who said it?

— M.N., Trenton, N.J.

A: American poet Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882).

Q: Where is Peak XV?

— L.M., Ann Arbor, Mich.

A: In 1848, Peak b was renamed Peak XV. Then, in 1865, Peak XV was renamed Mount Everest to honor Sir George Everest, the surveyor general of India. By the way: In Tibet, Everest is known as Chomolungma, while the mountain is called Sagarmatha in Nepal.

Q: On the long-running TV Western “Gunsmoke,” how many actors remained throughout the entire series?

— K.I., Anniston, Ala.

A: Only two: James Arness, as Marshall Matt Dillon, and Milburn Stone in the role of Doc Adams, although Stone was briefly sidelined in 1971 owing to a heart attack.

Q: When was a laugh track, sometimes called canned laughter, first used on television?

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