PHILADELPHIA, PA — What’s a nine-letter word for a significant event? Try MILESTONE.
Longtime crossword constructor Bernice Gordon is marking two big ones: She turned 100 on Saturday, and The New York Times will publish another one of her puzzles on Wednesday — making her the first centenarian to have a grid printed in the newspaper.
“They make my life,” Gordon said. “I couldn’t live without them.”
Gordon has created crosswords for decades for the Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer and others, including puzzle syndicates and brain-teaser books from Dell and Simon & Schuster. She still constructs a new grid every day.
Gordon is nearly as old as the crossword puzzle itself. The first “word-cross” appeared in the New York Sunday World on Dec. 21, 1913; it was diamond shaped and didn’t even separate clues into “Across” and “Down.”