That “Week” that has lasted for 90 years


It was 1932 when the Sardinian aristocrat engineer Giorgio Sisini, Count of Sant’Andrea, began a publication that still shows no signs of fatigue. Falling in love with the Austrian Idel Breitenfeld, who later became his wife, Sisini came across the periodical “Das Rätsel” and decided to “translate” it into the “Puzzle Week”, realizing the success it would have received: tomorrow the magazine will come out with a special issue for turning 90.

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The invention of the “crossword” was in 1913, when Liverpool journalist Arthur Wynne published his first outline on the pages of “Fun”, the Sunday supplement of “New York World”. The novelty reached Europe. If in France the game interested writers such as Tristan Bernard and Robert Scipion, in Italy it aroused the attention of Emilio Cecchi, Ferdinando Palazzi and Valentino Bompiani, to whom we owe the name “crossword”. In February 1925 “La Domenica del Corriere” presented a first example of “Crossword riddle” and, in Naples, “Il Mattino Illustrato” by Antonio Scarfoglio, son of the founder Edoardo, in number 48 of 1927, began to welcome “Words on the cross”.

The adventure began on 23 January 1932
A few years later, on January 23, 1932, the first issue of “The Week” came out with a cover that followed that of “Das Rätsel”, with the same image of the Mexican actress Lupe Vélez; the first of the characters who even today alternate there every week by rotating in the corners of the scheme, with the alternation of a male and a female face, and with the colors of the headboard (red, blue and green) in orderly succession.

It did not take long and the attempts to imitate the Italian weekly multiplied, first of its kind also for diffusion and quality, which only has to be forgiven for the indication of “crosswords” instead of the correct one for “crosswords”; and also the improper use of the adjective “enigmistic” due to the misunderstanding, now consolidated in Italy, for which the term no longer refers to the original meaning of “enigma”. The success of the new pastime aroused the reactions of the so-called “classic” riddles entrenched in their positions and an illustrious Neapolitan lawyer, Beniamino Foschini, composed the anagram “Crosswords? = Heaven for heaven’s sake, no! ”.