Happy Birthday Crossword Puzzle

On this date in 1913, Arthur Wynne’s Word-Cross Puzzle (the first crossword puzzle) was published in the Fun section of the Sunday edition of the New York World newspaper. A few weeks after the first puzzle was published, the name of the puzzle was changed to Cross-Word as a result of a typesetting error and the name stuck.

Wynne was born in Liverpool, England in 1871. He emigrated to the United States in 1991 settling first in Pittsburgh where he worked for the Pittsburgh Press and played violin in the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. He later moved to New York and became a naturalized US citizen. He died in Florida at the age of 84.

Crossword designers and aficionados are known as cruciverbalists and some famous ones include Jon Stewart, The Indigo Girls, and Bill Clinton who can knock out the Sunday Times Crossword Puzzle in under 20 minutes. (Although avid cruciverbalists know that the puzzles get harder throughout the week and that the Saturday crossword is the hardest of the week Sundays are almost twice as big but comparable in difficulty to a Wednesday or Thursday).

Popular garlic crossword clues are garlic segment (clove) and garlic mayonnaise (aioli). See if you can find them in my special garlic-themed crossword shown above.

Here’s a recipe for Sauce Aïoli from my mother’s 1961 edition of Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Its’ a First Edition, Second Printing which is a shame because a First Edition, First Printing is for sale on eBay for over $1,400.

On an earlier post, I included a blender version of aioli. This is a traditional version using a mortal and pestle and milk-soaked bread. Child writes that “You cannot make it successfully in an electric blender because for some unfortunately reason the garlic acquires a raw and bitter taste and the egg white required for blender-made sauce does not produce the fine, heavy texture that is characteristic of a proper Mediterranean aïoli.

Sauce Aïoli
1 slice stale white bread
3 T. milk or wine vinegar

4-8 cloves mashed garlic
1 egg yolk

1/4 t. salt

1 1/2 c. olive oil

3-4 T. boiling water or fish stock

2-3 T. lemon juice

For about 2 cups

Remove crusts and break the bread into a small bowl. Stir in the milk or vinegar and let the bread soak for 5 to 10 minutes into a soft pulp. Twist the bread into a ball in the corner of a towel to extract the liquid.

Place the bread and garlic in a bowl and pound with the pestle for at least 5 minutes to mash the garlic bread into a very, very smooth paste.

Pound in the egg yolk and salt until the mixture is thick and sticky. Then, drop by drop, pound and blend in the olive oil. When the sauce has thickened into a heavy cream, you may switch from the pestle to a wire whisk and add the oil a little bit faster. Thin out the sauce as necessary with drops of water or stock and lemon juice. Sauce should remain quite heavy, so it holds its shape in a spoon. Correct seasoning.

Aïoli is for boiled fish, especially cod, bourride (Provencal fish soup), snails, boiled potatoes, green beans, and hard-boiled eggs.

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