Yale, victorious in almost every field of sport during 1924, opened the New Year with a triumph over the University in the first intercollegiate crossword puzzle contest ever held. Before a large and enthusiastic audience, teams from eight colleges and universities engaged in this bitter struggle for the cross-word championship of the world, which was staged in the ballroom of the Hotel Roosevelt of New York on Sunday evening.
The contest was divided into two divisions, one for the men's colleges, Harvard, Yale, Princeton and City College of New York, and the other for the women's, Wellesley, Smith, Vassar and Bryn Mawr.
In the men's division a close contest quickly developed between Harvard's representatives, Robert E. Sherwood and Heywood Broun, authors and critics, and Yale's stalwarts, Stephen Vincent Benet, famous author, and John Thomas, Armed with chalk, each contestant faced a blackboard, waving a paper of definitions in one hand and writing vigorously with the other. For a time it was anybody's match but Benet and Thomas spurted toward the end and won by several words in record breaking time.
The four women's colleges were very evenly matched in their contest, but the Wellesley representatives managed to defeat their opponents after a heart-breaking struggle which brought the spectators to their feet. The wife of Robert Benchley '12, who was a member of the Bryn Mawr team, distinguished herself especially, even in defeat.
After the preliminary matches, Wellesley and Yale faced each other in the finals, for the championship. Both teams, having already tasted the fruits of cross-word victory, altogether outdid themselves in this contest. Apparently they finished in a dead heat, but the sharp-eyed judges discovered that Wellesley had made a mistake in the last syllable of the last words, so Yale was conceded the victory.