Pushing 80 years old, The New York Times daily crossword in particular is an American institution. Strangely enough, The New York Times was the last major metropolitan daily newspaper in the country to start a crossword. Simon and Schuster published the first crossword puzzle book that year, and most American newspapers started a crossword between 1924 and 1926. AdvertisementAdvertisementFirst Editor Was a Woman, Margaret Farrar"The probably apocryphal story is that Sulzberger was tired of buying the competing New York Herald Tribune to get their crossword," says current New York Times crossword editor Will Shortz. Farrar was The Times crossword editor for 27 years, from 1942 to 1969, and the puzzle evolved a bit over that time.