Almost as soon as it appeared, the crossword puzzle had already become indispensable to our lives. Invented practically by accident in 1913, when a newspaper editor was casting around for something to fill empty column space, it became a roaring commercial success practically overnight. Ever since then, the humble puzzle has been an essential ingredient of any newspaper worth its salt. Blending first-person reporting from the world of crosswords with a delightful telling of its rich literary history, Adrienne Raphel dives into the secrets of this classic pastime. At the annual American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, she rubs shoulders with elite solvers of the world; aboard a crossword-themed cruise, she picks the brains of the enthusiasts whose idea of a good time is a week on the high seas with nothing but crosswords to do; and, visiting the home and office of Will Shortz, New York Times crossword editor and NPR’s official “Puzzlemaster,” she goes behind the scenes to see for herself how America’s gold standard of puzzles is made. As ingenious as it is fun, THINKING INSIDE THE BOX (Penguin Press) is a love letter not just to the abiding power of the crossword, but to the infinite joys and playful possibilities of language itself. Raphel will be joined in conversation by Bianca Bosker, author of Cork Dork.