Today in History
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  We know of 4 events of note in literature and the arts that occurred on December 21:
  • On this day in 1913, the first crossword puzzle appeared in the New York Times. It was called a word-cross. The given word was F-U-N.
  • Scott Fitzgerald died of a heart attack on this day in 1940. He was staying at the apartment of his mistress Sheila Graham. He had suffered a fainting spell the night before when they attended a movie premiere. He died immediately. He had been doing some reading on the Princeton football team and eating a Hershey bar when he stood up and collapsed. The train that took his body East for burial also carried the bodies of the novelist Nathaniel West and his wife, who died the next day in an automobile accident. Dorothy Parker came to the Hollywood funeral home and quoted over Fitzgerald's prematurely old body the line that Owl-Eyes said over the body of Gatsby: "The poor son of a bitch."
  • The medieval Italian writer Boccaccio was born on this day in 1375. His Decameron was probably the source of inspiration for Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. Some scholars think that Chaucer may have met him on a trade mission to northern Italy. "The Clerk's Tale" of patient Griselda is drawn from Boccaccio.
  • William Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy moved into a stone house in Grasmere called Dove Cottage on this day in 1799.