Today is Saturday, Dec. 21, the 355th day of 2013. There are 10 days left in the year. Winter arrives at 9:11 p.m.
On Dec. 21, 1913, what’s regarded as the first newspaper crossword puzzle was published in the New York World. Created by journalist Arthur Wynne, it was billed as a “Word-Cross Puzzle.”
On this date:
In 1620, Pilgrims aboard the Mayflower went ashore for the first time at present-day Plymouth, Mass.
In 1861, President Abraham Lincoln signed a congressional act authorizing the Navy Medal of Honor.
In 1879, the Henrik Ibsen play “A Doll’s House” premiered at the Royal Theater in Copenhagen.
In 1910, 344 coal miners were killed in Britain’s Pretoria Pit Disaster.
In 1937, Walt Disney’s first feature-length animated cartoon, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” had its world premiere in Los Angeles.
In 1942, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Williams v. North Carolina, ruled 6-2 that all states had to recognize divorces granted in Nevada.
In 1945, Gen. George S. Patton died in Heidelberg, Germany, of injuries from a car accident.
In 1958, Charles de Gaulle was elected to a seven-year term as the first president of the Fifth Republic of France.
In 1968, Apollo 8 was launched on a mission to orbit the moon.
In 1971, the U.N. Security Council chose Kurt Waldheim to succeed U Thant as Secretary-General.
In 1976, the Liberian-registered tanker Argo Merchant broke apart near Nantucket Island, off Massachusetts, almost a week after running aground, spilling 7.5 million gallons of oil into the North Atlantic.
In 1988, 270 people were killed when a terrorist bomb exploded aboard a Pam Am Boeing 747 over Lockerbie, Scotland, sending wreckage crashing to the ground.
Ten years ago: The government raised the national threat level to orange, indicating a high risk of terrorist attack (it was lowered back to yellow on Jan. 9, 2004). More than 150 people were killed in mudslides in the Philippines. Soviet diplomat Oleg Troyanovsky died at age 84.
Five years ago: A multi-faith ceremony was held to mark the reopening of Mumbai, India’s Oberoi hotel three weeks after it was targeted in a militant rampage. Detroit became the first 0-15 team when it was routed 42-7 by the New Orleans Saints. Playwright Dale Wasserman, who’d written the book for the Tony-winning musical “Man of La Mancha,” died in Paradise Valley, Ariz., at age 94.
One year ago: The National Rifle Association said guns and police officers in all American schools were needed to stop the next killer “waiting in the wings,” taking a no-retreat stance in the face of growing calls for gun control after the Newtown, Conn., shootings that claimed the lives of 26 children and school staff. President Barack Obama nominated Sen. John Kerry as his next secretary of state. Gymnast Gabby Douglas, the teenager who became the first African-American to win an all-around Olympic title, won the AP’s Female Athlete of the Year.
Today’s birthdays: Country singer Freddie Hart is 87. Actor Ed Nelson is 85. Talk show host Phil Donahue is 78. Movie director John Avildsen is 78. Actress Jane Fonda is 76. Actor Larry Bryggman is 75. Singer Carla Thomas is 71. Musician Albert Lee is 70. Conductor Michael Tilson Thomas is 69. Actor Josh Mostel is 67. Actor Samuel L. Jackson is 65. Movie producer Jeffrey Katzenberg is 63. Singer Betty Wright is 60. International Tennis Hall-of-Famer Chris Evert is 59. Actress Jane Kaczmarek is 58. Country singer Lee Roy Parnell is 57. Entertainer Jim Rose is 57. Actor-comedian Ray Romano is 56. Country singer Christy Forester (The Forester Sisters) is 51. Rock musician Murph (The Lemonheads; Dinosaur Jr.) is 49. Actor-comedian Andy Dick is 48. Rock musician Gabrielle Glaser is 48. Actress Michelle Hurd is 47. Actor Kiefer Sutherland is 47. Actress Karri Turner is 47. Actress Khrystyne Haje is 45. Country singer Brad Warren (The Warren Brothers) is 45. Actress Julie Delpy is 44. Country singer-musician Rhean Boyer (Carolina Rain) is 43. Contemporary Christian singer Natalie Grant is 42. Actor Glenn Fitzgerald is 42. Singer-musician Brett Scallions is 42. Rock singer Lukas Rossi (Rock Star Supernova) is 37. Rock musician Anna Bulbrook (Airborne Toxic Event) is 31. Country singer Luke Stricklin is 31. Actor Steven Yeun is 30.
Thought for today: “The time will come when Winter will ask us: ‘What were you doing all the Summer?’” — Bohemian proverb.