Tampa man creates crossword puzzles for over 40 papers

TAMPA, Fla. - Tampa resident Merl Reagle sees the world in words.  Reagle has been constructing crossword puzzles since he was six year old. 

“I thought I invented them when I was six years old,” said Reagle.  "I was a big fan of tinker toys and Lincoln Logs and then when I found out what words were I just did the exact same thing. I just built structures out of them.”

Reagle now constructs crossword puzzles for over 40 newspapers throughout the country, including the Washington Post.  He starts with a blank chart and then fills in 1/6th of the chart with black boxes.  Then, the words are next followed by the clues.  Most of his puzzles have themes, often humors.

“I will find these little factoids and put them in puzzles so you actually learn something of an interesting nature,” said Reagle.

Reagle was featured in the 2006 documentary “Wordplay” which featured the crossword culture.  He’s also been on Oprah and the Simpsons. 

This year is the 100th anniversary of the crossword puzzle.  If you would like to play Merl’s “The List” crossword click here.

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