Merl Reagle constructed his first crossword puzzle at age six and sold his first puzzle to The New York Times when he was just 16. He started making the Sunday crossword for the San Francisco Examiner in 1985 (he's now in the Chronicle), and since the mid-1990's his self-syndicated puzzle has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Seattle Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer and many others.
"Crossword-solving is supposed to be good exercise, like a ThighMaster for your mind," says Reagle. "But like any exercise, I think it should be as fun as possible. I've always had sort of a bent but G-rated sense of humor - hence the guarantee in all of my crossword puzzle books, 'Twisted but Fair.'"
Reagle has been featured on "Oprah," ABC's "Nightline" with Ted Koppel and NPR's "Talk of the Nation," and he co-starred in the hit documentary "Wordplay." He passed away in August 2015 in Tampa, Fla. His wife and partner, Marie, still maintains their puzzle book publishing company.