Sadly, news came in just after we had just completed the latest edition of Life Elsewhere, that celebrated crossword constructor Merl Reagle had died. Resplendent with a crossword puzzle decorated tie, Merl joined our program on a couple of occasions. Merl Reagle was a quick-witted, charming, erudite man and one of our most popular guests. Always accompanied by his wonderful wife, Marie Haley, together they made impressive team, able to syndicate and make a full-time living from constructing crossword puzzles.
In 2006, he was featured in a documentary, Wordplay, that focused on the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, for which he was a judge and commentator. After the documentary came out, James L. Brooks, the main producer on The Simpsons, saw it and liked it enough to create an episode of the cartoon featuring Merl.
Merl Reagle was hospitalized, this past Thursday with acute pancreatitis. He died Saturday morning in a Tampa hospital. He was 65. It was our honor to have been able to spend time with Merl and his wife. Our sincerest condolences to Marie Haley and Merl‘s family.