There's a picture of me and Merl Reagle that's so old you can still see some red in my beard — and some white in his. Fans of the documentary film Wordplay know that Merl and I do play-by-play of the finals of the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament every year. Well, most years. I missed it in Brooklyn a few weeks ago.... But even more important, they watch him construct the crossword puzzle that's eventually published in The New York Times, and solved — on film — by Bill Clinton, Mike Mussina, The Indigo Girls, and Jon Stewart, among others.
Fans of Weekend Edition Sunday, know him as, "Our old pal, Merl Reagle," a regular supplier of the on-air puzzles that Liane Hansen and Will Shortz play every week with a listener.
Starting Sunday, Merl's sunday crossword will appear in The Washington Post and, thanks to the miracle of syndication, in many others newspapers around the country. He joins us to talk about the strange business of crosswords, how they're made, and he'll bring along a Talk of the Nation puzzle to play with callers. Live.