No need to get a dictionary! The above medieval-looking word simply means “a crossword person.” But Myles Mellor, a talented Lake View Terrace resident who designs “themed” crossword puzzles for a living, hates the word. “I’m just a puzzle maker,” he says modestly, in the faintly accented speech of a British expatriate.
And crossword puzzles he makes…LOTS of them! Mellor publishes about 50 puzzles per month in over 150 magazines, newspapers and websites. A look at a sample list of the magazines that carry his personalized puzzles shows how wide-ranging his work is: History Channel, Los Angeles Architect, Rotary International, Health and Wellness, Gambling Times, Entrepreneur, Computer World, Bride, Hispanic Outlook, Boyscouts.com and Movieactors.com. He even writes puzzles for Gulf News, an English-speaking newspaper in Dubai. “I’ve learned so many things in the last five years, I could be on Jeopardy!”
Mellor begins each puzzle with a blank grid (usually15 squares across and down, although he can make them larger or smaller, or even into shapes, like a diamond or the state of Texas!) Then, using the words he’s been given (or looking in back issues of the magazine or newspaper), he begins creating a puzzle, lettering squares or inking them out. “I like to use humor and word plays,” he says with a grin and quickly pencils an example on a napkin. He can make the puzzles easy or challenging, depending on the client’s needs, and can complete one in about three hours.
His favorite puzzle was one he created for a man in Canada who wanted to propose to his girlfriend. He gave Mellor precise clues for the puzzle, using past events, favorite songs etc. from their first date on. Then the fellow made a mock up of the Toronto National Post and slipped the puzzle inside as a “special insert.” The girlfriend was so delighted, that of course she accepted his proposal.
Mellor began writing crossword puzzles five years ago as a way to cheer up his father after his mother passed away. The first ones were hand-drawn and air-mailed to England. Soon his father, much improved, was critiquing his work, and when he suggested that his son make a profession out of it, Mellor listened. He eventually quit his regular job (an executive at a printer maintenance company in Glendale) to write puzzles full time. “I really love what I’m doing!” he says with a huge grin.
To learn more about Mellor’s unusual profession or to have a personal (or business-related) puzzle made for you, visit his website at – www.themecrosswords.com (Rates are set according to the scope and size of puzzles).
See also the article in the Orange County Register on 100th Year Anniversary of the crossword puzzle, and copies of the original puzzles. http://bit.ly/1gL6Nb4