Myles Mellor, one of the top crossword writers in the world. He has published in over 600 magazines, newspapers and web outlets with over 10,000 crosswords in publications worldwide.
April 19, 2014
By Andrea Nierenberg
Per Myles Mellor website:
Myles Mellor supplies theme crosswords, diamond crosswords, syndicated puzzles, cryptograms, diagramless crosswords, word search, anagrams, Sunday crosswords and word games. Published on mobile devices and e-readers.
What was a strong influence in your life that started you on your path?
My Dad. 12 years ago he was devastated by the loss of my mother. They had been together 50 years. He was in England. I was here in the States. I thought about what I could do to make life happier for him. I knew he loved crosswords as when I was a kid he would teach me how to solve them. So I started writing very amateurish puzzles on pieces of paper and sending them to him. For some reason each puzzle I wrote had a theme. I guess that was something that just interested me. My Dad loved the puzzles! He would write back and ask for more. After I had written 4 of them, with only one spelling mistake (which my Dad enjoyed pointing out to me) he was much happier. Then he said I should try to publish them as he said they were “pretty good”. That’s how I got started.
How did you first become involved with the world you are in and writing crossword puzzles and what was your motivation?
I think the last paragraph describes this. It all came from wanting to help my Dad in a time of trouble.
What has been the biggest breakthrough and given you the most joy with the what you have accomplished and built with your work?
Probably the lucky break I had was early on. I had been writing puzzles on pieces of paper and I sent them out to syndicates, magazines, newspapers and anyone I thought I might want to use them. I got a lot of polite rejections over many months. One day I was walking to my $9 per hour job in a real estate office and on a whim, bought a copy of the Orange County Register. I immediately went to the puzzle page. There were several puzzles there. and underneath one was an e-mail address. I thought- “This guy is getting his puzzles published. Perhaps he could give me some tips.” His name was David Hoyt. I wrote to him and amazingly enough he responded and we had a series of phone calls where he gave me advice. The calls were every 3 months or so and I followed what he said. After a year, with his help, I broke through and started to get puzzles published! I figured out how to make them more professionally and adapt them to clients’ needs. I changed my “day job” to a position in an internet marketing company and learnt a lot about that and how powerful a tool it was to expand a business. That was while I continued puzzle creation as a hobby- eventually it became my career. I have since been to David Hoyt’s wedding and he has become a lifelong friend! He is also at the top of his game as a puzzle inventor and games creator.
If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your younger self?
Never give up. Life can throw you some tough breaks. You make your own future. Believe in yourself and don’t listen to naysayers.
What are your hobbies-what do you do in your “free time” ?
Chess, bridge, travel, gardening, real estate.
Since you are both accomplished and respected in your profession and life, would you do anything else if given the opportunity and what would be your why?
I am writing a novel. I wrote 30,000 words and then got stuck. My muse will come back soon. It’s going to be a 7-book series and I am very excited about it. The first book is set in Egypt. It’s fiction but I do have something to say. It’s a different look on life and death. I think it will be successful when I can finally get to it and finish it.
What are some questions that you would want asked of you and what would be the answer?
Is there anything you want to share personally with others that you are proud of?
I am 62 and have found the love of my life. She is Debby, a lovely lady who is very creative and paints and takes photographs. She also works like crazy in her own business and she is the best cook in Los Angeles. Fortunately not many people know about that yet so I get to enjoy the food! We travel around the world and love Starwood hotels and Hawaii. This year we are touring Maine and heading up to Prince Edward Island for a Canadian newspaper conference I am sponsoring.
What advice would you give to someone who wanted to be You in their lifetime?
Don’t try to be me. Be yourself. Everyone has their own goals. If you can work out what you like to do and then make a career out of that, you are very, very lucky. Aside from that, I try to be friendly and professional in everything I do. If I meet any hostility in life, I will just walk away from it and instead enjoy the friendship of people who love their lives and want to make others happy to. Try to keep your promises.
What are some things that you wished you knew before you learned through the school of hard knocks- if there are any?
If you see a large boulder rolling down a hill toward you, don’t fight it! Look for an escape route and run quickly! On the other hand, if you see an opportunity take advantage of it!
What have I not asked you that you would like to share with our readers?
I didn’t really answer your question about what I love about my job. I have helped three people get married by including proposals in personalized crossword puzzles. I have brought joy to 65 year olds on their birthdays by creating puzzles about their families and lives (with the help of relatives), I have written a family Christmas crossword for one of the top fortune 500 CEOs which went out with his Christmas cards. I have created a huge puzzle with 682 clues for MasterCard as part of one of their ad campaigns which was based on the theme of Canadian vacations. The puzzle was published all across Canada and I’m sure millions got to enjoy solving it! I have created intricate puzzles for conferences and conventions which covered many different fields and industries. While doing my job I get to research all kinds of different activities and countries and their customs. I write puzzles with health themes to encourage people to live healthier lives as they get older! I work with a tech guru called Bob Williams. One time we made a puzzle with 24 sudokus all linked together. That was fun!!! Every day I have a new challenge and it’s a new day!
I can be reached through my websites
I am always happy to hear from people.