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Pennsylvania letter carrier creates crossword puzzles

Jules Markey
Center City, PA, Letter Carrier Jules Markey. Photo: Philadelphia Inquirer

What’s a six-letter word for brainteaser? Center City, PA, Letter Carrier Jules Markey knows.

In his free time, Markey creates crossword puzzles — including eight published by The New York Times.

“You complete [a] puzzle and you say, ‘Hey, pretty good,’” Markey told the Philadelphia Inquirer last week.

Inspiration can come from anywhere, Markey said.

A pile of discarded doors inspired his first puzzle in the Times, published in 2013. Another puzzle had a postal theme.

When Markey served as a judge at a crossword puzzle tournament last year, he discovered that crossword constructors come from all backgrounds. He met a furniture retailer from Rochester, NY, and a University of Minnesota chemistry professor.

Markey enjoys sharing his hobby with his customers, who are equally enthusiastic.

“Especially in a big city like this, you wouldn’t expect that kind of personal touch,” retired librarian Brenda Gray told the Inquirer.

Another fan: Will Shortz, the Times’ famed crossword puzzle editor. “He definitely has a playful mind,” Shortz said.

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