Don’t Mess with Texas

By: Kristina Ackermann

It’s no secret that Texans are proud of their heritage, but two brothers have taken that pride even further by mixing home-state pride with educational puzzles.

Charley and Guy Orbison started the Texas Crossword puzzle nearly 20 years ago by pitching the idea to every newspaper in the state. The puzzle is formed in the famous shape of Texas, an eye-catcher that encouraged 16 newspapers to subscribe in the first year. At the height of its popularity, the puzzle was syndicated in almost 100 papers, and even after the economic downturn it is going strong with 79 papers printing the puzzle — including the Hays Free Press.

In an interview with the Press, Charley said he and his brother started by buying dozens of books about Texas and building a database of information. “After the words go in the puzzle, the clue writing begins. Texas is so big and diverse, I really believe that if space were not an issue we could write a Texas clue for just about any word you could come up with,” Charley told reporter David White.

The brothers don’t rely on the crossword for their income — Charley is a former television
journalist who now works in the Criminal District Attorney’s office in Denton County, Texas, while Guy is a preacher in Durango, Colo. — rather, it’s all about fostering “the great traditions of the greatest state in the Union.” Can’t mess with that.

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Published: May 1, 2011

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