September 10, 2007 marked the national debut of legend Merv Griffin’s final creation before his passing, Merv Griffin’s Crosswords. Not too much was known about this show when it was first being sold into first-run syndication, except that it had gone through a couple of title changes, originally being called Let’s Play Crosswords, and then, Let’s Do Crosswords.
The game play is very engaging and easy to understand. One thing I really love about the writing of this show is that the clues for the answers aren’t that difficult. This can be a thought-provoking game without being too difficult, unlike on GSN’s Camouflage, in which I feel like an idiot when most of the answers are finally revealed. It’s a bit unfair during the Spoiler round of the game, though. I mean, I’d be a bit upset if I spent most of the game working hard and gaining money amounts in the four-figure range along with a couple trips only to have someone who’s done little to nothing take that position away and all I'd get is a Croton watch. I think the Spoilers should have to do a bit more. The payouts for the show are a bit low, but, hey, this could change overtime.
The host of the show is Ty Treadway, formerly of SOAPnet’s Soap Talk and ABC's long running daytime serial One Life to Live. There were worries on message boards that he probably wouldn’t do well as an emcee, but I honestly had faith in him from the beginning. On Crosswords, he’s really good at having control of the game, he cares about the contestants, and he shows emotion without going over the top. Ty in my honest and humble opinion is a perfect example of how a newbie game show host in a post-2000 world can show to have promise in what he‘s doing.
On minor notes, I am also very impressed with the set. It looks modern without being too modern. GSN’s Chain Reaction could really learn a lesson from them about set development. And hearing a more updated version of the “Buzzword” car cue from late 1980’s and early 1990’s Wheel of Fortune as the theme was a very nice surprise. I was honestly expecting some piece of garbage that sounded like it was thrown together in about five minutes that repeats itself every four to seven notes (Lingo‘s 2002 theme, I‘m talking to YOU). I’m glad to say this did not happen.
I was for the most part impressed with this show. Like I mentioned above, I think the spoilers should do a bit more and overtime the payouts can go up a bit. Hopefully this will happen when the show becomes a true success. All in all, I found it to be a really good half-hour of game show fun. Merv truly had a creative mind and it certainly shows here. I truly recommend any fan of Crossword puzzles or word games to give it a shot.