Monthly Archives: August 2015

Archive of posts published in the specified Month

Written on Aug, 22, 2015 by in | 6 Comments.

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Devil Cross 60 Merl Reagle

It feels very strange to be posting a new puzzle right now. I got to celebrate two of my good friends’ happiness and new life together at their wedding last night. And this morning, just as I was getting ready to post this puzzle, I awoke to the sad news that Merl Reagle suddenly passed away. I hope that his family can accept my sincere condolences for their loss. I didn’t know him well personally; I’d only introduced myself to him for the first time last March at the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament. But he seemed to be a very warm person, and I knew he had an incredibly colorful imagination that always shone through in his puzzles. He was a master of the “story” type of crossword theme, where the longest entries would be part of a long-form joke that he’d tell using fill-in-the-blank punny phrases. His fairly recent meta puzzle “Book Notes” was remarkably clever; you can read a review of it here.

So following a last-minute editorial change, I gave Merl a nod in one of my clues — it’s a small way to pay tribute to his life’s work.

Rest in peace, Merl. Enjoy the puzzle.

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Written on Aug, 15, 2015 by in | 6 Comments.

NOTE: Today’s puzzle contains visual elements that cannot be reproduced in electronic format. I’d recommend printing out the PDF to get that visual aspect, though you can still fully solve the puzzle as a PUZ…..and actually, the puzzle will probably be more challenging in PUZ format. I dunno. Your call.

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First: see note above. Also, one of those visual elements appears in the clue for 30-Across, though it’s not thematic. I discovered that photo and…..well, I just had to drop it in somehow. If you’re solving the PUZ, you can either copy the URL for that clue in a separate browser, or just fill in the answer from crosses. It’ll probably be an auto-fill for experienced solvers, regardless.

Second: huge, massive thanks to Brian Cimmet and Patrick Blindauer for putting on yet another fun show in New York City last weekend at Lollapuzzoola 8. The puzzles were all fiendishly clever, with some really pushing the boundaries for tournament-style crosswords. I came in 38th place (out of 200+, though some were team solvers) and, for the second tournament in a row in which I was a competitor, I finished with no mistakes!….. Well, no mistakes that counted in my ranking, anyway. The tougher version of the final puzzle was an absolute monster that kicked every part of my ass. It was clever, no doubt, but…, did it drive me crazy.

Still, the real reason to go to these things is to chill with other puzzle people, both old friends and new. Here are Sara Nies and Andy Kravis making mince meat out of my puzzle from last week:


Here’s Ben Tausig leading the room in a fun music game, with Brian (standing on the right) having a brief moment of uncertainty/coldness/danger (?).


And here’s a long shot of the three Express Division finalists Francis HeaneyErik Agard, and Trip Payne working on the final puzzle.


Just like the 2015 ACPT, this tourney had another down-to-the-wire finish (which you can watch here), with Francis pulling out the win with 9 seconds left on the clock! ‘Twas pretty amazing.

Congrats to all the winners, and let’s do this again next year, shall we?

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