129. S•pellet

October 22, 2010

Spellet is now available.

128. Funny Money

January 17, 2010

The entry deadline for the annual Jay Kennedy Scholarship is Feb. 12. The award goes to the best college cartoonist (starting his/her junior or senior year this fall).

127. P(alindr)oem

January 2, 2010

Happy New Year — Text and illustration © 2008 Patrick Merrell, from Bird Brainteasers

124. Blogging for the NYT

November 2, 2009

Starting today Monday, November 2, I begin writing for the daily New York Times crossword blog, Wordplay. I’ll be manning the desk all this week and then continuing on beyond that, playing tag team in weekly chunks with the incumbent host, Jim Horne. Come check it out, and leave a comment about the day’s puzzle if you’re feeling the urge.

122. Odd Night Is a Failure

September 26, 2009

An odd group, 67 competitors, turned up for the 13th annual Pleasantville crossword tournament on the night of September 25th and failed to finish off an overflowing table of baked goods. They did much better with the Monday through Wednesday crosswords from next week’s New York Times. Jeffrey Schwartz, Bob Mackey and Ken Stern tackled the final (Thursday) puzzle on stage, finishing in that order. One of the highlights of the evening was host Will Shortz’s correct pronunciation of the name of Ashish Vengsarkar’s collaborator on a recent Sunday Times puzzle, Narayan Venkatasubramanyan.

Below: MAD magazine art director Sam Viviano, one the contestants, kept himself busy by doodling between rounds. Pictured, clockwise from left, are: Frank Longo, ?, Barry Weprin, maybe Tony Orbach (although Sam was doubtful since the resemblance is iffy), Rob (one of Will’s Ping-Pong-playing pals) and Amanda Yesnowitz.

115. Crosswide Puzzle

February 24, 2009

30x15gridCan you figure out why this crossword grid looks the way it does? The answer appears after the cut. Read the rest of this entry »

101. 4 Years Ago

October 28, 2008

The NYT crossword from Election Day ’04 (pdf only): DOWNLOAD

Unscramble each phrase to spell a candidate’s name:

100. Squares #41

October 1, 2008

93. Fall Books (for the kids)

April 17, 2008

Count Gravy’s Horror Hall of Fun: 64 pages of ghoulish fun for ages 8-12 — puzzles, illustration and book design by Patrick Merrell
Pony Play Games & Puzzles: 144 pages for all your equestrian pals ages 6-10 — puzzles by Patrick Merrell and Helene Hovanec, illustration and book design by Patrick Merrell

Click on the HORROR HALL cover to see the TABLE OF CONTENTS.
Click on PONY PLAY cover to go to Amazon.

80. Hasta La Vista, SCI-DOKU

February 22, 2008

The last Scientific American SCI-DOKU will run Tuesday, March 4th, ending the puzzle’s 15 month run. It will then “march forth” no more.


41. Pleasantville Wrap-up

October 27, 2007

clock.jpgA sizeable flock of contestants braved the clammy weather Friday night to test their wits at the 11th annual crossword tournament in Will Shortz’s hometown of Pleasantville, NY. The room was filled with both individual and doubles team competitors, puzzlemaker types who hovered as judges, and enough baked goods to feed the town’s middle school. Next week’s Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday NY Times puzzles winnowed the field down to three finalists — Nancy Taubenslag, “Jeffurry” Schwartz, and the eventual champ at solving Thursday’s puzzle on the big easels, Bob Mackey!

Afterward, a small parade of the crossword faithful made their way over to Will’s house for more snacks. A fine spread of Doritos, Lay’s potato chips, dip, carrots, cookies, soda, and beer were laid out. I assume Will provided his traditional house and puzzle collection tour for the uninitiated, but since it’s so close to Halloween, I headed home before the witching hour. All in all, another highly successful installment of this very friendly and fun annual event, with proceeds benefiting the town’s Fund for Learning.

39. This Just In

October 24, 2007

On WordPress’s Growing Blogs page, Pat Tricks stands one spot ahead of Football Jesus Betting Consultant. However, it still trails Drug Education News and ΦΩΝΗ ΤΗΣ ΡΟΔΟΠΗΣ and lags far behind Gerbil News Network.

37. Shortz Sightings

October 15, 2007

Will Shortz’s annual crossword tournament in Pleasantville, NY, will take place Friday, October 26, 7:30-9:45. It’s a friendly, low-key event featuring the Mon-Thur puzzles that will appear in The NY Times the following week. Proceeds benefit the Pleasantville schools. [CLICK HERE] for complete info.

On Wednesday, October 24, Will Shortz and longtime puzzle figure Doug Heller will host a night of dinner, fun and games, and a showing of “Wordplay” in the Philadelphia area. This a fundraiser for Doug’s run for commissioner in Springfield, PA. [CLICK HERE] for complete info.

35. Word Evolution

October 11, 2007

Scientific American has an online article about the evolution of words [CLICK HERE].

24. Process of Elimination

September 11, 2007

Patrick Berry’s Sunday (Sept. 9) New York Times crossword, PROCESS OF ELIMINATION, involved a very novel concept that was beautifully executed. Here, after the cut, is Patrick’s explanation of how he put it together… Read the rest of this entry »


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