March 19, 2013
From Up on Poppy Hill (just opened) – Animated drama film directed by Goro Miyazaki, son of the legendary Hayao Miyazaki:
Brilliant; moving; sometimes humorous; beautiful backgrounds. If you’ve seen Whisper of the Heart (by the same studio) and liked that film’s just-plain-nice, low-key, slice-of-real-life ambiance, you’ll like this.
Death for Five Voices (just ended) – World premiere of a musical drama by Peter Mills, directed and book co-written by Cara Reichel, based on the life of the infamous Renaissance composer Carlo Gesualdo. Musical director and pianist, Dan Feyer:
Terrific music and singing; especially rich and soaring ensemble numbers; well-plotted; worth watching for in the future.
Searching for Sugar Man – Best Documentary winner at the 2013 Oscars:
Almost-beyond-belief story; habit-forming music; fascinating subject with a zenlike aura, Sixto Rodriquez. His two albums are also available, but I like the movie soundtrack, which cherry-picks from the two.
March 16, 2013
Now available on a newsstand near you, 142 all-new word search puzzles in six variations: regular, jumbo, one-word, clue, quote, and trivia.
Puzzles and interior design by Patrick Merrell; published by Time Home Entertainment.
March 13, 2013
1. Contestant sticker. 2. Marriott pen. 3. The contestants’ most-dreaded pen (used by the judges to mark incorrect answers). 4. No, wait, this is the contestants’ most-dreaded pen (used to mark correct answers when only a few letters have been entered in the grid). 5. Name tag. 6. Marriott room key. 7. Ophira Eisenberg, from NPR’s Ask Me Another, was in the house (and unofficial best-shod attendee). 8. Dr. Fill returned. 9. Freebie pencil from The New York Times. 10. Freebie pencil sharpener from crosswordtracker.com. 11. And wherever you turned, a circle of people were yelling out answers to Peter Gordon’s Celebrity: Get a Clue iPhone app. (Do you know who Uggie is?)
March 5, 2013
The first iFlush book (iFlush: Swimming in Science, post 181) isn’t even out yet, but here’s an announcement for its sequel, iFlush: Hurtling thru History.
Coming in September, this 96-page compendium of history, stories, fascinating factoids, amusing anecdotes, unique puzzles and art will be everything you’ll come to expect of the iFlush books.
March 2, 2013
You may want to check out this new Kickstarter project, The Maze of Games: “It’s a full-length puzzle novel with over 50 puzzles and a deeply engaging story, all woven together in a ‘solve your own adventure’ style which will keep you jumping from page to page.”
Mazes and puzzles in an illustrated book … and none of it by me. Sounds like a good combination!
Update: A bonus puzzle by Deb Amlen, puzzlemaker, humorist, and writer for the New York Times crossword blog Wordplay, will be included
if a fast-approaching subscriber goal is met (it was).
February 19, 2013
The American Crossword Puzzle Tournament (ACPT) is fast approaching and promises to be another epic event with games, guest speakers, wine and cheese, a talent competition, puzzling camaraderie, stuff to buy, and some of the year’s best puzzles. It takes place March 8-10 in beautiful downtown Brooklyn. ALL THE INFO IS HERE.
The tournament crosswords vary from easy, breezy puzzles (#1, 4, and usually 6) to the infamous puzzle #5 that ferrets out the top contenders.
If you’d like to try a sample, here’s puzzle #2 I wrote for last year’s tournament. It’s tricky, but not a real killer. One thing to remember is that all of the tournament puzzles have titles and subtitles, which can sometimes be very helpful. This one is called “Boustrophedon.”
Download a pdf: PUZZLE #2
Download the answer pdf: ANSWER
January 31, 2013
Coming this spring: iFlush: Swimming in Science, the first book in a surprising new series for kids. Edgy, absorbing, refreshing, fun … and tons of real science!
Written, illustrated, and designed by Patrick Merrell from a concept by the big brains at the Bathroom Readers’ Institute, Gordon Javna and Kim T. Griswell. Published by Portable Press (96 pages, hardcover $10.36).