232. Orts!

March 8, 2016

I’ve launched a website that features new posts daily Monday through Friday.

Orts is a collection of new, never-used, and repurposed stuff from the 38 years I’ve spent as a freelance illustrator, graphic designer, writer, and puzzlemaker.

Check it out by clicking on this graphic:
ORTSlogo


229. Mouse Calendar 2016

December 20, 2015

Back by scattered demand — the 20-somethingth annual mouse calendar, this year performing ZEP in the Curse of the Evil Dr. Sumac Who Lives Next Door (follow along with the book!):

FULL-PAGE VERSION, suitable for framing: DOWNLOAD PDF
TWO-PER-PAGE VERSION, suitable for squinting: DOWNLOAD PDF

2016calendarLG


228. Of Mice and Menorah

December 12, 2015

mousemenorah


227. PDF Puzzlers

October 19, 2015

PunchlineFrontCoverAHAfrontcoverTo celebrate 35 years of professional puzzlemaking, I’ve put together PDF versions of two books I created in 2005 (for St. Martin’s Press and Random House). Punchline Puzzles contains 50 crosswords with an original cartoon in the center of each grid. AHA! is 125 pages of “clever crossword clue” puzzles. $10 each, both for $18. CLICK HERE for more info and to download samples.


226. Monkey Business

October 17, 2015

ZEP graces the front counter of what’s now my favorite toy store, Monkey Barrel Toys in Oneonta, New York. It’s owned and run by crossword constructor Kristian House.
monkeybarrel2


225. MEmoRiaL

October 4, 2015

merlmemorialA memorial for crossword-constructing legend Merl Reagle took place on September 27th in Tampa, Florida. About 125 people attended.

It was a beautiful setting in a large room on the top floor of the Vaughn Center at the University of Tampa. Twenty-foot-high floor-to-ceiling windows along two walls provided sweeping views of the surrounding area … as much as you could see given the rainy weather, which was torrential at times.

People mingled from 5:00 to 6:00, munching on hors d’oeuvres while Liz Hollister and John Minor played guitar and sang songs in the background. A slide show of Merl tidbits played in a continuous loop on a large screen at the front of the hall. From 7:00 until 9:00, a fittingly eclectic mix of friends shared reminiscences about Merl. There were many laughs and a few tears.

roomRobert Miles, an international keynote speaker, served as master of ceremonies. Six others followed: Al Scudieri, a former FBI special agent; Jeffrey Walters, whose wife Merl had made a special puzzle for; Vic Fleming, a district judge and crossword constructor; Patrick Creadon, the director of Wordplay; myself, with a notebook filled with 400 writings collected from the crossword community; and Bill Duryea, an editor at politico.com. Marie Haley finished things up with some poignant thoughts.

About a dozen of us, including Marie, had dinner together afterwards at a nearby hotel, Le Méridien, telling more stories. Toward the end, Judge Vic pulled out his guitar and serenaded us into the night with a rendition of “If You Don’t Come Across.”

A video of the speeches, taken by Nancy Shack, can be seen HERE.


224. Mad People

September 29, 2015

In this week’s People magazine, I’ve got a crossword puzzle with a “star of Everest” as its theme. I’ll have additional puzzles appearing every three weeks.

In the October issue of MAD magazine, I’ve got a Donald Trump poem (a sound bite-friendly four lines long). I also put together many of the articles, as part of a summer stint working there, and managed to sneak one of my mice onto a page. Can you find it?

people-mad


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