It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker. Please consider supporting our site by purchasing an account.
Puzzle of the Week

THE GODS MUST BE CRAZY

New York Times, Thursday, September 3, 2015

Author: Merl Reagle (1950-2015)
Editor: Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
102/11/19679/3/20150
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
4011211
ScrabRebusCirclePangramPre‑WS
1.490013
Merl Reagle
Merl Reagle

This puzzle:

Rows: 17, Columns: 17 Words: 94, Blocks: 56 Missing: none – this is a pangram. This is puzzle # 10 for Mr. Reagle. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Notepad: In honor of the late, beloved crossword constructor Merl Reagle, today we present a classic puzzle of his from the 1999 American Crossword Puzzle Tournament.
Jeff Chen notes: As many of you already know, the great Merl Reagle passed away a few weeks ago; a huge loss for the crossword community. Only having gotten into ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

As many of you already know, the great Merl Reagle passed away a few weeks ago; a huge loss for the crossword community. Only having gotten into crosswords a few years ago, I really appreciated seeing this gem by Merl from way back in 1991. It's astounding to see how good this puzzle is given its point in crossword history, well before computer-assisted design became easily accessible.

You know you've made it big when you get a part on The Simpsons

Merl always stressed the importance of crosswords being first and foremost fun for solvers. This puzzle is a great example of that. The theme is so grin-inducing, I would have given it the POW! all by itself. I love Greek mythology, so seeing MANACLES reimagined as "man-a-clees" (similar to Pericles) is so hilarious. Each one of the ten (!) themers (not including the revealer!) works well for me; each one evoking a similar-sounding name from ancient Greece. TELEPHONE bring Persephone to mind, ANTIBIAS does the same for Phidias, etc.

To pack so much great material into a puzzle done by hand is amazing. And although Merl was known for being fine with six-letter partials and "imaginative" pieces of fill like PREWRAP, EXILER, IDLERS, and OTTS, there's remarkably little of that in play. I would consider it a very good puzzle in today's standards, and an absolute home run in 1991 standards.

It's so strange to think that I'll never see Merl again. He was so supportive, contacting me after I got my first NYT Sunday crossword published, both with kudos and a couple of tips. And at my first ACPT, he chatted with this fanboy for a long time, happy to talk shop with many a kind word for my work.

Merl hasn't published a puzzle in the NYT for a long time, since all his work went into his weekly Sunday puzzle, so I'm really glad to have this opportunity to add him to the list of constructors earning a Puzzle of the Week nod.

1
C
2
L
3
U
4
M
5
P
6
D
7
O
8
R
9
M
10
A
11
N
12
T
13
B
O
O
Z
E
R
14
M
A
N
A
C
L
E
S
15
E
R
U
D
I
T
E
16
T
E
L
E
P
H
O
N
E
17
M
I
R
E
S
18
W
19
H
E
R
E
20
A
T
E
21
O
T
T
S
22
E
R
O
D
E
23
M
24
E
L
25
T
O
T
26
S
C
A
M
S
27
G
A
M
E
28
T
29
E
30
S
31
E
N
V
32
E
L
O
P
E
33
B
I
N
S
34
R
A
H
35
S
U
N
36
R
37
O
U
G
H
38
L
I
R
E
39
R
40
E
P
R
O
41
N
U
N
C
I
A
42
T
I
O
N
43
K
H
A
N
44
M
O
N
T
H
45
T
O
M
46
E
U
R
47
A
I
M
S
48
A
49
N
T
I
B
50
I
51
A
52
S
53
A
M
P
54
E
R
E
S
55
O
N
E
A
L
56
R
B
I
57
X
E
S
58
A
D
A
M
N
59
C
O
A
X
60
J
61
A
I
62
S
C
E
N
E
63
D
A
N
C
E
64
F
O
L
L
65
I
66
C
L
E
S
67
S
68
P
A
R
E
U
S
69
L
I
M
E
A
D
E
S
70
I
D
L
E
R
S
71
U
N
A
R
M
E
D
72
S
Q
Y
D
S
© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0903 ( 24,040 )
Across Down
1. Small group, as of trees : CLUMP
6. Hibernating : DORMANT
13. Lush : BOOZER
14. Greek god of bondage? : MANACLES
15. Greek goddess of learning? : ERUDITE
16. Greek goddess of communication? : TELEPHONE
17. Slogging areas : MIRES
18. "You want to go ___?" : WHERE
20. Had wings : ATE
21. 23-Across and others : OTTS
22. Wear away : ERODE
23. Slugger's first name : MEL
25. Young 'un : TOT
26. Does a number on : SCAMS
27. Greek god of fertility? : GAMETES
31. Greek goddess of messages? : ENVELOPE
33. Used bookstore containers : BINS
34. Pep rally cry : RAH
35. Catch some rays : SUN
36. Bumpy : ROUGH
38. Sicilian's millions : LIRE
39. Key to understanding the theme of this puzzle : REPRONUNCIATION
43. Title villain of a "Star Trek" film : KHAN
44. May, for one : MONTH
45. Peeping ___ : TOM
46. 1940s war zone: Abbr. : EUR
47. Prepares to fire : AIMS
48. Greek god of equal opportunity? : ANTIBIAS
53. Greek god of electricity? : AMPERES
55. Actor Ryan : ONEAL
56. Hit bonus, for short : RBI
57. Poison indicators, on bottles : XES
58. Butler's last words : ADAMN
59. Goad gently : COAX
60. ___ alai : JAI
62. Acting exercise : SCENE
63. Cut a rug : DANCE
64. Greek god of healthy hair? : FOLLICLES
67. Greek god of mercy? : SPAREUS
69. Greek god of tangy drinks? : LIMEADES
70. Goof-offs : IDLERS
71. Weapon-free : UNARMED
72. Fabric meas. : SQYDS
1. Cable channel that broadcasts trials : COURTTV
2. Silver streaks : LODES
3. Weapons in action films : UZIS
4. Trysted : MET
5. Do before, as a gift chore : PREWRAP
6. Bumpers of Arkansas : DALE
7. Common lunch hour : ONE
8. Grammys category : RAP
9. Lt. commander of '60s TV : MCHALE
10. Frequently : ALOT
11. Hawaiian goose : NENE
12. Poet on whose work "Cats" is based: Abbr. : TSE
13. Tony Blair, for one : BRITON
14. Nothing more than : MERE
15. Be a ham : EMOTE
16. Kennedy and others : TEDS
19. Base clearers : HOMERUNS
22. Cuts in expenses : ECONOMIES
23. Macy's Parade locale : MANHATTAN
24. Dash units : EMS
26. Disparaging remark : SLUR
27. Best Picture of 1958 : GIGI
28. Rock's Police or Cream, e.g. : TRIO
29. Get through work : EARN
30. "Does" or "doesn't" follower : SHE
32. Where to see "Outside the Lines" : ESPN
33. America's only bachelor president : BUCHANAN
37. Province opp. Detroit : ONT
38. Life's partner : LIMB
39. Baba au ___ : RHUM
40. Tombstone lawman : EARP
41. Club aliases, for short : NOMS
42. Work hard : TOIL
43. Mauna ___ : KEA
47. "Facts ___ facts" : ARE
49. Moriarty, to Holmes : NEMESIS
50. Wrinkle removers : IRONERS
51. You can count on it : ABACUS
52. "Boxcars" : SIXES
54. Performer of a banishing act : EXILER
55. "To Spring" and others : ODES
58. Air force heroes : ACES
59. Had feelings (for) : CARED
60. Sign up : JOIN
61. ___ mater : ALMA
62. Hillside thrill-ride need : SLED
63. Emmy-winning Tyne : DALY
64. Winter woe : FLU
65. "___ shocked ... shocked!" : IAM
66. String between B and F : CDE
68. "By yesterday" : PDQ

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?