MGWCC #379 — Friday, September 4th, 2015 — “I Like Everybody”

IMPORTANT NOTE: As of January 2015 MGWCC is a subscribers-only crossword. The cost is $26 per year, and you can subscribe (or get a free trial month first) here:


Last week’s instructions urged solvers to please be 100% certain that you read the “Memories of Merl” section of my post today at before solving this meta. Solvers found there this phenomenal themeless grid of the late Merl Reagle‘s from the 1985 U.S. Open:


Successful solvers then noticed that last week’s MGWCC used the exact same black square pattern in the grid as Merl’s:


How, then, to extract an adjective that describes Merl Reagle? “M Is for Merl” reads the title, so you take the M’s from Merl’s grid, of which there are nine, and find the corresponding letters in the MGWCC grid. Those M’s, in order from top to bottom, spell out meta answer MASTERFUL, which Merl certainly was.

Al writes:

Wow, the 1985 US Open was my first crossword tournament ever.

Anne E says:

He made everyone feel special.

And Golem submitted his answer as “MastERfuL” and asked:

Would you accept the answer without the internal capitalization?

This week’s winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 219 correct entries received, is Kathy J. of Alameda, Calif. In addition to a MGWCC pen, pencil and notepad set, Kathy will also receive a signed copy of my book Pocket Easy Crosswords.


I can’t take credit for the phenomenal grid I used in last week’s puzzle. My original intention had been to fill it by hand, as Merl had done, but after thirty minutes of trying I realized that this was going to be an essentially impossible task with those nine letters pre-placed.

This would require a powerful database, which I don’t have, and an extremely skilled crossword writer to guide that database (you don’t just hit “fill” on a grid like this; you need a super-skilled human to guide the silicon monster).

My savior was Peter Gordon, who modestly declined a co-author credit on this puzzle. Even with Peter at the helm of his power word list, filling this beast still took about an hour! So thanks very much to him for making my Merl tribute grid happen.


In case you missed it, here’s the puzzle I wrote for Merl for his 60th birthday. It used a 21×21 grid of course, and featured Reagle-esque puns based on his life. The masterful Merl himself found it highly amusing, I’m happy to tell you.

And check out these other very nice crossword tributes to Merl:

Brendan Quigley

Kevin Der

Evan Birnholz


133 solvers submitted the correct contest answer to all four of August’s challenges (KIDNEY TRANSPLANT, FIGHT OR FLIGHT, A FAREWELL TO ARMS, MASTERFUL). The following ten skillful and lucky winners, chosen randomly from that group, will receive a MGWCC pen, pencil and notepad set:

John Cassidy — Staten Island, N.Y.

John Lenning — Irvine, Calif.

C.M. — Glendale, Wisc.

Patricia Miga — Colleyville, Tex.

Lance Nathan — Arlington, Mass.

Jim Quinlan — Westtown, N.Y.

Scott Rogoff — Mountain View, Calif.

Marcia Rose — Mequon, Wisc.

Jason Shapiro — New York City, N.Y.

Jesse Simons — Cambridge, Mass.

Congratulations to our ten winners, and to everyone who went 4-for-4 in August.


In addition to a MGWCC pen, pencil and notepad set, weekly winners this week and next will also receive a subscription to the great Brendan Emmett Quigley’s new Kickstarter campaign, “Diagramless Crosswords.” Already fully funded of course, but there are stretch goals! Check it out.


Crossword writer/speed-solver/blogger extraordinaire Joon Pahk has just launched a new subscribers-only puzzle service called Outside the Box puzzles. He’ll feature Rows Gardens and other crossword variants. I’ll be writing more about this site here in a couple of weeks, but get in early!


This week’s contest answer is a familiar phrase comprised of two six-letter words.

IMPORTANT NOTE: As of January 2015 MGWCC is a subscribers-only crossword. The cost is $26 per year, and you can subscribe (or get a free trial month first) here:

Solve well, and be not led astray by words intended to deceive.

Comments are closed.