Merl Reagle died last week. I am bereft. There will be no more of his crossword puzzles to make me groan.
He felt ill, went to the hospital, sent his wife home for his laptop and snacks, and was gone before she returned. They'd been together for years. She traveled with him and had breakfast with him and helped at his Tucson Festival of Books presentations and all the other presentations he made around the country and now he is no longer.
She was a lovely presence, gifting me with $25 to a local bookstore when I won 4th place at the last TFOB. She was solicitous and thoughtful and now, in the space of an errand, she is alone.
I am so sorry for her loss.
Her husband has been with me every night for a long time. TBG and I retire to the bedroom, put on our jammies, and while he turns on the television I open my current collection of Merl Reagle's puzzles.
The clues are challenging but manageable. The puns are smart and funny and awful.... just the way puns are meant to be.
Reagle was the youngest person to have a crossword accepted by the New York Times; he was 10. He was friends with all the puzzle people. He was funny and approachable and brilliant. He was, apparently, a talented musician as well.
He told a great story, and made a large audience feel cozy and comfortable.
The world is a lesser place now that he is no longer in it.