Coffee Cantata

The Saturday, December 22nd New York Times crossword puzzle includes this clue: "Coffee Cantata" composer (answer: 4 letters). There have been several translations of an ode-like aria in the cantata, but here's one I wrote for the book Coffee Time that maintains the original AABCCB rhyme scheme.

Ah! Coffee, how lovely this is,
Sweeter than a thousand kisses,
Mellower than muscatel.
Coffee, coffee, I crave it dearly,
And should someone wish to cheer me,
Take my cup and fill it well!


Toon Time

Are you big on comics, superheroes and cartoons, not so big on crosswords? 

A pack of 20 small, easy puzzles I wrote for the NY Times crossword app may be for you. One-third of the puzzle content is cartoon-related. The app and this sample puzzle are free (the full pack isn't):  
A PDF can be downloaded here: 

(BTW, I get nothing more if you buy the pack, so count this as a public service announcement.)


Klutch (with a backward K)

Klutch, the St. Lucie Mets mascot, enjoys a few moments to himself during a quiet Sunday game vs. the Charlotte Stone Crabs.


Conserve Letterforms!

Many years ago I remember a graphic artist talking about a logo he'd designed. I don't remember who the person was or exactly what the logo was for (I think a waterside community), but I do remember the logo's claim to fame: It was a seven-letter word that used just three letterforms.

Here's a rendition of what I remember it looking like, using a "b," "h" and "e" from the font Bauhaus Bugler medium:
As you can see, the "b" and "d" are flopped versions of each other, and the "ay" is "he" rotated 180º. What reminded me of this was seeing Hulu's logo recently. It uses just two shapes, one a combination of the two:
Aside: This sort of feat is one that's best appreciated on an intellectual level. And it's pretty cool in that regard. But it's a step removed from a logo's purpose, which includes projecting a certain image or feeling. How effectively do you think these two work in that regard?


MAD About Trump

Available now! 
Buy this laugh-out-loud, 128-page book now so you'll be able to return it as soon as possible: [CLICK]. And make sure to check out page 65 for my full-page contribution.


Add a Letter

Can you add one letter to this word to create a different word?
Adding an S to the end doesn't count.
Do not rearrange the existing letters.


Answer: CLICK


Family Logo

An envelope with the logo for my grandfather's company:


Watch Out

I feel kinda sorry for that mouse, even if it is made of Lego blocks.
McKee Botanical Garden, Vero Beach, Florida



Merl's Anagramming Mind

I think about Merl Reagle from time to time. A crossword puzzle master, he died a still youngish man in 2015.

Merl loved anagrams, and he was better at creating and solving them than anyone I've ever seen. That's why I emailed him the name CAMERON TRINGALE in 2011, after seeing it among the leaders of the Texas Open golf tournament (he was in the mix again this past weekend).

Anagramming his first and second names separately yields ROMANCE TRIANGLE. But that friendly assortment of letters has many, many more possibilities, especially when mixed together.

Merl's reaction upon seeing it was (as usual, in all lower-case letters): "wow! that's really his name? it's better than arlen specter's 'learn respect.'" He then waded into the possibilities:

"of course there's also NO CREAM-ALTERING, CRAM ONE INTEGRAL, CREMONA-RELATING, and MR. OCEAN-ALERTING, none of which I ever wanna see in a crossword (but probably will by year's end). my fave is RON CAME IN A GLERT -- even tho I don't now what a glert is."

I made no attempt to keep pace, although I did finally weigh in with CONTAIN MR. REAGLE, a clearly impossible task.

Even more apt, I'm realizing now, would have been to address that question of whether I could keep up with him: I CANNOT, MR. REAGLE.

photo: Michael Blake


Crossword Trios

The answer to each of these crossword clues is three letters long. But I picked them for another reason. Can you figure out what it is?

1. ___-Magnon man
2. U-turn from NNE
3. Former Army fort on California's Monterey Bay

If you don't know the answer to the third clue, you may still be able to figure it out.

Answer: CLICK