April 14, 2016 |
Evan Birnholz sits in a sunny corner of his Center City brick walk-up and clicks on a 21-square grid that dominates his HP computer screen. He types in names of people with states in them. You know, like Hannah Montana, or Duncan Idaho. "It's anything that comes to my imagination," says the recently appointed crossword constructor for the Washington Post's Sunday edition - a gig that places him among the elite of newspaper cruciverbalists. Who would have thought an undergraduate chemistry major who, as a child, struggled to comprehend puns - the meat and potatoes of any crossword - would end up a top puzzle writer?
September 3, 2015
Missing Merl Last Sunday was the first without a crossword puzzle by the late and seriously missed Merl Reagle. Sunday morning didn't feel complete without one of his always delightful constructions. I hope The Inquirer adds another quality crossword in its place. I'd even be happy with a "Best of Reagle" series in the interim. |Michael Tearson, Westmont, email@example.com Merl Reagle brought years of joy, frustration, amusement, confusion, ahas , and groans to this fan. My Sunday afternoon will never be the same.
February 17, 2015 |
The best ideas percolate when Jules Markey walks his Center City postal route. Down and across zip code 19130, he fills the silvery stacked mailboxes of five high-rise apartment buildings on Spring Garden Street. Puzzles help Markey combat the repetition. The other day, as he slipped an Entertainment Weekly into a mail slot on Brandywine Street, he remembered when trash served as inspiration for the first crossword of his the New York Times accepted. A resident on his route had discarded a pile of doors by the curb.
February 6, 2015 |
WHAT'S A seven-letter word for legend? Try "BERNICE. " That would be Bernice Gordon, who became a legend by creating crossword puzzles, up until the age of 101, that appeared in many major U.S. newspapers for 63 years. More than 120 of her puzzles were published in the New York Times, which always claimed to have the most difficult, a challenge to the big-brain word masters and mistresses who dig this challenging sport. Bernice, a Philadelphia native, was 101 when she died Jan. 29. Her last puzzle for the Times appeared in August.
January 31, 2015 |
Bernice Gordon, 101, the matriarch of American crossword puzzles, whose last puzzle appeared in the New York Times in August, died early Thursday, Jan. 29. Mrs. Gordon, a Philadelphia native who lived her last years in a Center City assisted-living community, started creating crosswords at age 35 as a young widow, home evenings with two small sons and needing something to engage her mind. She was rejected repeatedly at first. "My child," her mother scolded, "if you would spend as much time on cookbooks instead of crosswords, your family would be happier.
February 24, 2014 |
Eternal rest can't be too far off - Bernice Gordon is 100 - but for two nights recently, she didn't sleep. Didn't even get into bed. The primary reason was a crossword puzzle she was constructing for the Los Angeles Times. And there was the Australian Open tennis tournament as well. Bernice, who lives at Atria Center City, an assisted living community, in an apartment overlooking Logan Square, has been creating crossword puzzles since she was a young widow, home evenings with two small sons and needing something to engage her mind.
December 22, 2013 |
One hundred candles for the crossword puzzle! One hundred cheers! The crossword, which has delighted, stimulated, exhausted, and frustrated millions of men and women, turns 100 years old Saturday. To commemorate, we thought we'd ask - how does the mind of a crossword maker work? We picked the brain of one of the country's better-known puzzle-masters, Merl Reagle, whose Sunday crossword is syndicated in more than 50 newspapers, including The Inquirer. His new book is titled, aptl;y enough, Merl Reagle's 100th Anniversary Crossword Book (Puzzleworks, 80 pages, $12.95)
June 26, 2013 |
Wednesday's crossword puzzle in the New York Times spans 83 years of Philadelphia talent. The puzzle, celebrating age difference, was cowritten by Philadelphia resident Bernice Gordon, 99, and Philadelphia-born, California-raised David Steinberg, 16. Gordon is the oldest person to publish a crossword in the Times; Steinberg, the fourth-youngest. Steinberg stumbled across Gordon's puzzles as he worked on digitizing Times crosswords from before 1993, when Will Shortz became crossword editor.
March 15, 2013 |
John Joseph Scanlan, 77, of Philadelphia, an addiction counselor and crossword puzzle whiz, died Saturday, March 2, at Jeanes Hospital of complications from pneumonia. For 25 years, Mr. Scanlan worked as a certified addiction counselor. His own history with addiction prompted a lifelong crusade to help others in their recovery, his family said. This was his passion and his gift, his family said, describing him as someone who "took no prisoners in his approach toward recovery.