It was tough to see that Merl Reagle died the other day at a very young 65. Jerry and I met Merl at the Tucson Festival of Books a few years ago. For a crossword fanatic like me, it was like meeting a rockstar. Merl brought a wicked sense of humor to constructing, and almost single-handedly stole puzzles from the blue-rinse ghetto when he hit the scene. His first words upon meeting us were, "You guys made ZITS useable in crossword puzzles." And indeed we have shown up in a few. It was an honor to illustrate Merl's best-of crossword book commemorating the 100th anniversary of the puzzles last year. It's a must-have for any true solver. Rest in peace, friend.