Puzzle Builder Merl Reagle Got His Message Across—and Down

Merl Reagle, the pun-ishingly inventive man who had created crossword puzzles for AARP The Magazine since 2004, died suddenly of acute pancreatitis in a hospital in Tampa on Aug. 22. He was 65. Those are the facts of the case. What they can’t give you is a sense of Merl’s love of words, or a flavor of how much fun it was to work with him — or a little behind him, I should say, since that’s where his sprinting …

Hit the Road with Tom Cruise and the Griswolds

This weekend, one of the summer’s best action flicks and a big, loud comedic disappointment share the multiplex with a brilliantly understated study of writers and the perils of genius.    Designates a Movies for Grownups Critic’s Choice   Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation After parsing the title’s tricky punctuation, taking down an international terror group should be easy for Tom Cruise & Co. We’ve seen this nonstop whirl of double agents, impossible stunts and (literally) breathtaking challenges before, but nobody does it like …

Julie Andrews to Grads: ‘Go Out and Kick Butt’

Get over yourself. That was the message delivered by Julie Andrews, 77, to the graduates of the University of Colorado, Boulder in early May. Under a cloudless sky in Boulder, Colo., on May 10, she began by finding common ground with the graduates at America’s premiere party school, claiming to have welcomed the dawn with them the night before. Then she declared kinship with the University of Colorado mascot – asserting that her own gender-bending role in the 1982 musical Victor/Victoria …