Celebrity Anagrams

Merl Reagle, May 24

I dragged my boyfriend to see “Wordplay,” the crossword puzzle movie with Will Shortz and Merl Reagle a couple of years ago. It was all about crossword puzzle fanatics, how puzzles are constructed, why people do them and — the big climax — the showdown at the national crossword puzzle championships.

Understandably, my boyfriend Jim, who has no interest in puzzles, pretty much rolled his eyes at everything. Until Merl Reagle drove by Dunkin’ Donuts.

“Dunkin’ Donuts — Unkind Donuts,” Reagle said, anagramming it on the spot. Jim was fascinated. “Wow, that’s amazing!” he said, and returned to rolling his eyes at everything else.

I was reminded of that this week in Reagle’s “Celebrity Anagrams” puzzle. Among the most ingenious: “JEST, NOT WAR” becomes JON STEWART in 24 Across; “ENJOY L.A.” is JAY LENO in 68 Across; “TRUST ME, SIR” turns into TIM RUSSERT in 107 Across; “ONLY A BRIT” becomes TONY BLAIR in 38 Across; and “LEGENDARY MAMA” (in “The Da Vinci Code,” at least) is MARY MAGDALENE in 116 Across.

I apologize for the late posting, too; I’m still catching up on the puzzles I missed while in New Zealand. I had been hoping to blog a little from there about crosswords Down Under, but they were really pretty unremarkable.

Questions or comments? Twitter me @crosswordkathy

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