Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart's joint "Rally To Restore Sanity And/Or Fear" has gotten attention in just about every media outlet on the planet. Now, the rally -- and its hosts -- are even showing up in the New York Times' famous crossword puzzle.
Colbert highlighted his debut as a crossword clue on his show Tuesday. He showed the audience a completed crossword puzzle from that morning's Times. The puzzle was littered with references to Colbert, Stewart, the Rally to Restore Sanity and the March to Keep Fear Alive, and even Bill "Papa Bear" O'Reilly.
Colbert wasn't fully satisfied, though.
"Where's my cut, Will?" he asked Times crossword editor Will Shortz. "You're selling puzzles using my rally and Daddy wants a taste of that sweet, sweet crossword cash."
In a post on the Times' crossword blog Monday, Times writer Will Horne said that, while the puzzle usually tries to avoid topicality, "every now and then, there's an event so significant, so earth-shaking, it must be memorialized right away, and the backstage machinery here at Puzzle Central cranks into high gear."
He said that the real draw for Times puzzlers was the words associated with the two hosts and the rallies. "Constructors are always on the lookout for paired phrases of equal length, and does this theme ever deliver!" Thorne wrote. "It's a gift from the crossword gods. It's almost as if Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert dared Will Shortz with an offer too tempting to refuse."
Writing in the same blog post, Chris Handman, who constructed the actual puzzle (it was also his debut puzzle for the Times), said that he came up with the idea when watching Colbert's show one night, and that he was delighted to find that "Rally To Restore Sanity" and "March To Keep Fear Alive" each have 20 letters. He also noticed many other symmetries:
...Each event begins with a five-letter word, allowing the remaining 15 letters to stretch across the entire length of a standard crossword grid. And to top it all off, it didn't take long to appreciate that "Colbert" and "Stewart" each contained 7 letters, allowing their names to square off against each other in the center of the grid mano a mano.
The Huffington Post is providing buses from New York to Washington, D.C. for the October 30 rallies.