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RIP Leslie Billig

With the puzzle world still reeling over the death of Thomas Gazzola, many of us heard the news on Thursday that we lost another friend.

Leslie Billig was a regular attendee of the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament and a longtime puzzle editor for Penny Press and GAMES, among other outlets. While I personally did not socialize with her often, she had a great influence on many excellent puzzlemakers working today, and I see many of them fondly recalling interacting with her in both a professional and social setting. ACPT attendees can still recall Leslie's "Crossword Idol"-winning performance a decade ago of "My Will," a Jerome Kern parody about Will Shortz. She was a beloved mainstay of our community and she's gone far too soon.

I really would like to stop writing this sort of entry now.

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  1. Thank you for remembering my sister Leslie Billig. Just want to clarify that the song she sang at the Tournament used the melody of “Bill” from Show Boat, and changed the lyrics from “just my Bill” to “just my Will” and other phrases appropriate to Will Shortz. In the film, WordPlay, Leslie can be seen singing the song, but not heard – probably to spare the filmmakers from paying a large royalty.

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