, pub-2774194725043577, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0 L.A.Times Crossword Corner: D. Scott Nichols (Argyle/Santa/Cid) In Memoriam


May 1, 2018

D. Scott Nichols (Argyle/Santa/Cid) In Memoriam

I'm sad to let you know that Scott, our dear Santa, passed away last night (April 30, 2018). He was 73.

Argyle had various health issues, but he always bounced back to the blog. The amputation was just too much for Santa physically.  He was tired when I last talked to him, but he kept his wits, humor and cynicism. The classic Santa I knew and loved.

Argyle covered 840 puzzles for our blog. He also made seven puzzles for the L.A. Times and two puzzles for the New York Times. It was always fun working with him. Challenging too, as Santa could be very stubborn.

Off the blog, he was my advisor and close friend. Seldom did I make any blog or life decision without consulting Santa: "Santa, I don't get this theme"; "Santa, my blood pressure is low again"; "Santa, did you see that comment at 10:00am?". His replies were always short, succinct, to the point and quick.  He was always just one email away.

I still can't believe he won't be back. He left a big hole in my life. I just can't stop sobbing. But I feel very lucky to have had him in my life for almost 10 years. A few months ago, he surprised me with an email I sent to him in 2008. He saved every email.

Santa, rest in peace. You'll always be in my heart. Thanks for all you've done for me and this blog.

I also want to thank Argyle's adopted niece Jennifer Ballard for taking good care of him while busy with her own job and family life. She patiently answered all my questions and kept me updated on Santa's progress. Thank you, Jennifer!

Our condolences to Argyle's sisters Kalista Nichols, Laura Manitta, Sheilla, Claire and all his family.

Our Beloved Santa (Feb 20, 1945-April 30, 2018)

Santa and His Four Sisters
Santa and Jennifer at Jennifer and Dave's Wedding, June, 2011

You can send sympathy cards to this address:

Jennifer Ballard
188 West Rd.
Argyle, NY 12809

Thank you so much!


Added later:

1) More Argyle remembrances and memories can be read on Tuesday May 2 puzzle post. Just scroll down to Comments Section.

2) Please click here to view Santa's obituary.

3) Please click here for all Santa's pictures. Or just click below YouTube clip I made. Sorry, Santa, I did a poor job cropping some pictures.


PK said...

C.C., I share your sorrow at the passing of Argyle. Such a shock after receiving a report from our envoy Spitz yesterday. Life is so fragile despite our many strengths. I have come to realize over the years that there are worse things than death and living with constant pain and disability certainly is major among them. I believe Scott's strong spirit will live on and grace the lives of those who knew him. Hugs and prayers for you dear lady and for his family.

MJ said...

What a sad day this is. It's hard to believe that dear Argyle is no longer with us. He was such a reliable constant here at "The Corner" for so many years. Heartfelt condolences to his family and to those near and dear to him. I know he will be greatly missed by all.

Jennifer said...

Dear Blogger Family, Jennifer here, I want to thank all of you for your continued concern for Scott or Cid as we called him. Right to the end he was asking questions of the blog and wanting me to keep all of you updated. He cared deeply for you CC and enjoyed your constant conversations through the years. The crossword blog was a passion for him. All of the cards, calls and visits from your group greatly cheered him through these last couple of months. As in true form to his "spicy" character he was feisty and sarcastic with the Dr.'s right until the end. My husband, his life long friends, his sister and myself were at his side to the end. There will never be another person like him and it was an honor to call him my family (friend family). Love to all you.

Wilbur Charles said...

Jennifer, my heartfelt condolences and prayers. CC, I'm so sorry for your heartbreak.

Bill Breen (aka Wilbur)

Anonymous said...

Cid... Time to dance from star to star and sleep upon the clouds. They will love you in paradise, Santa.

Jerome Gunderson

Lemonade714 said...

There is no preparation for the finality of death. I am very sad for Scott, his family, for you C.C., and for all here at the Corner who have been touched by Scott. The ephemeral nature of life is daunting. The empty feeling when you want to speak to someone who is gone is so powerful. I began reading the Corner in 2008, yet I do not recall a time without Argyle. The comfort of a living Santa Claus was easy to become accustomed to feeling. I am so glad Argyle saw the caring loving relationship he had with the people here reflected in all the cards and letters and am so grateful to Spitzboov and his wife for delivering the message in person.

Jinx in Norfolk said...

Although I never had the honor of meeting Scott, I felt he was a friend. He just had that way. Rest in peace my friend.

inanehiker said...

We will miss him! I had the next card I was sending tucked into my workbag to mail off on the way to work! Tears of sadness, but I am glad his pain is over.

Unknown said...

Thank you, C.C. This morning I am in too much pain at the passing of my brother to write much. So many memories. In the family, Scott was the closest to my age so my memory is filled with adventures from our childhood. There's a lot of work to do on a dairy farm and much of it he and I did together: gathering hay from the fields, leveling out ensilage as it rained down on us in the silo, bringing home the cows to the barn. But there were play times too. Sledding, civil engineering projects in the driveway, playing cowboys. Throughout our adult life, we called each other whenever either of us needed help. How I'll miss talking and joking with him on the phone. Just a couple of days ago as I waited for him to pick up the phone, I was thinking of phrases to share with him, such as,"Can you give me a leg up?" Of course, I told him as soon as he picked up the phone. What did Scott/Cid/Argyle do? He laughed. Keep laughing, dear brother, keep laughing.

Oas said...

Sad for your loss Jennifer , CC and the rest of you who knew him or those who like me knew him only because of the blog. I always looked forward to his comments and continue to miss him .

Madame Defarge said...

What a loss. . . . I am thankful for having been here at the Corner long enough to have fully appreciated Argyle. I will miss his wit and wisdom. . . .

To his family: you will always have grand stories to tell. I hope they bring you great solace.


Husker Gary said...

What a loss for all of us. I too received some counseling from Scott when I was trying to become a blogger here and I always enjoyed his wit and wisdom.

Avg Joe said...

I'm very saddened to hear of Scott's passing. He was an amazing human being. My deepest condolences to his family and friends.

22 years ago this month I lost my closest friend. I discovered this song a few years later, and played it often in his memory. I hope it can also serve as a requiem for Scott

Brother Up in Heaven

SwampCat said...

How sad for all of us but especially for you, Jennifer and C.C. and his family. He meant so much to so many people. A great loss.

JimmyB said...

Very sad news indeed. I'm sure he was comforted knowing he was loved by so many, both by family and by all his online admirers. He was definitely a cornerstone upon which this community was built.

Anonymous said...

RIP Argyle

CanadianEh! said...

Such sad news to see when I arrived at the Corner today. Thoughts and prayers for the family and all those touched by Scott's life. I am glad that Spitzboov and Betty were able to convey our good wishes to him in person on the weekend. We will miss him here.

Misty said...

My goodness, we should have been prepared for this, but it is still a shock to get this very sad news this morning. The loving words of C.C. and his dear friend Jennifer, and his sister give such a great sense of how cherished Argyle was by everyone close to him that it fills our hearts. Kalista, your sweet account of your childhood with your brother, and his wonderful sense of humor and joy is a special gift--thank you for that. Our thoughts and caring will be with you all in the coming days.

Roy said...

As a relative newcomer to the blog, my sympathy to all of Argyle's family and friends.

I, too, will miss his presence.

D4E4H in BLACK said...

Dear Corner family, and Scot's family,

 - - I read the note from C.C. about 5:30 on a computer that ran out of battery before I had a chance to comment.  I was, and am numb.  Thanks for the pictures of Scot and his sisters in 1946, and Jennifer with him.  He has had nicknames and I gave him one "A+." The A is for Argyle. and the + is my grade on the influence he had on my life.

 - - We are blessed that Spitsboov and Betty were able to visit with him, and that Jennifer kept us informed.  When I read her note the tears flowed.  I am rereading  posts with my box of kleenex next to me.  Thank you Kalista  for your note.  It's hard to read with my eyes full of tears.

Ðave in BLACK in respect for dear A+.

Chairman Moe said...

My condolences to all of Scot's family, friends, and of course to CC, who's brought this community together. May you RIP, Argyle.

Unknown said...

Misty, your comment warmed my heart, as have all of the comments, but yours made me think of something in particular that Scott/Cid/Argyle did for a while. We had a rivalry that involved the funniest phone message we could leave on our answering machines. I remembered a comment that Dorothy Parker once made when she heard her doorbell ring, "What fresh Hell is this?" I thought that was so funny that I put it on my machine. I'll be darned if my brother didn't actually borrow that one!

Picard said...

Oh, my. I am so sad. I was so looking forward to having him back. As Misty said, "We should have been prepared for this, but it is still a shock to get this very sad news this morning."

He was always so kind about answering all of my questions. Often directly by email. This is a very sad day, indeed.

Thank you, CC, and everyone else for the remembrances and photos. So good of you, Jennifer, to be there for him to comfort him in his final days.

Irish Miss said...

I offer my sincere sympathy to Scott's family, his treasured guardian angel, Jennifer, his friend and "co-pilot", CC, and to everyone who knew and cared deeply for our dear friend. I had the pleasure of meeting Scott and sharing several visits with him at my kitchen table over a cup of coffee. He would stop to visit after his appointments at the VA and entertain me with his droll and witty observations and opinions about this, that and the other. He was dearly loved and admired and will be greatly missed by many. RIP, Scott.

Zhouqin (C.C.) Burnikel said...

Thanks you for the sweet comments, everyone, please send your sympathy cards to this address:

Jennifer Ballard
188 West Rd.
Argyle, NY 12809

Wilbur Charles said...

CC or Jennifer, if you happen to get a link to Scott's newspaper obituary please post it here.



melissa bee said...

i am so saddened by this news and believed santa would be back to his monday/tuesday shift before too long. it's nice to see all the comments, especially from those who knew him best. thank you for sharing the pictures. santa has been such a reliable presence here from the early days - his energy will remain on every post.

“The leaves that remain are only a very small part of the tea.
The tea that goes into me is a much bigger part of the tea.
It is the richest part.
We are the same; our essence has gone into our children, our friends, and the entire universe.
We have to find ourselves in those directions and not in the spent tea leaves.”
― Thich Nhat Hanh

Avg Joe said...

A friend posted this on FaceBook a week or so ago. I hope it can provide some comfort:

Death Is Nothing At All

By Henry Scott-Holland

Death is nothing at all.
It does not count.
I have only slipped away into the next room.
Nothing has happened.

Everything remains exactly as it was.
I am I, and you are you,
and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged.
Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.

Call me by the old familiar name.
Speak of me in the easy way which you always used.
Put no difference into your tone.
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.

Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was.
Let it be spoken without an effort, without the ghost of a shadow upon it.

Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same as it ever was.
There is absolute and unbroken continuity.
What is this death but a negligible accident?

Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am but waiting for you, for an interval,
somewhere very near,
just round the corner.

All is well.
Nothing is hurt; nothing is lost.
One brief moment and all will be as it was before.
How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again! said...

I am so sad. He was a wonderful person, often sending me messages.

Anonymous T said...

I finished the puzzle this morning and came for a quick look-see to make sure my grid was right. And then I got sad.

Kalista, Jennifer, C.C. and those closest to Scott, my deepest sympathy and condolences.

Kalista - Your brother touched more people than you know. I'd email him on occasion (usually to thank him for cleaning up my cruft) and he'd reply back. I respected his wit & wisdom so much, I was going to trust him first with providing feed-back on my 1st solo-puzzle (if I ever finished it).

Inanehiker - me too w/ the card. I don't want to send it now (it was a joke card for Argyle that would not be appropriate now) but I can't bare to throw it away either.

Ave Joe - very nice selections to help salve our souls.

With sadness, -T

PK said...

AvgJoe: Amen.

Nice comments from everyone.

Does anyone still keep in touch with Lois? I know she & Santa were close at one time. I wonder if she knows?

Anonymous said...

Hey Argyle.

Manac said...

Rest in peace Scott.

My deepest condolences to all friends and family.

Big Easy said...

Not much to say today. It just seems like yesterday that Argyle wrote me a note when I saw him with his 'argyle' socks, figuring it was how he got his name. The he told me it was from Argyle, NY.

RIP Scott. The puzzle critique can wait for another day.

Unknown said...

My brother was so dear to me. You are all warming my broken heart. Thank you so much. Kalista Nichols Bloch

Unknown said...

Anonymous T, Your words touched me especially this morning. Argyle/Scott/Cid was a very bright man and yes, extremely witty. I miss him so much today and always.

Kalista Bloch said...

I thought I should identify myself by my full name, which is Kalista Nichols Bloch, Argyle/Scott/Cid's sister.

Ol' Man Keith said...

Thanks, C.C., for your full and warm account of Argyle, and the place he occupied in your life and with his family & in the lives of so many in this corner. The photos are especially sweet.
You note that his amputation was something from which he found it hard to recover. That is another similarity to my brother's passing. He too had an amputation just two weeks before he died. I think the loss of a body part - even though done to preserve a patient's health - has a much greater impact on one's spiritual well being than we may anticipate. Yes, a great many recover fully from such losses, but those who adapt well are probably younger and driven by hope & purpose.
I am diabetic and - at my age - at risk for amputation. I am lucky so far in that the only parts chopped out of me were all from the inside!
I urge all in similar age and health groups to adhere to a healthy regimen and be on the lookout for signs of deterioration.

Today's pzl from C.C. was another chewy but doable hump-day ENTRY. The only trouble I had was in recalling IDA TARBELL, which surprises me because I'm a fan of the progressive era and its muckrakers. But once I had BELL, I mistakenly charged the Ol' Walnut to find that as a surname.

Diagonal Report: Yes, we have no diagonals. We have no diagonals today.

Misty said...

Thank you, Kalista, for checking in with us again today, and for your kind response and your funny anecdote about the Dorothy Parker phone message. It reminds us what a joyful and funny delight Argyle was.

Ol' Man Keith said...

Kalista Bloch,
I am sorry for your loss. Your brother's death comes at a time when we are all feeling the passing of Argyle, and when my own brother's death is still raw in my heart. It seems unfair & poorly timed; spring is the wrong season to mourn such heavy losses.
Your Dorthy Parker story allowed us a little relief in humor. It reminded me of a student I had four years ago. The class developed one-person shows, and she chose Ms. Parker as her subject. It was good to see a tribute to a member of the old Algonquin Round Table, and to see that urbane, mordant wit is still appreciated by the rising generation.
As for her "what fresh hell" reaction to the doorbell, I would observe that times have indeed changed in that regard. Our gates and video screens not only give us warning but actually serve to deter random visitors.
You are right that it is the telephone that now threatens us. We get so many junk calls every day of the week, that we have gone through stages of rejection/denial, from (1) "Who the hell is calling at this hour?" to (2) always using the answering machine, to (3) this morning when I turned the ringer Off on all of our phones.
Now we no longer even hear the answering machine picking up. Whoever is calling usually hangs up, so we hear nothing at all.
What a relief!

The downside of course is that if someone does leave a message, we hear it sans any preamble from the machine. It's a little spooky to hear a friend's voice start speaking in the den when nobody is there.

And if we want to pick up, we are often too far from a phone to reach it in time.

RichShif said...

Rest in Peace, Argyle. I haven't posted here much in recent years but do visit to check crossword answers. Will miss Argyle's write ups.

D4E4H said...

RichShif at 5:34 PM

- - Look what I found on your profile John Lennon - Imagine. This seems strangely appropriate today.

Your kind words are welcome any time.


D4E4H said...

RichShif at 5:34 PM

- - Your profile even has a picture of our dear Santa. Thank you.


tawnya said...

Dearest Corner Family, including Kalista and Jennifer -

My heart breaks over the loss of our friend and supporter, Santa. He was always kind and welcoming to newbies and strove to make everyone feel welcome and appreciated. His commentary was obviously an act of love, often sharing the same links and funny reminders that came to my mind as I completed the puzzle. I’ve always been aware of his deep friendship with so many on our page and I knew he was someone everyone could rely on for help, clarification, or explanation. He was a familiar face and voice to so many and his warmth and humor is missed. You are not alone in mourning then loss of his kind spirit. My thoughts are with you all.

~ t.

Barry G. said...

Just heard about this. What a tragedy! My condolences to his family and he will certainly be missed by many, many people.

Montana said...

I just read the news today. So sad. He was a friend, indeed, to many of us.