Hey, we caught the first couple episodes of "Merv Griffin's Crosswords" and we think it's off to a fine start. It's airing in good time slots in many markets (including New York) and has a lot of the old, traditional game show trappings that have gotten lost in recent shows, like announcer (Edd Hall), neat-looking set (by Bob Rang, who's worked on Merv's shows for over 30 years), and catchy theme music (actually an old stock theme of Griffin's which he wrote for a busted pilot called "Buzzword").
The contestants are apparently crossword-savvy, knowing to match case and tense in answering the definitions (even if the puzzle makers don't - we've already been hearing reports of inaccuracies in the puzzles) and understanding some answers are two words. The producers are expecting the audience to be, too, as a lot of this background information isn't really explained. Puzzles are pretty good so far; haven't seen any "writing" credits so I don't know exactly who the constructors are, other than "puzzle producer" Timothy Parker.
The one tricky part of the show is the introduction of "spoilers" into the second round of the game. These are people who can steal one of the two playing positions if the two active players can't come up with the correct answer.
We're hopeful of a nice run for this show, so please watch it and tell your friends to. This is a great advertisement for our hobby and profession.