Saturday, December 19, 2020

Solution to the Thanksgiving acrostic

 "I love the atmosphere," my Mother said, tilting her face up to the Sun. That was one thing about my mother, why she was fun, she valued comfort. We never had to stay in museums too long. If we didnt like something, we left and went somewhere else, like a restaurant. She wasn't too strict about discipline.

Mona Simpson, Anywhere But Here

A. Molly Malone
B. Omdurman
C. Now, Voyager
D. Attested
E. Sitting pretty
F. Isthmuses
G. Master of the house
H. Power walk
I. Sheets
J. Oh Calcutta!
K. Niftiest
L. Augment
M. Nephilim
N. Yet without
O. Warning track
P. Hoot owl
Q. Ethane
R. Ravenclaw
S. Etouffee
T. Bloodhounds
U. Unwashed
V. The hindmost
W. Hartebeest
X. Emissive
Y. Refinish
Z. E-Wides

Acrostic for the Solstice

        The quote is from a Booker prizewinner, but I'm obviously not saying from what year.

        I've left more than usual punctuation in the diagram, simply because something about the language makes me think it would be hard to understand the quote without it. There are only a couple of unfamiliar words in the list. Good luck and season's greetings.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Acrostic for November

I rate this one as fairly easy. The book is set in France.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Solution to the October acrostic

« Whether it is a wedding or a funeral, ceremony in Amsterdam is frowned upon; ritual can be too gross, too papist, and must be avoided. But a rich man to be drowned is different, the moral juiciness, the symbolism plucked out of the bible, and of course a crowd has arrived. »

Jessie Burton, The Miniaturist

A. Jeddah
B. Edward V
C. Sidi Ifni
D. Sufferfest
E. Irredeemable
F. Echolocates
G. Bivouacs
H. Underhand
I. Robert Abplanalp
J. Termagant
K. Osso buco
L. Nunc Dimittis
M. Tommy Orange
N. How doth...
O. Euston
P. Marienbad
Q. Imarets
R. Nostrum
S. If what
T. Arecibo
U. Twofold
V. Updos
W. Rudely
X. Inshore
Y. Sinker
Z. Two-piece

Monday, September 28, 2020

Acrostic for October


I consider this one pretty easy. Solvers with only average general knowledge ought to write in words F,H,K,N,O and T on the first pass. It's a great quote.

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Solution to the September acrostic

"In the early hours of her tenth night at sea the boat wakes her with a new noise. She furls the jib to roughly half its full surface then struggles into her harness, clips on, and goes to the mast to free the main halyard and drops two reefs worth of mainsail into the lazy jacks. The boat slows, quietens."

Andrew Miller, The Crossing

A. At the ninth
B. Nettles
C. Dwayne Johnson
D. Royal Highness
E. Earthwards
F. What hath God wrought?
G. Mawkish
H. If he hollers
I. Lazy jacks
J. La Motte-Piquet-Grenelle
K. Earphones
L. Rations
M. Tattoo art
N. Halfen
O. Et tu Brute
P. Coffee houses
Q. Raffish
R. Offense
S. Siren suit
T. Sideshow Bob
U. In them thar hills
V. Neorealists
W. Gustatory

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Solution to the August acrostic

« Someone moved swiftly across the beach and began talking to the little girl. One minute she was there, barefoot and absorbed, spade in hand; seconds later she was taken off the sands at the village of Chapel St. Leonards, apparently without anybody noticing at all. Thus was my mother kidnapped. »

Laura Cumming, Five Days Gone

A. Lakenheath
B. Arbeit Macht Frei
C. Unhealthy obsession
D. Rattlesnake food
E. Attended
F. Cowbells
G. Unhand me
H. Manchester ship canal
I. Mottled
J. Idlewild
K. Neebish Island
L. Gothy
M. Fatwahs
N. If in doubt
P. Epoka
Q. Dyatlov Pass
R. At the post
S. Yawning
T. Sloane Ranger
U. Ghostys
V. Ordem e Progreso
W. Not wanted
X. Etta Place

Monday, July 27, 2020

Acrostic for August

A bit of a beach theme here, appropriate for August.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Full solution to the July acrostic

"You will stumble on secrets. Hidden all over the restaurant, Mexican oregano, as heady as pot. Large tins of Chef's private anchovies from Catalonia hidden behind the bulk olive oil. Quarts of grassy sencha. Ziplock bags of masa, bottles of sriracha. Bars of chocolate slipped between books in the manager's office."

Stephanie Danler, "Sweetbitter"

A. Storyboard
B. Trachoma
C. Essokinesis
D. Pectus excavatum

E. Ham hocks
F. Anton Diffring
G. Nickel Odeon
H. Isobath
I. Efavirenz
J. Doghouse
K. Assassins
L. Nobleman
M. Lefortovo
N. Egg fight
O. Refinable
P. Sternoclavicular
Q. Wolf whistle
R. Ectrodactyly
S. Effortless
T. Torquemadan
U. Breeches bible
V. In bad shape
W. Teashop
X. The Palio
Y. Echolalia
Z. Rapa

I didn't know until I checked word X that it happens in many Italian cities, and not necessarily a horse race. I was used to the Siena version, celebrated twice a year, in which the 17 Contradas of the ancient city compete, ten at a time. The jockeys do not necessarily live in the Contrada they represent.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Partial solution to the July acrostic

These are the really nasty words from the word list:

B. Trachoma
C. Essokinesis
D. Pectus excavatum
I. Efavirenz
P. Sternoclavicular
R. Ectrodactyly

Unfamiliar words in the diagram are:


Thursday, July 2, 2020

Acrostic for July: GRAND CHALLENGE

This month's puzzle is exceptionally difficult, with unfamiliar words both in the diagram and the word list. In a few days I'll publish a partial solution, giving away the most unfamiliar words.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Solution to the June acrostic

[I wrote that this was vaguely topical because of Behnken & Hurley's ride to the ISS aboard SpaceX's Falcon 9. Public interest in astronautics briefly revived.]

« Jim Lovell and Buzz Aldrin closed the Gemini program in November. There was a problem with the radar that was supposed to track the distance to the waiting Agena, but Aldrin wasnt fazed. He had written a major thesis on orbital rendezvous to qualify as an astronaut. With pencil and paper, he worked out what thrusters to fire. »

Piers Bizony, [The] Man Who Ran The Moon

A. Puddle Dock
B. Invigilated
C. Equation
D. Rephrased
E. Saddleworth
F. Baffin snow monsters
G. Imprint
H. Zipcar
I. Ogham
J. New wave

K. Yak butter tea
L. Montparnasse
M. Albert Pujols
N. Nevermore
O. Without a trace
P. Hip bath
Q. On the other hand
R. Raja
S. Austerltz

T. Now is the winter of...
U. Tizi 'n Test
V. Hogwarts

W. Ed Barth
X. Manga

Y. Old as the hills
Z. Outward ace
a. Naturalized

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Acrostic for June

Something vagely topical here...

Solution to the May acrostic

« Each time the train stopped, there was a beat of hope. A destination, any place on earth, was better than being lost in the bottomless night. The doors were thrown back and they saw a snowy countryside. A German soldier was shouting at them. If anyone tries to escape he will be shot. If anyone has died, throw out the body. »

Sebastian Faulks, Charlotte Gray

A. Scotoma
B. Eshel Hanasi
C. Best boy
D. Ash Wednesday
E. Shibboleth
F. Two or three things
G. In the worst way
H. Any which way
I. Natalie Wood
J. Foot width
K. Announcement
L. Understate
M. Land of hope
N. Knotty
O. Sandbag
P. Coppertone
Q. H├ębuterne
R. Assets
S. Raisin
T. Leith
U. Ottomania
V. There there
W. Testament
X. Elbow pad
Y. Gothicise
Z. Regifted
a. Atrophia
b. Years

I really recommend WORD V.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Acrostic for May

Continuing the macabre theme appropriate to these times....

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Solution to the April acrostic

"One minute he was at his desk in the office at the gallery, talking to Jane Ogden, perfectly fine, the next he keeled over, hit his head perhaps, everything went flying. Hannah tried CPR, the paramedics tried everything but before they got him to the hospital he was dead."

Tessa Hadley, Late in the Day

A. Thank God
B. Ephedrine
C. Steven Weed
D. Steeplejack
E. Atheroma
F. Henry Huntley Haight
G. Airbags
H. Depth
I. Leicester City
J. Effectively
K. Yes, Virginia
L. Left hooker
M. Axminster
N. Top hat
O. Earthed
P. In the thigh
Q. Not to be trifled with
R. Thief
S. Hogan
T. Ethan Frome
U. Dunsinane
V. Apple shed
W. Yew hedge

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Acrostic for April

I don't have one with a pandemic theme, but this one's suitably morbid...

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Solution to the March acrostic

"There is no limit to what the middle-aged mother will do in the holy crusade against ruffians like me. Mummy and I took just one quick look at each other and from then on the age of chivalry was dead. I knew that, to protect her innocent young, she wouldn't hesitate to cheat, lie, bully and blackmail."

John Osborne. Look Back in Anger

A. Jenna Fischer
B. Out of luck
C. "He has killed me, Mother"
D. Nettle
E. Other than that
F. Smarmy
G. Bottom line
H. Own thing
I. Radical
J. New Statesman
K. Eideladha
L. Lucy Davis
M. Oddly enough
N. Opine
O. Kidneys
P. Back to the future
Q. Adhere to
R. Calanque
S. Kicked out of
T. Ill met
U. No whit
V. Atwood
W. Not home
X. Gather lilacs
Y. Eighty-two
Z. Rimini

Another example of a slight cheat on my part. I inserted the word "just" which is not in the original text. I had to have a J.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Acrostic for March

This is from a favourite play, first performed 1957. Once upon a time I played the lead part, in student theatre.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Solution to the February acrostic

How very appropriate, on the very day Harvey Weinstein is getting on the orange jumpsuit, to bring you the solution to acrostic40.

« I hear you rape women she said. Sometimes you have sex with a woman who is not your wife, and theres a disagreement about what has happened, and you just have to write a check to make it go away, Weinstein replied calmly. He would later deny that he heard her mention rape.»

Ronan Farrow, Catch and Kill

A. Rothermere
B. On the other hand
C. New York teams
D. Amphetamine
E. Nehi
F. Famished
G. Awesome
H. Roustabout
I. Rumpus
J. Oh What a Lovely War
K. White whine
L. Ciparis
M. Austenite
N. Tweedledee
O. Chotapeg
P. Haxey Hood
Q. Anaesthesia
R. Nauseous
S. Dewpoint
T. Kathy Najimy
U. Iditarod
V. Lewd vagrancy
W. Leeway

Monday, January 20, 2020

Acrostic for february

Rather by accident, this one is topical this month.

Solution to the New Year acrostic

"I was twelve years old, and I'd never done Valentine's Day before. I understood Valentine's Day, as a concept. The naked baby shoots you with an arrow and you fall in love. I got that part. But this was my first time being introduced to it as an activity."

Trevor Noah, Born a Crime

A. Then fall, Caesar
B. Rotted away
C. Edward Dutton
D. Visionary
E. Ostend manifesto
F. Rotation by
G. Negociant
H. On that day
I. Await
J. Hasty pudding club
K. Boatswain
L. Opiod
M. Red velvet
N. Naivest
O. Askew
P. Cornelius Vanderbilt
Q. Ravish
R. Intensify
S. Moody Blues
T. Eye teeth

This book is a riot, very funny.Highly recommended