It’s that time of year again. Try to turn your back on the merry jingle of cash registers and concentrate instead on the simple old-fashioned pleasures of the season. This month’s creation is a tree with needles that don’t drop.


The tree is composed of three independent chevrons. The words for each chevron are defined separately; the clues are arranged so that the answers will appear in alphabetical order. Each answer is a six-letter word or phrase. When all the clues for a particular chevron have been solved, the answers may be arranged so that the last three letters of one answer make the first three letters of the next; for example, PLAINT / INTEND / ENDING / INGOTS, etc. Enter the chain in its chevron, three letters to a block, starting in the lower left block, ascending to the apex, and moving down to end in the lower right block. When you’ve decorated the entire tree, the blocks on the bottom row will reveal (as always!) a suitable message.

Each clue indicates the answer in more than one way. In addition to straightforward definitions, clues may also contain puns, plays on words, anagrams (“The ability to lead people in confusion is a charm”-CHARISMA), or embedded spelling (“How it zeroes in distinguishes a cannon”). Another common type of clue is word construction, where the answer is built of component parts. Example: “American leader requires identification in gift” (PRESIDENT = I.D. inside PRESENT). All abbreviations are acceptable as long as they are in current usage (e.g., TV, p.d.q., etc.). Isolated letters may be indicated in a variety of ways – as compass points, Roman numerals, grades or scores (A,F, “zero” = 0, “love” as in tennis = 0), musical notations (P, F for soft or loud respectively). Parts of words may be used (IVE or just V might be indicated by “MidwIVEs”).

The one paramount rule is that the clue sentence, with a little repunctua-tion, will tell exactly how to get the answer.

Hints for the solver: Three answers are place names. Two of the answers- # 1 of the outer chevron and # 7 of the middle – do not appear as actual words or phrases in Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, though their roots or components do. In the inner chevron, #3 is essentially a French word, though it is listed as an English word in the dictionary.

Send the completed puzzle with name and address to Puzzling, D Magazine, 2902 Carlisle, Dallas 75204. All correct solutions will be held for one week after receipt of the first entry, at which time a drawing will take place to determine the winners. First winner will receive a $25 cash prize. Runner-up will receive a free one-year subscription to D. Winners and completed puzzle will appear in the January issue.


Keep me up to date on the latest happenings and all that D Magazine has to offer.