PUZZLING Cross Words

Into the life of every enigmatographer, some rain must fall – and this puzzle brought the heavens down on me. I discovered when writing my definitions that I’d used the same innocuous but indispensable little three-letter word twice. Gone the beautiful fit of the words, gone the self-congratulation – the cat that swallowed the canary had choked on it! One of the words simply had to be changed, and you can never change a thread in the weave without disturbing the entire fabric. So this puzzle is Opus 2, the decomposed and reformulated body of the original. When the diagram is complete, you will be able to read down the heavy black squares on the main diagonal and find what you should feel like, one way or the other. 1 hope the damn thing will be a challenge to solvers; it certainly was for me!


To solve the puzzle, first fill in the numbered blanks of any clues you can decipher. As an aid to the solver, the clue answers are in alphabetical order so that, for instance, the answer “Dallas” would precede the answer “Dalliance.” Each time you fill a clue blank, transfer the letters to the correspondingly numbered blanks in the message.

Each message blank is characterized by a letter as well as a number – the letter indicates which clue the blank is to be filled from. Even with a very few clues filled in, you will begin to see words and phrases take shape in the message. Use word lengths, arrangement, and punctuation to help in deciphering the message. Work back and forth, from clues to message and from message to clues, until the puzzle is completed.

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 spellings (“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 required 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” = O, “love” as in tennis = O), musical notations (P, F for soft or loud respectively). Parts of words may be used (I VE or just V might be indicated by “MidwIVEs”).

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

Note: Believe it or not, 12 down actually is in Webster’s Third New International Dictionary. (So is enigmatographer.)

Send the completed puzzle (or reasonable facsimile) to Puzzling, D Magazine, 1925 San Jacinto, Dallas, Texas 75201. 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 June issue.


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