THE PUZZLE Letter Drop

You’ll be dropping letters as you move across the page, but each dropped letter will go into a letter box, where it will eventually mean something. Nothing is ever truly lost!


The words for each column are defined so that their answers are in alphabetical order. Solve the clues for column A. Then rearrange the answers so that their first letters reading down make a six-letter word. Enter the answers in thai order in column A and enter their first letters in the leftmost column of square boxes.

Now solve the column B clues. Rearrange the B answers so that each is next to a column A answer which contains all of its letters plus one. (Example: If the first column answer were ALIVE, the corresponding next column answer might be VEIL, and the dropped letter would be A.) Enter each column B answer on the same line as its column A source word, and put the dropped letter in the box between the two answers. When column B is completed, the column of boxes between A and B. reading down, will make another six-letter word.

Next solve column C, whose answers will be rearranged as before, matching their derivation from column B words, with the dropped letters entered in the boxes between each C word and its B source word. Finally, enter the last letters of the column C words in the rightmost column of boxes. (Using the previous example, the column C word might be LIE, the dropped letter V would be in the box between columns B and C, and the final letter E would be entered in the rightmost box.)

Of course, you might equally well start with column C words and move leftward by adding letters. In any case, when all answers have been deciphered and entered correctly, the four columns of boxes will reveal a puzzler’s lament.

Note: Four clue answers are proper names.

Each clue points to the answer in more than one way. In addition to straightforward definitions, clues may also contain puns, plays on words, anagrams, or embedded spellings (e.g. “HOW IT ZERoes in distinguishes a cannon.”) Sometimes the answer may be constructed out of component parts (e.g. “American leader requires identification in gift”: I.D. inside PRESENT is PRESIDENT, the answer). The one paramount rule is that the clue sentence, with a little re-punctuation, will tell exactly how to get the answer.

Send the completed puzzle (or reasonable facsimile) by July 10 to Letter Drop, D Magazine, 1700 Commerce Street, 18th Moor, Dallas TX 75201. Include your name, address, phone number, and e-mail address. The first correct solution in a random drawing will receive a white polo shirt embroidered with the D logo. A runner-up will receive a 12-month gift subscription to D Magazine. Winners and the completed puzzle will appear in the September issue. Log on to each Monday for new helpful hints.


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