09.16.07 -- Electronic Acrostic

Sunday, September 16, 2007

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Puzzle by Emily Cox & Henry Rathvon, edited by Will Shortz
Today’s acrostic contains a quotation from “Masks of the Universe: Changing Ideas on the Nature of the Cosmos” by Edward Robert Harrison. The selected portion of the quotation is in capital letters in the paragraph that follows:
“We have taken the first big step; the atom consists of a heavyweight tiny nucleus surrounded by a cloud of lightweight electrons -- a step accompanied by many misconceptions. It was once the custom to imagine the atom as a miniature solar system in which electrons encircled the nucleus like planets orbiting a star. This idea still persists in popular literature. But ELECTRONS DO NOT MOVE IN CLEAR-CUT ORBITS LIKE orbiting CELESTIAL BODIES. Instead, THEY DANCE AND THE ATOM IS A BALLROOM. THEY PERFORM STATELY WALTZES, WEAVE CURVACEOUS TANGOS, JITTER IN SPASMODIC QUICKSTEPS, AND ROCK TO FRENETIC RHYTHMS. They are waves dancing to a choreography different for each kind of atom.”
HOLST (A. Composer of “The Planets“); ASYMPTOTE (B. Graph line showing another line‘s limits); RAMJET (C. Engine used to propel missiles); RIOTACT (D. English law regarding disturbing the peace, repealed in 1973 [2 wds.]); ISOLDE (E. Title role for a Wagnerian soprano); SHEDTEARS (F. Break down, in a way [2 wds.]); OUTCRY (G. Vociferously negative reaction); NABISCO (H. Maker of Mallomars and Chips Ahoy!); MECHANIZED (I. Like clockwork, e.g.); ABSALOM (J. Treacherous but lamented son of David); SETBACK (K. Change for the worse); KEPTWATCH (L. Acted as a sentinel [2 wds.]); SILESIA (M. Coal-producing region of Poland); ONVIEW (N. Available to be seen [2 wds.]); FRITTER (O. Doughy carnival treat); TYSON (P. Troubled heavyweight champ of the 1980s); HALCYON (Q. Serene and tranquil; glorious); EARLDOM (R. Avon or Inverness, e.g.); UNTOLD (S. Not revealed, incalculable); NICKEL (T. Ferromagnetic metal mined near Riddle, Ore.); INFORCE (U. Active, as a law; en masse [2 wds.]); VERVE (V. Jazz record label since 1956); ESCORT (W. Ford model replaced by the Focus); RETICENT (X. Slow to speak, close-mouthed); SMUDGEPOT (Y. Frost protection in a citrus grove [2 wds.]); EQUALS (Z. Matches or ties; peers).
It is always a pleasant experience to work an acrostic from Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon -- this particular quotation was filled with odd-matching words in relation to the subject matter, which itself was enlightening. The defined words are every bit as eclectic as the electrons’ movements described in the quotation.

Another great New York Times Sunday Acrostic!
The New York Times Crossword Puzzle solution above is by the author of this blog and does not guarantee accuracy. If you find errors or omissions, you are more than welcome to make note of same in the Comments section of this post -- any corrections found necessary will be executed promptly upon verification.
Puzzle available on the internet at
THE NEW YORK TIMES -- Crossword Puzzles and Games
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Anonymous said...

I do this puzzle all the time, but
was having a horrific problem this week. Thanks for saving me from the booby
hatch !!

DONALD said...

I tend not to make note of ease or difficulty as it is different for everyone depending upon their schedule, experience, field of knowledge, etc., but yes, this one was a bit tough!

A long-gone friend once told me that if one didn't get at least four or five of the defined words right off, then it was going to be a long haul. I got only two at the start, HOLST and NABISCO.

Because I blog the puzzle, I had to complete it, so I used references (dictionaries, etc.), but the clues for the defined words gave me nothng concrete with which to proceed. It took me twice as long as usual, I am sure.

Thanks for your comment.