03.16.08 -- Solitaire -- the Acrostic

Sunday, March 16, 2008
ACROSTIC -- Puzzle by Emily Cox & Henry Rathvon, edited by Will Shortz

In Catherine Crawford‘s “If You Really Want to Hear About It: Writers on J. D. Salinger and His Work”, Michiko Kakutani writes of “The Catcher in the Rye”:

“From first page to last, The Catcher in the Rye is an exercise in button-pushing, and the biggest button it pushes is the adolescent’s uncertainty and insecurity as he or she perches precariously between childhood, which is remembered fondly and wistfully, and adulthood, which is the great phony unknown. Indeed a case can be made that The Catcher in the Rye created adolescence as we now know it, a condition that barely existed until Salinger defined it. He established whining rebellion as essential to adolescence and it has remained such ever since. It was a short leap indeed from The Catcher in the Rye to The Blackboard Jungle to Rebel Without a Cause to Valley Girls to the multibillion-dollar industry that adolescent angst is today.

“The cheap sentimentality with which the novel is suffused reaches a climax of sorts when Holden’s literary side comes to the fore. He flunks all his courses except English. “I’m quite illiterate,” he says early in the book, “but I read a lot,” which establishes the mixture of self-deprecation and self-congratulation that seems to appeal to so many readers In one of the novel’s more widely quoted passages he then says:

“’What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though. I wouldn’t mind calling this Isak Dinesen up. And Ring Lardner, except that D.B. told me he’s dead.

The Catcher in the Rye is a maladroit, mawkish novel, but there can be no question about its popularity or influence. My own hunch is that the reason is the utter, innocent sincerity with which it was written. It may be manipulative, but it’s not phony. A better, more cynical writer than Salinger easily could write a book about a troubled yet appealing teenager, but its artifice and insobriety would be self-evident and readers would reject it as false. Whatever its shortcomings, The Catcher in the Rye is from the heart -- not Holden Caulfield’s heart but Jerome David Salinger’s. He said everything he had to say in it, which may well be why he has said nothing else.”

The defined words: A. SPANISH, Like the words in un diccionario; B. AUTOHARP, Descendant of a Volkszither; C. LAUGHER, One-sided game, in baseball slang; D. INLUCK, Graced by serendipity (2 wds.); E. NOSHOW, Creator of an empty seat (hyph.); F. GRINCH, Pollyanna’s opposite; G. EYELIDS, Palpebrae; H. RELIC, Piece of the past; I. TWOFER, Package deal, of a sort; J. HOTAIR, Overblown rhetoric (2 wds.); K. EMPLOYER, Mr. Burns, to Homer Simpson; L. CAULFIELD, Surname of this quote’s fictional narrator; M. ATTITUDE, Hostile state of mind; N. TOMHANKS, Actor with the line “Houston, we have a problem” (2 wds.); O. CHOWDOWN, Fill the old breadbasket (2 wds.); P. HAIKU, Insight in three lines; Q. ENTITY, Something that is; R. RAINBOW, Variety of sherbet; S. ITSELF, What a tapeworm may fertilize to reproduce; T. NUDITY, Cause for a PG-13 rating; U. TUTTUT, “You ought to be ashamed” (hyph.); V. HANNAH, Palindromic moniker from the Disney Channel; W. EDWOOD, Director of “Plan 9 From Outer Space” (2 wds.); X. ROOKIE, What Willie Mays was in 1951; Y. YOUMANS, “Tea for Two” composer; Z. EDISON, Entrepreneur associated with bright ideas.

Click on image to enlarge.

Puzzle available on the internet at
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