Sunday, September 14, 2008
ACROSTIC, Puzzle by Emily Cox & Henry Rathvon
As would be true of Dorothy Parker in New York a half century later, repeating Oscar Wilde’s latest mot was quite fashionable in Victorian London. "Every omnibus-conductor knew his latest jokes, said Wilde’s friend Ada Leverson. Some of Wilde’s best lines occurred only during conversation. “One must have a heart of stone to read the death of Little Nell without laughing,” for example -- like many of Wilde’s most memorable quips -- appears nowhere in his published work. (This one was jotted down by Leverson.)
That’s the full paragraph from which today’s quotation, which appears in today's acrostic as: SOME OF WILDES BEST LINES OCCURRED ONLY DURING CONVERSATION ONE MUST HAVE A HEART OF STONE TO READ THE DEATH OF LITTLE NELL WITHOUT LAUGHING FOR EXAMPLE LIKE MANY OF HIS QUIPS APPEARS NOWHERE IN HIS PUBLISHED WORK.
RALPH KEYES THE QUOTE VERIFIER is the author’s name and the title of the work -- the full title being “The Quote Verifier: Who Said What, Where, and When“.
The defined words: A. “The very essence of ROMANCE is uncertainty”; ALGERNON (B. Character of this puzzle’s subject who speaks the line in clue A.); LAWSUIT (C. Jarndyce v. Jarndyce in Dickens, e.g.); PHOTON (D. Item of light construction?); HOODLUM (E. Young punk or gangster); KEWPIE (F. Doll named for a love deity); ELLINGTON (G. “Sophisticated Lady” composer); YOOHOO (H. “Can I get some attention here?” [hyph.]); EARNEST (I. Important thing to be, per a comedy of 1895); STEPHENFRY (J. Player of this puzzle’s subject in 1997 [2 wds.]); K. “I can resist everything except TEMPTATION,” wrote this puzzle’s subject; HUSBAND (L. Sir Robert to Lady Gertrude in an 1895 play); M. “Nothing succeeds like EXCESS,” wrote this puzzle’s subject); QUAFFS (N. Hearty drinks); UKULELE (O. Instrument sometimes made from koa wood); OGDENNASH (P. Poet who wrote “I could have loved New York had I not loved Balti-more [2 wds.]); THOR (Q. Figure associated with a hammer); ELVES (R. Cause of damage suggested in Robert Frost’s “Mending Wall”); VILIFIED (S. Made to seem the bad guy); ETHICAL (T. Apt to choose right over wrong); REBUT (U. Say, in effect, “Oh yeah?”); IMPISH (V. Mischievous, pixieish); FLOWERS (W. Items shunned by anthophobes); IRISH (X. Nationality metaphorical for high dudgeon); EDWARD (Y. Prince in “The Prince and the Pauper”); RATIO (Z. Pi, for instance).
"The research in Ralph Keyes' The Quote Verifier is impressive, and each conclusion is like the solution to a real-life historical mystery. Who knew a reference book could be so entertaining?" --Will Shortz, Crossword Puzzle Editor of The New York Times
Less than realistic ... The death of Little Nell, in an engraving by George Cattermole
Click on image to enlarge.
Puzzle available on the internet at
THE NEW YORK TIMES -- Crossword Puzzles and Games
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