The Nightmare, Henry Fuseli, 1781
Sunday, October 26, 2008
ACROSTIC by Emily Cox & Henry Rathvon
A Brief History of Anxiety...Yours and Mine, by Patricia Pearson, provides the quotation for today’s acrostic. In full:
“Given my druthers, I would prefer not to be afraid of the following: phone bills, ovarian cancer, black bears, climate change, walking on golf courses at night, being blundered into by winged insects unseemly heights, running out of gas, having the mole on my back that I can feel, but not see, secretly morph into a malignant melanoma. Plus, flying. This is a big problem. Also, on occasion, the prospect that the super volcano underlying Yosemite National Park will erupt and kill us all. Certainly, in addition, unexpected liver failure. And cows. Also, but only occasionally, when I’m really over the edge with anxiety, the fear that the car I’m driving will simply explode.”
That’s a tall list of things of which to not be fearful, so naturally, the quotation as it appears in today’s acrostic is terse and more tense, but just as terrific!
The quotation: I WOULD PREFER NOT TO BE AFRAID OF PHONE BILLS BLACK BEARS CLIMATE CHANGE HEIGHTS FLYING THE PROSPECT THAT THE SUPERVOLCANO UNDERLYING YOSEMITE WILL ERUPT AND KILL US AND THAT THE CAR IM DRIVING WILL SIMPLY EXPLODE.
The author’s name and the title of the work: PEARSON HISTORY OF ANXIETY
The defined words: PLANE (A. Locale of snakes in a 2006 thriller); EVILTWIN (B. Sinister sort of doppelgänger [2 wds.]); APLOMB (C. Poise in the face of adversity); RISK (D. Board game released in 1957 as La Conquête du Monde); SHELLEY (E. Frankenstein’s creator); OVERWHELM (F. Render helpless by sheer force); NIGHTMARE (G. Painting by Henry Fuseli [1741-1825], featuring a Word I., with “The”); HIPPOGRIFF (H. Monster with an eagle’s head and a horse’s body); INCUBUS (I. Demon that preys on the unconscious); STEPHENKING (J. Winner of a 2002 Bram Stoker Award for lifetime achievement [2 wds.]); TRAUMATIC (K. Leaving the psyche shaken); OCTET (L. Brubeck group that played “Schizophrenic Scherzo”); RATTLED (M. Given a pretty good scare); YELLOW (N. Like a scaredy-cat); ODDBALL (O. Geek, weirdo, crackpot, flake); FRIGHTFUL (P. Spooky; horrible; extreme); ANGSTRIDDEN (Q. Perpetually beset with worries [hyph.]); NECROPOLIS (R. Ancient burial ground); XENOPHOBE (S. One fearful of strangers or foreigners); ICARUS (T. Mythical figure who rose and fell); EYEPATCH (U. Accessory for a pirate costume); TALLTALE (V. Account not to be believed [2 wds.]); YIDDISH (W. Language from which “golem” comes).
With its phobias, psychoses, paranoia and monsters, this acrostic is delightfully in tune with the season!
Roger Delivering Angelica by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, painted 1819, portrays the scene from “Orlando furioso” in which Roger, mounted on a hippogriff, rescues Angelique.
Click on image to enlarge.
Puzzle available on the internet at
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