Sunday, December 7, 2008 ACROSTIC, Puzzle by Emily Cox & Henry Rathvon, edited by Will Shortz Tough stuff! Puzzle and quote! I hope you’re not reading’ this ‘fore you do this Sunday’s acrostic, or at least take a whirl at it, ‘cause this one’s a real brainduster! The quotation is taken from Timothy Egan’s “The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl” (link here for Dust Bowl). -- to paraphrase various assessments of the book, it is a work which documents the dust storms that terrorized America's High Plains in the darkest years of the Depression, times like nothing ever seen before or since. It follows a half-dozen families and their communities through the rise and fall of the region, going from sod homes to new framed houses to huddling in basements with the windows sealed by damp sheets in a futile effort to keep the dust out -- desperate attempts to carry on through blinding black blizzards, crop failure, and the deaths of loved ones. Drawing on the voices of those who stayed and survived, Egan tells a story of endurance and heroism against the backdrop of the Great Depression. The quotation: WHEN THE DUST FELL IT PENETRATED EVERYTHING NOSE THROAT KITCHEN BEDROOM WELL THE EERIEST THING WAS THE DARKNESS PEOPLE TIED THEMSELVES TO ROPES BEFORE GOING TO A BARN JUST A FEW HUNDRED FEET AWAY LIKE A WALK IN SPACE The author’s name and the title of the work: TIMOTHY EGAN WORST HARD TIME The defined words: A. Scourge of the Great Plains, TWISTER; B. Devote, as time or effort, INVEST; C. Type in “Goodfellas”, MOBSTER; D. Scold, upbraid, rebuke, OBJURGATE; E. Olympic event since 1988 (2wds.); TABLE TENNIS; F. What the Latin word “focus” means, HEARTH; G. Ennui-inducing performance, YAWNER; H. Polk’s place in presidential history, ELEVENTH; I. St. Louis’s arch, symbolically, GATEWAY; J. Geometric measure of a triangle, ALTITUDE; K. Source of info on current affairs (2 wds.), NEWS DESK; L. Recreation time, WEEKEND; M. Stored, as a resume (2 wds.) ON FILE; N. Oil rig crew member, ROUGHNECK; O. Slender tubes of insulating material that cover bare wire, SPAGHETTI; P. Play a pennywhistle, TOOTLE; Q. Despised outlaw of the Old West (2 wds.), HORSE THIEF; R. Expert, wizard, maven, ADEPT; S. Given a boost in energy, REFRESHED; T. The ‘00s, e.g., DECADE; U. Discuss office matters, say (2 wds.), TALK SHOP; V. Contributing current, INFLOW; W. Producer of “twilight sleep”, MORPHINE; X. Slip away, slide by, ELAPSE. The quotation from the text of “The Worst Hard Time“: “In 1929, the start of the Great Depression… The rains disappeared -- not just for a season but for years on end. With no sod to hold the earth in place, the soil calcified and started to blow. Dust clouds boiled up, ten thousand feet or more in the sky, and rolled like moving mountains -- a force of their own. When the dust fell, it penetrated everything: hair, nose, throat, kitchen, bedroom, well. A scoop shovel was needed just to clean the house in the morning. The eeriest thing was the darkness. People tied themselves to ropes before going to a barn just a few hundred feet away, like a walk in space, tethered to the life support center.” Pray for rain! ------------------ For a few disaster cartoons, go to The Crossword Puzzle Illustrated, or go here and wait for the cow! How about a drive into a dust storm in Australia? HERE.
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