11.22.09 -- Turkey -- the Acrostic

Sunday, November 22, 2009
ACROSTIC, Puzzle by Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon, edited by Will Shortz
To the purpose of today's acrostic quotation, Meleager, King of Macedonia, brought the first turkeys into Greece. The Greeks named these birds after their prince Meleagrides. Sophocles, in one of his tragedies, introduces a chorus of turkeys bewailing the death of Meleager. Edgar Allan Poe makes sardonic note of same in his Marginalia.
The quotation: I NEVER CAN HEAR AN ITALIAN OPERA WITHOUT FANCYING MYSELF AT ATHENS LISTENING TO THAT PARTICULAR TRAGEDY BY SOPHOCLES IN WHICH HE INTRODUCES A FULL CHORUS OF TURKEYS WHO SET ABOUT BEWAILING THE DEATH OF MELEAGER.
The author’s name and the title of the work: EDGAR ALLAN POE MARGINALIA
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The defined words: A. German town where Johann Sebastian Bach was born, EISENACH; B. Adamantly unbending in the fact of attacks, DEFIANT; C. Symbol of merit or honor (2 wds.), GOLD STAR; D. State legendarily unified under Theseus, ATTICA; E. Rather irregular, somewhat crude, ROUGHISH; F. Container that’s pig Latin for its type of contents, ASHTRAY; G. Hitchcock film based on a Steinbeck story, LIFEBOAT; H. How most ballet dancers perform, LITHELY; I. Honest-to-goodness, AUTHENTIC; J. Just discovered, NEWFOUND; K. Scope of activity or responsibility, PURVIEW; L. Subaru wagon/S.U.V. plugged by Paul Hogan, OUTBACK; M. Fully realized condition, ENTELECHY; N. Symbol on Israel’s coat of arms, MENORAH; O. Aardvark, by another name (2 wds.); ANT BEAR; P. Any draft of an article after the first, REWRITE; Q. Target that it’s not fair to move, GOALPOST; R. Common locale for a canal, ISTHMUS; S. Study of the kidney, NEPHROLOGY; T. Emulator of St. Anthony, ANCHORITE; U. Undergo prolonged inactivity, become weak, LANGUISH; V. For all practical purposes (2 wds.), IN EFFECT; W. Irving Berlin standard written for his wife, ALWAYS.
Happy Thanksgiving!
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Puzzle available on the internet at
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4 comments:

Stephanie said...

I was struck by your explanation of the quote. After consulting an eminent professor of Greek, I have learnt that in no extant tragedy of Sophocles is there a chorus of turkeys. This is not consistent with tragedy. Sophocles mentioned these birds in a tragedy now lost, according to Pliny the Elder's Natural History 37.11.40. Poe seems to be speaking sardonically of people in Italian opera, not of Sophocles, who is better known as the author of Oedipus Rex, Oedipus at Colonus, and Antigone.

Stephanie said...

ps. I do appreciate this website!

DONALD said...

Stephanie

Of course. However, Sophocles and Euripides each wrote a Meleager. In that, Poe bases his mythic Greek chorus in unresolved fact, exaggerating the nightmare of bad opera.

It might be that Poe's remarks provide the earliest link between unsuccessful theater and the bird of choice for Thanksgiving.

I do appreciate your comments.

Stephanie said...

LOL! :)

"It might be that Poe's remarks provide the earliest link between unsuccessful theater and the bird of choice for Thanksgiving."