Sunday, May 20, 2012
ACROSTIC, Puzzle by Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon
Edited by Will Shortz
The quotation for this tough Sunday acrostic is from The Other World: The States and Empires of the Moon by Hercule-Savinien de Cyrano de Bergerac.
Hercule-Savinien de Cyrano de Bergerac (6 March 1619 – 28 July 1655) was a French dramatist and duelist. He is now best remembered for the works of fiction which have been woven, often very loosely, around his life story, most notably the 1897 play by Edmond Rostand. In these fictional works he is featured with an overly large nose, which people would travel from miles around to see. Portraits suggest that he did have a big nose, though not nearly as large as described in Rostand's play and the subsequent works about him. His work furnished models and ideas for subsequent writers. ~ Wikipedia
In the passage we cite for an acrostic, Cyrano imagines audible books. He describes them as mechanical and miniaturized; people could hang them in their ears and listen to the voices of the narrators. This was in the mid-1600s, remember. We’ve only invented Kindles and iPods in the last few years. Quite amazing, really! ~ Quotation from Notes From Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon on The New York Times Wordplay blog.
The quotation: [Y]OUNG PEOPLE OF [THE MOON] … CAN HAVE THIRTY BOOKS IN THEIR POCKETS OR HANGING ON THE POMMELS OF THEIR SADDLES. THEY … NEED ONLY WIND A SPRING TO HEAR ONE… . I ATTACHED BOOKS TO MY EARS AS PENDANTS AND WENT FOR A WALK IN TOWN.
The author’s name and the title of the work: DE BERGERAC, THE OTHER WORLD
The defined words:
A. Real swordsman fictionalized in Dumas novels, D’ARTAGNAN
B. Conjuring up, EVOKING
C. Fruit that Jules Verne described for the unacquainted, BANANA
D. Harald Bluetooth or Gustave Eiffel, e.g., EPONYM
E. The study of the nose, RHINOLOGY
F. What’s implied by “Three’s a crowd” (2 wds.), "GET LOST!”
G. Consequence of some wooing, ELOPEMENT
H. In the form of a diamond, RHOMBIC
I. Atribute of mot juste, felicity, APTNESS
J. First name of this quote’s author, CYRANO
K. Didn’t work, went viral (2 wds.), TOOK OFF
L. Vintage amateur radio brand, HEATHKIT
M. One whose accounted may be credited, EYEWITNESS
N. Interrogative challenge (2 wds.), “OH YEAH?”
O. Thin slices of pizza or pie, TWELFTHS
P. Xena or Roxane, e.g., HEROINE
Q. With R., author who wrote about J., EDMOND
R. See Q., ROSTAND
S. Étagère, miscellaneous items, WHATNOT
T. Not in favor, OPPOSED
U. Flash Gordon’s ride to the planet Mongo (2 wds.), ROCKET SHIP
V. Native of this quote’s setting, LUNARIAN
W. Negative aspect, DOWNSIDE
The paragraphs of the quotation: When I opened a box, I found inside something made of metal, somewhat like our clocks, full of an endless number of little springs and tiny machines. It was indeed a book, but it was a miraculous one that had no pages or printed letters. It was a book to be read not with eyes but with ears. When anyone wants to read, he winds up the machine with a large number of keys of all kinds. Then he turns the indicator to the chapter he wants to listen to. As though from the mouth of a person or a musical instrument come all the distinct and different sounds that the upper-class Moon-beings use in their language.
When I thought about this marvelous way of making books, I was no longer surprised that the young people of that country know more at the age of sixteen or eighteen than the greybeards of our world. They can read as soon as they can talk and are never at a loss for reading material. In their rooms, on walks, in town, during voyages, on foot or on horseback, they can have thirty books in their pockets or hanging on the pommels of their saddles. They need only wind a spring to hear one or more chapters or a whole book, if they wish. Thus you always have with you all the great men, both living and dead, who speak to you in their own voices.
The gifts occupied me for more than an hour. Finally I attached the books to my ears as pendants and went for a walk in town.
Click on image to enlarge.
Puzzle available on the internet at