Sunday, May 6, 2012
ACROSTIC, Puzzle by Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon
Edited by Will Shortz
This Sunday’s acrostic gem draws a quotation from Uncle Tungsten: Memories of a Chemical Boyhood by Oliver Sacks.
Uncle Tungsten: Memories of a Chemical Boyhood is a memoir by Oliver Sacks about his childhood published in 2001. The book is named for Sacks's Uncle Dave, owner of a business named Tungstalite, which made incandescent lightbulbs with a tungsten filament, whom Oliver nicknamed Uncle Tungsten. Uncle Tungsten was fascinated with tungsten and believed it was the metal of the future. The book also talks about many other things that happened to Sacks, such as the many whippings at Braefield school, the burning down of the Crystal Palace, his interest in amateur chemistry, and his short-lived obsession with coloring his own black-and-white photographs using dangerous chemicals. It is also an extremely readable primer in the history and science of chemistry. ~ Wikipedia
The quotation: MY MOTHER TOLD ME THAT DIAMOND WAS A SPECIAL FORM OF CARBON, LIKE THE COAL WE USED IN EVERY ROOM IN WINTER. I WAS PUZZLED…. HOW COULD BLACK, FLAKY, OPAQUE COAL BE THE SAME AS THE HARD, TRANSPARENT GEMSTONE IN HER RING?
The author’s name and the title of the work: OLIVER SACKS, UNCLE TUNGSTEN
The defined words:
A. Flirt with smooth moves, OPERATOR
B. Alter states, in a way, LIQUEFY
C. Had quite an effect on, as a dentist?, IMPACTED
D. Master in an orchestra pit, VIRTUOSO
E. Catalytic proteins, ENZYMES
F. Study of the deformation and flow of matter, RHEOLOGY
G. Sitcom that introduced the holiday Festivus, SEINFELD
H. Middle Ages fortress of Granada, ALHAMBRA
I. Tool for a tree surgeon (2 wds.), CHAIN SAW
J. Power unit for generators and heaters, KILOWATT
K. Fun made by a comedy troupe, SPOOF
L. Reproach with severity, UPBRAID
M. Early figure in species preservation, NOAH
N. Quack, CHARLATAN
O. Richard who directed “Help!” and “Superman II”, LESTER
P. Dutch export in a red coat, EDAM
Q. Small-sied links grouping, TWOSOME
R. Of an astronomical shadow, UMBRAL
S. Guy de Maupassant story featuring a vain wife, with “The”, NECKLACE
T. Like a bone in a doghouse, GNAWED
U. Not easily played for a fool, SHREWD
V. Aretha Franklin hit sung in “The Blues Brothers”, "THINK"
W. Put out, like Eliot’s “patient… upon a table”, ETHERIZED
X. Unenlightening reply to a journalist (2 wds.), NO COMMENT
The full paragraph of the quotation: I would sometimes beg my mother to take out her engagement ring and show me the diamond in it. It flashed like nothing I had ever seen, almost as if it gave out more light than it took in. She would show me how easily it scratched glass, and then tell me to put it to my lips. It was strangely, startlingly cold; metals felt cool to the touch, but the diamond was icy. That was because it conducted heat so well, she said-better than any metal-so it drew the body heat away from one's lips when they touched it. This was a feeling I was never to forget. Another time, she showed me how if one touched a diamond to a cube of ice, it would draw heat from one's hand into the ice and cut straight through it as if it were butter. My mother told me that diamond was a special form of carbon, like the coal we used in every room in winter. I was puzzled by this—how could black, flaky, opaque coal be the same as the hard, transparent gemstone in her ring?
Click on image to enlarge.
Puzzle available on the internet at