12.14.14 — Musgrave Ritual — the Acrostic

Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes

———————— 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

ACROSTIC, Puzzle by Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon
Edited by Will Shortz

This Sunday’s intriguing acrostic draws a quotation from “The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual” by Arthur Conan Doyle.

The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual is a short story by Arthur Conan Doyle, featuring his fictional detective Sherlock Holmes. The story was originally published in Strand Magazine in 1893, and was collected later in The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. Unlike the majority of Holmes stories, the main narrator is not Doctor Watson, but Sherlock Holmes himself. With Watson providing an introduction, the story-within-a-story is a classic example of a frame tale. It is one of the earliest recorded cases investigated by Holmes, and establishes his problem solving skills. "The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual" shares elements with two Edgar Allan Poe tales: "The Gold Bug" and "The Cask of Amontillado".In 1927, Conan Doyle ranked the story at 11th place on his top 12 Holmes stories list. ~ Amazon.com  

The quotation:  ALTHOUGH… METHODICAL… [HE] KEEPS HIS CIGARS IN THE COAL-SCUTTLE, HIS TOBACCO IN THE TOE END OF A PERSIAN SLIPPER, AND HIS UNANSWERED CORRESPONDENCE TRANSFIXED BY A JACK-KNIFE INTO THE VERY CENTER OF HIS WOODEN MANTELPIECE

The author’s name the title of the work:  A C DOYLE, THE MUSGRAVE RITUAL

The defined words:

A. First and worst among adversaries, ARCHFOE
B. Director of a crew, COXSWAIN
C. British form of “Phooey!” (2 wds.), DASH IT
D. Cloud, fog, muddy, perplex, OBFUSCATE
E. Encouraging cry to foxhounds, YOICKS
F. Relax, LOOSEN
G. Given some improvement or magnification, ENHANCES
H. Onetime game craze with falling figures, TETRIX
I. Jazz Age term for a drug  addict, HOPHEAD
J. Items on which deposit may be paid, EMPTIES
K. Impressively grand, MAJESTIC
L. Like the loser of a medieval contest, UNHORSED
M. Detective whose name literally means “fair-haired”, SHERLOCK
N. n. Go see a therapist, say (2 wds.), GET HELP
O. Notable player of the quote’s subject, RATHBONE
P. Chopper named for a tribe, APACHE
O. Made to seem the bad guy, VILIFIED
R. Whimsical or odd sort, ECCENTRIC
S. Kept a sub going?, RENEWED
T. First small suggestion of comprehension, INKLINGS
U. “Charge of the Light Brigade” poet, TENNYSON
V. In no position to lie (2 wds.), UNDER OATH
W. A little something preprandial, APERITIF   
X. Battle of LEPANTO, 1561 naval engagement that was a setback for Ottoman Turks


The Full paragraph of the quotation: An anomaly which often struck me in the character of my friend Sherlock Holmes was that, although in his methods of thought he was the neatest and most methodical of mankind, and although also he affected a certain quiet primness of dress, he was none the less in his personal habits one of the most untidy men that ever drove a fellow-lodger to distraction. Not that I am in the least conventional in that respect myself. The rough-and-tumble work in Afghanistan, coming on the top of a natural Bohemianism of disposition, has made me rather more lax than befits a medical man. But with me there is a limit, and when I find a man who keeps his cigars in the coal-scuttle, his tobacco in the toe end of a Persian slipper, and his unanswered correspondence transfixed by a jack-knife into the very centre of his wooden mantelpiece, then I begin to give myself virtuous airs. I have always held, too, that pistol practice should be distinctly an open-air pastime; and when Holmes, in one of his queer humors, would sit in an arm-chair with his hair-trigger and a hundred Boxer cartridges, and proceed to adorn the opposite wall with a patriotic V. R. done in bullet-pocks, I felt strongly that neither the atmosphere nor the appearance of our room was improved by it.  ~ The Musgrave Ritual 

———————— 



Click on image to enlarge, 
or Right click and select “Open Link in New Window".

Puzzle available on the internet at


1 comment:

geoff said...

I'm still working on it. Got my paper a day late and then got busy.

I've always referred to O. as Rasil Bathbone