As part of my sabbatical from the blog (yes, this is a working sabbatical) I have been immersing myself in the 1940s and that includes the neglected job of tackling the random assortment of papers on my desk.
Several years ago, I printed out this Double-Crostic from the May 13, 1944, issue of Saturday Review on Unz.org and this morning I finally had a chance to take it on.
I like Double-Crostics (the New York Times publishes them in the Sunday magazine as Acrostics) and I consider myself a moderately good puzzler, but I quickly discovered this one was extremely difficult.
In case you don’t know, the Double-Crostic consists of two parts. The solution is a brief quote, usually from a book. The solver is given a list of clues, answers them (ideally) and then writes the letters from the answers into the puzzle grid.
The clues look like this:
As I said, I consider myself a moderately skilled puzzler and I have been doing the New York Times’ Acrostics for years. But look at the difficulty of these questions!
Consider question X: “ ‘Qualis artifex pereo’ were his dying words.” (Nero) Or question C: “One of two founders of the Edinburg Review.” (Jeffrey) Or G: “The fair-ankled daughter of Evenus.” (Marpessa).
Keep in mind that solvers of 1944 did not have Google and might have had nothing more at their disposal than their own knowledge, an encyclopedia, unabridged dictionary and random reference works. All in all, this puzzle is quite impressive.