A belated merry Christmas, an early happy new year, and for those who wish to live in the present, a happy 30th birthday to Michael Bourn. Wonder what he's wishing for today.
The holiday season brings for many of you lots of time off, time in the car, or now a couple days past Christmas, time that you just want to be on your own. So now seemed the perfect time to roll this out. It's an acrostic puzzle, an occasional highlight of the Sunday New York Times Magazine that, while not as popular as the ubiquitous crossword, is more of a personal favorite.
It's a puzzle that I dreamt up five or six years ago during some of my own downtime and one that I didn't start working on heavily until I began at BP and saw this as a fun time and place to present it. You can find all the instructions below, and look for the solution here next week.
When you solve one of the clues in the numbered blanks next to it, transfer each letter of the answer to the grid in the space with the same number. For instance, the first letter of your answer to Clue A will go in square 116 and your second in 41, etc. The completed grid will reveal a funny baseball quote, punctuation completely excluded. (Words can roll onto the next line of the grid, and black squares are spaces between words.) The first letter of each of the 25 clue answers in order will reveal the author of the quote and then the source.
Tips for the novice solver
- THE MOST IMPORTANT TIP is to make sure you work this both ways. In other words, use the grid to help you solve the clues. If you can tell that a longer word in the grid ends I_G, it's a safe bet that the second-to-last letter of that word is "N." When you fill that in, you can put the N in the clue answer where it belongs and help you solve a clue. (The letter printed next to the number in the grid is the clue where you'll find that number; for example, 1 is in Clue W, 2 is in Clue G, etc.)
- In addition to familiar patterns in longer words, look for common short words and one-letter words to help you work from the grid to the clues.
- Don't guess wildly. Some of the clues are very tricky, and there will be few that are solvable without any letters, but don't be discouraged. The idea will be to get a few clues, use those letters in the grid to start putting together the quote, and then work back and forth from one to the other. Just guessing will only compound errors.
- Use the fact that the first letter of each of your 25 answers in order spells out a name (first and last) and the source of the quote. That can help you get some missing first letters and eventually solve the clues.
*Update* Puzzle solutions available here.