cross-word puzzles

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at RCI.RUTGERS.EDU
Thu Feb 10 22:58:37 UTC 2005

On Thu, 10 Feb 2005 17:10:36 -0500, George Thompson
<george.thompson at NYU.EDU> wrote:

>In his message of 29 Jan 2005 Barry gave references from a Proquest
>Hist Newspapers search for "crossword" and "puzzle", the earliest
>result coming from the Washington Post of April 27, 1884.
>That reference is to a column called "Our Puzzle Department", giving
>answers to puzzles from previous Sundays, and new puzzles.  Somehow the
>Proquest search missed the column from 2 weeks before giving the

You're missing a line...

>[puzzle #] 637 -- Cross Word Enigma.
>  In goat, not in sheep;
>  In much, not in heap;
>  In great, not in less;

   In hear, not in listen;

>  In Dish, not in bowl;
>  In ask, not in beg;
>  In after, not in now;
>  In uncle, not in neice;
>  In ill, not in well.
>The whole is a cape projecting into the Indian ocean.  FAN and HAT.
>[this is the signature of the puzzler.]

(Still extremely difficult, unless you're familiar with the geography of
eastern Africa.)

The Post was publishing these "crossword enigmas" in its Puzzle Department
at least a year before that:

Washington Post, Apr 22, 1883, p. 2

147 -- Crossword enigma.
My first is in fashion, not in mode; my second is in lane and not in road;
my third in peach and not in fruit; my fourth in bottle and not in cruet;
my fifth in seat and not in trim; my sixth in terror and not in grin; my
seventh in honey and not in sweet; my eighth in leave, also in retreat. My
whole is a magic potion.

(This one might be *a little* easier.)

--Ben Zimmer

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