Robin Williams: R.I.P.

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Robin Williams (1951-2014)

The actor and comedian died yesterday, an apparent suicide.  The Williams quote featured in the following two-diagram puzzle is ironic in light of this sad news.

(Note: Diagram 2 involves one wraparound or hidden adjacency: Though they do not appear to be adjacent, B is adjacent to L — on the back side of the Quipto(R) rack.)

Diagram 1:

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Diagram 2:

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August Puzzle of the Month: A Puzzling Riddle

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The Mystery Man to whom the riddle question is directed

Our Puzzle of the Month for August is the answer to a riddle – or is it a joke told by Steve Allen?  We don’t know for sure, but, in any case, we hope you haven’t heard it before.

Here’s the riddle: “What is a question whose answer is ‘9W’?”  The answer to this riddle is the answer to our two-diagram puzzle below.  (And. no, the question is not “What is the best route to take as an alternative to the New York Thruway between New York City and Albany?”)

Note that the question is addressed to a famous person in history – the man pictured above.

We usually make our hints optional. However, in this case, we couldn’t resist using our version of the answer to the riddle where (yes, you guessed it!) 9=W.

Diagram 1:

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Diagram 2:

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George Bernard Shaw: Hobbyists


George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)

The Irish playwright was born on July 26, 1856.  The winner of both a Nobel Prize and an Academy Award, he is perhaps best remembered today for his play Pygmalion, on which the popular musical My Fair Lady was based.

Shaw also gave us many memorable quotations; the following puzzle features one of them.

(Note: The puzzle involves one wraparound or “hidden adjacency”, where pairs of letters (in this case, G and S, I and C, and H and X) that do not appear to be adjacent actually are — on the back side of the Quipto(R) rack.)

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R.I.P. James Garner: Mortality

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James Garner (1928-1014)

James Garner was known to millions of U. S. TV viewers (and to current viewers of endless re-runs) as Bret Maverick in Maverick and Jim Rockford in The Rockford Files.  He died on Saturday, July 19, at age 86.

Our two-diagram puzzle to honor him features a two-sentence “line” he spoke as the character Jess Remsberg in the movie Duel at Diablo.

Diagram 1:

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Diagram 2:

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Ernest Hemingway: Brave Definition

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Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961)

Ernest Hemingway, influential American short story writer and novelist, was born July 21, 1899 – 115 years ago this Monday.  His novels included A Farewell to Arms, The Sun Also Rises, For Whom the Bell Tolls, and The Old Man and the Sea.  Hemingway was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954.  The writer died by suicide on July 2, 1961, when he was not quite 62 years old.

This puzzle features one of the writer’s best-known quotes.

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In Memoriam: Nadine Gordimer

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Photo: Radu Sigheti/Reuters

Nadine Gordimer (1923-2014) with Nelson Mandela, 2005

The South African writer and political activist Nadine Gordimer died yesterday.  She won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1991.

In her memory we offer a puzzle that features something Gordimer said about the old versus the new technology.

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Harrison Ford on Acting

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Harrison Ford

The popular Hollywood actor turns 72 this Sunday, July 13.  Our two-diagram puzzle below features something he has said about the challenge of acting.

Diagram 1:

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Diagram 2:

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The Dalai Lama: Lesson



Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama

Sunday, July 6, is the 79th birthday of the Dalai Lama.  The answer to our two-diagram puzzle to celebrate his birthday is a wise quote from this wise and humble man.

Diagram 1:

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Diagram 2:

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July Puzzle of the Month: Forthcoming Statement

Appropriately, our featured puzzle for July involves four diagrams — the very first 4-diagram puzzle we have ever published!

The whole puzzle is one continuous quotation.  And as usual with puzzles that involve more than one diagram, the same “code” carries all the way through the cryptograms.  (For example, “2″ in the cryptogram for Diagram 1 stands for the same letter as “2″ in the cryptograms for Diagrams 2, 3, and 4.)

After you have solved the puzzle, you may wish to click on the “Puzzle Answers” link, above, for more of this important statement and for background information about it.

(Note: In one of the diagrams — Diagram 3 — the path of the hidden “quip” involves one “wraparound” — where letters that do not appear to be adjacent actually do touch on the back side of the Quipto® rack. For an explanation of wraparounds, click on the “How to Solve Quip-Find Puzzles” link, above, and read pages 130-131.)

 Diagram 1:

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Diagram 2:

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Diagram 3:

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Diagram 4:

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[This puzzle is dedicated to my good friend French Brandon on the occasion of his 75th birthday.  Jim]

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Historic Difficulty

Here is one of the more difficult puzzles we have ever offered – very difficult until you are given some clue as to its context.  For now, we will just tell you that it is a headline that could have been used for an actual historical event.

Why is the puzzle so difficult?  Because it consists of only three words, and the shortest is eight letters!

For this puzzle, we offer two optional hints (at the “Optional Puzzle Hints” link) instead of the usual one:  (a) the standard kind of clue we offer, a “gimme” letter; and (b) another detail about the historical context.

Okay, we will give you one more clue up front: The event turned out to be one of the most momentous of the Twentieth Century.  And a solution suggestion: Focus on the third word; it is a distinctive one.

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