Bernhard Sprute, Painting Bienenbild, 2010.
Ed. Note: Perhaps you’ve noticed that we did not, in fact, announce winners yesterday. Noon came and went, and no announcement! It has been brought to our attention that the conditions, as they stand, are too harsh: the puzzles are really, really hard! So we’re modifying the rules—namely, just do as many as you can. Twenty? Great! Ten? Send ’em along. You have until Monday. Good luck!
Send an e-mail with your answers to [email protected] The deadline is Thursday, February 18, at noon EST, Monday, February 22, when we’ll post the answers.
As a boy, I wasn’t alone in believing there to be a wonderful blue-eyed soul duo out of Philadelphia called Haulin’ Oats. Their music, we hoped, would provide solace during our imminent and futile battles against killer bees. Some of us grew up to be small-batch granolatiers and had to fend of lawsuits from Daryl and John themselves.
The answers to the following thirty puzzles are in a similar spirit—of word-bending, that is, not litigation. They employ antanaclasis, homophony, homonymy, rhyme, assonance, and other devices toward paronomasia—okay, they’re puns. The form, I realize, has a mixed reputation.
Maybe a few further words of explanation are required. The answers tweak, reframe, or link a variety of sources: titles of books, movies, and other artworks; proper names; famous lines of poetry or political rhetoric; clichés and other well-traveled terms. Many are paragrams—plays built on the alteration of a letter or letters, not always in service to rhyme. To foster challenge and competition, a few of the clues are oblique, but never deliberately obfuscatory, though anachronism and other breaches of logic have been tolerated or encouraged. Mostly the clues try to cover the bases without too much bold-face. For instance, “Ursine Frisco bandleader trucks off to buy bings and maraschinos” might cue “Cherry Garcia.” That one was judged to be off-limits, but the standard for innovation wasn’t set fussily high. Though none of the answers were wittingly plagiarized, a half hour on the leading search engine revealed, to little surprise, that I wasn’t the first or, in some cases, the fourth to arrive at several of these (ingenious) puns. My apologies, then, for that, and for everything.
Dylan Hicks is a writer and musician. His second novel, Amateurs, comes out in May.
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