Anagramming the News


Really Difficult Puzzles

Child’s play.

Ed. Note: every month, the Daily features a puzzle by Dylan Hicks. The first list of correct answers wins a year’s subscription to The Paris Review. (In the event that no one can get every answer, the list with the most correct responses will win.) Send an e-mail with your answers to [email protected]The deadline is Thursday, April 28, at noon EST, when we’ll post the answers. Good luck!

Our latest puzzle anagrammatizes names and titles ripped or daintily cut from newspapers and magazines published this April. The anagrams have been arranged into three numerically uneven groups. In the first group, Multiplex Marquee Prank, you’ll find the jumbled titles of movies in wide release as of this mid-April writing. With a few exceptions, the anagrams don’t relate to or otherwise provide clues to the movies, but since there are relatively few titles playing widely on big screens at any given time, the pool of possible answers should be manageable. Because some of the anagrams might on first glance resemble nonsense, each is preceded by a context-suggesting parenthetical. So, a puzzle leading to Don Cheadle’s Miles Ahead might look like this: 

(Parental memoir) I Deal Shame

The parentheticals aren’t clues; they’re just for fun. Though the anagrams of course find a home for each letter in the original title, in terms of punctuation they take liberties of excision and interpolation. An anagram might contain a comma, colon, apostrophe, or some other mark not found in the original title, or original punctuation might be missing. “Dylan’s Gym Ode,” for instance, would be an acceptable anagram for My Golden Days. In short, getting hung up on punctuation will, for once, get you nowhere, or, as Samuel Butler had it, Erewhon.

  1. (Terse Rate My Professors appraisal) OK Hegel Nutjob
  2. (Crime report) Razor Deletes a Plebeian
  3. (Jaunty autobiography) Me: A Damn Nifty History
  4. (Celebrity North Pole blooper) Lohan Lands on Elf
  5. (Leftist writing-program director drafts New York Review of Books personal ad) M.F.A. Ump Wants Jacobin Adventures
  6. (Blind date examines collector’s man cave) So Many Dweeby Troves
  7. (Poetic tribute to lachrymal mood music) O, Blubber Tone!
  8. (Shorthand instructions for ready-made art object) Icky Egg Widget 2 B Framed
  9. (Loose travel plans) Raise Hell in My Sodom
  10. (Autobiographical juvenilia) I, Sheeny Tyke
  11. (Rejected Textile World headline) Gentile Threads Vast Lingerie

For the next group of anagrams, Public Reconfigures, we’ve rearranged the letters in the names of newsworthy people from this April. Not necessarily people on the front page, but in the news. The anagrams have been worked into sentences containing two key elements: a word or phrase in bold type, which describes the public figure, and an underlined closing phrase, which is the figure’s anagrammatized name. The rest of the sentence might offer up more clues, or it might only attempt to lend the anagram some usually far-fetched context. A sample puzzle:

Asked if he had regrets, the governor let out a dry snicker.

The answer there is Rick Snyder. Just as punctuation was added or subtracted in Multiplex Marquee Prank, in Public Reconfigures diacritical marks have not been carried over from source names to anagrams.

  1. Entrepreneur sets aside space travel for more modest travels through a drizzly, solemn UK.
  2. “In my dream the tiny blue humanoid was chasing me with a cleaver,” explained the embattled president, “so I fled a smurf.”
  3. When bloc-rocking mayor asks who produced Fiona Apple album, music-savvy cowboy drawls, “Jon Brion, hoss!”
  4. Exhaling his fifth bong hit, Gary addresses the circle: “Look, man, even if one former Manson follower is paroled, it won’t change a thing about this fuckin’ tangle of forgetfulness were in, this, you know, Lethean soul vine.”
  5. Recent National Book Critics Circle award winner wasn’t honored for a fragmentary history of the House of Fabergé, On Seminal Egg.
  6. To illustrate the difference between a challenge and an impossibility, Cali police chief cites the old Latvian saying, “You can’t leech a brick.”
  7. Looking back on boyhood trip to cousin’s farm, slugging third baseman recalls the first time he tried barn ale.

Finally, we have a small group of anagrams drawn from four of the New York Times’s best-seller lists dated April, 24, 2016. It’s getting quite late, and we haven’t given this group of anagrams a fun name. The four relevant lists, which can be accessed online, are as follows: Hardcover Fiction; Hardcover Nonfiction; Advice, How-To & Miscellaneous; and Paperback Mass-Market fiction. This time the parenthetical material both imagines a context for the anagram and gives a clue to the book’s title. Neither the clues nor the anagrams relate to the book’s content.

  1. (You must remember this Maud Gonne diary entry) Yeats begs moi
  2. (Inhale the eye candy at this Hazzard Country idyll) Where Bo Bathes in Cream
  3. (Hip and formidable yet incomplete simile) As a rosy aubade
  4. (Query from Maître d’hôtel) Sir, a vape trip?
  5. (Deathless guilt prods confession) Ma, I harm Mister Hilton
  6. (Hot Canadian stoner’s pillow talk) Best warm reefer mouth, eh?
  7. (We’ll cross out this didactic poster when we come to it) Tons Die! Refuse Cigar Bombs!

Dylan Hicks is a writer and musician. His second novel, Amateurs, comes out in May. He contributes a monthly puzzle to the Daily.