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