French Love, Poodles and Google Translate: A New Methodology to Build Language Families—Isabelle Tellier SpecGram Vol CLXXV, No 1 Contents

Cryptolinguistic Puzzle

Mary Shapiro
Truman State University

1    2          3    4     5   6  
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1. Tire Peter reformed, in the past

7. Extinct Italic language reworking air, numb

8. Pals’ cones reformulated with potentially unlimited membership (2 words)

10. Lingo spoken (between kappa and nu) by Worf (not Whorf)

11. Lack of transparency confusing @ “I copy.”

13. Hawk, or mixed-up Dardic language

15. To age again (with infix instead of prefix), as some parts of speech do

17. Niger-Congo language keeps changing direction

19. The U.S., coming and going, contains limited company in depression on tongue (or in brain)

21. A small mountain, facing west, of verb inflection?

23. Return home? Not quite (awkward) native American language.

25. Indirect object case seen in appointment with four

27. Change of vowel comes back in virtual baby shower

29. Too right, returning for the main morpheme

30. Yes, overdose follows voiced palatal approximant

31. Eli president of LSA greater, but lacking energy and screwed up.

33. Even time may be quantified in semantic analysis

34. Light a pyre containing wayward semantic role for verbs of movement

35. After ten, backwards Arab loses head in theory of syntax


1. For kid, “why physical education?” is best example

2. French pupil wears a tee inside, as some words do over time.

3. Vital youth hides where Tuscan is spoken, officially

4. A rake coming back holds us hostage in Basque (according to the Basques)

5. Loud ring interrupted by Ontario briefly moving forward

6. Classic 55 contains indigenous variationist

9. Muskogean language was a backwards baby bird

12. Each losing head, cover the dare or non-ratified listener

14. Osama Bin Ladin may be object of preposition, in short

16. Ring holds, is like some other tones

18. OE letter or sideways Mod. E. article?

20. English modal (past) seen in University with frigid surroundings

22. Haspelmath is right, in most important ways

23. To a greater degree, got top grade in determining syllable weight

24. Studied color perception with Berlin among Mandinka, Yoruba, Hausa

25. Germanic language empty dull bitch

26. Matrix loses numerals, keeps abbreviated phonetic feature

28. Be, oh, very quiet, like a German Sanskritologist

32. False but not false; briefly, a helping verb

Like other cryptic crosswords, the clues in this puzzle are not straightforward. Unlike most, however, this one focuses mainly on languages and linguistics. For instance, the clue for Zapotec might be “Oto-Manguean variety alters pez coat” (anagram of pez coat), or “Indigenous Mexican language to destroy overtime prior to European Commission” (ZAP + O.T. + E.C.), or “a nice top, a zany blouse conceals retro Oaxacan language” (niCE TOP, A Zany), or many other combinations of puns, anagrams, or typographic quirks. Punctuation in clues is often misleading. Each clue contains both a definition (of sorts) and a more cryptic part, but these may come in any order.

If you can complete (or nearly complete) the crossword and send your solutions to the editors of SpecGram by January 15th, 2016, you could win some SpecGram merch.* The correct solution and winners, if any, will be announced in the February issue of Speculative Grammarian.

The answers to December’s Trickle Down Linguonomics puzzle are: SVO, gloss, lingo, plosive, eggcorn, philology, gibberish, syllabicity, portmanteau, pidginization, reflexiveness. Each of the following puzzlemeisters will receive some highly-coveted SpecGram merch:

Gretchen McCullochHannah RobertsOlivia Doherty

* Note that SpecGram Anti-Hoarding Guidelines stipulate that puzzle-related prizes cannot be won by anyone who has won a puzzle-related prize in the last three monthsthough honor, fame, and glory may still be seized on the metaphorical field of puzzle-related battle.

French Love, Poodles and Google Translate: A New Methodology to Build Language FamiliesIsabelle Tellier
SpecGram Vol CLXXV, No 1 Contents