The Peristaltic Meditations of Noam Chomsky—Book Announcement from Xerus & Ratufa Press SpecGram Vol CLXXVIII, No 1 Contents

Cryptolinguistic Puzzle ڄ

Mary Shapiro
Truman State University

1     2     3        4  5  6     7     8        9 
     15                 16    17           18       
20  21                        22                  
24             25                26    27          
28              29    30     31                      
32     33    34        35                            

1. Impeach vet, doormat, in order preferred by many historical linguists (2 words)

10. Old English briefly interrupted by 500 in lyric poem

11. You, me, slops, higgledypiggledy, with multiple meanings

12. Greek letter, Roman numeral, distilled spirit make up simplified variety

13. Like some consonants, about (or on) American League

15. Dash type holds flower, as Gothic branch of Germanic

17. Bell’s ratified listener hiding in Saudi torpedo

19. Alias noun in Ghanaian (& Ivory Coast) language

20. I regain unusual former colony where Hausa, Igbo, and Yoruba are main native languages

22. Acronym for modern writing system as classic 102

23. Fail to keep up with author claiming peasant men can’t get wives? Just the reverse!

24. Spoken command to do needlework, like an -eme in linguistics?

25. Endless fuss over object complement part of sentence with new or contrastive information

27. Man holding me could be independent, as clauses go

28. Machines not in, reformed into abstract knowledge structure stored in memory

30. Coal in gala processed in type of historical change

32. Hoppy beer style in short system for transcription

34. No more Anglican physical therapy, I (old Norse) without, like, sound change (supposedly)

36. Species much on time taken apart to create groups sharing linguistic norms (2 words)


1. Newer approach using real-world texts cursing U.S. politics (insane!)(2 words)

2. He did, smelling foul; saw Great Vowel Shift (2 words)

3. Stark into a jumble in German term distinguishing, e.g., activities from states.

4. Optimality theory returns for photo that is commented on

5. Wedding speech act is offshoot of Esperanto

6. Unravel ravel for ends of Greek, e.g.

7. ¿Sun’s no más? Wrong: uncountably many (2 words)

8. Junta, militia, or army camouflaging Dravidian language

9. I yodel as Narcissus jumps around, studying what speakers do in conversation (2 words)

14. Covert agent, or flipper of truth value

16. Nun aura askew in palindromic Oceanic language

17. Professional organization AKA Paul, oddly

18. Broken wit is another name for 19 Across

21. One (a noun), like Roma expert Hancock or phoneticist Maddieson, e.g.

26. In favor of no worldwide legislative body, it is, e.g.

27. Me? Sick alien? No, a French Indo-Europeanist.

29. A university multiplies to help give TMA info, briefly

31. As an agent must do, a hundred times

33. A good English sociolinguistic variable?

35. Prolific semiotician sounds like he’s repeating himself

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 make a good effort on) the crossword and send your solutions to the editors of SpecGram by January 15th, 2017, you could win some SpecGram merch.* The correct solution and winners, if any, will be announced in the February issue of Speculative Grammarian.

Some plausible answers to last month’s query concerning the third batch of L’Ishing du Gwujlang/Lusrveer mnemonically merged definitions (MMDs) are presented below:

  • To make bulbs fashionable is to style lights.
  • A calamitous excursion is a dire ride.
  • To be outmoded expeditiously is to become passé ASAP.
  • An exposed hillock is a nude dune.
  • An anti-technologist influenced by the moon’s gravity is a tidal luddite.
  • Rack meat is shelf flesh.
  • To tongue and slaughter is a to lick and kill.
  • To outline Bohemians is to sketch Czechs.
  • To peddle a limited amount is to sell less.
  • To gag a trainer is to choke a coach.
  • The hindquarters of strikebreakers are scab backs.
  • To seize opportunity is to snatch chance.
  • To wind coils onto a reel is to spool loops.
  • A feeble correspondence is lame mail.
  • To circumvent Oghuzes is to skirt Turks.
  • Comedy sketches on Charon’s river are Styx skits.
  • Economical ñandutí is sale lace.
  • To befoul a bulbous plant is to pollute a tulip.
  • To resize lagoons is to scale lakes.

Thanks to Virginia Bouchard, Andrew Lamont, Johan Ellingsen, and Siva Kalyan for their contributions to the decipherment. Each will receive a prize for their help.

* 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 two monthsthough honor, fame, and glory may still be seized on the metaphorical field of puzzle-related battle.

Despite at least two of them not technically being eligible. Blame the Force 5 Eggnog™ at December’s Indogermanischen Urlaub for the sudden and uncharacteristic bout of generosity.

The Peristaltic Meditations of Noam ChomskyBook Announcement from Xerus & Ratufa Press
SpecGram Vol CLXXVIII, No 1 Contents