If You’re So Smart . . .
ACTUARIES ARE SMART. That’s our reputation, anyway. And I’m sure some of our friends have won-
dered, if we’re so smart, why aren’t we rich? And in particular, if we’re so good at math and probabilities and
all, why aren’t we cleaning up in Vegas at, say, the World Series of Poker?
Good questions. I thought the topic
might be addressed in a cryptic puzzle.
As in Texas Hold ’Em, the five letters
given below are community cards. Each
hand will employ three letters from the
community cards. The other two letters
must come from your hole cards, which
you will have to determine by solving
the clues, which all lead to five-letter
For example, you might conclude
that WREST is the answer to a clue. E,
S, and T come from the community card
letters, consequently W and R would be
your hole cards for that hand. Had the
answer been STARE instead of WREST,
you would not immediately know both
hole cards. One would be R, but the other could be any of the remaining four,
because you’ve doubled up with one of
your hole cards (that’s generally good
news in Hold ’Em, by the way).
The 36 hole card letters will spell a
pertinent message. The 18 hands are in
the right order, but the hole-card letters
in each hand must be ordered correctly
by you. And if you’re so smart . . .
a. Warms up what’s squishy
b. Wicked old political cartoonist? Yes
c. Come in and record the data
d. Tony’s surprisingly sullen
e. Rip out the stitching in Howe’s
number, using the mirror
f. Santa is shaken by the devil
g. Dirty?—it’s not to a lot of hillbillies
h. Insurance reps losing their leader,
i. Fourteen pounds of granite!
j. Not completely realized by a
Spanish ballplayer in Queens
k. Soitenly chant out of tune
l. Gertrude the writer a German saint?
Quite the other way around!
m. Meats cooked in hot water
n. Nine players and zero earnings?
o. Terrible scare lands at the
p. Bothersome types all over the place
q. Those who rally against
r. Little Palmetto State insect
All of the answers are common
words. There are two proper nouns,
two “crossword puzzle” words, and one
The clues are all cryptic clues. This
means that one end is a fairly straightforward definition of the answer, while the
other is an alternative, often mechanical,
way of getting to the same word. The me-