Cryptic Puzzle TOM TOCe
the 2011 cryPtIc PuzzLes
There Once Was a Man From Nantucket
iN TWO PReviOUS PUzzLeS, i’ve explored the connection between cryptic puzzles and poetry. Both
earlier poems were sonnets, one Shakespearean and the other Petrarchan. i realize, however, that if i am ever
to be taken seriously as a poet, and perhaps one day be named the Academy’s poet laureate, i will have to
confront that most sophisticated of poetic forms, the limerick.
The final word in each line of the five limericks below has
been omitted. One additional omission was necessary to hide
a different form of one of the last words. The answers to the
26 clues will give you the missing words. The poems, which all
involve actuarial topics, provide a context for the words you
need. They also provide information about the structure of
the words. Limericks are rhymed aabba and have a prescribed
pattern of metrical feet (33223). Between stressed syllables on
each line, there will always be two unstressed ones. Before the
first stressed syllable there may be either one or two unstressed
ones. And after the last stressed syllable there may be zero, one,
or two unstressed syllables.
A Lifer designing ____________
Encountered a few ____________.
“All my clients seem ____________
To outlive my ____________,
As if we had sold ____________.”
With all that structural help, I decided to forgo normal
(ahem) cryptic clues. I have omitted the straight definitions
from the clues, leaving only the anagrams, homophones, and
other wordplay. Clues of the double definition variety will
of course be normal definitions of the words you need in the
limericks, though their meanings in the poems will be differ-
ent from the meanings clued.
It is challenging to think of limericks without getting inappropriate. In a rare burst of self-restraint, and upon the advice of my
legal counsel, I have omitted three of my favorites: “There once
was an F.C.A.S./ Whose personal life was a mess”; “There once was
a trainee in pricing/ Whose praises Homerically I sing”; and, alas,
the best poem I’ve ever written, “A back-office cruncher named
Dudley/ Wasn’t someone you’ve ever call cuddly.” Perhaps I will
publish them posthumously or after I leave my job, whichever
The clues are in five groups. It is left to the solver to determine which group goes with which poem, as well as the
correct order within each set of clues. The 26th clue, whose
answer will be placed in line three of “There But for the Grace
of God,” has been placed at random into another group of clues.
There are no proper nouns and no unusual words, except
for some insurance jargon. Everything is playable in Scrabble,
except for the 16-letter word, Scrabble being played on a 15 ×
Thanks to Eric Klis and Bob Fink, for test-solving and editorial suggestions.
TRiGGA, STOCkSNAPPeR, GeORGiOSART / iSTOCk, BONOTOM STUDiO
There But for the Grace of God
All Al needed was one more ____________,
So he said, “I’ll wholeheartedly ____________.”
Ah, but others ____________ ____________,
Only one out of ____________
Passed. When Al got his five he said, “____________.”
Gwen said, “Working in Government ____________
Has ever so many ____________!
We found one—that is, Dunne ____________—
Which was not ____________!
And to think I had ____________!”
A Tendentious Gal
I once knew a gal in ____________,
Who possessed no real ____________.
She was fond of her ____________.
Oh, she loved them to ____________!
And would call correlation ____________.
Solutions may be emailed to Thomas.To ce@
ey.com. In order to make the solver list, your
solutions must by received by Nov. 30, 2011.
A Curious Fellow
A Fellow deep into ____________,
Had some issues around ____________.
His expense account ____________
When his kid’s room and ____________
He put through—okay, that’s just ____________.