This is an acrostic puzzle which uses cryptic clues. If you're unfamiliar with either or both of those, you can click the associated link.

A complete answer should give the quote, author and source, as well as solutions and explanations of the cryptic clues.

Oh, and in case you're too lazy to solve this with actual pencil and paper, I've created an interactive version that will autofill from the grid to the clues and vice versa. Have fun!

An accessible version for the visually impaired can be found here.

an image of the puzzle. for an interactive or accessible version, visit the link above


1 Answer 1


The quotation:

As expected, the Cornell-Harvard game was tense, hard-fought and punctuated with dramatic momentum swings. With ten minutes left to play, the score had been tied ten times and the lead had changed eight times.

This seems to be

from Outside the Limelight: Basketball in the Ivy League, by Kathy Orton.

Solutions to clues:

A. OMEN (substring)
B. RAWHIDE (WH in RAID + (-whos)E)
C. TAP DANCE (reverse cryptic)
D. OVERSLEEP (O + VERSE + EP, containing L)
E. NATTY (apparently this means "national college football championship" or something, and UGA really have wone it two years in a row)
G. UFF DA ((-d)UFF(+d) + A; one must imagine this as a Down clue)
H. THWART ((RAW + H(-am))< in two Ts)
L. ECCENTRIC (ECCE + TRIC(-king), installing N)
M. THEME (regularly spaced letters)
N. HATCHED (HATCHE(-t) + D; I think "hatchet" is being used as a verb here so that "axe" can mean to remove its last letter)
P. LAUGH (LUG around A, plus H; "kid" meaning "joke")
Q. ITEM (initial letters)
R. MADDEN (I think this is the name of a video game so ddef)
S. EXCLUDED ((-s)ECLUDED containing X)
T. LEWDNESS (reversed substring)
U. IN THE AIR TONIGHT (anagram, &lit)
W. HOGWASH (HOGWARTS losing RT, plus H)
X. TAUT (U in TAT)

Credit where due: Part of the wordplay for G was figured out not by me but (in comments below) by Stiv. Part of the wordplay for L was figured out not by me but (in comments below) by M Oehm.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Re G, I think 'downfall' implies moving the front character to the end (not just dropping it), then the stray 'A' can come from 'an'... $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Commented May 9, 2023 at 20:09
  • $\begingroup$ yeah @Stiv got my intention for G spot on. for L, that one is a little bit tricky but I think it's fair. might just require someone to have an aha moment $\endgroup$
    – juicifer
    Commented May 9, 2023 at 20:25
  • $\begingroup$ Ah. I would only do that for a down clue in a crossword, which these fairly clearly aren't :-). Still, fair enough. Still thinking about L. $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Commented May 9, 2023 at 23:47
  • $\begingroup$ @GarethMcCaughan fair, although I don't consider these to be strictly down clues, but I do try to avoid down-only reversals when I can, so something like "delayed appearance" might've been better in hindsight $\endgroup$
    – juicifer
    Commented May 10, 2023 at 2:14
  • $\begingroup$ As for L: I can see that "having" means "deceiving" -- "a little bit tricky" in jucifer's words -- and that the leader is not the first letter, but a ruler. (And since this doesn't seem to get a lot of attention: Thanks for the puzzle and for providing an online-solvable version. I enjoyed solving this.) $\endgroup$
    – M Oehm
    Commented May 10, 2023 at 8:01

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