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One day, while you work through one of your countless puzzle books, you notice that a sheet of paper has been slipped inside with a curious little poem written on it.

A Study

An ancient man demolished his estate,
And therefore, with enthusiasm innate,
He was bewildered when a hoax was glued
Somewhere beside where he had said adieu.
The dome where five lone defects lost their head
Confounds small pools where diamonds sleep instead.

At first glance you think that it's just another of your brother's nonsense poems, but you notice the slight imperfections in meter and rhyme that aren't usually there, and for some reason you feel that this poem in a particular is positively more cryptic than the others...

What is the poem a study in?


It's been a while, so I thought I'd give a hint:

You turn the page, and notice something written on the other side: 5 4 8 2 5 7 (8)

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  • $\begingroup$ I'm new to poetry, but am I correct in that only the 1st, 3rd, 5th and 6th lines can be iambic pentameters (depending on whether the monosyllables are stressed or not) and the 2nd and 4th rows cannot be? Whether I am correct or not, am I going in the right direction with this? $\endgroup$ Jan 15, 2016 at 16:43
  • $\begingroup$ @SpiritFryer that's correct, but meter is irrelevant here. The main idea of the puzzle is cryptic-clues. $\endgroup$
    – Volatility
    Jan 15, 2016 at 21:52
  • $\begingroup$ Amazing puzzle! Well done. Wish I could upvote more! $\endgroup$ Jan 25, 2016 at 17:40

1 Answer 1

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An ancient man demolished his estate,

ROMAN - "An ancient man", an anagram of MANOR (estate).

And therefore, with enthusiasm innate,

THUS - "therefore", found in "enthusiasm".

He was bewildered when a hoax was glued

CONFUSED - "bewildered", made from CON (a hoax) and FUSED (glued).

Somewhere beside where he had said adieu.

BY - "beside", sounds like BYE (adieu).

The dome where five lone defects lost their head

VAULT - "dome", made from V (five) and (F)AULT ("lone defects" without the first letter).

Confounds small pools where diamonds sleep instead.

PUZZLES - "confounds", from PUDDLES (small pools) with Z (the sound of sleep) instead of D (diamonds).

Put together, this makes

Roman thus confused by vault puzzles

for which the solution is

CRYPTICS - "puzzles", made from an anagram of SIC (Latin for thus) put by CRYPT (vault).

The poem is indeed a study in

cryptics!

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    $\begingroup$ Well done! A dual-layer cryptic clue. That's awesome! $\endgroup$ Jan 25, 2016 at 17:38

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