Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Word Puzzle: What is this book?

Every Christmas I give my brother a book. Because he's the inspired sort who prods, shakes and holds his wrapped presents to the light to figure out what's inside, I give him a word puzzle that he can use to figure out what book he's getting. Today he gets the puzzle.

Every reader of this blog is also invited, every year, to try to beat him to it. This year's puzzle is simple: every number below corresponds to a letter, every letter has a clue, and all the letters spell out the title. It's a famous book that has been adapted into a famous movie.

You don't have to figure it out on your own, but instead, share whichever letters you figure out in the comments below. We've had complete strangers figure out the puzzles together before, which was a kick.

Okay, here's the puzzle:

1. The chemical symbol for Titanium is two letters. This is one of those two letters.
2. The next two letters spell a word.
3. The word is a guy thing. We’re starting off easy.
4. Mom's favorite HBO show begins and ends with this letter.
5. The chemical symbol for Titanium is two letters. This is the other of those two letters, not used in Answer 1.
6. There are two possible outcomes of a sporting match, and this one isn’t a ‘W.’
7. The number of work days in a week, in another alphabet.
8. Both a direction and a vowel.
9. The next two letters are completely opposite sides, often reduced to just two letters. They’re so opposed you’ve probably written them in your shoes.
10. Of course, which order the two letters go in is up to you to figure out.
11. The official letter of first-person narration.
12. The third capitalized letter in the name of a prolific Black comedian whose only album had only three letters in the title.
13. One of very few lower case letters in the English alphabet that typically has a dot over it.
14. The last letter in the last name of a famous American radio host who ran for governor of New York State just to fill in all the pot holes. I may have misremembered his reasoning, but he totally ran.
15. The first letter in the first name of a famous comedian whose seventh album was titled “An Evening With Wally Londo Featuring Bill Slaszo”. He hated that title.
16. The next five letters spell a word.
17. It’s a verb.
18. Your fingers can do it.
19. In chest surgery, someone might do it to your ribs.
20. An anagram of this easily makes another, more fun verb.
21. The next three letters spell another word.
22. Two of these letters in this word are the same.
23. It’s supposedly scary.
24. The only consonant repeated in the name of an English rock band, formed in Muswell Hill, and whose last album was titled “Phobia.”


  1. 6 is a L (though it could also be a D).
    8 is E
    11 is I
    13 is i
    I think. And my brain has faded about that point.
    What an excellent idea. I too was a champion pinch, poke and rattler of parcels.
    Christmas is less than three hours away here, though a little longer for you. I hope it is a happy one, followed by a healthy and productive year.

  2. I'm thinking 8 could be a U, as in U-turn.
    Hope he figures it out.
    Merry Christmas!

  3. Last four letters are BOOK. Can't think of 16-20, and it's itching at me. -D*

  4. 1. Ti stands for Titanium, so start with a T.
    2. 'he' is a word, a "guy thing"

    Had to guess for the next letter, since I have no idea what your mom watches. S sort of made sense.
    5. I is the leftover letter.
    6. L
    7. 5 work days, so V in the Roman alphabet
    8. E, for East
    9. R & L, right and left. (Don't have them on my shoes, but I do use the trick with my hands.)
    11. I
    13. I
    14. Howard Stern, so n
    15. George Carlin - g
    the word I thought of for the verb that your fingers can do, that someone might do to your ribs is 'crack' but I couldn't find a book title that matched.

  5. The Silver Linings Playbook! Good one, John. I'm so happy to have finally deciphered one of these puzzles. Btw, I wrote an article comparing the book to the movie, if anyone's interested: http://phillysportscentral.com/eagles/defending-eagles-fans-comparison-of-the-silver-linings-playbook-movie-vs-book.html

    1. Btw#2, I admit that when doing the puzzle, I got THE, BOOK, and 10 letters in between and then was able to guess the title. I didn't get every letter right. SPLAY - great verb and cool mention of it as an anagram for PLAYS, though I didn't get this part before guessing at the title. So darn clever, John!

  6. I'm glad it got solved quickly, or it would have been bugging me all day. Good work everyone! Thanks for making me think on a normally lethargic day, John!

  7. This makes my head hurt. :) I love the cleverness of it, but the only ones I could figure out without looking anything up were the word "the" at the beginning, haha! Oh, and #s 5-6.

    I got hung up on "both a letter and a direction" until I saw the answer... and then felt stupid. LOL

    Of course, it's already been solved now. But thanks for the mental exercise!


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