Goodness of Wit Test #21: Cogitation

In Marcel Danesi’s fascinating book, The Puzzle Instinct: The Meaning of Puzzles in Human Life, he tackles the question, “Why have people from time immemorial been so fascinated by seemingly trivial posers, which nonetheless requires substantial time and mental effort to solve, for no apparent reason other than the simple satisfaction of solving them?” He goes on to comment that “whereas mathematicians saw the puzzle format as a means of presenting new theoretical notions in a recreational vein, others saw it instead as something quite different-as a new literary genre.” Perhaps that’s why cryptic crosswords appear in a magazine devoted to statistics!

The great American author Henry David Thoreau once remarked that, for some enigmatic reason, human beings required that things be mysterious. The unparalleled popularity of puzzles through the ages means that the reason is much more profound than just recreation. Some of the oldest and most widely read books of history are collections of puzzles and games.

Danesi concludes that, “… puzzles are small-scale experiences of the larger questions that life poses to us. Since there are no definitive answers to the large-scale questions, we are strangely reassured by the answers built into the small-scale ones.” By the way, Merriam-Webster Dictionary records that the origin of the word “puzzle” is unknown, but Danesi believes it is probably derived from the Middle English word “poselet,” which means “bewildered or confused.”

Goodness of Wit Test #21, titled “Cogitation,” is a variety cryptic with a slightly unusual-looking grid. The puzzle has a lot going on; it has an honoree, a quotation, theme words, and a bonus phrase. You are going to require considerable cogitation to solve it. I hope it doesn’t leave you bewildered or confused, and I certainly hope you enjoy it.

An ASA T-shirt will be awarded for each of two correct solutions chosen at random from among those received by me by December 5, 2013. A picture and short biography of each winner will be published in a subsequent issue. Mail your completed diagram to Jonathan Berkowitz, CHANCE Goodness of Wit Test Column Editor, #502 – 181 Athletes Way, Vancouver, BC Canada V5Y 0E5, or email a list of the answers to Please note that winners to the puzzle contest in any of the three previous issues are not be eligible to win this issue’s contest.

For the solution to Goodness of Wit Test #19: No Real Opposition, which appeared in Vol. 26, No. 1, please see CHANCE online at

No winner from Goodness of Wit Test #19: Plus or Minus (V26N1)

Goodness of Wit Test #21: Cogitation

Instructions: The eight outer letters spell a word. Combine that word with their location to get a familiar phrase. Each clue has an extra letter in the wordplay. Those letters, in clue order, spell a quotation and source, who is honored in this puzzle. Five clue answers are related to the puzzle honoree. Solvers must supply the familiar phrase, the quotation and source, and the five related answers.

3 Confusion about hot, leaderless South East Asian country (5)
6 Supreme Court document describing very funny things (7)
10 Angers money-losing English (4)
11 Republican pursues junk mail fight (4)
13 Withdraw offering from Zaire to Ireland (6)
14 Registered dietitian introduced to kitchen collection (7)
15 Elmo is a revolutionary African pirate perhaps (6)
16 Learns new catch (5)
18 Most unpleasant call for help at onset of union break (7)
19 Keep in bit of extra salt, lose no liquid (7)
20 Limit most of enforcing in a new way (7)
26 A manager revised character arrangement (7)
28 Stand following flat heel (5)
29 Bother translating start of new letter (6)
30 No-name condition complicated articulation (7)
32 Puts in first of statistician’s tricky exercises (6, hyph.)
33 Patient starts to complain about surgeon, for example (4)
34 Observe pair of novices wager retrogressively (4)
35 After start, right place for entertainment income (7)
36 Nut and others in camera shot (5)

1 Develop ultra abs having a flat surface (7)
2 Cultivate, court, or irritate (6)
3 Best pair of series marked area on ice (6)
4 Covering lines beneath complexion (4)
5 Confused head of orchard raises willows (6)
6 Nimble pitcher traded for nothing in apology (4)
7 Sign to insert sides of open container (6)
8 Massaging masseurs bearing out confusing situations (8)
9 Polished steel vs. plastic (6)
11 Gnarly, eerie surf guaranteed (8)
12 Wordless representation of copied paper (5)
15 Something similar, shaped much like us, but not male (8)
17 Cook onion melt – it’s midday (8)
20 Dictator imprisons a rebel’s leader (6)
21 Stylish, clean and tidy, without identification (5)
22 So sauna might be West Indian hotspot (6)
23 Obscene corespondent showing up from a modern epoch (6)
24 Got vat back in front, empty cask behind (7)
25 Resume discussion before onset of opposition to English writer (6)
27 Instrument held by large back muscles (6)
30 Produce note beginning to explain how much you should take (4)
31 Under ten? Charge really small amount (4)

Solution to Goodness of Wit Test #19: No Real Opposition

This puzzle appeared in CHANCE, Vol. 26, No. 1. There are 10 pairs of False Opposites (the first word is entered; the second word is clued): Across: 1 Chief/Mischief, 11 Cite/Incite/, 15 Aster/Disaster, 19 Undergo/Overcome, 32 Outset/Inset, 36 Tress/Distress. Down: 11 Congress/Progress, 17 Outhouse/In-house, 24 Income/Outcome 27 Onset/Offset.

Solution to #19

1 MISCHIEF [anagram: chimes if] 5 RAT-A-TAT [rebus: rat + a(ta)t] 10 REND [rebus: re+ (-a)nd] 11 INCITE [rebus: in(-v)(+c)ite] 13 TOOTLE [charade: too + t + le] 14 NOTING [deletion: not(-h)ing] 15 DISASTER [anagram: rest aids] 16 GOING [container: go(+i)ng] 18 FIREARM [container: fir(ear)m] 19 OVERCOME [rebus + anagram: cover + ome(-n)] 20 STATELY [rebus: stat + el + Y] 26 CHOOSEY [rebus + reversal: (-s)choo(-l) + yes] 28 NONCE [charade: n + once] 29 HORNS [rebus: shorn; s to end] 30 STICKS [homophone: Styx] 32 INSET {rebus: i(n,s,e)t] 33 HOLY [homophone: wholly] 34 EMIT [reversal: Time] 35 LECTURE [rebus + anagram: E + cruelt(-y)] 36 DISTRESS [rebus: “di”-stress]

Down: 1 CRINGE [rebus + anagram: c + reign] 2 HERO [hidden word: (t)he ro(cks) 3 INSTIL [rebus + anagram: in + list] 4 EDGING [rebus: E(d + gin)g] 5 RING [initial letters: r(evolution) i(n) n(ew) g(overnment) 6 ATTAIN [anagram: it at an] 7 AROSE [rebus + anagram : a(r + o)se] 8 ALLERGIC [anagram + rebus: l + glacier] 9 THERMO [rebus: t(her)mo] 11 PROGRESS [rebus: pr(-e)(ogre)ss 12 ATTAR [hidden word reversal: (Dio)r at ta(ilors) 15 ARDENTLY [anagram + container: dearly + NT] 17 IN-HOUSE [anagram + deletion: outshine – t] 20 SCHOOL [rebus + anagram: s(choo)l] 21 AORTA [rebus: a((-t)ort)a] 22 LECTOR [rebus: (- e)lect+or 23 BOILER [anagram + deletion: Oberlin – n] 24 OUTCOME [rebus: ou + t(c)ome] 25 RESETS [anagram: steers] 27 OFFSET [charade: of + f + set] 30 SOLE [odd letters: s(h)o(u)l(d)e(r)] 31 KRIS [anagram: irks]

Note: A guide to solving cryptic clues appeared in CHANCE 21(3). The use of solving aids—electronic dictionaries, the Internet, etc.—is encouraged.

jonathan berkowitz
Goodness of Wit Test column editor, Jonathan Berkowitz, provides cryptic clues for a variety of puzzles, challenging readers to look at data in a fresh way.

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