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The March Puzzler

Message in a Bottle

Message in a Bottle
Previous Puzzlers:
  • "Bright Prospects"
    March, 2000

  • "Your Turn"
    February, 2000

  • "A River Runs Through It"
    January, 2000

  • "Windup"
    December, 1999

  • "Downsizing"
    November, 1999

  • "Cycles"
    October, 1999

  • "Shakedown"
    September, 1999

  • "At the Movies"
    August, 1999

  • "Family Reunion"
    July, 1999

  • "Mismatches"
    June, 1999

  • "Lawbreakers"
    May, 1999

  • "Mystery Box"
    April, 1999

  • "Hide and Seek"
    March, 1999

  • "Central Square"
    February, 1999

  • "Cross-Training"
    January, 1999

  • "Criss-Crossing"
    December, 1998

  • "Back in the Labyrinth"
    November, 1998

  • "Rite of Passage"
    October, 1998

  • "Service With a Smile"
    September, 1998

  • "In Common"
    August, 1998

  • "Nine-Hole Course"
    July, 1998

  • "Guidelines"
    June, 1998

  • "Picnic"
    May, 1998

  • "Three-Ring Circus"
    April, 1998

  • "Marching Orders"
    March, 1998

  • "Step by Step"
    February, 1998

  • "Celebrating the First"
    January, 1998

  • "Cryptacrostic"
    December, 1997

  • "Chessboard"
    November, 1997

  • "Haunted House"
    October, 1997

  • "Double-Crossers"
    September, 1997

  • "Scoreboard"
    August, 1997

  • "Celebrating the Fourth"
    July, 1997

  • "Fortune Cookies"
    June, 1997

  • "Slide Show"
    May, 1997
  • WHILE beachcombing recently, we noticed an odd-looking bottle with a sheet of paper rolled up inside. The paper contained the diagram and cryptic clues reproduced here. The three numbered (Down) clues correspond to the numbers in the grid, but the rest of the Down answers -- and all the Acrosses -- are adrift with respect to their places of entry. The Acrosses furthermore lack bars to show starting and ending points. If all the clue answers are properly placed, nine letters will extend into the shaded area, forming a message of several words -- starting in the upper left and meandering horizontally, vertically, and diagonally through adjacent squares, possibly revisiting some letters. Answers include two proper nouns.

    The instructions above are for this month's puzzle only. See a complete introduction to clue-solving.

    See the solution to last month's Puzzler.


    1. Travel far and wide in green bottle drifting around the middle of Antarctic Ocean (5-4)

    2. Lands invaded by central Galapagos turtles (9)

    3. Battered shore contains old captain's book and timepieces (9)


    a. Wave that crashes glass container holding last bit of paper (7)

    b. Gather in bare apartment (4)

    c. Hostage eating red shrimp (5)

    d. Soup ingredient made over ten ill (6)

    e. Drives at a slant around steamship, and pitches about (6)

    f. Stick together in wayward luge (4)

    g. Hammers small shelves (7)

    h. Getting into Mediterranean wind, I court trouble? (8)

    i. Prove Lea wrong and jump across (8)

    j. Briefly describe small sailboat (6)

    k. Silly goose gets in the way in jail (8)

    l. Good memory connected with ring in a sail (7)

    m. Command raid on Mobile (6)

    n. Large number, for example, sheltered by courageous person (6)

    o. Pluck out tenor with asthmatic sound, but not high (6)

    p. Changing focus, she offers help in the kitchen (4-4)

    q. Answer for boarding long ship in an operetta (8)

    r. Fish expert holding a shell (8)

    s. Stone damaged cork (4)


    a. Shorebirds' circular movements in the sound (5)

    b. Les has developed pain in the neck (6)

    c. Maroon with cold and wet chart again (6)

    d. Makes fun of topless garments for artists (5)

    e. Plateaus' area in confusion (5)

    f. Small change for Mr. Tracy, avoiding extremes (5)

    g. Sailing into the wind, boat returns with ruler (7)

    h. Very early day for Mary Jane (4)

    i. Mineral extracted from chemical (4)

    j. Part of a shell that's violet found in valley (5)

    k. Almost thin sail supporters (5)

    l. Perform bit of tap with walking stick the wrong way (5)

    m. Sea nymphs floating in reeds (7)

    n. Relaxes, empty, while English dine (5,2)

    Copyright © 2000 by The Atlantic Monthly Company. All rights reserved.
    The Atlantic Monthly; April 2000; The Puzzler - 00.04; Volume 285, No. 4; page 135.