We went to our local second-hand book fair the other week. It was larger than ever, because they had accrued so many books over the two years since the preceding one. As usual, I came away with something slightly out of the common run.
Das Große Kreuzwort Rätsel Lexikon (published by Duden) to be exact. Or (it’s German, after all) Das Große Kreuzworträtsellexikon, as it says on the spine. It contains more than 160 000 Rätselwörtern, as it says once on the front and twice on the back making it “das umfassende und kompetente Nachschlagewerk”. Certainly the back cover contains the highest density of German polysyllables I’ve seen for a while.
I have acquired the 1990 and perhaps only edition – Duden no longer list it on their website, though they have a range of children’s puzzle books, as well as a lot of general language references. A lot is made of their collaboration with the Rätselagentur (or puzzle agency) Lackner + von Berg who are very much still around.
The layout of the book is very similar to that in Bradford (especially the electronic Bradford). You start with:
Aa: 8 – Bergbach
and end 831 pages later with:
Zytosom: 5 – Zelle; 11 – Zellkoerper
My German is not what you would call good – indeed, it struggles to be what you would call bad. I can make out Hillbrook and the Aa is a river, so maybe it’s an alternative name. At the other end of the alphabet I’m fairly confident about ‘cytosome’ and things cellular.
In between you find several splendid lists. The birthplaces of famous people, for instance – or, at least, of Bach, Beethoven, Dürer, Einstein, Jesus, Luther, Mohammed, Mozart and Schiller, which is a pretty eclectic grouping. If you wish to offer any of them Geburtstagsgruß then you can try 13 – Happy birthday.
There’s quite a lot of English in there, in fact. Even the cover has the answer CAR. What, I thought, was that the German for? “engl.: Auto” (sic) said the clue. Crossing it was “olivgrüner Papagei”, three letters, ending in A. Kea gets everywhere…
This time around we have a Church Times puzzle from 2011. It was No. 1,114 on its appearance, and ten years on the sequence has rolled around to the low 1,600s. 1611 will be a special, and I’ll say more about that nearer the time (July 2).
But there’s another, more significant milestone before that, and I’ll say more about that in the next blog.
And even before that: the Inquisitor has a puzzle of mine this weekend (An Alternative Guide to Wonderland). That is No. 1,699 in the series, and elementary arithmetic will tell you that 1,700 must be hot on its heels. So you’ll get me back again as part of the PINK team.