Ninth Mirage

It was a miserable, rainy afternoon and the Actuary and I had decided to spend it inside, playing a game of Anagrams. I would say a word, name or phrase and the Actuary would try to come up with an anagram of it. So far, he had succeeded every time.

“Albert Einstein,” I said.

“Elite brain sent,” replied the Actuary, without a moment’s hesitation.


“Made riches.”

“Nicolaus Copernicus.”

“Our sun’s iconic place.”

“Isaac Newton.”

“I want a scone.”

“What about Kim Kardashian?”

The Actuary paused, and for a moment, I thought I had finally stumped him, but then he smiled and said, “I am a kind shark.”

I had forgotten. The Actuary is never stumped.

“That’s enough for me, for now,” said the Actuary. “Why don’t we swap for a while? I’ll say the words and you can come up with the anagrams.”

I hesitated. I had never been very good at solving anagrams.

“Come on,” said the Actuary. “I won’t make them too hard. I promise.”

“OK,” I said, reluctantly.

“Excellent. How about we start with… sycophant?”

I wrote the word down on a piece of paper and stared at it, but even after five minutes of jumbling the letters, I couldn’t make anything from them. “It’s no good,” I said, throwing the paper down in disgust. “I can’t do it.”

“Yes, you can,” said the Actuary. “You just need to look at it from a different angle.” He picked up the paper I’d dropped and drew a grid on it, which he then filled in with letters and handed back to me.

“That looks like a Sudoku puzzle, but with letters instead of numbers,” I said.

“Exactly. It’s a Wordoku made up of the letters of ‘sycophant’. Solve this puzzle and you’ll find an anagram of ‘sycophant’ that also doubles as a definition of it.”

“That doesn’t sound too bad. I hate anagrams, but Sudokus, I can handle.”

“Well if that’s the way you feel, then I can make it a little harder for you.”

“No, no. This’ll be fine,” I said. In future, I must learn to keep my big mouth shut.




In Actuaries 188 you were given a logic puzzle and asked to determine the names of each of the Actuary’s five previous companions, the year in which the Actuary met each of them, their home city or planet and their occupation. The correct combinations are as follows:

Gabrielle – 1477 AD – Mars – Rock Star
Jack – 1985 AD – Tralfamadore – Soldier
Marty – 5032 AD – London – Student
Rose – 62 BC – Los Angeles – Time Agent
Sam – 2525 AD – Athens – Detective

18 correct answers were submitted. The winner of this month’s prize, selected randomly from among the correct entries, was Robert Schwerkolt, who will receive a $50 book voucher.

Also, in last month’s issue, the winner of the March puzzle prize was accidentally omitted. Five correct answers were submitted in March, and the winner of the March prize, who will also receive a $50 book voucher, was Iain Bulcraig. My deepest apologies for the oversight.

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