Children’s letters to the Juvenile Instructor at the turn of the 19th/20th centuries often included puzzles for other children to solve. A favorite format – variously called an enigma, a charade, or a starpath – asked the reader to solve a list of clue words. These clue words formed an acrostic; reading the first letter of each word formed a name or phrase which was the real goal of the puzzle. Because the solutions were nearly always Mormon-related, it is clear to me that the children made up these puzzles themselves, rather than copying them from some generic Gentile source.

Here is one such puzzle constructed by Reuben McBride of Moab and solved by Alice Starband of Cedar City. It is actually a double acrostic – the first letters of each clue word form one Mormon-related term; the last letters of each clue word form another Mormon-related term.

I admit that without the answer key I would have found this quite difficult. If it’s easy for you, answer just one or two clue words, leaving the rest for others to play, or give additional clues to help solve especially difficult pieces.

1 is an animal related to the dog and wolf, found in Asia and Africa

2 is a town and county on Green Bay, Wisconsin

3 is one who saves or delivers; the Son of God

4 is the king of birds

5 is a place in New Jersey where Washington defeated Cornwallis

6 is a great physicist of the nineteenth century

7 is a dry starch or paste prepared from several plants and used as a diet

8 is the financier of the American revolution

9 is the native American

10 is a vine and its fruit

11 is a kind of tree or bush, or a hesitation in speaking

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