Ancient Greek Crossword Puzzle


This puzzle was first posted at 12:00 noon on March 17th, 2000. It took just over 30 hours for five correct answers to arrive. Please do not send me any more. Click here for the Answer Key.

The five winners, in order of finish, were:

1. Mr. Coulter George, Trinity College, Cambridge (answer received at 12:33)
2. Prof. Roger Travis, University of Connecticut (answer received at 1:07)
3. Prof. Owen Cramer, Colorado College
4. Prof. David Kovacs, University of Virginia
5. Mr. K.C. Kless, Bowling Green State University

Honorable mentions for coming very close: Phil Peek, Massimo Raffa, Daniel Riaño Rufilanchas, and Elizabeth Vandiver. (Hint for next time: watch those numerals, which provide a cheap and sleazy escape from difficulties for the designer.)

To simplify the answer key, only Greek letters than can be displayed on a computer screen were used, which cuts down the possibilities considerably. Among the vowels, there is no upsilon or omega. Of the consonants, gamma, delta, theta, lambda, xi, pi, phi, and psi are missing. That leaves fifteen (not fourteen or thirteen) letters to work with, and that number is a clue to the most difficult part of this puzzle.

Thanks to Gabriel Bodard, I have now (July 16th) got the black squares working correctly, so it looks much nicer now that it is all over with.



1.   "wreath, garland, chaplet" (What is a "chaplet"? Something like a wreath or garland, apparently.)
7.   Important and very common untranslatable particle. A wholly different word with the same meaning is found elsewhere in this puzzle.
9.   "empty" (one of the oblique forms).
10.   Same form of same word as 18 across.
11.   Book number for Plato's Myth of Er.
12.   Daughter of a sea-god. Spelled two different ways, but either will fit here, since only the fourth letter differs.
15.   The things Odysseus knew. Plural, of course. No hedgehog he.
18.   "the", but how many and what gender?
19.   "lord, king, ruler". Not nominative singular. Watch out for the dialect.
21.   Different word with the same meaning as 7 across.
22.   If accented one way, it means "or", another way "verily" (whatever that means) or "I said", unaccented and with a different breathing "the".
23.   "you" with apostrophe, or 200, or just (obviously) a letter.
1.   What we are a dream of, to Pindar.
2.   "and" - not the obvious word.
3.   "in" but not "into".
4.   The first word of the Iliad.
5.   "remembrance, memorial"
6.   Can express pity, envy, or contempt, or (reduplicated, with different accents and breathings) laughter.
7.   Means "unavenged" in Iliad XIII, "unpaid" in Iliad XIV.
8.   "disease"
13.   "rags, tattered clothing". Would have one more letter and one more syllable if it were Ionic.
14.   Reflexive pronoun -- far from the only one in Greek.
16.   16,005 without the ticks.
17.   Another name for 23 across, or possibly the name of another letter with the same sound -- not that it makes much difference.
20.   Abbreviated form of 2 down.
21.   Doubly shortened form of 21 across -- not surprisingly, since this is 21 down, and it is two letters shorter.