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How familiar are you with the titles of Pragmatic Bookshelf books? Here’s your chance to find out. The seven sets of blanks below represent the titles of seven of our books. We’ve left out spaces and punctuation, so the only clue you have for each title is the number of blanks: that’s the number of letters in the title. You get six chances to guess what letters are in the titles. You’re on your honor to use just six guesses. (You might want to print the puzzle so you can fill in the blanks as you go.)

You find out whether your guess was right by consulting the Table and the Key. Here’s how that works:

The Table contains one row for each letter of the alphabet and one column for each of the book titles. Say you guess that the letter E is in title 1. Look in the Table in column 1 and row E, and note the symbol you find. It’s A. That’s the key symbol. Look it up in the Key, and it will tell you the positions, if any, where the letter E appears in word 1.

For key symbol A, you find an entry of 0, which means that the letter E doesn’t appear in title 1 at all. So don’t guess that. Guess some other letter. And then another, writing the letters in the blanks, until you have either figured out the title or used up your six guesses.

Keep track of the number of guesses you use. Your final score is the sum of the number of guesses you used on each of the seven titles. If you solved the title, this will be a number between 1 and 6. If you use all six guesses and still don’t know what the title is, your score for that title is 7. If you skip a title, your score for that title is 7. So your total score will be a number between 7 and 49, the lower the better.

Whatever your score is, send it to us. We’ll announce the lowest scorer in the next issue. If that’s you, you’re a true Pragmatic Bookshelf browser.

The Books

  1. — — — — — — —

  2. — — — — — — — — — — — —

  3. — — — — — — — —

  4. — — — — — — — — — — — —

  5. — — — — — — — — — — — —

  6. — — — — — — — —

  7. — — — — — — — — — — — — —

The Table

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

A

B

D

I

I

C

3

4

B

A

C

G

J

M

D

M

C

D

G

A

J

L

B

5

D

E

J

A

V

G

H

D

E

A

D

T

C

Y

F

H

F

J

P

M

D

A

M

G

G

M

O

D

G

A

J

6

H

J

A

D

B

G

M

O

I

H

A

G

P

Z

D

7

J

M

A

G

D

M

J

M

K

D

K

J

A

G

M

M

L

J

A

D

X

F

G

F

M

G

D

H

J

M

M

A

N

I

R

A

K

G

D

Q

O

K

D

A

W

J

C

K

P

D

A

G

J

O

M

M

Q

A

G

J

M

D

M

M

R

C

G

A

N

1

E

D

S

D

G

A

J

2

M

M

T

A

H

U

G

D

K

J

U

F

S

G

A

J

D

M

V

G

A

J

D

M

M

M

W

M

M

D

A

M

G

J

X

G

D

E

M

J

A

M

Y

J

D

M

G

M

M

A

Z

M

A

D

G

M

J

J

The Key

Find the key symbol from the Table and look it up here to find the position or positions in the book title where the letter appears. A position of 0 means that the letter does not appear in the title.

A=0; B=1; C=2; D=0; E=3; F=4; G=0; H=5; I=6; J=0; K=7; L=8; M=0; N=9; O=10; P=11; Q=12; R=4,9; S=1,3,6,8,12; T=2,8; U=1,4,7; V=8,12; W=5,10; X=3,4; Y=7,11; Z=3,9; 1=1,6; 2=5,12; 3=6,8; 4=1,8; 5=6,9; 6=2,13; 7=3,11.

Solution to Last Issue’s Quiz

Last month we presented a Sudoku puzzle with a couple of twists—it used letters instead of digits, and there was a hidden message. In one of the rows or columns of the solved Sudoku, we hid what Lisa was to Apple.

And what was Lisa to Apple? That’s answered in the center row: it’s a BACKRONYM. A backronym is an acronym created in reverse: you come up with the acronym itself, and then you invent an explanation for what the letters are supposed to stand for. In the case of Apple’s Lisa computer, the name allegedly stood for “Local Integrated Software Architecture,” although the machine was almost certainly named after Steve Jobs’s daughter. There are probably a lot more backronyms than are admitted to. BASIC, which supposedly stands for “Beginner's All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code,” is surely a backronym. You can probably think of others.

Here’s the Sudoku solution: