Solution to The Lexicographer Looks After His Own

Back to Puzzle


by Ashley Kim and Dai Yang

This puzzle consists of 16 pictures, and 16 clue phrases that look like dictionary definitions but are somewhat vague or bizarre. The first letters of the clue phrases spell out BIERCEDICTIONARY, which hints that solvers should for definitions in Ambrose Bierce’s The Devil’s Dictionary. Each picture depicts a word as it is defined in this dictionary. The pictures are also sorted in alphabetical order, as follows:

Dictionary WordDefinition
ACADEMYn. [from ACADEME] A modern school where football is taught.
APPEALv.t. In law, to put the dice into the box for another throw.
CANNONn. An instrument employed in the rectification of national boundaries.
COWARDn. One who in a perilous emergency thinks with his legs.
DEFENCELESSadj. Unable to attack.
HABITn. A shackle for the free.
HEARSEn. Death's baby-carriage.
HOMOEOPATHISTn. The humorist of the medical profession.
LANGUAGEn. The music with which we charm the serpents guarding another's treasure.
MAYONNAISEn. One of the sauces which serve the French in place of a state religion.
MONKEYn. An arboreal animal which makes itself at home in genealogical trees.
ORTHODOXn. An ox wearing the popular religious yoke.
PHILOSOPHYn. A route of many roads leading from nowhere to nothing.
POSITIVEadj. Mistaken at the top of one's voice.
PRESIDENCYn. The greased pig in the field game of American politics.
REVERENCEn. The spiritual attitude of a man to a god and a dog to a man.

Each of these words is also defined in a different way by one of the clue phrases with a corresponding matching part-of-speech. After matching clue phrases with corresponding words in The Devil’s Dictionary, we notice each clue phrase includes a common phrase or idiom that traditionally contains “devil”. However, the “devil” in the idiom has been replaced with a different word. This is also clued by the puzzle title, which is based on the idiom “The devil looks after his own.” The matchings are shown below, with the word that takes the place of “devil” in the idiom highlighted in bold.

Clue PhraseDictionary WordDevil Idiom
v.t. Beget yourself a handsome person's love.APPEALHANDSOME DEVIL
n. Ideologue who may care if you draw pentagrams.ORTHODOXDEVIL MAY CARE
n. Employment that requires a careful dance with the party line.PRESIDENCYDANCE WITH THE DEVIL
n. Rear-alley quack who advises, "as you stir better the symptom you know subsides."HOMOEOPATHISTBETTER THE DEVIL YOU KNOW
n. Certainly a questionable side if accompanying a scrambled eggs dish.MAYONNAISEDEVILED EGGS
n. Every single god in disguise still desires this attention.REVERENCEDEVIL IN DISGUISE
n. Diction of scholars who speak of the world.LANGUAGESPEAK OF THE DEVIL
n. In which Georg Cantor's staircase is examined.ACADEMYDEVIL'S STAIRCASE
adj. Charged because judge didn't give the accused his due process adequately.DEFENCELESSGIVE THE DEVIL HIS DUE
n. This fellow trembles hearing folk tales.COWARDFOLK DEVIL
n. Intrinsic moral value is in the details of this pursuit.PHILOSOPHYDEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS
adj. Outputting fields, or having whale of a time.POSITIVEDEVIL OF A TIME
n. Notably the lazy bastard's advocate.HABITDEVIL'S ADVOCATE
n. An aggressive "raise the flag" signal.CANNONRAISE THE DEVIL
n. Relocated Tasmanian mammal that enjoys plantains.MONKEYTASMANIAN DEVIL
n. Your vehicle, unneeded by gods incarnate.HEARSEDEVIL INCARNATE

We also notice that the length of each clue phrase matches the length of the corresponding word. By indexing the position of the “devil” in each clue phrase into the dictionary word, we find that the answer is ARCHIVED EDITIONS.

Authors’ Notes

We the authors enjoy two things: satirical humor and Persona 5. The Devil's Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce embodies the former, and is referenced in the latter. We wanted to share the begetting ourselves a handsome person's love of this lexicon with the world in the form of a puzzle, and we hope solvers had a whale of a time.