Contemplating a crossword puzzle clue “What rhymes with clueless?” a thought passed through my mind (waved “Hi!” and then walked right by without speaking). This happened only once before. I had a thought. It then perished of loneliness.
One can imagine the shock of suddenly having another thought so long after the first. Decades, even. Another of these accursed things! Because thoughts become things. We are, in fact, surrounded by them. Things. And thoughts. Or in my case, just a thought.
And so it was time to see how this thoughtless new arrival of a thought might play out. Thus, the thing itself: how many words could one make using the letters “t-a-l-b-o-t-b-o-y-s.” Think Scrabble. Or an anagram, ala “Rosemary’s Baby.”
Remember, there were two anagram puzzles — “All of Them Witches,” a book Rosemary receives — and “Roman Castevet,” an anagram for another name.
So I sat down with a dessert (“Try the mousse”) wearing my favorite amulet (to ward off latent lunacy on the lawn of a certain public place) and this is what bubbled up while feverishly scribbling, scared that one would wake from thought-land — and, like Samuel Taylor Coleridge, never finish whatever it was Kubla Khan was decreeing in his pleasure dome near “Xanadu.”
I only got so far. Turns out the most letters you can use are seven (like dwarves) or six (like, well, two times a stubborn three). Here are the six: abbots; babool; baboos; batboy; blasty; bloats; blotto; blotty; boylas; lottos; lyttas; oblast; slabby; slobby; stably; taboos; talbot; toasty; tootsy; totals; yobbos.
The seven: babools; batboys; bobstay. Hmm.
Sadness. One was hoping to make words like “caring;” “compassion;” “humility;” “courtesy;” “dignity;” “respect.” “Leadership” was probably a non-starter, but one won’t know until trying different combinations, different solutions, thinking outside the box, right? Evidently, you can’t make those either.
But — add “diversity,” “equity” and “inclusion” into the mix, and the possibilities multiply exponentially.
Well, now Ive run out of letters (although at one point there seemed so many). Strangely, nearly all out of patience, too.
Puzzles. This “t-a-l-b-o-t-b-o-y-s” puzzle should be a “no-brainer.” Wonder how much longer it will take to solve? Nevermind. On to the next puzzle, “b-a-l-l-o-t-b-o-x.”
Keith Watts is a speaker, lawyer, author, poet, photographer & mediator. He lives on a small island off the coast of The Chesapeake.