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Acrostic poems are related to crossword puzzles in that they can be read in multiple directions.

An acrostic (from the late Greek akróstichon, composed by ákros, «extreme», and stíchos, «verse») is a poem or some other text written in an alphabetic script, in which the first letter, syllable or word of each verse, paragraph, or some other recurring feature in the text spells out another message.

Acrostics may simply spell out the letters of the alphabet in order; these acrostics occur in the Lamentations of Jeremiah, and in certain of the Psalms of the Hebrew Bible, in particular the long Psalm 119, which typically is printed in subsections named after the letters of the Hebrew alphabet, each of which is featured in that section. Or, the acrostic may spell out a name or some other message, such as the acrostic contained in the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, where the letters of the acrostic are embellished with ornate capital letters. Or, the acrostic may be used as a form of steganography, seeking to conceal the message rather than to proclaim it.

An acrostic is also a type of word puzzle, related somewhat to crossword puzzles. It typically consists of two parts; the first part is a set of lettered clues, each of which has numbered blanks representing the letters of the answer. The second part is a long series of numbered blanks and spaces, representing a quotation or other text, into which the answers for the clues fit. By filling out as many of the clues as you can, placing those letters into the quotation, then filling letters into the quotation based on the pattern of letters in the words and backfilling those into the clues, you eventually come up with the full quotation.

For example, two clues might be:

A. Country of the Rising Sun: _____
B. Not doing anything: ____

To fit into the following quotation form:

____ ___ ____ ____ __ ___ ____
1234 567 891011 12131415 1617 181920 21222324

If the answer to clue A is JAPAN, then it fills in as follows:

_A__ A__ J___ __N_ _P ___ ____
1234 567 891011 12131415 1617 181920 21222324

Letters 16 and 17 form a two-letter word ending in P; this has to be UP; hence, letter 16 is a U, which can be filled into the appropriate clue answer in the list of clues. Likewise, a three-letter word starting with A could be and, any, all, or even a proper name like Ann. One might need more clue answers before daring to guess which it could be.

If the answer to clue B is IDLE, one could narrow down the 5/6/7 word to AND and the following word starting with JI; some people might already begin to recognize the phrase "Jack and Jill went up the hill".bg:Акростих de:Akrostichon es:Acróstico eo:Akrostiko fr:Acrostiche ia:Acrostico it:Acrostico nl:Acrostichon pl:Akrostych


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