Shakespeare Crossword Clue, Macbeth, 4 Letters

Coworker:  “Shakespeare a clue in my crossword this morning.”

Me:  “I die.”

Coworker:  “What?”

Me: “Sorry. Was it, Romeo’s last words? Because I know that one.”

Coworker:  “No.  It was, ‘the witches in Macbeth’.”

I thought I had this one.

Me:  “Wyrd.”

Coworker:  “Nope.”

I admitted I was stumped.  What else could you say that was specific to Macbeth’s witches, in only 4 letters?

Coworker:  “They wanted ‘trio’.”

Me:  “Well that’s just … that’s annoying.  There’s nothing Shakespeare about that answer.”

Coworker:  “I know, but sometimes they’re like that.  Don’t feel bad, I had the t and the o and I still didn’t get it.”

I was obviously thrown off by Michael Fassbender’s Macbeth, because that one had four witches.  🙂


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Who’s Playing Swingball Shakespeare?

Image Source : Flickr

When I first spotted “Swingball Shakespeare” on the Reddit Shakespeare sub I thought it was just a one off idea some guys had.

But maybe it’s more than that? I found an article explaining the background of the idea, as well as the rules:

It got started when I realised you could change a lamp post into a public swingball, and then that you could make that into a rhythmic game about iambic pentameter, and we could get people to say the text in public, if they were playing swingball.

That’s Anton Hecht, creator of the game. Sorry, “community-based game and public art experience.” When I saw the Reddit video I thought it was more about the challenge of having memorized a particular sonnet and having to recall it. But as the article shows, the words and meter are actually written down and posted on the pole so you can read at the same time (which definitely implies that somebody has to start with some knowledge of the subject!).  It’s more about saying it out loud, and we all know the importance of that. Every time somebody asks about memorizing Shakespeare the first bit of advice that comes up is, “Say it out loud.”

I have to admit I kind of love the idea of randomly walking down the street and hearing people reciting Shakespeare while playing a game.  What was it Caliban told us? Be not afeard, the isle is full of noises, sounds and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not. Who’s to say that doesn’t apply equally to just walking down the street and taking in the ambient sounds around you?

I’m kind of wondering if Mr. Hecht is googling for references and might stop by.  I don’t know that I’ve seen swingball very much in the US and I’m wondering if it’s primarily a European thing? Then again a game where you throw a beanbag at a slanted piece of wood with a hole in it (“cornhole”) is insanely popular here, so what do I know about what games people are playing and why?

So if anybody’s reading this anywhere in the world and saying to themselves, “I was wondering how we could breathe new life into our swingball set,” here’s your chance!  Take it on the road.  As the creator says, make it a public art experience.  Don’t keep the Shakespeare in your back yard, share it with the world.


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Let’s Talk About Shakespeare’s Father

I’m a little late to the story about the National Archives’ discovery of legal documents related to Shakespeare’s father.  (I have an excuse, I was right in the middle of several towns being evacuated for a gas explosion catastrophe.  But! Everybody’s safe and sound in my world, so we’re very lucky to be back to our normal life sooner than a lot of people).

Are the original documents being published somewhere?  Not that many of us can read secretary hand, but still. It’d be fun to try and decode the clues.  (UPDATE – Looks like they’ll be available as part of Shakespeare Documented!)

Let me see if I can pull some bullet points from the article:

The documents Parry found include multiple writs against John Shakespeare, and record his debts to the Crown, including one for £132 – around £20,000 today.

That’s a pretty big number. I always thought that we’d been talking about petty amounts, like creditors chasing down somebody who stopped paying his credit cards.

A lot of people grumbled but settled [with “professional informers”]. For some reason in two cases John Shakespeare did not, and ended up targeted by the Exchequer collection system, which damaged his local credit.

I hate that “for some reason” is still in there.  That’s kind of a big point.  Seems like a downward spiral of getting yourself into debt in a way that doesn’t allow you to ever get out of it. But we still don’t know why he was targeted in the first place.

William grew to adulthood in a household where his father had fallen in social and economic rank, which sociologists and psychologists tell us leads to anger. They call it ‘downranking’.

Kind of puts Shakespeare’s desire for a coat of arms into a new perspective, doesn’t it?

What does everybody think? I know that there’s always a loony or two running around with a fancy new theory that will shed some light on Shakespeare’s life, and they always have a book to promote. But I’ve seen some respectable sources reporting on this, and it looks like these discovered documents could be the real thing?  Has anybody explored in more depth?


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Shakespeare Beer Continued : The Tempest

Yesterday I told you about the joys of the Shakespeare beer known as ShakesBeer and how I came to discover it. I’ve already discussed their New England IPA known as “Act One”.

Today let’s talk about their “Imperial IPA”, The Tempest. It would have been awesome if they’d kept the “Act” thing going but there’s an obvious hard limit there so I can see why they couldn’t do that.

I love the branding on this one.  It’s no secret that The Tempest is my favorite play, and I’m happy to see its image on the shelf.  If I could get my hands on the cans themselves (without the contents) I’d add them to my collection of Shakespeare stuff.  I suppose I could just wash out an empty but I’d feel like I’m back in college building a tower of empties if I did that.

This one is noticeably darker than the Act One, but I suppose maybe not so noticeably because my wife claimed she could not see the difference until I put the two side by side.

A juicy New England Style IPA featuring six different hop varieties and a more robust 7.7% ABV.

I could definitely see and taste a big difference. The flavor is much stronger and richer here, and that 7.7% ABV is nothing to slouch at.  Let’s put it this way, I had the Act One at a leisurely pace on a Sunday afternoon while I watched football. I had The Tempest after dinner on a weekday when I had to go pick up my kid from dance in an hour.  Totally felt it, could not have had two.

I think both of these are going to make nice fall selections. As I’ve gotten older I still enjoy a beer, but I’m not the type to just keep pounding them back. So flavor is a big deal, but so is not getting buzzed – I’m getting too old for that nonsense, the kids need homework help.  For both of these I’m happy to have one, maybe two, depending, and that’s just right for me.

It looks like they have a third option, A Midsummer Night’s Ale, but since it’s listed as a summer brew I’m going to assume that I missed the seasonal window and will have to wait until next year.

Hey ShakesBeer people, are you out there?  I think we’d all like to see “A Winter’s Ale” as your next offering!




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Shakespeare Beer : Act One

The other day I told the story of multiple coworkers telling me about ShakesBeer, a Shakespeare Beer brewer that’s just near enough to me to be a temptation but far enough away that I thought it was, literally, out of my reach.  One coworker offered to get me some the next time he was able, but he doesn’t fully appreciate how much I love Shakespeare and beer.  Despite my local liquor store not being listed on the company website directory, I called them anyway, and they had it!

They have three types listed on their website: Act One, The Tempest, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  I was only able to find the first two locally.  A 4pack of cans cost me about $14.

Let’s talk about Act One first.  Yes those are nachos and cheese and crackers in the background, I did my taste test during the Patriots game.  From the site:

A mild New England Style IPA with a hazy finish, a balanced level of bitterness and pronounced citrus aroma.  Easy drinking with a manageable 5.5% ABV.

The color’s not my usual style (though I realize it’s typical for this style). I tend to lean more toward the darker reds and browns.

I’m not usually an IPA drinker. Though I’ll have them on occasion when I’m out because I’m far more interested in always trying something new than I am in having a “favorite” beer.  Still, though, I’m surprised they called this one “mild” as I found it had a very strong flavor.  I tend to put these in the category of “I didn’t not like it.”  If I was out at a bar would I order another one? Sure. If I ever see it on a menu I’m ordering it, but I’ll admit that’s also motivated by a desire to support companies like this that do Shakespeare branded things.

The 5.5 ABV (alcohol by volume) I guess is average for IPA?  I’d never really paid much attention to it as a beer drinker but it’s apparently the thing to do now. All the beer drinkers at work compare notes and rate their favorites based on ABV (as in, “I’m not going to have 3 or 4 over 7’s and get wasted” or “Going to the extreme craft fest this weekend, nothing but 8 and over!”)

Definitely happy to have found it. Will drink again. If I have guests over who are up for a taste test, I’ll share.

Next post we’ll look at The Tempest, their “Imperial IPA”.


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