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Billy Shears Acrostical Decoding

Billy Shears Acrostical Decoding provides new reading pleasure to those who accept the challenge of breaking the secret code. A hidden acrostical message runs through the printed versions of The Memoirs of Billy Shears, Billy's Back!, Beatles Enlightenment, and parts of The Talent Contest. After reading each chapter from those books, you will have the context to appreciate the hidden message concealed in that portion of the acrostical puzzle. If you accept the brain-stretching challenge of decoding the acrostic in any of these books, you will want to refer to this booklet whenever you get stuck--as everyone gets stuck from time to time. If you enjoy cross-word puzzles, word searches, or Sudoku, you will love stepping up to this new code-breaking challenge.

The first acrostic of The Memoirs of Billy Shears appears with “The Hand” on the copyright page.  The last acrostics (not included in this booklet) are on page 674.  In between, running 612 pages (from page 5 to 617), is the world’s longest acrostic to date. 

Through all of those pages, the first letter of each odd numbered line of each chapter or section combines to form a special hidden message that relates to the content. For example, see if you can break the code found in the dedication. Ignoring the title, look at the first letter of each odd numbered line (starting with the "K" in "Keeping").


Since "Billy Shears" dedicates the book to his kids, "Kids" (or "KIDs") is the hidden code. By ignoring the title, and then highlighting the first letter of each odd numbered line, the acrostic comes to light as follows:

Dedication Highlighted

Are you ready to try some longer segments? The third chapter, called, “Paul Worked It Out,” explains Paul McCartney’s frustration about his death omens not being taken seriously by his father and friends. The true primary meaning of the song that sprang from that frustration, “We Can Work It Out,” becomes clear when you know that background. By looking in your book, you can see that the odd numbered lines of this chapter begin with the following letters:


Having those letters pulled from the text for you, now all you need to do is correct the spacing and other writing conventions. To get you started, here it is again with the first punctuation mark, and the first line of spaces, added for you:


Could you do it? If not, don't be discouraged. With practice, you will get a lot better at it. By adding the spacing, proper capitalization, and other writing conventions, the secret message is decoded as follows:

Paul worked it out: “Life is very short, and there's no time
for fussing and fighting, my friend. I have always thought
that it's a crime. So I will ask you once again” to “work it out.”

Let's jump ahead ten more chapters now to try another one. Chapter 13, titled “What’s In A Name?” discusses stage names used by each of The Beatles. For that chapter, the first letter of each odd numbered line compiles as follows:


Again, having those letters pulled from the text for you, all you need to do is add the correct spacing, capitalization, and punctuation. To help you get started on this one, here it is again with the first line decoded for you.

O, be some other name!

Correcting the rest of the spacing, capitalization, and punctuation, we see that the hidden message is a quote from Shakespeare’s Juliet:

O, be some other name!
What's in a name? That which we call a rose,
By any other name would smell as sweet.

From the book's context, we may infer from Juliet's quote that whatever we may call William, whether Billy Shears or Paul McCartney, he will sing just as well.

Although this decoding is challenging, perhaps more so than many word games, any reader can master it with the help of this booklet that is the key to all 612 pages of the world's longest acrostic.


Billy Shears Acrostical Decoding


Paperback $7.77
Saddle-stitch booklet



Kindle $2.99

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Billy's Back!  He says how and why he replaced Paul McCartney in The Beatles.