For Whom the Bella Toils

by Paul Melamud and Corey Plover



The collections of pills and other assorted drugs represents the pharmaceuticals the person had present in their system upon toxicological forensics after their death (though each set also includes one additional drug). As an extra clue, the pillbox has 31 compartments and the compartment represents the day of the month that individual died.

Date of deathPersonList of drugsAdditional drug
1-Jul-1996Margaux HemingwayPhenobarbitalOxyContin (Oxycodone)
4-Dec-2007Chad ButlerPromethazine / Codeine Cough SyrupVerelan (Verapamil)
5-Apr-1976Howard HughesCodeine (Sulfate), ValiumUrso 250 (Ursadione)
7-Sep-1978Keith MoonHeminevrin (Clomethiazole)Abilify (Aripiprazole)
8-Feb-2007Anna Nicole SmithAcetominaphen, Atropine, Benadryl, Bottle of Chloral Hydrate crystals, Ciprofloxacin, Klonopin, Lorazepam, Nordazepam, Oxazepam, Topiramate, Valium, Seconal (Secobarbital Sodium)
10-Sep-2006Daniel Wayne Smith Ambien, Lexapro, Methadone, ZoloftIndocin (Indomethacin)
12-Apr-1989Abbie Hoffman150 x PhenobarbitalChlor-Trimeton (Chlorpheniramine)
13-Nov-2004Russell JonesCocaine, TramadolDepakote (Divalproex sodium)
16-Aug-1977Elvis PresleyAmytal, Avental, Carbrital, Codeine, Demerol, Diazepam, Elavil, Nembutal, Methaqualone (Quaaludes), Morphine, Placidyl, Sinutab, Valium, ValmidMebaral (Mephobarbital)
17-Feb-2003Steven BechlerXenadrine RFARilutek (Riluzole)
19-Jan-1996Don SimpsonAtarax, Ativan + Lorazepam, Benztropine, Cogentin, Compazine, Depakote, Desyrel, Diphenhydramine, Diphenoxylate, Haloperidol, Librium, Lithium Carbonate, Narcan, Nystatin, Phenobarbital, Promethazine, Thorazine, Tigan, Toradol, Unisom, Valium, Vicodin, Vistaril, XanaxWaran (Warfarin)
20-Jul-1973Bruce LeeEquagesicOpana (Oxymorphone)
22-Jan-2008Heath LedgerDoxylamine, OxyContin, Restoril, Valium, Vicodin, Xanax, Isordil (Isosorbide Dinitrate)
24-Jan-1986L Ron HubbardVistarilIsmo (Isosorbide Mononitrate)
25-Jun-2009Michael JacksonDiazepam, Ephedrine, Lidocaine, Lorazepam, Midazopam, PropofolAxert (Almotriptan Maleate)
27-Aug-1967Brian Epstein6 x CarbatrolYocon (Yohimbine)
28-Aug-2009Adam GoldsteinBenadryl, Cocaine, Ergamisol (Levamisole HCl), Klonopin, Lorazepam, Oxycodone, Vicodin, Xanax, Levoxyl (Levothyroxine)
29-Jan-1977Freddie PrinzeMethaqualone (Quaaludes)Rozerem (Ramelteon)
30-Apr-1982Lester BangsDarvon, ValiumGlucotrol (Glipizide)

Though there is some ambiguity between rows 3, 4 and 6, entering the names of these people in the grid spells LEFTOVERS DEATH ORDER down the center column:

Ordering the additional drugs by the person's date of death spells the phrase YOUR MAGIC WORD IS VIAL in the drugs' initial letters (using either brand or generic name):

Date of deathPersonAdditional drug
27-Aug-1967Brian EpsteinYocon (Yohimbine)
20-Jul-1973Bruce LeeOpana (Oxymorphone)
5-Apr-1976Howard HughesUrso 250 (Ursadione)
29-Jan-1977Freddie PrinzeRozerem (Ramelteon)
16-Aug-1977Elvis PresleyMebaral (Mephobarbital)
7-Sep-1978Keith MoonAbilify (Aripiprazole)
30-Apr-1982Lester BangsGlucotrol (Glipizide)
24-Jan-1986L Ron HubbardIsmo (Isosorbide Mononitrate)
12-Apr-1989Abbie HoffmanChlor-Trimeton (Chlorpheniramine)
19-Jan-1996Don SimpsonWaran (Warfarin)
1-Jul-1996Margaux HemingwayOxyContin (Oxycodone)
17-Feb-2003Steven BechlerRilutek (Riluzole)
13-Nov-2004Russell JonesDepakote (Divalproex sodium)
10-Sep-2006Daniel Wayne SmithIndocin (Indomethacin)
8-Feb-2007Anna Nicole SmithSeconal (Secobarbital Sodium)
4-Dec-2007Chad ButlerVerelan (Verapamil)
22-Jan-2008Heath LedgerIsordil (Isosorbide Dinitrate)
25-Jun-2009Michael JacksonAxert (Almotriptan Maleate)
28-Aug-2009Adam GoldsteinLevoxyl (Levothyroxine)

The title is a play on "For Whom the Bell Tolls", an Ernest Hemingway novel. The famous line "I know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee." refers to a church's funeral bell, relevant to the puzzle's theme. As an added quirk, Ernest's granddaughter Margaux Hemingway is an element of the puzzle.