Decrypt and Enjoy
October 27, 2003 7:26 PM   Subscribe

Cinco: 2 4 4 6 5 4 5 3 3 4 3 4 8 4 7 3 7 6 2 2 2 11 3 3 1 3 3 4 4 6 4 6 5 7 4 3 1 3 3 4 7 5 5 4 4
posted by ed (374 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
<title="consider getting life">
posted by quonsar at 7:33 PM on October 27, 2003


Ed, what's that in English?
posted by riffola at 7:35 PM on October 27, 2003


if a link goes dead, let me know and i'll replace it
posted by ed at 7:37 PM on October 27, 2003


Hmm. I'm disconcerted, vaguely.
posted by The God Complex at 7:39 PM on October 27, 2003


Let me be the first to say....


I don't get it..
posted by Decypher at 7:39 PM on October 27, 2003


I'd like to see this post deleted if only for the reason that erasing the fruit of pointless labor could be very, very funny.
posted by item at 7:39 PM on October 27, 2003


ed, the first link has exceeded its limit already (unless that's the point?)
posted by amberglow at 7:40 PM on October 27, 2003


amber: alt. link = 2
posted by ed at 7:42 PM on October 27, 2003


ahhh! ok! now we're rolling:
my...
posted by amberglow at 7:44 PM on October 27, 2003


If Decypher doesn't get it, I think we're hooped.
posted by The God Complex at 7:44 PM on October 27, 2003


-
posted by monju_bosatsu at 7:49 PM on October 27, 2003


look tho, i got the first word!
(i'm all tired now--you guys take it from there)
posted by amberglow at 7:49 PM on October 27, 2003


ahhh! ok! now we're rolling: my...

dog has fleas.

you can tune a ukelele but you can't tuna fish.
posted by quonsar at 7:49 PM on October 27, 2003


WHAT
THE
FUCK
ED?

but I'm very impressed with how much time you put into this. congrats, but ... wtf?
posted by ashbury at 7:50 PM on October 27, 2003


If only to keep things on track (?) here in the blue: MeTa.
posted by stonerose at 7:51 PM on October 27, 2003


is there a secret message here, or are you just trying to annoy?
posted by tiamat at 7:54 PM on October 27, 2003


BE SURE TO DRINK YOUR OVALTINE
posted by pemulis at 7:57 PM on October 27, 2003


Please. PLEASE. Tell me. I just don't understand.
posted by davidmsc at 7:58 PM on October 27, 2003


tiamat: yes and yes.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 7:58 PM on October 27, 2003


It's almost time for Encyclopedia Brown to walk into Ed's office and find him dead, and this post is his only clue! Can he solve this mystery in 15 pages? Read on and find out!
posted by Stan Chin at 8:00 PM on October 27, 2003


B D D F E D E C C D C D H D G C G F B B B K C C A C C D D F D F E G D C A C C D G E E D D

What do I win?
posted by punishinglemur at 8:02 PM on October 27, 2003


Choose your own adventure, bitch. Do you:

- Front like your loco, turn to page 37.

or

- Puff puff like your cocoa, turn to page 41.
posted by The God Complex at 8:03 PM on October 27, 2003


Jesus, God Complex just broke me.
posted by Stan Chin at 8:06 PM on October 27, 2003


For god's sake, people, don't solve it or you'll summon the cenobites!
posted by Slithy_Tove at 8:08 PM on October 27, 2003


Okay, incentives are fair. I'll send a $50 gift certificate to the first person who solves it.
posted by ed at 8:12 PM on October 27, 2003


i was trying to hum that but couldn't remember if K is a full or half-tone higher than G.
posted by quonsar at 8:13 PM on October 27, 2003


Is it a $50 Gift Certificate to Puzzle Barn?
posted by Stan Chin at 8:14 PM on October 27, 2003


Damnit, pemulis, that's what I was going to say.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 8:14 PM on October 27, 2003


Gave up a third of the way through.... Is there a point?
posted by LouReedsSon at 8:14 PM on October 27, 2003


Someone once told me how his friend of his had a roommate that was going crazy, staying up all night on the computer.

One night, the friend came home and the roommate was breathing heavily, illuminated only by the computer screen. The roommate was all sweaty and agitated.

"What's going on?" the friend asked.

The roommate slowly looked up.

"I've... invented... a... new form of mathematics!" The roommate heaved. The roommate looked at the computer screen, which was displaying line after meaningless line of scrolling numbers.

This reminds me of that.
posted by interrobang at 8:15 PM on October 27, 2003


One night, the friend came home and the roommate was breathing heavily, illuminated only by the computer screen. The roommate was all sweaty and agitated.

For a second, I thought I could relate.

Stan, just be thankful I didn't continue on with nonsense about po-po's, mofos, and freaking on the downlow.
posted by The God Complex at 8:26 PM on October 27, 2003


Guess I figured it out ..I'll try

Each number is a word. Each number is the lenght of the word. For instance, the 5nd five from the left. If you keep your pointer on a number for a while you'll see "NFSW word" ..and the link goes to SPERM ..which is 5 letter long.

Don't care to check the whole message , just because I have other things to do. Somebody wanna try to complete the message ? (assuming I correctly found the method..)
posted by elpapacito at 8:30 PM on October 27, 2003


ed:
I killed my parents. Now what?
posted by pemulis at 8:34 PM on October 27, 2003


It says "NSFW verb" papacito, and sperm isn't a verb.

except in very low budget erotica.
posted by PrinceValium at 8:34 PM on October 27, 2003


elpapacito, I think that is the correct method. But it's not very helpful. I just went through the whole thing and guessed at several and am looking at the result and wondering whether it's me or ed who's insane.

And I don't know if 'SPERM' is correct; the mouseover says 'NSFW verb,' not 'word.'
posted by IshmaelGraves at 8:34 PM on October 27, 2003


But yes, you may be right in that each number is the length of a word; the word is inferred from the link and the clue in the alt tag; the words spell out a quote from some high ranking philosopher. For example I think the first clue is "AM".

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
posted by PrinceValium at 8:36 PM on October 27, 2003


er, never mind, "am" isn't a pronoun.

Back to square uno.
posted by PrinceValium at 8:37 PM on October 27, 2003


It's "Image", the NSFW is for the picture, it doesn't mean the verb is NSFW.
posted by riffola at 8:37 PM on October 27, 2003


I don't know where you're working, but it's one hell of an uptight place when that picture is NSFW.
posted by punishinglemur at 8:46 PM on October 27, 2003


Is it safe? I have my dental tools here, waiting.
posted by WolfDaddy at 8:48 PM on October 27, 2003


Further: the _________ had ________.
posted by ed at 8:51 PM on October 27, 2003


My 4 will 6 5 mail? image? 3 ule 4 3 4 8 disc 7 off 7 6 up in do? 11 mat and 1 you 3 4 4 Barbie? 4 6 5 7 4 3 1 3 3 4 7 5 5 4 4
posted by riffola at 9:02 PM on October 27, 2003


ok, i tried, i really did. and now i just feel dissatisfied, and like a big loser.
posted by iamck at 9:02 PM on October 27, 2003


riffola: You have eight correct.
posted by ed at 9:07 PM on October 27, 2003


somethin 'bout guns
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 9:09 PM on October 27, 2003


My walk will 6 5 what comes our use 4 3 4 8 4 7 off rainbow leader up in Mr Quicksilver mat and I you and play with barbie dolls yellow hairs quonsar with BBQ I he's sew mark neighbor ching swell cute cats

whoa
posted by uftheory at 9:13 PM on October 27, 2003


uftheory: Thirteen correct, two close.
posted by ed at 9:19 PM on October 27, 2003


Hmm I get 212...I think

212....

I become faint...

Wine...more ...wine.....
posted by RubberHen at 9:30 PM on October 27, 2003


Cute post.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:51 PM on October 27, 2003


For instance, the 5nd five from the left.

I was moving right along in a sprightly fashion until I came to that sentence. Now I'm confused again. Also: shouldn't Crunchland be in here somewhere?
posted by LeLiLo at 10:03 PM on October 27, 2003


the 5nd five from the left is adjacent to the 2rd three around the median.
posted by quonsar at 10:08 PM on October 27, 2003


My slim will wooing white pant felch are you bush you from yglesias cuts primary off rainbow leader up in do Quicksilver mat the a you and thin faye barbie gold yellow hairs quonsar with bbq I he's sew karl welcome ching swell cute rove

More clues please!
posted by cbrody at 10:09 PM on October 27, 2003


the 5nd five from the left is adjacent to the 2rd three around the median.

Thanks. But is it metric, or not?
posted by LeLiLo at 10:17 PM on October 27, 2003


cbrody: Excellent work. Twenty dead on, two very close and three close.
posted by ed at 10:22 PM on October 27, 2003


But I still fail to see where it's headed, if anywhere.
posted by cbrody at 10:42 PM on October 27, 2003


Folks: I've just proofread the post against the key and I noticed a few mistakes. Here's the corrected post. Different values noted in italics (specifically on the following trio: "worn out its welcome," "action here without ing" and "the adjective in his main mantra has different meaning for boozehound, tartar?"). My profuse apologies to all playing the game. You've all been doing marvelously.

Cinco: 2 4 4 6 5 4 5 3 3 4 3 4 8 4 7 3 7 6 2 2 2 11 4 3 1 3 3 4 4 6 4 6 5 7 4 3 1 3 2 4 5 5 5 4 4
posted by ed at 10:45 PM on October 27, 2003


I think the second word is "this", as in "you can go with this, or you can go with that" from the song's lyrics.
posted by donth at 10:47 PM on October 27, 2003


you can call me al.
posted by quonsar at 10:54 PM on October 27, 2003


Tee-hee, I think pemulis had the best answer.
posted by dhoyt at 11:08 PM on October 27, 2003


Oops, I meant this.
posted by dhoyt at 11:32 PM on October 27, 2003


Waitaminute, this is all about Milo Rambaldi, isn't it?
posted by WolfDaddy at 11:42 PM on October 27, 2003


Late for work now. Thanks a bunch ed!
posted by arha at 12:02 AM on October 28, 2003


Waitanotherminute, I'm guessing that being TV-less in London makes me unlikely to be able to crack this.
posted by cbrody at 12:03 AM on October 28, 2003


Is this puzzle something you need to have time to solve? Because I do not have time.
posted by dhartung at 12:18 AM on October 28, 2003


Tee-hee, I think pemulis had the best answer.

I also think pemulis is the winner so far. But cbrody's comment is most frightening, including as it does world leaders like "Bush," "Barbie" (the doll, presumably), "quonsar," and "Karl" "Rove."

Barb and Karl and Bush and Quonsar. The modern Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice?
posted by LeLiLo at 12:24 AM on October 28, 2003


I'd like to a suggest a time transplant to benefit dhartung...possible donors: ed, riffola, uftheory
posted by StrangerInAStrainedLand at 2:28 AM on October 28, 2003


pemulis : I rike you. You make me raff.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 2:45 AM on October 28, 2003


Waitaminute, this is all about Milo Rambaldi, isn't it?

Brilliance. Pure brilliance.
posted by yerfatma at 4:11 AM on October 28, 2003


Wow...that's a lot of work for a post. I'll have to keep checking back to see if anyone has solved it.
posted by dejah420 at 6:48 AM on October 28, 2003


Congratulations on an interesting post,
one that requires more brainpower than most.
Inscrutable; verdict from the head.
Brain ache - now it's time for my bed!
posted by asok at 6:57 AM on October 28, 2003


On the 29th day of this thread, if no one has solved it, I'll post the answer.
posted by ed at 7:05 AM on October 28, 2003


Ed! Stop teasing all of those geeks!
posted by davidmsc at 7:31 AM on October 28, 2003


Yep, pemulis' 2nd comment is right up there with "we have cameras." That's the biggest, loudest (and, er, most onto-screen-coffee-spewing) laugh I've had on MeFi in a while.

Coming in at a close second for the day is dhartung.
posted by soyjoy at 7:37 AM on October 28, 2003


where's cardoso when we need him?
posted by specialk420 at 8:10 AM on October 28, 2003


I think I've discovered the key.
posted by languagehat at 8:22 AM on October 28, 2003


On the 29th day of this thread, if no one has solved it, I'll post the answer

my sense is you'll be murdered well before then. especially is the solution is lame. but don't sweat it, ed. you've caught all your errors, right? {evil leer}
posted by quonsar at 9:18 AM on October 28, 2003


My guns will Mister White what comes our way. Bush 3 from Iglesias disc 7 off rainbow leader up to. Do Quicksilver Matt and I use and play with Barbie doll yellow hairs Quansor with BBQ I he's so mark 5 chung swell cute 4

this is driving me nuts... I need closure soon or I'm gonna get fired. People, please post what you got so far.
posted by uftheory at 9:28 AM on October 28, 2003


uftheory: Twenty-two correct, two close.
posted by ed at 9:43 AM on October 28, 2003


applesauce goes better with BBQ than quonsar.
posted by quonsar at 9:50 AM on October 28, 2003


Hey Ed, is it also a jumble? I've got BBQ and SAUCE but they ain't near each other and that just seems wrong.
posted by shoepal at 10:05 AM on October 28, 2003


"Toynbee ideas in Kubrick's 2001 resurrect dead on planet Jupiter" ?
posted by dirtylittlemonkey at 10:06 AM on October 28, 2003


I think I got it:

Pour la chaleur solaire sur la mer
De Negrepont les poissons demi cuits
Les habitans les viendront entemer
Quand Rhod et Gennes leur faudra le biscuit

(Due to solar heat upon the sea
By a black (metallic) bridge, fish half cooked
The inhabitants shall come to collect them
While Rhodes and Genoa shall want their biscuits)

It's a prophesy, right?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:08 AM on October 28, 2003


Try reading every fifth word ("cinco"). I still have a lot of words that are obviously wrong though.

My list, you off. Do you like BBQ sauce? This felch from rainbow Quicksilver and yellow I Ching. Will our fearless leader Matt pull hairs? He's swell. Wooing you. Pick up the life, quonsar. So cute. White Bush welling in a barbie with Karl Rove.
posted by mcguirk at 10:09 AM on October 28, 2003


shoepal, mcquirk: You're both getting closer.

mcquirk: Exceptional. 31.
posted by ed at 10:18 AM on October 28, 2003


It's "mcguirk".
posted by mcguirk at 10:21 AM on October 28, 2003


mcguirk: sorry.
posted by ed at 10:26 AM on October 28, 2003


I think the first sentence is "Dubya Bush belongs in a kennel with Karl Rove." Not a good start.
posted by donth at 11:23 AM on October 28, 2003


My pants are off. Do you like BBQ sauce? This comes from rainbow Quicksilver and yellow I Ching. Will our fearless leader Matt play house? He's swell. Muster use disc up and with Quansor so cute. George Bush primary to a barbie with Karl Rove.

so close yet so far
posted by uftheory at 11:31 AM on October 28, 2003


dude, ed, go outside. Kick a ball around. Something.
posted by xmutex at 11:54 AM on October 28, 2003


who IS this "Quansor" person?
posted by quonsar at 11:57 AM on October 28, 2003


your evil twin
posted by uftheory at 11:59 AM on October 28, 2003


Doesn't Quansor make huts?
posted by WolfDaddy at 12:12 PM on October 28, 2003


If "pants" is right (and it looks right), it has the wrong length in the clues.
posted by mcguirk at 12:21 PM on October 28, 2003


So far, I've got this:

Laura Bush 7 in a 6 with Karl Rove
4 I am off do you like bbq sauce?
My post comes from rainbow quicksilver and yellow I ching.
Will our fearless leader Matt play along? He's swell.
Crunch you keep up the beat. Quonsar so cute.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 12:26 PM on October 28, 2003


Laura Bush ??????? in a ?????? with Karl Rove.
posted by shoepal at 12:47 PM on October 28, 2003


that sounds good, crash, even if it's not the answer.
posted by amberglow at 12:52 PM on October 28, 2003


uftheory & mr_crash_davis: Good work. Both of you got 32.

mcguirk: Correct. It should be 5, not 4.

donth: Very close.

Again, the winner is the first person who posts the complete correct answer.
posted by ed at 12:58 PM on October 28, 2003


?????? ??? pick up and miss Quonsar so much
posted by shoepal at 1:00 PM on October 28, 2003


Maybe "kennel" for where Laura and Karl are?

For the Longs one, I was trying to do "well-being" - be (hive clue) == "welling"/"dwelling"?

For the Woo-ping one, "ignore crane" means ignore Ping, like from the children's book? (But that's a duck, not a crane.) And "switch 1" could mean rearrange the letters o,n,e. But I can't get anywhere with that.

"pick" seems right for "plectrum banjo", but I don't get the clue.
posted by mcguirk at 1:06 PM on October 28, 2003


So the answer is nonsensical drivel? What an awesome puzzle.
posted by xmutex at 1:06 PM on October 28, 2003


Xmutex, only if you consider "my pants are off, do you want BBQ sauce?" drivel.
posted by shoepal at 1:13 PM on October 28, 2003


You guys are insane: Stan and Interrobang had the best of the bunch. Then again, I invoke the "precedent-setting fiction of Encyclopedia Brown" on a near-hourly occasion, driving those who love me away in shame.
posted by The God Complex at 1:16 PM on October 28, 2003


Laura Bush belongs in a 6 with Karl Rove
Pants are off do you like bbq sauce?
My post comes from rainbow quicksilver and yellow I ching.
Will our fearless leader Matt play along? He's swell.
Crunch you pick up the beat. Quonsar so cute.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 1:22 PM on October 28, 2003


For "ignore the crane, switch 1", I though "ignore the crane" meant ignore woo-ping, like "whooping crane". But then I couldn't get more than a handful on my own, so what do I know?
posted by samw at 1:32 PM on October 28, 2003


Or maybe the crane is what holds you up when you do the flying kung-fu tricks in the movies. "Switch 1" could be "Neo"; this guy did choreography on The Matrix. Not that any of that seems to produce an answer.
posted by mcguirk at 1:37 PM on October 28, 2003


Laura Bush belongs in a kennel with Karl Rove?!
posted by shoepal at 1:38 PM on October 28, 2003


Laura Bush belongs in a frog-march with Karl Rove?!
posted by soyjoy at 2:11 PM on October 28, 2003


My pants are off. Do you like BBQ sauce? This comes from rainbow quicksilver and yellow I Ching. Will our fearless leader Matt play along? He's swell, helping you keep up, and with Quonsar so cute. Dubya Bush belongs in a kennel with Karl Rove.

Very little of this is my own, I'll almost feel bad if I get it.
posted by donnagirl at 2:32 PM on October 28, 2003


I went with ignore wooping (crane) and used Master, and switched one letter.

No purchase necc. Enter as often as you like.
--
My Pants are off, do you like BBQ sauce?
This comes from rainbow Quicksilver and yellow I Ching.
Will our fearless leader Matt play along? He's swell.
Mister, you pick up the beat. Quonsar so cute.
George Bush belongs in a kennel with Karl Rove
posted by uftheory at 2:39 PM on October 28, 2003


m_c_d and donnagirl: 37.
posted by ed at 2:40 PM on October 28, 2003


Have fun with that, I'm gonna go play a video game now.
posted by Yossarian at 2:41 PM on October 28, 2003


I think it might begin "my good man", but then I'm confused by "off" or whatever (Mac?) from the Mac/switch link.

My good man (3), do you like bbq sauce?
This comes from rainbow Quicksilver and yellow I Ching.
Will our fearless leader Matt play along? He's swell.
Hoping you pick up the beat. Quonsar so cute.
Dubya Bush belongs in a kennel with Karl Rove.
posted by taz at 2:57 PM on October 28, 2003


taz, Ed confirmed that clue should be 5 letters, not 4.
posted by uftheory at 3:05 PM on October 28, 2003


Hmmm.... Laura, George or Dubya?

My pants are off. Do you like BBQ sauce?
This comes from rainbow, quicksilver and yellow I Ching.
Will our fearless leader Matt play along? He's swell.
Hoping you pick up and beat Quonsar. So cute.
Laura Bush belongs in a kennel with Karl Rove.
posted by Khalad at 3:14 PM on October 28, 2003


Very nice work. I think you folks will do this within 24 hours.

uftheory: 41
taz: 38
posted by ed at 3:14 PM on October 28, 2003


Sorry Quonsar...
posted by Khalad at 3:15 PM on October 28, 2003


Khalad: 40. (Aside: Come on. Would I really encourage people here to beat Quonsar?)
posted by ed at 3:16 PM on October 28, 2003


"Would I really encourage people here to beat Quonsar?

I would. He makes the most delicious whimpering sounds when...

Uh, never mind.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 3:35 PM on October 28, 2003


My pants are off. Do you like BBQ sauce?
This comes from 7 metaweb.com and 6 I Ching.
Will our fearless leader Matt play along? He's swell.
Hoping you pick up the beat, Quonsar. So cute.
Dubya Bush belongs in a kennel with Karl Rove.
posted by donnagirl at 3:41 PM on October 28, 2003


2 My 5 pants 3 are 3 off. 2 Do 3 you 4 like 3 BBQ 5 Sauce?

4 This 5 Comes 4 from 7 rainbow 11 Quicksilver 3 and 6 yellow 1 I 5 Ching.

4 Will 3 our 8 Fearless 6 Leader 4 Matt 4 play 5 along? 3 He's 5 Swell.

6 Hoping 3 you 4 pick 2 Up 3 the 4 beat, 7 Quonsar. 2 So 4 cute.

5 Dubya 4 Bush 7 belongs 2 in 1 a 6 kennel 4 with 4 Karl 4 Rove.
posted by shoepal at 3:48 PM on October 28, 2003


All your 2 4 4 6 5 4 5 3 3 4 3 4 8 4 7 3 7 6 2 2 2 11 3 3 1 3 3 4 4 6 4 6 5 7 4 3 1 3 3 4 7 5 5 4 4 are belong to us.
posted by thatweirdguy2 at 3:54 PM on October 28, 2003


My Pants are off. Do you like BBQ sauce?
This comes from rainbow Quicksilver and yellow I Ching.
Will our fearless leader Matt play along? He's Swell.
Hoping you pick up and make Quonsar so cute.
Laura Bush belongs in a kennel with Karl Rove.
posted by uftheory at 4:00 PM on October 28, 2003


all we need is someone to set that to music! (i hear a tinkly piano (or schroeder-esque toy piano somewhere begging to play it)
posted by amberglow at 4:35 PM on October 28, 2003


My pants are off, do you like bbq sauce?
This comes from reading Quicksilver and casting I Ching.
Will our fearless leader Matt play along? He's swell.
Hoping you pick up the beat, Quonsar. So cute.
Dubya Bush belongs in a kennel with Karl Rove.

we're getting there...
posted by taz at 4:54 PM on October 28, 2003


I think you've got it, Taz!
posted by shoepal at 5:10 PM on October 28, 2003


My pants are off. Do you like BBQ sauce?
This comes from raining quickquilver and having I Ching.
Will our fearless leader Matt play along? He's swell.
Hoping you pick up the beat, Quonsar. So cute.
Dubya Bush belongs in a kennel with Karl Rove.
posted by stopgap at 5:18 PM on October 28, 2003


my pants are off too.
posted by quonsar at 5:19 PM on October 28, 2003


In that case Quonsar, I hope you pick up the beat.

BTW, I biffed on that last post. "Quickquilver" is supposed to be "quicksilver."
posted by stopgap at 5:21 PM on October 28, 2003


My pants are off, do you like bbq sauce?
This comes from reading Quicksilver and Tao Te I Ching.
Will our fearless leader Matt play along? He's swell.
Hoping you pick up the beat, Quonsar. So cute.
Dubya Bush belongs in a kennel with Karl Rove.

My head is about to explode.
posted by shoepal at 5:22 PM on October 28, 2003


I think if anyone gets it after this collaborative effort, ed ought to donate the $50 to the Metafilter scholarship fund.

Or straight to Matt.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:28 PM on October 28, 2003


Hang on. Tallies forthcoming.
posted by ed at 6:11 PM on October 28, 2003


donnagirl: 40
shoepal I: 41
uftheory: 39
taz: 42
stopgap: 41
shoepal II: 42

Great work, guys. I know you can do finish this off within 24 hours. Very close!
posted by ed at 6:20 PM on October 28, 2003


But there's got to be a twist! It couldn't simply be the guessing of seemingly nonsensical phrases (although Dubya and Rove in a Kennel makes sense to my mind...)

In keeping with the team approach here, I'll post where I am headed with this cypher. If I am wrong, it's because my imagination got the better of me.

The word clues that are derived from the URLs are merely the middle layer of the cypher. However, without it, you cannot know the nature of this steganographic puzzle. My suspicion (I am currently about 100 pages from the end of Neal Stephenson's Quicksilver) is that Ed has used a similar scheme to the one described here. The key to this puzzle is found in Neal Stephenson's book Quicksilver, in which one of the characters, Eliza, uses a binary cipher to encrypt her correspondence. The "key" in her messages is always a symbol from the I Ching. I am going to guess that the symbol used here is this one Now don't go rush out and buy Quicksilver just because it will help you solve this puzzle - rush out and buy it because it's a darn good read. Good luck.
posted by piedrasyluz at 6:28 PM on October 28, 2003


Oops. Darn frames. The I Ching symbol I meant to link to was here
posted by piedrasyluz at 6:58 PM on October 28, 2003


Okay, I compared a bunch of responses with ed's tallies, and I think I found two answers that must be wrong, but I'm not certain about it.

First, no one has gotten
6: jaundice? in a certain way; consult the tome's title
I can't figure out what Burger King has to do with anything, though the next clue in that line is a link to Stephen King. The tome here could be either the I Ching or Quicksilver.

I'm not sure about this, but it looks like
5: first thing's first, in more ways than one
is also wrong. The various responses to this one haven't affected tallies at all. I've seen George, which could be the first president's first name. Dubya, for the first letter of "White House." And Laura, but I don't know how anyone got that, other than it's five letters long. I can't think of any other responses, so maybe my figuring is off on this one.

I think
7: a natural public preface
must be "reading," but that answer doesn't make sense to me.

By my calculations there's still one more wrong answer that the last several responses all had in common.
posted by stopgap at 7:18 PM on October 28, 2003


My pants are off, do you like bbq sauce?
This comes from reading Quicksilver and ?????? I Ching.
Will our fearless leader Matt play along? He's swell.
?????? you pick up the beat, Quonsar. So cute.
Dubya Bush belongs in a ?????? with Karl Rove.

Hey Stopgap, I was on the same track, but I think the kendoll/kennel answer is a stretch.
posted by shoepal at 7:21 PM on October 28, 2003


"Laura, but I don't know how anyone got that"

Well, "first thing's first" seemed a natural fit for the "first lady's first" name.

At least, it did to me.

Now, "in more ways than one" doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but does any of this?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 7:25 PM on October 28, 2003


Hoping is probably wrong, since the crane should be ignored. Yuen, switch 1: unless? un-something?
posted by donth at 7:44 PM on October 28, 2003


7: a natural public preface must be "reading," but that answer doesn't make sense to me.
I didn't come up with "reading" myself, but I wish I had; do you remember "Reading Rainbow"?

<off -topic>
piedrasyluz: The description of that cipher doesn't make any sense to me. It looks like the cipher-text ends up being 1/5 the length of the plain-text. So there has to be information loss, so the receiver can't get back the full message. If the key is the two alphabets and you reverse the process described, all you get is the order in which the alphabets were chosen, but not the characters within the alphabets. Am I missing something?
</off-topic>
posted by samw at 7:51 PM on October 28, 2003


shoepal: latest one is 40. Nice process of elimination strategy with the question marks, but I'll give you the figure anyway. :)
posted by ed at 7:52 PM on October 28, 2003


golden i ching????
posted by amberglow at 8:01 PM on October 28, 2003


Can someone explain how "he wants, particularly in this context" (4) is "like?"
posted by stopgap at 8:11 PM on October 28, 2003


stopgap, maybe it's a reference to him being a closet case? ; >
posted by amberglow at 8:13 PM on October 28, 2003


maybe it's WHITE instead of Dubya? the first "thing" is the white house, and it's a really white place, being that only white presidents have lived there. That would make the next word not Bush then tho.
posted by amberglow at 8:24 PM on October 28, 2003


I agree Stopgap, "like" doesn't really fit there. At this point I am beginning to doubt a lot of the answers that seemed logical up until this point. Piedrasyluz's comments haven't helped my sanity, either.
posted by shoepal at 8:26 PM on October 28, 2003


White vine? white wine?
posted by amberglow at 8:39 PM on October 28, 2003


amberglow: acronyms -> Giant Wisteria = GW
posted by donth at 8:43 PM on October 28, 2003


ahhh...you're right, donth : >
posted by amberglow at 8:48 PM on October 28, 2003


Hoping: Ignore crane, so try the other name listed, Heping. Switch one letter -> hoping.

George/Dubya/Laura: I believe George is the right answer according to the scores ed has presented.

The ones I'm having trouble with are LIKE, the jaundice word, THE (parenthetically...) and perhaps KENNEL. Oh yeah, I don't get PANTS...

Here's my answer, which if I'm not mistaken will score a 43. I don't think anybody's gotten the jaundice clue, and one of the words we've all assumed is correct must be wrong. Don't know which, though.

My (pants) are off. Do you (like) BBQ sauce?
This comes from reading Quicksilver and (((yellow))) I Ching.
Will our fearless leader Matt play along? He's swell.
Hoping you pick up (the) beat, Quonsar. So cute.
George Bush belongs in a (kennel) with Karl Rove.
posted by Khalad at 9:12 PM on October 28, 2003


"I believe George is the right answer according to the scores ed has presented."

I don't think it is, because the clue's number is 5, and George has six letters.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:17 PM on October 28, 2003


Khalad: Yup. 43.
posted by ed at 9:18 PM on October 28, 2003


ed, does golden instead of yellow make it 44?
posted by amberglow at 9:22 PM on October 28, 2003


mr_crash_davis: Actually, my mistake (and thus a giveaway). It's six letters. I think everything else is accurate, as represented above. Again apologies.
posted by ed at 9:22 PM on October 28, 2003


amberglow: Nope. But that's the only individual answer I'll give here. Since we're close (and in the interest of fairness), I'm only going to offer tallies for efforts at complete puzzles. You guys have been doing a great job at eliminating the impossibilities.
posted by ed at 9:25 PM on October 28, 2003


: P
posted by amberglow at 9:28 PM on October 28, 2003


This might help some: the sites used show up as the top result from Google, given a certain search query. For example, "rainbows" yields the About Rainbows site as the first hit. Similarly, "Shakespeare," "pants," "plectrum," etc. yield the sites used here. Now, for the clues we can't get, here are the Google searches that yield those pages:

"'Eddie Murphy' men"
"ken doll"

Assuming these searches were deliberate to match up with the word, this might help figure these last few out.

Burger King was probably a conscious choice without using Google for anything. I thought maybe "in a certain way" could refer to "Have it your way," but I'm really stumped on that one.
posted by stopgap at 10:29 PM on October 28, 2003


I think if anyone gets it after this collaborative effort, ed ought to donate the $50 to the Metafilter scholarship fund. Or straight to Matt.

That was exactly my thought too. This is a true group effort, if I ever saw one. Or else use the money to buy quonsar some BBQ sauce. (If he'll put his pants back on.)

"64 years ago this week, six million Americans became unwitting subjects in an experiment in psychological warfare." This is more like "27 hours ago this week, 17167 people became unwitting subjects in ed's experiment in psychological warfare."
posted by LeLiLo at 10:42 PM on October 28, 2003


Just thinking about "ken doll" and "he doesn't have a D cup"...

"ken doll" - "D" = kenoll = kennel?
posted by stopgap at 10:47 PM on October 28, 2003


samw: You are right, the ciphertext is 1/5 the length of the plaintext, but you do get the ciphertext back. For each letter in the plaintext, write down 0 if it's from the first alphabet, or 1 if it's from the second. Treat each 5-digit long group of 0's and 1's as a binary number (0-31). Now use that as an index into the regular A-Z alphabet (with some values unused or duplicates (maybe take the number mod 26)). That gives you one letter of the ciphertext.
posted by mcguirk at 10:47 PM on October 28, 2003


(In case it wasn't clear: that means when encoding, the sender deliberately makes the plaintext five times as long as the ciphertext.)
posted by mcguirk at 10:49 PM on October 28, 2003


Ah, I see. The Metaweb page has its terminology confused. "Plaintext" is the message you want to send before encoding, and "ciphertext" is the result of the cipher scheme, i.e. what you actually send to the recipient. Metaweb has it backwards. That was really confusing. Also, according the the Metaweb page, the sender was the person decrypting the message. That's a whole new way of looking at the word "sender".

As I was reading it, it did occur to me that it seemed like they were doing it backwards, but it didn't occur to me that that was because they had the terminology so wrong.
posted by samw at 10:58 PM on October 28, 2003


Ah, right. And following their explanation, I continued their mistake.
posted by mcguirk at 11:03 PM on October 28, 2003


First letter of word : other letters :: 0 : 1 doesn't seem to work with/without punctuation, backwards/forwards, original sequence/verse, or any combination of these for the 00001-11010-->A-Z system. ASCII looked good until i got the End of Transmit value.
posted by copmuter at 11:08 PM on October 28, 2003


or with 0 and 1 reversed
posted by copmuter at 11:08 PM on October 28, 2003


*passes into sleep trying to figure out which hexagram looks most like a Whopper*
posted by copmuter at 11:14 PM on October 28, 2003


jaundice: 2. To affect with the negativity or bitterness of jaundice.
could it be "trying"? I don't get the BK connection though.
posted by donth at 11:50 PM on October 28, 2003


I like this thread. Fun read. :)

My pants are off. Do you like BBQ sauce?
This comes from reading Quicksilver and Yi King - I Ching.
Will our fearless leader Matt play along? He's swell.
Hoping you pick up the beat, Quonsar. So cute.
Elder Bush belongs in a kennel with Karl Rove.
posted by bargle at 12:25 AM on October 29, 2003


Okay, I'm going to bed after this. Here's my last try for the night.

My pants are off. Do you have BBQ sauce?
This comes from reading Quicksilver and liking I Ching.
Will our fearless leader Matt play along? He's swell.
Hoping you pick up the beat, Quonsar. So cute.
George Bush belongs in a kennel with Karl Rove.
posted by stopgap at 12:31 AM on October 29, 2003


I wonder if someone who has read "Quicksilver" can give more details about the code... how is the I Ching symbol used as the key? Are we talking about a number, like symbol #20, or two numbers? The top and bottom trigrams of a hexagram? I'm very lost...

Although I'm dying to read it, I haven't been able to get Quicksilver yet here in Greece - will have to order it...
posted by taz at 1:00 AM on October 29, 2003


copmuter, mcguirk and samw:

The wilkins cyper in the book adds two more steps to what you have described. First, as you describe, it groups the words of the plaintext ( in our case, Ed's clue word poem) into groups of five letters. like this:

mypan tsare offdo youha vebbq sauce

After assigning the correct binary (a 0 or a 1) to each letter, each group of five letters represents a number in binary notation. You then have to subtract the number that the I Ching symbol represents from the number you get from each grouping of five. The resulting number gives you a letter from the alphabet, where 1=A, 2=B, C=3, etc. You should then be able to decipher the plaintext easily. I just can't figure out which I Ching symbol we need here.
posted by piedrasyluz at 1:00 AM on October 29, 2003


Taz, The Hexagram for each I Ching symbol can be read as binary notation:

For example, "Lin" looks like this:

___ ___
___ ___
___ ___
___ ___
________
________

Which, if an unbroken line is a 1 and a broken one a zero, would give you:
000011 , which in binary notation is "3".
posted by piedrasyluz at 1:06 AM on October 29, 2003


piedrasyluz, I think it could be #13, which symbolizes "community" (us/metafilter), and has "fire" as the bottom trigram. (The Burger King link says "the fire is ready"). Or possibly #30 which is fire over fire.

You can see all the fire-related hexagrams in the fifth row of this page.
posted by taz at 1:22 AM on October 29, 2003


I don't think the Wilkins cypher applies here because we can't have two separate and distinguishable alphabets to assign binaries. The description of the Wilkins cypher before said that it required a handwritten message.
posted by stopgap at 1:32 AM on October 29, 2003


piedrasyluz: How are you assigning the 0s and 1s?
posted by mcguirk at 1:33 AM on October 29, 2003


Maybe it's "Taoist" I Ching - "taoist" from the Yellow Emperor (jaundice plus king).

My pants are off. Do you like BBQ sauce?
This comes from reading Quicksilver and Taoist I Ching.
Will our fearless leader Matt play along? He's swell.
Hoping you pick up the beat, Quonsar. So cute.
George Bush belongs in a kennel with Karl Rove.

btw, there is actually a book called "The Yellow Emperor's Book of Secret Correspondence"... I can't stop finding connections from everything to eveything else... aaaaiiiiii!!!!
posted by taz at 2:16 AM on October 29, 2003


Oh come on! I scroll all the way through 145 comments and no one has figured it out yet?!?!?

To be honest, I haven't even attempted to figure out how to solve the puzzle. But you guys did. So finish it! :)
posted by nyukid at 2:20 AM on October 29, 2003


What nyukid said. The suspence is killing me.
posted by ginz at 2:56 AM on October 29, 2003


I'm waiting for piedrasyluz to wake up - he seems to have a plan. I think we're just about one word away from the basic message, but it looks like the rest of the decrypting is something you would have to have Quicksilver to understand, and I don't have Quicksilver...

I mean, let's say that the I ching symbol is hexagram 13, and that's 111101, which is 61... now what? How is this used as a "key"? I don't understand where we go from "61" to a 0 alphabet and a 1 alphabet...
posted by taz at 3:35 AM on October 29, 2003


This is the greatest post ever.
posted by oissubke at 5:22 AM on October 29, 2003


bargle: 42
stopgap: 43
taz: 43

Okay, here's some additional help.

Wheels: 7 4 3 4 4 2 1 4 5 5 8 4 7 2 6 2 6 4 3 4
posted by ed at 5:48 AM on October 29, 2003


sorry, that should read "add one of bunker twins, last elided"
posted by ed at 6:03 AM on October 29, 2003


piedrasyluz: if ed's poem contains contains the message, but is not the message itself, then it is the ciphertext, not the plaintext. This is what the Metaweb article had confused.

Also, if the I Ching key is applied in that way, then that step is just a glorified rotation cipher, which should take all of a few minutes to crack. So all that remains is to figure out how ed is encoding 1s and 0s in the FPP, one digit per character in the decoded poem. Given that we (well, they, I guess) are generating the actual text of the poem, how could ed reliably encode that bit?
posted by samw at 6:08 AM on October 29, 2003


Re: Wilkins. Interesting theories, but you folks give me too much credit. Consult supplemental clue and I think you'll have it.
posted by ed at 6:19 AM on October 29, 2003


who needs DDOS attacks when you can have one of these on various websites...

Great stuff, ed - I'm sure we will see the productivity index for the USA drop after this...
posted by djspicerack at 6:27 AM on October 29, 2003


Thanks a lot, ed. Just when I had given up!

Wheels: Advance area mis turn film of ? Home Attack(5) blink searches verb routing by window to carson ???? ??? that
posted by shoepal at 6:54 AM on October 29, 2003


djspicerack: The plot, of course, is to reduce productivity so that more jobs might be created for the unemployed.

shoepal: Six, two very close.
posted by ed at 7:04 AM on October 29, 2003


My pants are off. Do you want BBQ sauce?
This comes from reading Quicksilver and trying I Ching.
Will our fearless leader Matt play along? He's swell.
Hoping you pick up the beat, Quonsar. So cute.
George Bush belongs in a kennel with Karl Rove.
posted by donth at 7:27 AM on October 29, 2003


Wheels: Support info his line film of a home sorry blink searches verb routing by window to online john two that
posted by shoepal at 7:54 AM on October 29, 2003


okay, breaking it up again in to groups of five, here's shoepal's first stab:

advance of searches to
area (1) verb carson
mis home routing (4)
turn attack by (3)
film blink windows that

_______________

and here's mine:

program of searches to
(4) a then cache
(3) been routine real
(4) abort by two
film blink (6) site

obviously, I haven't started to make heads or tails of this, and just put down my first impulse on each clue, just as shoepal probably did.
posted by taz at 7:55 AM on October 29, 2003


of course, maybe "wheels" means that we don't use the "five" breakdown, in which case.... *falls right over the edge*
posted by taz at 8:00 AM on October 29, 2003


I'm with you taz. Wheels has 6 letters. Cinco has 5. but Cinco also means five. ARRRGH!!!

combining some of our guesses I get this as the first line: program of searches to find a verb online (using every 5th word), which is amusing, to say the least.
posted by shoepal at 8:06 AM on October 29, 2003


program info his line film of a been abort blink searches verb routine by window to online real two that

program of searches to find a verb online his been routine. real line abort by two film blink window site
posted by shoepal at 8:25 AM on October 29, 2003


Wow. What a difference sleep makes. With Ed's news that there isn't another encryption layer to this, I can't help but feel a little deflated. I was beginning to feel all sleuth-like, and had wonderful dreams involving enigma machines...
posted by piedrasyluz at 8:36 AM on October 29, 2003


oh, my. My clock is winding down... I was just waiting for everybody else to wake up, but now I'm at 7 p.m. of a winter's eve, and it's been dark since, what? five? And I can't think in the dark... I'm leaving you to it, shoepal and piedrasyluz - I hope you get some support. I'll be checking in again, come morning in Europe.
posted by taz at 8:43 AM on October 29, 2003


old man's word = it's ?
posted by donth at 8:44 AM on October 29, 2003


donth: 43

shoepal (his first attempt since my last post): 8, 2 very close

taz: 6, I think. But listen to shoepal. Cracking supplemental should yield clues to first.
posted by ed at 8:52 AM on October 29, 2003


Donth, could you elaborate?
posted by shoepal at 9:04 AM on October 29, 2003


shoepal, I assume donth is referring to it's...
posted by soyjoy at 10:05 AM on October 29, 2003


Aaargh! Damn filtering software here at work has me completely handicapped. I can't get at half the links in the supplemental clue, and quite a few in the original. Guess I'll just have to watch from the sidelines.

However, given that we are 2 words away from solving this (assuming that there were 45 clues and others have scored as high as 43), I have to ask: Where is the payoff? If the puzzle is something very close to the meaning conveyed in the phrases we have deciphere so far, then what is the overall message? The first sentence, "my pants are off, do you like bbq sauce" is next to meaningless, the second tells us of Ed's inspiration for coming up with the game, the third sentence is a teaser to get more mefiers to join in solving it, and the last sentence, while I agree with the sentiment, is a non sequitur.

Where is this going Ed?
posted by piedrasyluz at 10:11 AM on October 29, 2003


Wheels: Advance area mis turn film of ? Home Attack(5) blink searches verb routing by window to carson ???? ??? that

first, it was weird reading a bunch of deciphering efforts and feeling all conspiratorial and stuff, then seeing my name out of the blue. then, now that y'all are in a code-breaking mood (and obviously not in the mood for work), you should check out this. warning: following link may result in loss of entire day's work, if not more.
posted by carsonb at 10:32 AM on October 29, 2003


Don't know if this helps, but the last line seems to be a reference to "wagging the dog", à la your Wilson/Plame scandal.
posted by destro at 12:34 PM on October 29, 2003


Much in the manner of the gardening accident which claimed the life of John "Stumpy" Pepys, perhaps this puzzle is best left unsolved.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 1:23 PM on October 29, 2003


I hear ya, Mr_Crash_Davis. If anyone needs me, I'll be out back making mash potato mountains and drooling incessantly.
posted by shoepal at 1:59 PM on October 29, 2003


Hey, when is the enjoy part supposed to come into play if you've spent hours trying to decode a non-sensical phrase?

More like "decrypt and enrage".
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 2:31 PM on October 29, 2003


"Son", he said, "you just can't quit. All the people who are remembered in history didn't quit. Thomas Edison, he didn't quit. Douglas Macarthur, he didn't quit. Elmo McCringle…" "Who?" the son burst in. "Elmo McCringle", replied his father. "Who the heck is Elmo McCringle?" asked the son. "See," the father replied, you don’t remember him. He quit!"

Never, Never, Never, Give Up! (part 2)
posted by soyjoy at 2:49 PM on October 29, 2003


Come on you guys, you can do it! Dozens of us ADHD, less intelligent, or lazier members and readers are anxiously waiting for you to come up with the answer! As Homer says, "Lisa, do my thinking FOR me."
posted by pomegranate at 3:05 PM on October 29, 2003


god bless you, soyjoy.
posted by quonsar at 3:13 PM on October 29, 2003


I don't believe that anyone here necessarily gave up. After all, people do need to sleep. :)
posted by ed at 3:33 PM on October 29, 2003


I dunno. I think we got it close enough that most of the enthusiasm behind solving it has died down.

I do keep reloading the thread, though, just in case.
posted by tss at 3:39 PM on October 29, 2003


(And by "we", I mean the folks who have actually taken pains to try and solve it; I don't mean to count myself in.)
posted by tss at 3:41 PM on October 29, 2003


Hey ed, can you tally this one, please?

program find it's open film of a been abort blink searches verb routine by window to online real two that
posted by shoepal at 3:57 PM on October 29, 2003


Whoops. Substitute "teddy" for abort.
posted by shoepal at 4:16 PM on October 29, 2003


shoepal: 10, 1 close.
posted by ed at 4:23 PM on October 29, 2003


My pants are off. Do you love BBQ sauce?
This comes from reading Quicksilver and biased I Ching.
Will our fearless leader Matt play along? He's swell.
Hoping you pick up the beat, Quonsar. So cute.
George Bush belongs in a kennel with Karl Rove.
posted by copmuter at 4:35 PM on October 29, 2003


Hey ed, does this score an 11?

??????? ???? ??? open film of a ???? ????? blink searched verb routine by ?????? to ?????? ???? two ????
posted by shoepal at 5:06 PM on October 29, 2003


Supplemental:

program ways it's open ogle film on a been teddy blink research verb routine by window to carson john two clue

But I think copmuter's got it...
posted by piedrasyluz at 5:14 PM on October 29, 2003


piedrasyluz, wouldn't the supplemental seem a pointless diversion if all we were missing was "biased?" I have a feeling there is more to it than getting the 44 words of the initial cypher.
posted by shoepal at 5:23 PM on October 29, 2003


Yeah, I too will be disappointed if this is it... I mean I thought the reason it was so incoherent was because ed had to match a binary code or something; if not, well...
posted by copmuter at 5:26 PM on October 29, 2003


program find it's open film on a been abort blink register verb reissue by option to winter reel two clue
posted by destro at 6:04 PM on October 29, 2003


wouldn't the supplemental seem a pointless diversion

Yes, I agree - that's been my take from the beginning. However, there's this from Ed:

Re: Wilkins. Interesting theories, but you folks give me too much credit. Consult supplemental clue and I think you'll have it.

Reading too much into the connections to Quicksilver and its use of crytography assumes too much - specifically that Ed would assume that more than a handful of Mefiers would have already read Quicksilver. From what I can gather, no one else trying to solve the puzzle has read it but me. From this I have to conclude that while Ed was inspired by the book to come up with the idea of posting a cypher on MeFi, he could not have based the solution on a close reading of the text of Quicksilver. That would be patently unfair. So I am eliminating the whole binary/I Ching key theory and I am going back to square one.

Question: How was the key word "cinco" employed to unscramble the word clues in the original set of clues? And how does this apply to the supplemental set of clues?

Ed, I think you owe us a tally...
posted by piedrasyluz at 6:26 PM on October 29, 2003


copmuter: 43
shoepal: 9
piedra: 12
destro: 8

And, piedra, thanks. Understand that the last thing I want to do here is be a Geraldo inticing you with Al Capone's vault. So to be perfectly clear, the highest tally has been 43. The supplemental clue was designed to help you folks figure out the complete puzzle, while simultaneously spicing things up so solving this didn't become too tedious an exercise.
posted by ed at 8:07 PM on October 29, 2003


Ed, can you confirm then that once we have found the 44th and 45th word clues, that the puzzle is then SOLVED?
posted by piedrasyluz at 8:51 PM on October 29, 2003


piedra: I don't think so. It must be a cypher for something. Here's my stab at the Wheels clue:

program find it's open film of a home teddy blink research verb routine by toggle to carson john tow info

program of research to find
a verb carson it's home
routine john open teddy by
tow film blink toggle info

What is the significance of "Wheels", and how does this relate to Cinco? If anyone can figure this out they can probably solve the darn thing.
posted by cbrody at 9:42 PM on October 29, 2003


program of searches to find a word online has been routine. real line short by two film blink window site
posted by nprigoda at 3:45 AM on October 30, 2003


program of searches to find a word online has been routine. real line short by two film blink window site

So my guess is we have to fill in something in google, which in turn will give us the solution to the riddle. No if only we can find out which line. minus two words?

Fascinating
posted by sebas at 3:59 AM on October 30, 2003


cbrody: 10, I believe
nprigoda: 7, I believe

SUPPLEMENTAL TO SUPPLEMENTAL: Jacob's Room, second paragraph, last word before adult.
posted by ed at 4:41 AM on October 30, 2003


Okay, it isn't Virginia Wolf's Jacob's Room...
posted by nprigoda at 4:45 AM on October 30, 2003


and it isn't that one.
posted by heimchen at 5:04 AM on October 30, 2003


might someone explain me why 4 is beat? i thought of 'peas'.
posted by heimchen at 5:12 AM on October 30, 2003


Beat Surrender is a (really good) song by the Jam, Paul Weller's first band. from there, the John Denver ref has to be sweet beat.
posted by amberglow at 5:17 AM on October 30, 2003


yes, but how do you come up with 'beat surrender' in the first place? i thought, it's not denver's sweet 'beat', but weller's sweet 'pea'.
posted by heimchen at 5:22 AM on October 30, 2003


ok, surrender, got it.
posted by heimchen at 5:22 AM on October 30, 2003


SUPPLEMENTAL TO SUPPLEMENTAL = early.

Has anyone figured out Further?
posted by cbrody at 7:01 AM on October 30, 2003


cbrody: Nope. Simpler than that.
posted by ed at 7:38 AM on October 30, 2003


Ok, working on Supplemental. Here are some of the recent responses (my 9, piedraslyuz's 12 and cbrody's 10)

09: ??????? ???? ??? !open !film of !a ???? ????? !blink searched !verb !routine !by ?????? !to ?????? ???? !two ????
12: program ways !it's !open !film on !a been teddy !blink !research !verb !routine !by window !to carson john !two !clue
10: program find !it's !open !film of !a home teddy !blink !research !verb !routine !by toggle !to carson john tow info

Hopefully, this one should score 12:
program ???? ??? open film ?? a ???? ????? blink research verb routine by ?????? to ?????? ???? two clue

Words with a ! in front seem to be correct. I have no solid justification another than overlap in guesses.

things I'm not sure about:
find/ways (for the WAIS clue)
teddy, carson, john (if these answers are right, then 3 of the "should be correct" words are wrong.
window/toggle
Been/Home (the ben&jerry website clue)
posted by shoepal at 7:47 AM on October 30, 2003


ed: Do you mean that "early" is incorrect?
posted by cbrody at 7:59 AM on October 30, 2003


for the wheels clue: I keep thinking of a circle, and since there are an even number of words in the clue, trying to superimpose the words on top of each other then read the clue that way (I hope you can see this as two lines):
program ways it’s open film on a been teddy blink
clue two john Carson to window by routine verb research
posted by nprigoda at 8:42 AM on October 30, 2003


well, the spacing didn't work there, but I was invisioning some sort of reading like:
program: clue two ways it’s john Carson open film to window on a by been routine verb teddy blink research

which doesn't make any sense but I thought it was interesting.
posted by nprigoda at 8:45 AM on October 30, 2003


sorry, that should be:
program: clue two ways it’s john Carson open film to window on a by routine been verb teddy blink research
posted by nprigoda at 8:49 AM on October 30, 2003


shoepal: 8
nprigoda: 12
cbrody: Yes. Incorrect.
posted by ed at 9:55 AM on October 30, 2003


ok. thanks ed. 4 of these are wrong. Anyone care guess which ones?

program ???? ??? open film ?? a ???? ????? blink research verb routine by ?????? to ?????? ???? two clue
posted by shoepal at 10:11 AM on October 30, 2003


I'm going to say that routine might be close but wrong. I see where the "rout" comes from, but shouldn't the last part be a variation on "eng" from Eng and Chang?
posted by nprigoda at 10:32 AM on October 30, 2003


nprigoda, ed updated and said "sorry, that should read 'add one of bunker twins, last elided'" regarding the Rout clue.

I originally had routing, but routine seemed to make more sense semantically.

I've been rather annoyed by Blink and Verb since they both seemed too easy. Film also seemed to easy, but maybe I am just making things far more complicated than they should be.
posted by shoepal at 10:45 AM on October 30, 2003


I don't know, since the supplemental clue is supposed to help us figure out how to read the message, then this definition of routing seems to make some sense:
the process of selecting the correct interface and next hop for a packet being forwarded
Also, I'm worried that my understanding of elided is wrong. How does routine fit that? I just need to clarify, not trying to be annoying!
posted by nprigoda at 10:57 AM on October 30, 2003


Going on the original puzzle, where you collectively have 43 out of 45 correct, I'm going to hazard a guess. The word preceding "BBQ" and preceding "I Ching" seem to be the ones we need, and are not any of the following: (If I'm reading the 43's right...)

like, have, want, love
yellow, liking, taoist, trying, biased

My pants are off. Do you need BBQ sauce?
This comes from reading Quicksilver and having I Ching.
Will our fearless leader Matt play along? He's swell.
Hoping you pick up the beat, Quonsar. So cute.
George Bush belongs in a kennel with Karl Rove.

Pretty sure "having" is still wrong, but I think "need" might be right... ed? (oh, and congrats on getting a loooong time lurker to make his first post :)
posted by Roommate at 11:00 AM on October 30, 2003


Ed, are you sure that the "jaundice" clue isn't supposed to be 7, not 6? Cause Emperor fits nicely and makes sense (king, yellow).
posted by shoepal at 11:49 AM on October 30, 2003


How about "taoist I Ching?" Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

My pants are off. Do you need BBQ sauce?
This comes from reading Quicksilver and taoist I Ching.
Will our fearless leader Matt play along? He's swell.
Hoping you pick up the beat, Quonsar. So cute.
George Bush belongs in a kennel with Karl Rove.
posted by shoepal at 11:55 AM on October 30, 2003


shoepal, I think taoist makes the most sense, but unless ed made a mistake I think it's wrong... I compared 5 of the solutions ed claimed had 43 correct, and they were identical in each case except for the two words I mentioned... since Taoist was a value in one of the solutions, it must be incorrect or ed would've said 44. I think.
posted by Roommate at 12:00 PM on October 30, 2003


My pants are off. Do you like BBQ sauce?
This comes from reading Quicksilver and taoist I Ching.
Will our fearless leader Matt play along? He's swell.
Hoping you pick up the beat, Quonsar. So cute.
George Bush belongs in a kennel with Karl Rove.
posted by shoepal at 12:04 PM on October 30, 2003


Scheisse!! Thanks Roommate. I am apparently losing my mind.
posted by shoepal at 12:07 PM on October 30, 2003


Roommate: You're on the right track, but it's still 43.

shoepal: Yes, it's 6, although extra brownie points for a creative answer. :)

All other solutions presented since my last check-in have scored 43. But again, if you crack the supplemental clue, it should help to yield the dynamic duo you're looking for. :) "Wheels," folks. Or failing that, try the supplemental to the supplemental. It's only a small trip to the library away. :)
posted by ed at 1:03 PM on October 30, 2003


Ed, this comes from a guy named Tim in Australia that doesn't have a Mefi Account. What's the tally?

program ???? ??? open film ?? a ???? ????? blink SEARCHES SITE routine IN ?????? to ?????? ???? two SITE
posted by shoepal at 1:10 PM on October 30, 2003


Also, if this doesn't yield 43, then Roommate's theory is incorrect. Can you give us a tally, ed?

My pants are off. Do you ???? BBQ sauce?
This comes from reading Quicksilver and ?????? I Ching.
Will our fearless leader Matt play along? He's swell.
Hoping you pick up the beat, Quonsar. So cute.
George Bush belongs in a kennel with Karl Rove.
posted by shoepal at 1:13 PM on October 30, 2003


Ok, so the supplemental clue to the supplemental clue is the following:

"Jacob's Room, second paragraph, last word before adult."

Here is a link to the text of Virginia Woolf's novel, Jacob's room.

Second paragraph reads:

"Slowly welling from the point of her gold nib, pale blue ink dissolved
the full stop; for there her pen stuck; her eyes fixed, and tears slowly
filled them. The entire bay quivered; the lighthouse wobbled; and she
had the illusion that the mast of Mr. Connor's little yacht was bending
like a wax candle in the sun. She winked quickly. Accidents were awful
things. She winked again. The mast was straight; the waves were regular;
the lighthouse was upright; but the blot had spread."

...unless the online Gutenberg project text is not the same as the original text of the print edition.

But the word adult doesn't appear in the second paragraph. So it must be another play on words.

Anyone?
posted by piedrasyluz at 2:17 PM on October 30, 2003


Also, if this doesn't yield 43, then Roommate's theory is incorrect. Can you give us a tally, ed?

This is getting a little like the game Master Mind.

Don't give up! All of us lazy folks are counting on you!
posted by soyjoy at 2:21 PM on October 30, 2003


shoepal's friend down under (hi!): 6
shoepal: 43
piedra: Yup, that matches my print copy.
soyjoy: BCRG.
Slowly: Welling from the point...wait a minute. Anybody have a gold nib I could borrow? :)
posted by ed at 3:02 PM on October 30, 2003


Well, Roommate's theory is valid (sorry to have ever doubted you, roommate). Now we just need the jaundice word and the eddie murphy word.

(6) Jaundice, in a certain way; consult the tome's title
can't be: yellow, liking, taoist, trying, biased

(4) He wants; particularly in this context
can't be: like, have, want, love
posted by shoepal at 3:09 PM on October 30, 2003


Oh, and google is now corrupted.
posted by shoepal at 3:16 PM on October 30, 2003


the jaundice clue is also NOT "golden"

amberglow tried it already.
posted by piedrasyluz at 3:21 PM on October 30, 2003


Could jaundice be "firing"? I don't know if you can "fire" I Ching, but it makes some sense. "The fire's ready" is in the BK "title" area, and fire is yellow....I'm really reaching here.
posted by donnagirl at 3:22 PM on October 30, 2003


Just in case, since ed only tallies the full guesses:

My pants are off. Do you hate BBQ sauce?
This comes from reading Quicksilver and firing I Ching.
Will our fearless leader Matt play along? He's swell.
Hoping you pick up the beat, Quonsar. So cute.
George Bush belongs in a kennel with Karl Rove.
posted by donnagirl at 3:24 PM on October 30, 2003


Wasn't Eddie Murphy in The Golden Child? Wasn't that about a boy emperor or something?

.................last remaining brain cell winks out................

Ok, enough. I have reached my breaking point.

Good thing I already made quota for the month or I'd be in a lot of trouble....
posted by piedrasyluz at 3:32 PM on October 30, 2003


Donnagirl, we're all reaching. It's ok.

My thoughts on Jaundice are as follows, yellow (like yellow journalism), biased (in a certain way), also "have it your way" (BK slogan), flame -broiled (BK's "way"). Jaundice Burger King also seems to correlate well to Emperor Yellow, who apparently wrote or at least had some dealings in the origin of the I Ching.

did we try "master" I ching? (yellow = mustard)

I officially hate ed. (no offense, of course. That stupid "states puzzle" from a while back stole many an hour from my sad existence and now this is poised to do the same).
posted by shoepal at 3:33 PM on October 30, 2003


eddie murphy wants "gold" (comedy gold)?
posted by shoepal at 3:41 PM on October 30, 2003


My pants are off. Do you love BBQ sauce?
This comes from reading Quicksilver and ?????? I Ching.
Will our fearless leader Matt play along? He's swell.
Hoping you pick up the beat, Quonsar. So cute.
George Bush belongs in a kennel with Karl Rove.

I mean 'love' or 'date' is what this mag is about. and then maybe 'love' = laugh. wild guess, though.

ok, so it's not 'love'. how about 'take'? a movie-take maybe?

My pants are off. Do you take BBQ sauce?
This comes from reading Quicksilver and ?????? I Ching.
Will our fearless leader Matt play along? He's swell.
Hoping you pick up the beat, Quonsar. So cute.
George Bush belongs in a kennel with Karl Rove.
posted by heimchen at 3:48 PM on October 30, 2003


are there any 'adult' words in the second paragraph of Jacob's Room by any chance? (me, being not a native english speaker.)
posted by heimchen at 4:06 PM on October 30, 2003


Oh god heimchen - just about every word in the english language could have "adult" connotations if one's mind is dirty enough!

viz. nib, point, mast, pen
posted by piedrasyluz at 4:20 PM on October 30, 2003


well, 'The mast was straight' 'the lighthouse was upright' in connection with 'adult' made me think of that. maybe my mind's too dirty.
posted by heimchen at 4:29 PM on October 30, 2003


donnagirl: All still at 43, but you're the closest!

Plus, I'm astonished that nobody else would put the two concepts "My pants are off" and "BBQ sauce" within the same context.
posted by ed at 4:38 PM on October 30, 2003


OK, heimchen, let's try that. The word "blue" is often used to imply adultness - as in "blue movie". The last word before blue is pale.

So, if that's right, what do we get? Either a pale yellow, or an implication that Eddie Murphy wants something pale? I'm not really sure what the supplemental supplemental clue does for us....

If my brain doesn't implode soon, it will be a miracle.
posted by donnagirl at 4:44 PM on October 30, 2003


My pants are off. Do you seek BBQ sauce?
This comes from reading Quicksilver and broiled I Ching.
Will our fearless leader Matt play along? He's swell.
Hoping you pick up the beat, Quonsar. So cute.
George Bush belongs in a kennel with Karl Rove.
posted by piedrasyluz at 5:20 PM on October 30, 2003


My Pants are off, do you spew BBQ sauce?
This comes from reading Quicksilver and liking I Ching.
Will our fearless leader Matt play along? He's swell.
Hoping you pick up the beat, Quonsar. So cute.
George Bush belongs in a kennel with Karl Rove.

well thats my guess at it, I'm probably not right.
posted by philcliff at 5:22 PM on October 30, 2003


In my mind, broiled has only six letters.....
posted by piedrasyluz at 5:24 PM on October 30, 2003


My pants are off, do you have BBQ sauce?
This comes from reading Quicksilver and liking I Ching.
Will our fearless leader Matt play along? He's swell.
Hoping you pick up the beat, Quonsar. So cute.
George Bush belongs in a kennel with Karl Rove.
posted by paradigm at 5:39 PM on October 30, 2003


"I'm astonished that nobody else would put the two concepts 'My pants are off' and 'BBQ sauce' within the same context."

ed, has it ever occurred to you that you might possibly be insane?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:41 PM on October 30, 2003


I'm astonished that nobody else would put the two concepts 'My pants are off' and 'BBQ sauce' within the same context."

ed, has it ever occurred to you that you might possibly be insane?

No, I think I see a connection...
posted by tss at 5:53 PM on October 30, 2003


My Pants are off, do you fame BBQ sauce?
This comes from reading Quicksilver and castin' I Ching.
Will our fearless leader Matt play along? He's swell.
Hoping you pick up the beat, Quonsar. So cute.
George Bush belongs in a kennel with Karl Rove.

???
posted by amberglow at 6:10 PM on October 30, 2003


paradigm: 44
All others: 43
posted by ed at 6:22 PM on October 30, 2003


My pants are off, do you have BBQ sauce?

i'll flame your ass.
posted by quonsar at 6:28 PM on October 30, 2003


ed, stopgap submitted the same entry as paradigm way back here.
posted by donth at 6:35 PM on October 30, 2003


My pants are off. Do you have BBQ sauce?
This comes from reading Quicksilver and liking I Ching.
Will our fearless leader Matt play along? He's swell.
Hoping you pick up the beat, Quonsar. So cute.
George Bush belongs in a kennel with Karl Rove.
posted by stopgap at 2:31 AM CST on October 29

Scored a 43.

My pants are off, do you have BBQ sauce?
This comes from reading Quicksilver and liking I Ching.
Will our fearless leader Matt play along? He's swell.
Hoping you pick up the beat, Quonsar. So cute.
George Bush belongs in a kennel with Karl Rove.
posted by paradigm at 7:39 PM CST on October 30

Scored a 44.

W
T
F
E??
posted by donnagirl at 6:43 PM on October 30, 2003


oops, apparently I should spend less time composing and more time refreshing the page.
posted by donnagirl at 6:45 PM on October 30, 2003


Can we all scream a collective:

WE GIVE UP ED!

I mean, if there were some huge intellectual challenge here, I could see it going on forever. But we are all just guessing now, and it seems to me like the clues Ed came up with are just too obscure for us to make the connection. How do you get "have" from the words "he wants, particularly in this context" that link to a page about Eddie Murphy? Can someone actually explain it, or can we admit that we've all just been guessing for at least a day now?
posted by piedrasyluz at 7:12 PM on October 30, 2003


I think ed owes all of metafilter an apology.
posted by crunchland at 7:17 PM on October 30, 2003


I feel I need to chime in here as an impartial observer. Here's my take on puzzleology:

The more complicated (or challenging) a puzzle, the greater the reward should be at the end.

To see you all pull your hair out over a nonsensical, in-jokey solution is kind of sad.

And ed, at least figure out your own puzzle before you post it and give inconsistent "clues." Unless you're just trying to be a jerk, in which case--kudos!
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 7:27 PM on October 30, 2003


the crowd's turning on you, ed--maybe you should up the ante?
posted by amberglow at 7:38 PM on October 30, 2003


My pants are off, do you want BBQ sauce?
This comes from reading Quicksilver and liking I Ching.
Will our fearless leader Matt play along? He's swell.
Hoping you pick up the beat, Quonsar. So cute.
George Bush belongs in a kennel with Karl Rove.

(my final guess) : <
posted by amberglow at 7:54 PM on October 30, 2003


My pants are off, do you need BBQ sauce?
This comes from reading Quicksilver and liking I Ching.
Will our fearless leader Matt play along? He's swell.
Hoping you pick up the beat, Quonsar. So cute.
George Bush belongs in a kennel with Karl Rove.
posted by shoepal at 8:18 PM on October 30, 2003


fwiw:
My pants are off do you lack BBQ sauce
This comes from reading Quicksilver and frying I Ching
Will our fearless leader matt play along he's swell
Hoping you pick up the beat Quonsar so cute.
George Bush belongs in a kennel with Karl Rove

ed, can we have something a bit more straightforward in the way of a clue? How the 4 clues relate to each other, for example. Repeated here for convenience:

1. Cinco: 2 4 4 6 5 4 5 3 3 4 3 4 8 4 7 3 7 6 2 2 2 11 4 3 1 3 3 4 4 6 4 6 5 7 4 3 1 3 2 4 5 5 5 4 4

2. Further: the _________ had ________.

3. Wheels: 7 4 3 4 4 2 1 4 5 5 8 4 7 2 6 2 6 4 3 4

4. SUPPLEMENTAL TO SUPPLEMENTAL: Jacob's Room, second paragraph, last word before adult.
posted by cbrody at 8:19 PM on October 30, 2003


lack!!!! Duh! Nice work, Cbrody! I too would like more info regarding the "supplemental" clues.

My pants are off, do you lack BBQ sauce?
This comes from reading Quicksilver and liking I Ching.
Will our fearless leader Matt play along? He's swell.
Hoping you pick up the beat, Quonsar. So cute.
George Bush belongs in a kennel with Karl Rove.
posted by shoepal at 8:27 PM on October 30, 2003


Calpundit just posted recently about this book he's reading... Quicksilver. He notes that he's a big Stephenson fan, but that
    as the pages go by and it gets harder and harder to discern any purpose or ultimate goal to the writing, my concentration is flagging.
Thought some of you would enjoy that.

That said, though, not to sound like a broken record or anything, but... don't give up! I've tried to stay completely out of the puzzle-solving and just be a cheerleader here, but I'd like to point out something I noticed that I haven't heard anyone say: Isn't it odd how many Q's there are in this thing? And also, isn't it kind of noteworthy that if you count "Q sauce," all five lines end in two-syllable phrases? And that one of them is "So cute" (Qt)? Also, oddly, the three syllables following "Q" syllables all start with "s." Now, some of this is coincidence, probably, and some of those words may be wrong, I guess, but maybe that's what ed meant by hoping Quonsar would "pick up the beat" - there's some rhythm, some cycle that the Qs are helpng to delineate, that will make sense of this gibberish.

I'm pointing this out because I don't believe the solution of the puzzle is just getting the last one or two words right. ed has been "so cute" about not saying one way or another, but just because he said it wasn't so complicated as having an I ching-based layer doesn't mean there's not another step.

So: Don't give up.
posted by soyjoy at 8:30 PM on October 30, 2003


i take back calling ed a jerk. reading soyjoy's message, it occurs to me that this might turn out to actually have an interesting solution. good luck y'all.
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 8:34 PM on October 30, 2003


soyjoy: Thanks for the eloquent words. But I'd rather be honest about the situation here. This thread has wended through so many emotions, that I'm at a loss as to where it will all ultimately end up. And, as I said above, I don't want to mislead anyone here into thinking that there's riddles within riddles within riddles. The thing was devised on a moving bus, for Pete's sake.

No one, as yet, has hit 45.

stopgap did indeed have 44. My profound apologies. Wasn't going out of my way to be a jerk. But since I'm trying to post regular tally updates, often when I have mere minutes of spare time to do this, all I can say is that inevitably when you're scratching groups of five on the run, there will be a mistake. Mea culpa. Human error. I burn a matchbook representing myself in effigy.

So the question is where we go from here. We have 44. We have a $50 prize that I've offered. And the last clue offers the complete answer. Sure, I could invent another puzzle. But that will no doubt infuriate you more, given that there is no other object other than to find the answer to the final clue.

The way I see it, there are the following possibilities:

(a) Continue the puzzle as planned, though without any real sense of communal accomplishment. Award $50 to the winner.

(b) Reveal the complete solution and donate the $50 to Matt for Metafilter, to be used in some way that he sees fit.

(c) Move to the desert, change name to Sally Redondo and start a cross-stitching school.

Personally, I think (b) captures the spirit of this thread best. (c) doesn't accomplish anything, save bringing the rewards of cross-stitching to a town that desperately needs water. (a) rewards an individual for merely guessing the final clue, but leaves out the long hard work of many here. I've been very amazed by everyone's cooperative nature in cracking this thing. If it were possible to hug you, or to allow each of you the opportunity to pour BBQ sauce on my pantless legs in person, I'd gladly do it. Which is why I think option (b) works best. It gives everyone a pat on the back and gives Matt some incentive for the bandwidth we used.

But I'll let the people here decide.
posted by ed at 8:46 PM on October 30, 2003


My pants are off, do you make BBQ sauce?
My pants are off, do you lack BBQ sauce?
My pants are off, do you want BBQ sauce?
My pants are off, do you need BBQ sauce?
My pants are off, do you miss BBQ sauce?
My pants are off, do you long BBQ sauce?
My pants are off, do you pour BBQ sauce?

My pants are off, do you pour BBQ sauce?
This comes from reading Quicksilver and liking I Ching.
Will our fearless leader Matt play along? He's swell.
Hoping you pick up the beat, Quonsar. So cute.
George Bush belongs in a kennel with Karl Rove.
posted by shoepal at 9:03 PM on October 30, 2003


whoa, ed. Don't get down on yourself. I, for one, wasn't actually mad about the mis-scoring, just pointing it out and making my own injoke in the process.

Can you tell me if the answer to the supplemental clue is, in fact, pale? And if that's the answer, what do I do with it?

Thanks for the thread. However it turns out, it's been fun.
posted by donnagirl at 9:09 PM on October 30, 2003


shoepal, I think the word that's wrong is "liking", and that "have" was correct. If you look at philclifff's attempt, it scored a 43. If "liking" was right, it would have been 44.

I just hate to see you expend so much energy trying to replace the word that seems to be right.
posted by donnagirl at 9:15 PM on October 30, 2003


I vote B.

Shoepal? Cbrody? Donnagirl? anyone else who was actively chasing this thing? (And for what it's worth sirmissalot, the only things sadder than trying to solve an in-jokey puzzle are a) my job that allows me the freedom to goof off all day long and b) you coming in and telling us the party is over when you weren't there to get it started.

B. Vote B.

Let me sleep tonight...
posted by piedrasyluz at 9:17 PM on October 30, 2003


But I still want to know how you get "have" out of Eddie Murphy and "he wants, particularly in this context"... that really steams me...
posted by piedrasyluz at 9:19 PM on October 30, 2003


I've been greatly enjoying watching this thing develop, so I'll vote B without hesitation. I've never seen such a great collaborative effort to solve something online.
posted by paradigm at 9:23 PM on October 30, 2003


piedrasyluz, my sentiments exactly. (also, I vote B, but that's a given. I just want the effing answer.)
posted by shoepal at 9:34 PM on October 30, 2003


Just comparing responses, and it looks to me like "do you HAVE bbq sauce" is what scored the 44, not "and LIKING I Ching." Note this post by philcliff before paradigm posted the same response I had. On preview, donnagirl saw the same thing. Of course, two days later, "have" as a response for the Eddie Murphy clue is seeming less clear to me... Maybe something about him wanting to have men (since I think the page comes from a Google search for "'eddie murphy' men"), but it was probably more of a guess. And I went insane after actually going to the library only to find that the text of Jacob's Room matches Project Gutenburg. And "spread adult" (the last word, before adult) is nonsense. So anyway, we're at 44 on the main puzzle, and the supplementals all seem to be harder. I vote B.

Oh, before I forget, let me test this. This should also be a 44:

My pants are off, do you have BBQ sauce?
This comes from reading Quicksilver and dammit I Ching.
Will our fearless leader Matt play along? He's swell.
Hoping you pick up the beat, Quonsar. So cute.
George Bush belongs in a kennel with Karl Rove.
posted by stopgap at 9:35 PM on October 30, 2003


B is fine with me. I won't feel bad about not solving it, and I don't think there's any one person who actually "deserves" to win the prize.

I'll second paradigm's comment, too. This has been cool for me because of the group effort. It's the first time I've felt like a member of mefi rather than just someone who showed up late to the party without a date.
posted by donnagirl at 9:37 PM on October 30, 2003


Since it's out in the blue:

Eddie Murphy Raw: "I want half, Eddie." Link to Ask Men: half of human species (i.e., particularly in this context). Thus, he wants "half" or "have."
posted by ed at 9:43 PM on October 30, 2003


And by the way, I'd like concur with everyone's statements about the collaborative/community effort here. Though I've been around for a long time (check out the sexy member ID), this is the first post where I've really wanted to contribute to the comments because I thought I had something to add. I've found that for almost every topic, if I wait long enough there's usually someone else here who posts what I was thinking. I don't know if this thread really makes a great MeFi FPP, but it sure was a lot of fun.
posted by stopgap at 9:43 PM on October 30, 2003


ANd!?!?!?!?!? What's the last word Ed! Before you jaundice my opinion of you permanently!
posted by piedrasyluz at 9:45 PM on October 30, 2003


re: half/have, that's rather weak, ed. Perhaps overly clever.

How about "Gilded I Ching"

My pants are off, do you have BBQ sauce?
This comes from reading Quicksilver and gilded I Ching.
Will our fearless leader Matt play along? He's swell.
Hoping you pick up the beat, Quonsar. So cute.
George Bush belongs in a kennel with Karl Rove.
posted by shoepal at 9:48 PM on October 30, 2003


My pants are off. Do you have BBQ sauce?
This comes from reading Quicksilver and dragon I Ching.
Will our fearless leader Matt play along? He's swell.
Hoping you pick up (the) beat, Quonsar. So cute.
George Bush belongs in a kennel with Karl Rove.
posted by wobh at 10:07 PM on October 30, 2003


Nice work, wobh.
posted by shoepal at 10:12 PM on October 30, 2003


Did Ed go to bed?

Maybe premature, but:

MOST. ANTICLIMACTIC. POST. EVER.
posted by piedrasyluz at 10:34 PM on October 30, 2003


the google ads on this page are almost as perplexing as ed's puzzle.
posted by mokujin at 11:10 PM on October 30, 2003


oh wow, saddle potties!
posted by stopgap at 11:14 PM on October 30, 2003


re: half/have, that's rather weak, ed.

It's not the best clue, but half also = halve.
halve/have is a bit better.
posted by LeLiLo at 5:47 AM on October 31, 2003


Agreed, Lelilo. I was just taking out some frustrations on poor old Ed. I'm sure he doesn't take it personally. At least I hope he doesn't. To be honest, Ed, this has been a lot of fun.
posted by shoepal at 6:45 AM on October 31, 2003


Well, ya see, that's why I wasn't doing the puzzle-solving. I'm just too quick to see patterns in things, as someone pointed out on another thread I'm not gonna look up. It still seems really odd to have all those Q's (cues, don'tcha see???...) Ahem. That said, I vote d) For foisting all of this upon us (it has been fun, especially for those of us who didn't do any of the work, but I think we can all agree the ends here fails to justify the means), ed has to take the original "solution" and divine a superb extra-layer of solution for all of us to "enjoy."
posted by soyjoy at 7:30 AM on October 31, 2003


darn it, I was hoping it would be solved this morning, so I could stop obsessing over it. :)

My pants are off, do you have BBQ sauce?
This comes from reading Quicksilver and honing I Ching.
Will our fearless leader Matt play along? He's swell.
Hoping you pick up the beat, Quonsar. So cute.
George Bush belongs in a kennel with Karl Rove.
posted by Roommate at 7:32 AM on October 31, 2003


on wheels:

program ways it's open film of a been teddy blink
research verb routine by window to carson john two info

I know a lot of these are wrong, but I think we need to use every 6th word (instead of 5 in the previous clue)

program a routine two ways been by info it's teddy window
open blink to film research carson of verb john

well, it started out good, anyway...
posted by Roommate at 7:48 AM on October 31, 2003


I give up. "Half/have" is not even close to being a homophone in British English (think of your audience, ed!) If the other missing clues are this tenuous it's not worth the effort. May as well guess every word in the dictionary.

ed, as we're all about ready to throw in the towel anyway, just give us a hint, without the full solution, if that's possible.

Please?
posted by cbrody at 8:32 AM on October 31, 2003


My pants are off, do you have BBQ sauce?
This comes from reading Quicksilver and bronze I Ching.
Will our fearless leader Matt play along? He's swell.
Hoping you pick up the beat, Quonsar. So cute.
George Bush belongs in a kennel with Karl Rove.
posted by shoepal at 8:47 AM on October 31, 2003


My pants are off, do you have BBQ sauce?
This comes from reading Quicksilver and book of I Ching.
Will our fearless leader Matt play along? He's swell.
Hoping you pick up the beat, Quonsar. So cute.
George Bush belongs in a kennel with Karl Rove.
posted by shoepal at 9:05 AM on October 31, 2003


cbrody: Think of the way Murphy was pronouncing it.

SUPPLEMENTAL TO CLUE 45: Card catalog entry: Sans king, don't roll the bones. There are ways in the title.
posted by ed at 10:28 AM on October 31, 2003


Ed, here's a gun.

Come on, take it.

Put me out of my misery.

I'm begging you.

Shoepal, maybe you'll do the honors?

Ed, spill it.
posted by piedrasyluz at 10:30 AM on October 31, 2003


Okay, I will spill the answer at 6PM PST. Fair? I don't want anyone killing himself over this. :)

roommate: 13
posted by ed at 10:41 AM on October 31, 2003


I wasn't going to try again but:

My pants are off. Do you have BBQ sauce?
This comes from reading Quicksilver and broken I Ching.
Will our fearless leader Matt play along? He's swell.
Hoping you pick up (the) beat, Quonsar. So cute.
George Bush belongs in a kennel with Karl Rove.
posted by wobh at 10:46 AM on October 31, 2003


Come on Piedrasyluz, we can get 45. We can't let ed beat us.
posted by shoepal at 10:48 AM on October 31, 2003


Hey, a new clue.... I think I'm right this time. If I'm not, ed has some explaining to do.
posted by wobh at 11:01 AM on October 31, 2003


In this proud land we grew up strong
We were wanted all along
I was taught to fight, taught to win
I never thought I could fail

No fight left or so it seems
I am a man whose dreams have all deserted
I've changed my face, I've changed my name
But no one wants you when you lose

Don't give up
'Cause you have friends
Don't give up
You're not beaten yet
Don't give up
I know you can make it good

posted by ginz at 11:04 AM on October 31, 2003


jaundice? in a certain way; consult the tome's title
and
Card catalog entry: Sans king, don't roll the bones. There are ways in the title.
(I'm assuming this clue '45' is also for that elusive 6 letter word).

"way" appears twice. Does that mean anything? (BK's old slogan, "have it your way"?)
which tome? Quicksilver or I Ching? (or neither?)
Sans king, leaves "burger".
card catalog entry? don't roll the bones?

nope... still got nothing.

on preview: wobh, I hope you do. :) don't see how 'broken' fits the clues, though...
posted by Roommate at 11:06 AM on October 31, 2003


My pants are off. Do you have BBQ sauce?
This comes from reading Quicksilver and deluxe I Ching.
Will our fearless leader Matt play along? He's swell.
Hoping you pick up (the) beat, Quonsar. So cute.
George Bush belongs in a kennel with Karl Rove.
posted by stopgap at 11:06 AM on October 31, 2003


Jaundice, coward, hepatitis. Just babbling here.
posted by ginz at 11:19 AM on October 31, 2003


I'm feeling good about deluxe. Consider this book by Stephen Karcher. I noted before that this Burger King clue came just before a Stephen King clue. Thus, "card catalog entry: sans King" = Stephen. Also, "don't roll the bones" could lead to "de-lucks" = deluxe. Finally, if this isn't right I think I'm going to cry.
posted by stopgap at 11:20 AM on October 31, 2003


Stephen Karcher also wrote WAY of the I Ching.
posted by stopgap at 11:28 AM on October 31, 2003


Roll the bones is a Rush song. Don't roll the bones. don't rush?
card catalog entry

john berger's Ways of Seeing?

My pants are off. Do you have BBQ sauce?
This comes from reading Quicksilver and seeing I Ching.
Will our fearless leader Matt play along? He's swell.
Hoping you pick up (the) beat, Quonsar. So cute.
George Bush belongs in a kennel with Karl Rove.
posted by shoepal at 11:28 AM on October 31, 2003


It fits the clues via a slightly less tortured line of reasoning that my other guess "dragon". Here goes:

The Other 'tome' here is Quicksilver: Baroque Cycle Vol. I. "If it ain't baroque, don't fix it." The card catalogue entry is going to be under Baroque Cycle (Cycle == "Wheels" btw).

The first part of the clue is even stupider. 'Broken' in a certain way is 'breaking' which can be broken up into the 'king' of burger king and 'brea' which isn't jaundice but is 'tar' which can be like 'amber' and in a certain way, the La Brea redundancy is like amber. Or in the new clue: 'Don't roll the bones.'

If this isn't right ed owes me $50 anyway.
posted by wobh at 11:31 AM on October 31, 2003


whey is yellow!!

My pants are off. Do you have BBQ sauce?
This comes from reading Quicksilver and ways of I Ching.
Will our fearless leader Matt play along? He's swell.
Hoping you pick up (the) beat, Quonsar. So cute.
George Bush belongs in a kennel with Karl Rove.
posted by shoepal at 11:31 AM on October 31, 2003


Oh, and "the" shouldn't be in parentheses. Someone must have taken the "parenthetically" from the clue and put it into their response.
posted by stopgap at 11:32 AM on October 31, 2003


I'll buy you a beer, Wobh.
posted by shoepal at 11:35 AM on October 31, 2003


Hey, a little excitement is coming back to this thread. We might just make it to 6PST after all.
posted by stopgap at 11:38 AM on October 31, 2003


wobh: truly you have a dizzying intellect.

I hope you're right. Or stopgap's "deluxe". Mainly, I'm too impatient to wait 6 more hours for the answer. :)
posted by Roommate at 11:52 AM on October 31, 2003


If anything, we've all learned a lot of homonyms, synonyms, and homophones.
posted by shoepal at 11:55 AM on October 31, 2003


My pants are off, do you have BBQ sauce?
This comes from reading Quicksilver and Queen's I Ching.
Will our fearless leader Matt play along? He's swell.
Hoping you pick up the beat, Quonsar. So cute.
George Bush belongs in a kennel with Karl Rove.

(english.....doesn't make sense really - but what the hell)
posted by bargle at 11:55 AM on October 31, 2003


My pants are off, do you have BBQ sauce?
This comes from reading Quicksilver and Steve's I Ching.
Will our fearless leader Matt play along? He's swell.
Hoping you pick up (the) beat, Quonsar. So cute.
George Bush belongs in a kennel with Karl Rove.

this is even more of a job of stretching it. not sure he even did i ching, just tao...but i have no other ideas.
posted by bargle at 12:04 PM on October 31, 2003


bargle, read the thread, why don't ya. so my mitchell and a karcher as well. karcher more likely than mitchell now that i see that guess above..... in fact i like deluxe better than any other answer so far.
posted by bargle at 12:13 PM on October 31, 2003


Yellow, casting, having, golden, yi king, taoist, trying, biased, firing, master, liking, castin, frying, dammit, gilded, dragon, deluxe, honing, book of, bronze, broken, seeing, ways of, queen's, steve's

My pants are off, do you have BBQ sauce?
This comes from reading Quicksilver and binary I Ching.
Will our fearless leader Matt play along? He's swell.
Hoping you pick up the beat, Quonsar. So cute.
George Bush belongs in a kennel with Karl Rove.
posted by shoepal at 12:40 PM on October 31, 2003


OK, I think shoepal has it with "seeing". It works with the card catalogue part of the clue, and it ties back to jaundice better than deluxe does, jaudiced eye being a reference to seeing the world in a certain weary way.

I don't know what it has to do with the rolling bones, but I've decided not to let little trivialities like not understanding bother me here.
posted by donnagirl at 12:47 PM on October 31, 2003


Whoa. Freaky. Fascinating.
posted by shoepal at 1:31 PM on October 31, 2003


My pants are off, do you have BBQ sauce?
This comes from reading Quicksilver and flying I Ching.
Will our fearless leader Matt play along? He's swell.
Hoping you pick up the beat, Quonsar. So cute.
George Bush belongs in a kennel with Karl Rove.
posted by piedrasyluz at 1:33 PM on October 31, 2003


Glad to see you haven't quit, piedrasyluz.
posted by shoepal at 1:40 PM on October 31, 2003


Shoepal - re: fascinating. I do reccommend reading Quicksilver - Stephenson works a lot of that kind of detail into the narrative. Leibniz uses the binary interpretation of the characters of the I Ching to act as a key to his encrypted letters to Eliza. Cool stuff. Calpundit's review doesn't do it justice, particularly when you see it from the perspective of it being the first in a cycle of at least three long works. I live for long hard slogs of books, rich in detail...
posted by piedrasyluz at 1:41 PM on October 31, 2003


My pants are off, do you have BBQ sauce?
This comes from reading Quicksilver and taking I Ching.
Will our fearless leader Matt play along? He's swell.
Hoping you pick up the beat, quonsar. So cute.
George Bush belongs in a kennel with Karl Rove.
posted by donth at 1:50 PM on October 31, 2003


yarrow I Ching? Pocket I Ching?

Ed, was this all just a ruse to teach us about the I Ching?

Piedrasyluz, I've already got Quicksilver on my list. I haven't read any Stephenson since Diamond Age.
posted by shoepal at 1:53 PM on October 31, 2003


I'd just like to pipe in: I've found this thread an infinitely more interesting read than 400 Tom Swifty's. Thanks ed.
posted by erebora at 2:01 PM on October 31, 2003


Well then Shoe, without sounding like a collective world-class-geek-broken-record, you must read Cryptonomicon. At university, I remember seeing a tv series called Connections, which was based on a popular book written by James Burke (it actually starred James Burke). Each episode was a fascinating, endlessly tangential yarn bouncing all over history and touching on countless scientific and historical topics and individuals. Burke also wrote a column in Scientific American of the same name. My point is that Stephenson's entire writing career is like this. He hits on something that fascinates him and then rolls with it - much of what he researched for Cryptonomicon ended up becoming the basis for the Baroque Cycle. What makes this fun is that even if the plot is weak in parts, the whiff of history is too strong to ignore.
posted by piedrasyluz at 2:08 PM on October 31, 2003


shoepal: CORRECT! 45.
posted by ed at 2:13 PM on October 31, 2003


24 33 23 43 1
45 47 11 36 15
43 8 64 45 35
63 42 34 7 24
64 7 21 64 44
posted by shoepal at 2:18 PM on October 31, 2003


Um, ed, at the risk of sounding like i've lost my mind, which one is correct?
posted by shoepal at 2:20 PM on October 31, 2003


Well, then: that's that. And how about this coincidence:

Yarrow
A secure pseudorandom number generator

Ed, please tell me you were aware of this program!
posted by piedrasyluz at 2:22 PM on October 31, 2003


THE ANSWER FOR THE MAIN PUZZLE:

The inspiration behind the puzzle was, as piedrasyuz mentioned, indeed Eliza’s encrypted letters in Neal Stephenson’s Quicksilver. I was particularly intrigued by the idea of one simple phrase holding the key to how sentences and symbols could be expanded to form messages, much like a ZIP file on a hard drive. And I also recalled the cipher that Stephenson had placed on his own site before Quicksilver came out. (See this for how it was unraveled.) The idea stuck in my noggin until, on Monday night, my geek-oriented brain couldn’t concentrate on anything else. But instead of using a specific binary cipher (which I knew would have MeFites tarring and feathering my ass), I simplified it to create a message in sets of five.

The puzzle was constructed by providing a hyperlink with a title tag that referred to something on the page or something within the context of the page that offered a clue to the word’s meaning. Each link was given a number, which signified the number of letters in each word.

As initially discovered by elpapacito, “Cinco” was the big clue that the set of numbers was split into five separate sentences: each one composed of nine words. The sequence appeared in this order: A-B-C-D-E, with this sequence recurring until each sentence was completed. I included the clue “BBQ” and “SAUCE” together as the big giveaway, a revelation discovered by shoepal.

The correct answer is:


MY THIS WILL HOPING GEROGE
PANTS COMES OUR YOU BUSH
ARE FROM FEARLESS PICK BELONGS
OFF READING LEADER UP IN
DO QUICKSILVER MATT THE A
YOU AND PLAY BEAT KENNEL
HAVE SEEING ALONG? QUONSAR WITH
BBQ I HE'S SO KARL
SAUCE CHING SWELL CUTE ROVE

These five sentences were scribbled onto lined paper on a moving bus, and madness followed. I made efforts to vary the difficulty of the clues, and to apply the answers across a wide swath of highbrow and lowbrow references.

Everybody here should pat themselves on the back for the community effort at solving the puzzle. A lot of the instinctive guesses led themselves into partial solutions and very clever thinking from all.

What follows are explanations behind all of the clues:

CLUE: missing pivotal pronoun
ANSWER: MY
EXPLANATION: Link to George Harrison’s “I Me Mine.” The title, with its alliteration and pronouns, allowed you to insert “My” as the missing one.

CLUE: you couldn't go with that
ANSWER: THIS
EXPLANATION: Link to Fatboy Slim’s “Weapon of Choice.” As voiced by donth, the key lyric, “You can go with this, or you can go with that” singled out the appropriate word through process of elimination.

CLUE: assuming his nick wasn't bill
ANSWER: WILL
EXPLANATION: Link to Shakespeare’s Complete Works. William can be shortened to “Will” or “Bill.” Process of elimination provides the answer.

CLUE: ignore the crane, switch 1
ANSWER: HOPING
EXPLANATION: Link to martial arts choreographer Woo-ping Yuen. The idea was to draw attention to “whooping crane” and switch merely one letter (“W”) to “H.” Upon seeing the value 6, the user could then remove the unnecessary O (again “switching 1”).

CLUE: first thing's first, in more ways than one
ANSWER: GEORGE
EXPLANATION: Link to the White House. The clue was meant not only to draw attention to President Bush’s first name, but to point out that this was the beginning of one of the five sentences.

CLUE: he emails now, discounting propriety for clue
ANSWER: PANTS
EXPLANATION: Link to Mister Pants, who gave up blogging for email updates. Discounting propriety, of course, removes “Mister” and leaves “pants.”

CLUE: NSFW verb
ANSWER: COMES
EXPLANATION: Link to picture of sperm. “Comes” is the intransitive form of a verb that describes what might be happening in the picture.

CLUE: feeling lucky? then expand
ANSWER: OUR
EXPLANATION: If you type in “R” to Google and hit “Feeling Lucky,” a link to The R Project comes up. Expanding R to its voiced form provides “our.”

CLUE: Kay Lee's gotta go
ANSWER: YOU
EXPLANATION: A link to the Ukulele Hall of Fame. Again, cheap wordplay. Remove “Kay Lee” and you’re left with the letter U.

CLUE: consider acronyms and taxonomy
ANSWER: BUSH
EXPLANATION: Link to the short story “The Giant Wistaria.” Reducing the story to its acronym provides “G.W.” – the first two initials of President Bush. And, of course, a wistaria resembles a bush.

CLUE: he croons, he sings; first phrase, to second person
ANSWER: ARE
EXPLANATION: Link to Neil Diamond, singer of “I Am, I Said.” The intonation of “he croons, he sings” was meant to refer to this song. And the first phrase in second person is “You Are.”

CLUE: beyond the change, did he mention how close?
ANSWER: FROM
EXPLANATION: Link to psychologist Erich Fromm, who wrote the autobiography Beyond the Chains of Illusion. The bad pun was meant to refer to how close “Fromm” was to “From.”

CLUE: he burned bridges across the weir
ANSWER: FEARLESS
EXPLANATION: Link to Rafael Yglesias, who wrote the book Fearless. This was turned into a movie starring Jeff Bridges and directed by Peter Weir.

CLUE: a lot of trouble when you consider shorthand
ANSWER: PICK
EXPLANATION: Link to The Ultimate Plectrum Banjo Player’s Guide. Shorthand for “plectrum” is, as any guitar player knows, “pick.”

CLUE: the hive isn't spoken for
ANSWER: BELONG
EXPLANATION: Link to Long’s Drugs. The hive was a reference to “bee,” which hadn’t been spoken for.

CLUE: well, if you can't flip it on...
ANSWER: OFF
EXPLANATION: Link to the Apple Switch Campaign. Switches can be turned on or off. Process of elimination yields the answer.

CLUE: a natural public preface
ANSWER: READING
EXPLANATION: Link to a rainbow. “Reading Rainbow” is a television show produced by PBS (the PUBLIC Broadcasting System). Thus, moving before “rainbow” publicly produces the answer.

CLUE: it thanks the academy
ANSWER: LEADER
EXPLANATION: Link to Academy Leader. The noun thanks the adjective.

CLUE: subtract the service
ANSWER: UP
EXPLANATION: Link to UPS, which stands for United Parcel Service. Subtracting the third word gives us the acronym UP.

CLUE: granting amnesty helps it check; but it's in the green
ANSWER: IN
EXPLANATION: Link to Holiday Inn Towel Amnesty Day. On the page, there is a green sign for “Holiday Inn.” Reducing “Inn” to “In” produces the answer.

CLUE: to be fair to pants, he's not the only one getting stiffed; ergo...
ANSWER: DO
EXPLANATION: A reference to the Mister Pants clue, reproducing the impropriety of removing “Mister.” The link was to Mr. Do, a 1980s arcade game. What’s left?

CLUE: ostensibly, the source
ANSWER: QUICKSILVER
EXPLANATION: Link to Quicksilver Metaweb, a collection of annotations to Neal Stephenson’s book. The source?

CLUE: worn out its welcome
ANSWER: MATT
EXPLANATION: Link to Welcome Mat. What’s left?

CLUE: parenthetically more important; consult title
ANSWER: THE
EXPLANATION: The title of the linked article is “A Genuine (And Definite) Article.” Concentrating on “definite article” then has us considering the definite article in the English language, which is “the.”

CLUE: opposite the last clue
ANSWER: A
EXPLANATION: Quite literally the opposite. The indefinite article is “A.”

CLUE: something's missing
ANSWER: YOU
EXPLANATION: Link to words formed by AEIO. The letter U is missing from the five major vowels.

CLUE: the clue will talk if you kill one
ANSWER: AND
EXPLANATION: Link to “Talk to the Hand.” Removing one letter (H) reveals AND.

CLUE: all work and nothing; it precedes this mighty hillock; see the second clue
ANSWER: PLAY
EXPLANATION: Referring to the Shakespeare reference in the second clue, but also a reference to WS’s “The play’s the thing.” As if to close the deal, there’s a second phrase referred to: “All work and no play.”

CLUE: not denver's sweet, but weller's turn
ANSWER: BEAT
EXPLANATION: Link to Surrender, apparently an online RPG. Musical reference. John Denver wrote “Sweet Surrender” and Paul Weller wrote “Beat Surrender.”

CLUE: he doesn't have a D cup
ANSWER: KENNEL
EXPLANATION: Link to Ken Doll. If you put the two words together, you have “KENDOLL,” and, if this word were a woman, the D cup on this word could hypothetically be located where the D and the O are. Removing this creates “KENLL.” But you’re struggling for a vowel and you come up with “KENNEL.”

CLUE: he wants, particularly in this context
ANSWER: HAVE
EXPLANATION: Link to Eddie Murphy interview at Ask Men. In the film Eddie Murphy Raw, Eddie Murphy performed an infamous routine where his divorced wives “wanted half, Eddie.” I specifically linked to Ask Men because I figured that referring to half of the people on the planet might yield the same connotation.

CLUE: jaundice? in a certain way; consult the tome's title
ANSWER: SEEING
EXPLANATION: Link to Burger King. Jaundice was meant to refer to “John Berger,” who wrote the famous book, Ways of Seeing.

CLUE: don't trim, just hop
ANSWER: ALONG?
EXPLANATION: Link to The Long Hair Site. You don’t want to trim the hair. Furthermore, “hopping” ‘long with it will produce “ALONG.”

CLUE: simple clue
ANSWER: QUONSAR
EXPLANATION: Direct link to Quonsar’s profile.

CLUE: out doctors and borders; what's left?
ANSWER: WITH
EXPLANATION: Link to Doctors Without Borders. Removing “out,” “doctors” and “borders” leaves WITH.

CLUE: sans stacey; add ralphie's gun before; further hint: acronym
ANSWER: BBQ
EXPLANATION: Link to Stacey Q. Remove Stacey, refer to Ralphie’s BB gun in A Christmas Story, and you have an acronym.

CLUE: he needs something from yul brynner
ANSWER: I
EXPLANATION: Link to Stephen King’s site. Yul Brynner starred in The King and I. What King needed.

CLUE: my guess is he doesn't laugh much; insert apostrophe
ANSWER: HE’S
EXPLANATION: Link to a guy named Martin Van Hees. He doesn’t laugh much, because he’s not “heeing.” This reduces “hees” to “hes.” Insert the apostrophe.

CLUE: action here without ing
ANSWER: SO
EXPLANATION: Link to sewing.com. Action is “sew.” Reduce it to two letters and it’s “so.”

CLUE: surname's verboeten
ANSWER: KARL
EXPLANATION: Link to Karl Marx. The surname is verboeten in more ways than one, given that we’re talking about Karl Rove, who wouldn’t want to be compared to Karl Marx. And removing the surname “Marx” leaves Karl.

CLUE: this adjective in his main mantra has different meaning for boozehound, tartar?
ANSWER: SAUCE
EXPLANATION: Link to Fred Rogers. His mantra was “You Are Special.” Alcohol is referred to as “sauce” by some. Thus, the boozehound might be looking for the special SAUCE, which could be tartar.

CLUE: stop dancing and dwell on the sound
ANSWER: CHING
EXPLANATION: Link to Cha-Ching. Stop dancing and you no longer cha-cha. You have CHING.

CLUE: second is redundant, but necessary here
ANSWER: SWELL
EXPLANATION: Link to Surf Swell Island. Swell is redundant without the “and.” But it provides the clue.

CLUE: what's in a name?
ANSWER: CUTE
EXPLANATION: Link to an image named “cute.jpg.” The name of the file provides the answer.

CLUE: subtract second
ANSWER: ROVE
EXPLANATION: This one was tricky. It linked to two pictures of Rovers. But the answer comes from subtracting the second R.

SUPPLEMENTAL SOLUTIONS TO FOLLOW
posted by ed at 2:25 PM on October 31, 2003


Aw, man. I feel dumb. I thought of "seeing" a day or two ago because it sort of rhymed with "I Ching" but ruled it out because it didn't make any sense to me then. I think I went with "liking" instead. Of course, "seeing" would have been a guess then. Seeing ed's solution suddenly makes more sense. I viewed that last supplemental as an alternate clue, but it was just to make the first clue clear.
posted by stopgap at 2:34 PM on October 31, 2003


Come on though Stopgap and shoepal - that YARROW bit is too incredible for words:

Here's the link again for those of you who missed it:

http://www.schneier.com/yarrow.html

That would have been a much cooler ending to this whole ordeal - something that is directly related to crytography, is a strange way of saying yellow (jaundice) and is related to the I Ching.

Bummer....
posted by piedrasyluz at 2:40 PM on October 31, 2003


Yeah, Piedrasyluz, when I saw your link I thought for sure that my yarrow guess was what clinched it, not my john berger reference, which came out of the WAIS clue, the Burger King (sans king) and as donnagirl mentioned, the jaundiced eye (seeing).

Yarrow crypto coincidence is really bizarre. As I've mentioned before, I actually learned a lot from this game. Thanks Ed. And thanks to everyone that played along, posted interesting links, ideas, guesses, and of course all those witty remarks.
posted by shoepal at 3:02 PM on October 31, 2003


SOLUTION TO SUPPLEMENTAL PUZZLE

When people were struggling for the last two clues, I devised a second puzzle that pointed to these answers. This puzzle, however, was never solved.

The codeword “wheels” was meant to evoke the number four. The most common number associated with “wheels” is four -- either through cars, “four wheel drive,” etc. Thus, the supplemental answer is as follows:

CONCERT WAYS IT’S OPEN
FILM OF A EYES
NOTED BLANK FRACTION VERB
ROUTINE BY SWITCH TO
CARSON JOHN TWO NOUN

Revealing the following sentences:

Concert film. Noted routine. Carson.
Ways of Blank by John
It’s a fraction. Switch two.
Open eyes. Verb to noun.

Putting these two sentences in a two-by-two formation, we have:

Concert film. Noted Routine. Carson.
It’s a fraction. Switch two.

Johnny Carson was mentioned in the Eddie Murphy routine in his concert film, Eddie Murphy Raw. This evokes HALF. Switch two involves switching the last two letters of HALF to get HAVE.

Ways of Blank by John
Open eyes, verb to noun.

Ways of Seeing can be inferred from Ways of ___________. The clue also involves opening your eyes and converting a verb to a noun.

Now as to the individual clues themselves, we have:

CLUE: within, pro forma
ANSWER: CONCERT
EXPLANATION: Link to Carnegie Hall, where concerts are the pro forma events that go down.

CLUE: wide load
ANSWER: WAYS
EXPLANATION: Link to Wide Area Information Systems. Obviously, too wide for our load. Abbreviating it, we get WAIS, or WAYS.

CLUE: old man's word
ANSWER: IT’S
EXPLANATION: Link to Monty Python official site. The first three seasons of the television show had an old man saying the word, “It’s” right before the opening credit sequence.

CLUE: logo left to right
ANSWER: OPEN
EXPLANATION: Link to PEN/Faulkner Award site. If you look at the circular PEN logo next to the word PEN, you have OPEN.

CLUE: of two, unscramble first
ANSWER: FILM
EXPLANATION: Link to Flim Flam Sportsfishing. The two referred to in the clue are “flim flam.” The first is “flim.” Unscrambling this gives us “film.”

CLUE: kerouac stole an f
ANSWER: OF
EXPLANATION: Link to Offroad USA. Jack Kerouac wrote On the Road (as opposed to Off the Road) and thus stole an F from “off.”

CLUE: why not?
ANSWER: A
EXPLANATION Link to What Would the Fonz Do? The Fonz’s catchphrase on Happy Days was “Ayyyyyyyy.” However, when you eliminate Y (“why not”), you merely have A.

CLUE: the first makes solid sense
ANSWER: EYES
EXPLANATION: Link to Ben and Jerry’s, one of the largest ice cream vendors in the world. The idea was to turn “the first,” ICE, into a solid sense (aka EYES).

CLUE: in early days, his mother might have said this
ANSWER: NOTED
EXPLANATION: Link to Ted Bundy. The idea was that in Ted Bundy’s early days, his mother would tell him, “No, Ted,” when scolding him. Through negative association, this could have turned him into a mass-murderer.

CLUE: who needs a number?
ANSWER: BLANK
EXPLANATION: Link to Blink 182. On its face, “who needs a number” would seem to focus towards BLINK. But my idea here was that, with what you take away, you need to replace it. You’re not actually being asked to remove it. The clue is “who needs a number.” What’s left? Blink _______. Or a blank.

CLUE: before recherche google, consult the suffix
ANSWER: FRACTION
EXPLANATION: Link to Google France. Your main ACTION (i.e., search) will involve pressing the button “Recherche Google.” Consult the suffix (.fr) and you get FRACTION.

CLUE: right here, not now
ANSWER: VERB
EXPLANATION: Link to Verb Now. Points to VERB, after eliminating NOW.

CLUE: add one of bunker twins, last elided
ANSWER: ROUTINE
EXPLANATION: Link to Rout. Eng and Chang were the Bunker twins. I was leaning on the former. Drop (or elide) the G. And you have ROUTINE.

CLUE: no good
ANSWER: BY
EXPLANATION: Link to Goodbye. No good leans to bye, or BY.

CLUE: quality for mac?
ANSWER: SWITCH
EXPLANATION: The linked Toggle site calls for “quality software for Windows.” The idea here was to SWITCH to Mac, thus hoping for the “quality software for Mac.”

CLUE: also, ma, why not?
ANSWER: TO
EXPLANATION: Link to Y Tu Mama Tambien. Eliminating “why,” “ma” and “also” leaves tu, or TO.

CLUE: another johnny
ANSWER: CARSON
EXPLANATION: Link to Carson City. Throwaway clue. Another type of Johnny is CARSON.

CLUE: see previous clue; or consult rod
ANSWER: JOHN
EXPLANATION: Link to Fishing with John review. Relating to Johnny from previous clue, and also John himself, who carries the rod

CLUE: unmix recipe
ANSWER: TWO
EXPLANATION: Recipe for Chicken Wot. Unmixing “wot” gives us TWO.

CLUE: what you really want to find
ANSWER: NOUN
EXPLANATION: Link to a site that claims it will help you look for that “person, place, thing, or information.” A noun, traditionally, is a person, place or thing, and thus the answer.
posted by ed at 3:13 PM on October 31, 2003


Now, since we're going with option (b), Matt, how do I get you the cash? The owl hoots at midnight. Wink wink.
posted by ed at 3:18 PM on October 31, 2003


And the Jacob's Room clue?
posted by piedrasyluz at 3:26 PM on October 31, 2003


More importantly, what does it all mean? There's no hidden meaning in the 5 sentences? What is the BBQ sauce reference all about? Why are your pants off? Why is Quonsar so cute? Why are George and Karl in the kennel? Was it really just your public transit stream of consciousness converted to numbers, linkified and posted to torture us all? Not that I need a deeper meaning. I'm just curious in a Toynbee sort of way.
posted by shoepal at 4:56 PM on October 31, 2003


Jacob's Room clue: Last word before adult. At 18, you become an adult. The seventeenth word in the second paragraph is "for."

shoepal: Don't worry. I'm checking myself in. :)
posted by ed at 5:43 PM on October 31, 2003


So that's it is it? The answer is a meaningless, ungrammatical string of words, with no further meaning whatsoever? This is shameful.

Thanks for wasting our time for nothing, ed.
posted by cbrody at 7:04 PM on October 31, 2003


Ed, I'm going to put this as gently as I can - unlike, ahem, cbrody - but in retrospect, if the solution was gonna be so meaningless, don't you think maybe you should've started with a shorter puzzle so that you could've paid more strict attention to the quality and accessibility of the clues, as well as to the correct numbers of letters and to your own tallies?

I say this because although many of us have had a lot of fun, a great deal was generated amongst ourselves for each other, and some of it, significantly, was in spite of you. Yes, you provided the opportunity, but you're gonna continue to get heat for screwing up that opportunity to a large extent.

Ed, I've done quite a few British-style crosswords, so these cute type of clues are not unknown to me. But some of yours are just so far out there I can't imagine how you thought someone would follow your train of reasoning. Some of the time, it seems, people got the correct word in spite of your version of solving it, filling it in pretty much by context.

For one thing, an "acronym," which you use at least twice, is not just a string of letters; they have to form a word that you can say for it to be an acronym. What you meant was "initials." Giving people a wrong term as your clue is a big no-no when you're being so abstruse in the first place. There are other things. "Special Sauce" is not tartar sauce. Special Sauce goes on Big Macs. Tartar sauce goes on Filet-O-Fishs. They're two different sauces. So again, nobody who didn't share your misconception would be able to work through that clue...and so on, and so on, getting more nitpicky... "A" is not the opposite of "THE," articles don't have opposites; adjectives, verbs, adverbs, prepositions do. The opposite of an article is no article. etc.

So maybe if you'd just stuck to the ones you were really really confident in and put forward a shorter puzzle it would have been easier to solve along the lines you had conceived and you wouldn't have gotten so many people upset at the tremendous anticlimax involved. In fact, there's still time. Sit down and start on the next one now, ed. Only this time, omit the word "acronym" and stay outa McDonald's. Keep the clues a consistent quality, like in a good crossword puzzle. Make the payoff something fantastic. You can do it, ed!

In other words... DON'T GIVE UP!
posted by soyjoy at 7:45 PM on October 31, 2003


Part of me is relieved. I've never heard of John Berger or of his book Ways of Seeing so I don't have to feel too bad because I pretty much doomed to fail. I'd never have figured that one out.
posted by wobh at 10:05 PM on October 31, 2003


Wobh, Berger's book(s) is(are) a good read. You should check it out.

Hey ed, despite the (potential) backlash, I had a blast. Some of the clues were a bit obtuse, but that's what made it so challenging. You're not a professional and we knew that and thus gave you room for error.

I harbor no ill will towards you. This has been a lot of fun and has introduced me to Stephenson's Quicksilver, several interesting Mefites, and the I Ching. Thanks for giving us the opportunity. You put a lot of effort into this post and I for one appreciate it.
posted by shoepal at 11:29 PM on October 31, 2003


me too
posted by donnagirl at 4:42 PM on November 1, 2003


likewise--i even got an email from someone following this (and waiting for signups to be reopened) with suggestions : >
(and do one again next year for us, ed)
posted by amberglow at 5:06 PM on November 1, 2003


Next year, yeah, that's it. You have exactly 360 days to craft the next one, ed. Don't let us down.

Another vote for Ways of Seeing - a little dated now, but definitely worth checking out.
posted by soyjoy at 5:58 PM on November 1, 2003


Next year? Okay. We'll see. :)
posted by ed at 3:46 PM on November 4, 2003


No. Don't do it, ed. It hurts too much.
posted by davidmsc at 5:39 PM on November 4, 2003


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