Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Can You Solve My Riddle?

My friend Jamak had a contest this week to guess the message behind a picture that she posted. Her contest has inspired me to dust off an old riddle that I created during my college days. I sponsored a contest among interested residents of my dorm, and I offered a bottle of their favorite liquor to whomever could solve the riddle. There were a lot of very smart people in my dorm, and most of them were eager to win a free bottle of liquor, however, no one succeeded. I suppose that the prize is still collectable, however, there are a few postal regulations that would make the mailing of a bottle of liquor problematic. So, I would like to simply share my riddle with you, and if you are up for a bit of a challenge, I invite you to attempt to solve it. Here is the riddle as it originally appeared (please click on the picture to see an enlargement):

I printed the riddle in an Old English font and then copied it onto colored paper for distribution. As the picture may be rather difficult for some readers to see clearly, I will reprint it as follows:

Riddled in Verse

Chromation commingles
Twix saffron and swarth;
'Mong myriad min. moieties:
Unmanifest motley crews.

Brigandine occults crystal
Sans aegis reception;
'Pon planular paired adjuncts;
Fore ante hind;
Frail borne' trails
Brandish ahinder.

'Kin felinus maximus:
Via simile in mien;
'N aeronauts toting coconuts,
'Pon scent yon
Astral Gloried Grail,
O'er lands vastly leagued.

As English is a second language to most (if not all) of my readers, I would like to clarify my abbreviations: 'Mong = Among; min. = miniature; 'Pon = Upon; 'Kin = Akin; 'N = And; and O'er = Over. The word "borne" should be written with a slash over the "e", rather than the apostrophe shown. In the original printing, I misspelled "saffron". I have corrected the mistake above.
I made what I thought was a very obvious reference to the movie "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" in the riddle. It was an extremely popular movie with a cult like status when I was in college (the movie was actually made years before I went to college). Today it is probably not that well known. It is a truly hilarious movie, and I highly recommend it! Aside from that, a good dictionary would be very helpful toward solving the riddle. There are many clues approaching the subject of the riddle from different directions. Some are more obscure than others, and they are certainly not all necessary to find the solution. If there is a great hew and cry for some sort of prize, I suppose that I can come up with something. :) Otherwise, have fun and good luck. I hope that you enjoy the puzzle!


Blogger Jamak said...

I don't even put my thinking cap on without the prospects of a prize:) Hmmmm how long do we have?

2/10/2005 7:04 AM  
Blogger Jamak said...

Did you have a cat back then?

2/10/2005 9:09 AM  
Blogger Jamak said...

Lol, my 3rd time here today. I'm intrigued. Ok, here's my first guess: I think since you've written it in old English and your own version as well, there must be a connotation towards either King Arthur, Launcelot, Camelot or something or other Shakesperean. I've seen Monty Python and the Holy Grail but I'm wondering if there's one thing specific you're looking for. And that Liquor bottle you've kept David, has more medicinal properties now and past the intoxication levels.

2/10/2005 11:19 AM  
Blogger Pantea said...

I am thinking...

2/10/2005 1:09 PM  
Blogger David said...

Jamak, I think that I will allow a few weeks for visitors to ponder. I did not have a cat back then, however, as you have correctly surmised, there is a feline reference in the riddle. I recommend that you watch "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" again. Also, it is best seen with friends. :)

Pantea, I am glad that you are thinking about my riddle. :)

2/10/2005 1:43 PM  
Blogger Jamak said...

But is it something specific about that movie? I was pretty sure this afternoon that you're making a reference to Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark.

2/10/2005 8:08 PM  
Blogger David said...

Jamak, any similarity to "Raiders of the Lost Ark" is purely coincidental. There is definitely something in the Monty Python movie that pertains to the riddle.

2/10/2005 11:25 PM  
Blogger گیلدا said...

well, I have been solving a lot of math and physics and Jamak's contest already and this one seems so scary to me;) I don't think I can figure it out but well think about it=)

2/10/2005 11:42 PM  
Blogger David said...

Asemoon, there is no need to be scared. ;) I meant this puzzle to be fun. The Monty Python movie is definitely a lot of fun, especially if you are with a group of people watching it.

2/11/2005 12:36 AM  
Blogger Jamak said...

A seance on Halloween night?

2/12/2005 1:40 PM  
Blogger Sima said...

Hi David,
I am guessing that it is an eagle?
I am really bad in these things, but thanks for suggesting that I take a break from writing and visit your blog. I am suffering from a bad case of writer's block, but may be after reading and thinking about your riddle, I can start writing :-)
Have a great weekend,

2/12/2005 7:34 PM  
Blogger David said...

Jamak, your guess is very imaginitive. I have been trying to figure out what part of the riddle gave you this idea. :)

Hi Sima,
There is indeed a reference to something that flies in the riddle, but it is not an eagle. I hope that your writer's block has lifted. :) Please come back and think about the riddle again if you feel blocked once more. Or, better yet, rent "Monty Python and the Holy Grail". Laughter is an excellent fuel for stoking a creative fire. :)

2/13/2005 12:27 AM  
Blogger Jamak said...

Ok, a Bat:)I'm just throwing guesses in the wind. Can I phone a friend or ask the audience?:)

2/13/2005 10:59 AM  
Blogger Sima said...

I knew i was wrong as my guess was just based on the lasy part of the riddle.
Here is what I thought first: it is India! I made the analogy of the big cat being iran and the place akin to it with orange and green in glag being India :-)))Then I thought, it is a parrot! Now, I am gonna put the two together and say it is an Air India jet!!!
I know i am wrong again, but it is fun to make silly guesses.

I am really going to turn off this computer now and prepare my lecture notes before I realize, once again, that the day has come to an end and all I have done is reading blogs!
Have a good Sunday.

2/13/2005 2:06 PM  
Blogger David said...


I forgot that I had misspelled "saffron" in the original printing. I have corrected the mistake in the regular font reprint.

2/13/2005 3:40 PM  
Blogger David said...

Jamak, I will give you a small lifeline. :) I think that I understand the source of your current thinking. The word "occults" was not meant in the sense of black magic, rather its meaning here is: to hide or conceal something.

Sima, I welcome all guesses, silly or otherwise. :) Your guesses are very creative, also! Since I have helped Jamak, I will give you a little hint, too. A "big cat" is not quite right. Think of the meaning of "maximus". I hope that you have a good Sunday, as well, and please return and guess again. :)

2/13/2005 3:59 PM  
Blogger Jamak said...

Gluteus Maximus?

2/13/2005 4:37 PM  
Blogger Jamak said...

Ok two more guesses and then I'm done, for today that is:
- Aelius Maximus and something to do with the Roman Empire.
- A pre-historic Bird or flying Reptiles.

2/13/2005 4:51 PM  
Blogger David said...

Jamak, the subject of the riddle does not involve any part of the human body, nor does it involve a person from history, an ancient empire, or an extinct creature. However, I do appreciate your persistence. :) I have been thinking, it has been quite a few years since I saw "Monty Python and the Holy Grail". I think perhaps that I will rent it sometime this week.

2/14/2005 12:53 AM  
Blogger Khodadad said...

David, are you by any chance refering to the Earth in this riddle?

BTW, I love "latinization" in the riddle, and I also love the Holy Grail. I just watched Life of Brian and the Holy Grail earlier this week. What do you think about The Meaning of Life?

2/14/2005 1:22 AM  
Blogger David said...

Khodadad, I am refering to something that exists on the Earth. Since I have given little hints to Jamak and Sima, I will give you one, too. The subject of the riddle is smaller than a bread box, as people used to say when playing guessing games. :) I'm glad that you are enjoying my bits of Latin. I studied Latin for three years in High School and, although I have forgotten much, I still retain a deep appreciation for the language and for my Latin teacher, who was my favorite.

If you have just seen "The Holy Grail", then perhaps you can identify the reference to the movie in the riddle? It is an important clue.

I saw "The Meaning of Life" a long time ago, so my memory of it is a bit sketchy. I remember laughing and feeling somewhat disturbed by the "third world" segment when the woman with so many children gave birth while toiling over her domestic chores. I also remember something about a man being forced to donate his liver. Overall, I remember being more disturbed than entertained by the movie. However, it has been a long time. Perhaps I should watch it again.

2/15/2005 2:03 AM  
Blogger گیلدا said...

Is it a tree??

2/15/2005 4:33 PM  
Blogger Jamak said...

Is it a Bonsai?

2/15/2005 5:34 PM  
Blogger David said...

Asemoon, I am happy that you have bravely attempted a guess. :) However, it is not a tree or any type of shrubbery. Do you remember Roger the Shrubber from "The Holy Grail" movie? One of the brave knights of Camelot had to obtain some shrubbery to appease an angry giant, if I remember it correctly.

Jamak, you know that I love Bonsai! They are rather shrublike, wouldn't you say? :)

2/16/2005 12:42 AM  
Anonymous Sahar said...

hi, I'm glad to find yr blog. I'll read the post & reply to it.

2/16/2005 3:55 AM  
Blogger Jamak said...

French Toast with Maple syrup?

2/16/2005 5:38 PM  
Blogger David said...

Sahar, thanks for visiting. You are welcome to try and guess the answer to my riddle.

Jamak, I love french toast with maple syrup. :) However, french toast does not have any similarity to the world's largest cat or with something that flies in "Monty Python and the Holy Grail". Nevertheless, I did say that I welcome all guesses. Please try again.

2/16/2005 11:58 PM  
Anonymous Megan said...

A swallow?

1/09/2009 2:40 AM  
Blogger David said...

Hello Megan,

Thanks for visiting. Its been a long time since anyone noticed my riddle. :) Since you guessed "swallow", I'm thinking you are a fan of Monty Python. I certainly am, and the third part of the riddle does indeed refer to "Monty Python and the Holy Grail". "Swallow" is part of the answer. Or, to be more specific, "swallow" is part of a word in the answer.

Take a look here for some more clues (just click on More Clues):

More Clues

If you give up, the answer is here:


Thanks again for visiting, and I hope you enjoy thinking about the additional clues. :)

1/09/2009 7:41 PM  

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