Happy Puzzle Day, folks! Here's today's casse-tête:
Premise: Five centuries ago, in a small town in the south of France, an infant was born to a grain dealer and his wife. From these modest beginnings, the infant grew into a boy, the boy into a man. That man would go on to author The Prophecies, a collection of over a thousand predictions divided into three volumes that today stand as the most widely renown works of their kind ever written. They have been credited by many as foretelling some of the most epic events in history, including the Great Fire of London, the French Revolution, the rise of Napoleon and Adolf Hitler, and both World Wars. The visionary of whom I speak is, of course, none other than Nostradamus.
Fast forward to last week at a rest stop off the New Jersey Turnpike. Upon reviewing the snack options offered by the stop's lone vending machine, I decided upon an inviting bag of Ranch-flavored Corn Nuts. As I fished through my pocket for some coins, a quarter escaped my grasp, and I ruefully watched as it dropped to the pavement and rolled under the machine. Reluctantly, I knelt down, rolled up my sleeve, and tentatively swept my hand under the machine, hoping it would quickly be met by the cold touch of metal.
To my surprise, my hand instead came across a weathered piece of paper. Curious, I picked up the document and looked it over, and despite its brevity (only one page), it soon became clear that I had stumbled upon Nostradamus' oft-rumored-but-never-located fourth volume of prophecies.
"Are you effin' kidding me?" I thought to myself. "Nostradamus' lost Prophecy right here in my hands?!?" Comprehending the magnitude of my discovery, I went straight to Kinko's to make photocopies. I also had the prophecy scanned to an electronic file despite the hefty $2.49-per-page cost (can you say 'rip-off'?) because I figured come-on, this is Nostra-freakin'-damus we're talking about. And hey, it was only one page.
So here, dear readers, is today's off-day puzzle, courtesy of the Great Nostradamus, with an assist from Kinko's:
Question: To whom is Nostradamus referring when he writes of 'the Being' (and why)?
Puzzle Rules: Comment freely, but if you have the solution, please don't give away the answer to everyone in the comments section. Instead, do the following:
- Email us your solution explanation (and please include your screen name somewhere in the email), and
- Post a comment simply saying you have emailed your solution attempt so I know to check our email.
And remember, the correct solution and the correct methodology must be submitted to receive full credit. Solutions arrived at through luck or incorrect methodology, even if correct, receive participation credit only. Deadline is midnight PT, and the solution will be posted sometime tomorrow. Thanks, and good luck to all!
Bonus! In addition to the prizes we're awarding to the Puzzle Championship Series, we're also giving away a participation prize for this individual puzzle. Here's how it works: All solution attempts submitted via email before the deadline - correct or not - will be entered into a pool*. From this pool, one name will be randomly selected in a manner both objective and transparent to be revealed later. As long as the person drawn is willing to send us his/her mailing address, they will receive a wonderful Dodger-related prize item.
*each name is entered only once, regardless of the number of solution attempts submitted
Hint #1 (9:08am PT): The prophecy is indeed solvable, and less open to subjective interpretation than most of Nostradamus' prophecies. The Being is indeed a Dodger, and keep in mind I created this puzzle approximately 2 months ago. Er, I mean Nostradamus did 500 years ago. You know what I mean. I hope.
Hint #2 (10:00am PT): Every line of the prophecy has some significance, although some are more important than others. There are several critical clues hidden throughout. If you locate them, put them together, and interpret them correctly, you will be 100% certain that you have the indisputably correct solution.
Hint #3 (10:51am PT): You won't need baseball-reference.com for this one. Stats or teams played on are irrelevant. As mentioned in the comments, someone who knows little about baseball could conceivably solve the puzzle, but it would be somewhat easier if he/she knew a bit about baseball/the Dodgers. And although every line has some level of importance, there is at least one major hint in each stanza.
Hint #4 (12:05pm PT): Don't try to necessarily match the literal meaning of the prophecy's words to the history or characteristics of a particular player - the solution is somewhat more abstract, but at the same the answer will be spelled out in no uncertain terms once you understand the prophecy.
Hint #5 (1:35pm PT): If I were to categorize each of the 12 lines of the prophecy as either more important ("A") or less important ("B"), they would go: B, A, B, A; B, A, B, A; B, A, A, B.
Warning (Not a Hint) (1:36pm PT): The solution, which will be posted tomorrow, is not for the faint of heart or easily frightened.
Hint #6 (2:00pm PT): Only the names of the players are relevant, nothing else about them matters.
Hint #7 (3:36pm PT): North = up, south = down, east = right, west = left. that may seem obvious, but it's important.
Hint #8 (5:57pm PT): When Orel wrote me an email saying "I'm rewriting it in MS Word," I suspected he was on the right track (although he hasn't yet solved it). How would that help, you ask? It's all in the Prophecy. Nostradamus was a deep if subtle guy.
Last Hint #9 (7:37pm PT): Here's an earlier draft that I, er, Nostradamus wrote. He ended up revising it at the urging of his editors after a series of consumer focus groups suggested it was not cryptic enough and could thus compromise his image:
Ok, I'm going to sleep now. Good night, and good luck!
Solution: click here