Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Off-Day Puzzle #2: Solution

Had the poets quoted here seen how their work was re-purposed, I am confident they would approve. The key to yesterday's puzzle is to separate the even lines from the odd lines, and form two poems with each (hence, the "2-Poem"). Here's the original, non-sensical verse, with each line numbered:

FULL, ORIGINAL POEM

01 The shepherd swains shall dance and sing,
02 To unlock meaning in this verse;
03 Amid the wild waves weltering,
04 One has to know where to traverse.

05 I sometimes hold it half a sin,
06 The task at hand is to unwind;
07 And half conceal the Soul within,
08 The two diverse threads intertwined.

09 Sweeter than those dainty pies,
10 The ones and twos are mixed and matched;
11 The sickle motion from the thighs,
12 The twos are mine the ones are snatched.

13 With two sister Graces more,
14 But who are these victims of heist?
15 The weary, wayworn wanderer bore,
16 Look down their names is my advice!

Now, if you take just the odd lines, you get this:

ODD-LINED POEM

01 The shepherd swains shall dance and sing
03 Amid the wild waves weltering
05 I sometimes hold it half a sin
07 And half conceal the Soul within

09 Sweeter than those dainty pies
11 The sickle motion from the thighs
13 With two sister Graces more
15 The weary, wayworn wanderer bore

Ok, so that still doesn't make much sense. But now, take the even lines:

EVEN-LINED POEM

02 To unlock meaning in this verse
04 One has to know where to traverse
06 The task at hand is to unwind
08 The two diverse threads intertwined

10 The ones and twos are mixed and matched
12 The twos are mine the ones are snatched
14 But who are these victims of heist?
16 Look down their names is my advice

Ah, now we're getting somewhere. The even lines serve as instructions. True, you had to already have figured out the first 4 lines of the above poem in order to cleanly separate out the instructions that tell you to do this in the first place. But a further clue was the rhyming scheme. Unlike most 4-line-stanza poems which have a 1-1-2-2 rhyme scheme, this one had a 1-2-1-2 scheme, a subtle hint to separate evens from odds.

Anyhow, the second stanza of the even-lined poem is the other key. Line 12 tells you that the odd lines - the 'ones' - are all plagiarized lines from other poets (and by 'other poets', I mean 'poets'). Yup, each of the 12 odd lines are cherry-picked verses incohesively cobbled together from different iambic tetrameter poems. Lines 14 and 16 tell you to look up the original authors of each odd line. So unless you're some sort of literature hobbit, you gotta Google each of the stolen lines to find their authors and, as the last line advises, 'look down their names'. You will get the following:

ODD-LINED POEM

01 Marlowe: The shepherd swains shall dance and sing
03 Arnold: Amid the wild waves weltering
05 Tennyson: I sometimes hold it half a sin
07 Tennyson: And half conceal the Soul within

09 Keats: Sweeter than those dainty pies
11 Elliot: The sickle motion from the thighs
13 Milton: With two sister Graces more
15 Poe: The weary, wayworn wanderer bore

Matt Kemp! Gotta love the 4 & 4 symmetry of his name (better than having to use Jeff Kent).

Another whopping 24 solvers. Congratulations to Mr C, drewdez, Jason, Greg Finley, Matt, DunkHawk, Steve Dittmore, Quad, J Steve, Ubragg, LLCoolL, Josh S, rbnlaw, golem, dusty baker, dusto magnifico, Mr F, MLASF, Jose, Bryan, Nicholas, Lauro, Curious Gene, and trite fantastic. Participation points to Keven C.

I've noticed the solvers/participation-only-ers ratio is getting much higher. I think my hint was too easy. May adjust strategy in future puzzles. Updated rankings to be posted soon!

Orel's got the next puzzle on Monday, April 19, 7am PT!

13 comments:

Mr. Customer said...

"unless you're some sort of literature hobbit"

*sigh*

I recognized both the Poe and the Keats.

*hangs head and shuffles away on oversized hairy feet*

Lauro said...

Answer resent!

Dusty Baker said...

@Mr. C-

Go back to Bag End, you moron!

Greg Finley said...

Awesome! I bet the "two sister Graces" part threw a lot of people off, when you're trying to figure out the "ones" and "twos" thing.

Dusty Baker said...

I just kept getting bad Chad Billingsley imagery when I read "sickle motion from the thighs".

J. Steve said...

Greg - that really threw me off. I totally assumed it had something to do with the solution and spent a good bit of time trying to find the "Graces" above. Also throwing me off was the capitalized "Soul," the alliteration of "wild waves weltering" and "shepherd swains shall dance and sing."

EK - I do think the clue was too easy. The first thing I did when reading it was google "shepherd swains shall dance and sing" and once I figured out it was part of a poem, the rest was easy...

J. Steve said...

Dusty, I was right there with you!

QuadSevens said...

I managed to stumble onto the Google advice by trying to figure out what "half a sin" was. Thought maybe I could find a way to be only half as evil as I normally am.

Mr. Customer said...

@Dusty

Just see if I share any of my longbottom leaf with y'all, then!

Matt said...

Dusty, I thought the same thing. That and the "ones and twos" seemed to hint at balls and strikes...so Billingsley was my first thought also.

Dusty Baker said...

I meant no disrespect to any Hobbits out there. Next second breakfast is on me.

Steve Sax said...

Dusty, you're on foot-shaving duty for all hobbits for a week.

Mr. Customer said...

*shudder*