The αβγ's of Greek Mythology

If you haven't seen Troy aren't in the know of ancient Grecian myths (and Roman history), kindly don't leave the old joke 'It was all Greek and Latin to me' as a comment!
[I picked up the theme for this post from Saucerer's hilarious
Greek for Dummies (=> Egyptian for Mummies?)]

Paris: Capital of France. The erection of his Eiffel Tower came about after meeting Helen, who went on to become his fond Louvre. He was known to be in-Seine, especially when passing comments in striptease sessions.

Helen: Initially she did not mind living with her aging husband, Menepaus, consoling herself with the words, "Sadness -- it' Sparta life". But when she went sight-seeing Paris, she got tempted and a-troy-ciously ran away. She was soon found missing, and her spouse and suitors broke into a barrage of expletives: Greece entered a phase that launched a thousand 'Shit!'s.

Idi-pus: Dictator of Greece-annexed-Uganda and a sore to the kingdom. He later on had a complex relationship with an Austrian shrink. A silent killer, Idi-pus was, who finally broke his silence when someone told him he was keeping mum.

Heckor: The etymology of his name is rather straightforward.
(1) 'Heck!' -- upon completing a fighting match with Ajax that lasted the entire day but ended in a draw.
(1) 'Brother, I've smuggled Helen. She's on the boat.'
(3) 'Brother, Achilles is outside the fort. He wants to duel with you.'

Homer: Star of a TV show that has travelled a long odyssey of 20 seasons and 434 epic's-odes till date; the Oxford Dictionary has officially recognized a phrase from among his popular memorabilia: 'D'oh!'

Trojan Horse: A p(h)ony that made an ass out of everyone at Troy.

Penelope: A rough anagram of 'No, people!', which is what she repeated to her wooers during the 20-year absence of her other half, Uselessis. She would literally spin a yarn everyday to keep them off her house; eventually they gave up, crying in the streets, 'I went as a suitor and met a tailor!'

Uselessis: Leader of a boring single-mate life who ended up in the title of a half-understood 20th century novel. To his credit, unlike one of his fellow mythological heros, when he was re-united with his wife he spared her of fidelity litmus tests such as walking in fire.

A Polo: His standard pick-up line: 'I'm a mint with a hole -- and so are you, baby!' With that did he net a harem of a diversity of such breadth matched only by Zeus'.

S.U.E.Z: A canal letting in several ships.
Z.E.U.S: Evidently, the reverse of S.U.E.Z -- a ship penetrating several canals.

Achilles: He grew up into one with an abnormal killer instinct, since, as a boy, his mother used to beat him up thoroughly with heavy styx. Pitt-ed against a vast Trojan army, he sliced his way through them with ease, until he received a wire from mom that read 'CAREFUL WHERABOUTS, HE'LL KILL YOU HE'LL KILL YOU' and got stranded in confusion. Which was unfortunate, because the Morse-typist got her spelling wrong when Achille's mother dictated the telegram: 'CAREFUL, WEAR YOUR BOOTS, HEEL KILL YOU, HEEL KILL YOU.'

Let's sign off with some characters from (and, in C's case, to) Rome.

Mark Antony: Famous for his rhetoric speech that goes 'Friends, Heroes and Desperate Housewives...'. He faithfully dogs Caesar and goes wherever Caesar goes, wherever (see next entry). Two millennia later, he takes rebirth in Chennai and commands an auto-driver 'Take me to Rome', who dutifully roams all over the city, and gets his brother to shoot him when he doesn't pay up.

Cleopatra: First, Caesar marks her, then, Mark sees her. She dies when too many wars and the deaths of her lovers give her a huge headache for which she takes an overdose of asp-irin.

: A crazy emperor diagnosed with the rare disease matricidic extravagancosis. He took great care about his figure -- it is widely reported that when he saw Rome was burning (calories), he wanted to (be fit as a) fiddle.

Julius Caesar: A fictional character co-created by Shakespeare and Plutarch.
When being stabbed by his conspirators, he spots a bystander with a handicam. In order to get his assassination captured on video as criminal evidence and in the hope that it will be viewed all over the Internet, he diverts the cameraman's attention with these famous last words: 'YouTube, route us!'



Saturday morning. There was a knock on the door. It was a sophomore hostelmate.

'Fete is coming up.'
'Chocolate?' he handed me a bar.
'Thank you.'
'Can you set us riddles?'
'Some colours. And the ten digits.'
'What kind of riddles?'
'A hunter chases a bear and runs south whichever direction the bear goes, what colour is the bear? That kind of riddle.'
'Oh ah, h'm.'
'Basically we have different coloured wires to defuse a bomb and your riddles will give the right combination. And we have a number lock which can be opened only after cracking your clues.'
'Oh. When is the event?'
'Tomorrow evening.'
'H'm... Well, thanks for picking me to do it, but I'm afraid -- '
'The chocolate you just munched?'
'The poison we put in it will take effect at night. If you can get us the riddles by evening I'll give you the antidote.'
'What? You had better be kidding or I'm going to kill you!'
'Black, red, blue, green and yellow. Take care.'
With that, he popped off.

And thus did I, clutching on to dear life, spend that forenoon and evening framing the puzzles that follow with a time bomb ticking inside me.

The colours

Why would this color put me off when it is
The shade of the tooth that doesn't pale --
Even when I never brush,
The complexion of the moon when we meet so less often,
The heart of blazing enlightenment
And the hue of a heartbroken baby?

Glory to the color of the king and the free man! Of the rice we eat, of our ray of hope that sings the heart out, of our will that is our greatest charm. What more can we say of this magnificent color? Bravo!

If you have to tell a girl from a boy,
Give them both a colour of variant shade.
'That's simply violet' would be the boy's call,
'It's halfway between mauve and lilac, angel',
Would she condescend. Males have way to go,
The outer edge of things must their eyes follow...

Look at me. Look how I’ve lost all that I once was, how I’ve turned into this giant. I vividly remember the time I ate up my first child. O the pain! The anguish! The cries! Oh the abuses my second child, the hottest of them all, threw at me! How I had to eat him too... But I knew the toughest part was yet to come. I wished I were dead and gone vanished like my colleagues, when the time came to consume my third child, the most beautiful of my eight offspring. I stopped swelling after that. For I couldn’t bring myself to eat my fourth one – I was of his color, and I couldn’t bear the thought of swallowing a mini-me.

What’s in a colour? Why do we assign a degree, not to mention a quality, of emotion to each colour? Colours are meagre entities of the electromagnetic spectrum. You may disagree, nonetheless it is the truth. We humans have always resorted to disgusting re-engagements of objective facts to fit our frightfully restricted view of Nature. Sometimes answers to its mysteries lie hidden right in front of us, not once, but twice, thrice, even four times, yet we as narrow-minded homo sapiens have to miss it!

Bluetooth, blue moon (‘once in a blue moon’), heart of blazing enlightenment = centre of a flame = blue colour, heartbroken baby = baby with heart defect = blue baby.

Names appearing in the passage: (Martin Luther) King, (Morgan) Freeman, (Condoleezza) Rice, Ray (Charles) – ‘that sings the heart out’, Will (Smith) -- 'our greatest charm', (Dwayne) Bravo.

An acrostic. The last line hints at what must be done to get the answer. 'The outer edge of things must their eyes follow' -- follow the rightmost edge of the verse -- the letters Y, E, L, L, O, W are one below the other.

The entire passage describes what is going to happen after the sun turns into a red giant. The first three planets are gonna be consumed, but not Mars, the Red Planet.

The word ‘green’ is hidden in the passage four times, as hinted in its last line. (1) …degree, not… (2) …meagre entities… (3) …disagree, nonetheless… (4) … disgusting re-engagements…

The digits

Q: Answer me, my Lord, what be my identity? What be my strength? What be the merit of an ace?
A: 1
1 is the most common identity element. Unity is strength. Unity = 1. The value of an ace in a deck of cards is 1.

Just give me a second, I’ll get back to you with a clue for this.
A: 2
Here 'second' refers to the ordinal number of 2.

The color orange is a great temptation, yes, but be the one to resist it!
A: 3
Orange = number 3 in the colour code of a resistor.

Off with the third and you are against against it,
Off with the second and you are a protector from the elements,
Off with the first and you are a part of us.
A: 4
Remove the third letter from FOUR, you get FOR = against against; remove the second letter, you get FUR; remove the first letter, you get OUR.

‘This valorous visitation of a by-gone vexation, stands vivified and has vowed to vanquish these venal and virulent vermin van-guarding vice and vouchsafing the violently vicious and voracious violation of volition.’
A: 5
The key to the answer is the letter V, roman numeral for 5. (Quote: V for Vendetta.)

Nobody is perfect. And just because I call her a nobody doesn’t mean I’m an MCP*. Who is she?
A: 6
6 is a perfect number.

Never mind the frigging slots, just tell me how many notes you have.
A: 7
Seven notes of music. (Either {do, re, mi, fa, so, la, ti} or {sa, ri, ga, ma, pa, da, ni})

You need to reduce weight. I know you can’t reduce height too, but this time you got to!
A: 8
Reducing the words ‘weight’ and ‘height’ gives ‘eight’.

The number of times you are allowed to write CAT, perhaps?
A: 9
A cat has nine lives.

It is impossible.
The decibel level of the vessel is highest when the vessel contains it.
And as regards the dark matter of the universe, you know it!
A: 0.
Nothing is impossible.
The decibel level of the vessel is highest when the vessel contains nothing. (Empty vessels make the most noise)
And as regards the dark matter of the universe, you know nothing!

* This is a slight variation of a quote from the series House MD.
† A mutant of a puzzle that would have landed in your mailbox as a forward.


March 08, IWD. I zoom my Google Earth to Memory Lane to see how many women had influenced me enough to leave their mark on my current way of life, and find that the number is shockingly few. Nevertheless, each of those factors packs so much power that they collectively outweigh all other external parameters that have shaped the content of your faithful blogger's character.

The parent.
Solely responsible for making conscience an axiom. Today I may know that stuff like morality and scruples are a bag of humbug, but by sheer force of habit I cannot help adhering to them, for my mother had programmed me in that manner. She also steals the credit for my repulsion to the cigarette and the "quarter"-bottle. 'Whatever happens,' she told me when I was still a wee little pre-teen, 'whatever happens, and wherever you go, never must you, my precious, touch alcohol. And never ever go in the direction of tobacco.' Even when I was vaguely nodding, she added: 'No girl will want to marry a fellow who drinks or smokes'.
That sealed it. On the other side of 13 I came in touch with girls who took a liking to certain lads for precisely those habits, but my mama's words got hardwired in me and hence my lungs have acquainted only oxygen and I remain a total tea-drinker -- a tea-totaller, if you please -- till date.

The pal.
Never have I had another friendship of a fierceness even close to the one I had with Nita, particularly during the last four months of Eighth Class. It had all the choicest elements -- high wit, letters, hours-long phone calls, common authorial ardency, mutual academic tutelage and competition, and copious amounts of unconcealed affection, replete with my breaking her nose and she explaining off the blood to her folks with a 'I ran into a door'. This phase overturned me in every way -- mainly, from an aimless lingerer to one who plotted his life story and from a city bumpkin to (somewhat of) a refined man and a reasonably intelligent thinker.

The infatuator.
Despite little sign of reciprocation, I maintained fidelity in my crush over Ms. Aruna and resisted falling in love with other girls, for seven years. In my Sixth Class I made a decision that pinned her memory to me for life: I adopted her handwriting. I dropped my non-cursive style and modelled every letter of the alphabet in my font on hers. So much that today our handwritings are indistinguishable. Her name, to me, is synonymous with zest for life and unconditional love -- she partly infected me with the former, but the latter is something I am yet to sit at the giving end of.

The axe-murderess.
Though I don't believe in birthdays, every year I buy myself a toffee on September 15, the date in which the stork dropped Dame Agatha Christie on earth. She was the first to inspire me to uncap a pen and scribble a word or two of my own. That is why I began by writing crime fiction, bundles of it, before gently steering off toward SF. Without her I would never have succumbed to the pleasure of dangling a translucent curtain between the reader and the author's mind, and removing it with a flourish at the final moment. She taught me the why of writing; the how came later, from a shy man named Plum.

The ex.
Breaking up did a larger world of good to me than I had imagined. For one thing, as a mechanism of self-defence in the wake of separation, my sense of humour skyrocketed. I went on to inaugurate the blog you are reading. More importantly -- and strangely -- I found myself absorbing her qualities: a certain apathy for the world, a new plane of rationality, objectivity. It lent me that eel that eludes most humans -- clarity of mind, and thus fewer worries and lesser distance from the goal in the pursuit of happiness.

Personally, I believe March 08 and November 19 are pure bunkum. One of my father's buzzlines is, 'Women are neither inferior to men nor superior to men. They are not equal to men either. They are... special.' I demand to differ. As I had asserted in the post about my dream girl, when summing up someone I find it a lot easier to cast aside gender. Save for sexual orientation, I put M on the same footing as F and vice-versa.

Except when it comes to cricket.


The End of Khirma

Imaginative Answer Received (IAR) vs Expected Answer (EA) in events NDK and I conducted:

Rule: Replace one letter in each word to get a proverb.
Q: Emery Don, he's hit Dad!
EA: Every dog has his day.
IAR: Every son has his dad.

Rule: The two meanings in the clue refer to one word.
Q: Make light for failure to go straight. (3 letters)
EA: Arc.
IAR: Gay.

Rule: The pairs enclosed in () are related in a particular way. How?
Q: (astride, brushed), (selected, rejected), (amounts, contour), (lips, kiss)
EA: T9 pairs.
IAR: The number of letters in either word of a pair is the same.

Rule: The word must contain the letters L, M, N in reverse order.
Q: Generator that uses natural resource.
EA: Windmill.
IAR: Animals.

Rule: Synonym.
Q: Love without marriage.
EA: Adultery.
IAR: Committed.

Rule: Standard crossword clue.
Q: Fantastic figure totally the same however you look at it (5, 6)
EA: Magic square.
IAR: Lotus Temple.

Rule: Get two words the clue refers to. Replacing a repeated letter in one word gives the other word.
Q: Flies interchanged position before getting killed.
EA: Swapped, swatted.
IAR: Zippers, rippers.

Tragic relief

Meanwhile in a bachelors' flat somewhere in Pakiland...

Basak: Hundred. One double-O. Can you believe it? One..hund..red.

Rumafrash (looking up from a monthly): What on earth?

Basak: It's been a hundred days since our brethren left us on the mission to transfer Hindustanis and Cross-revering Occidents from the Taj to their respective Hells.

Amosa (from the kitchen): Yes, it's been. So?

Basak: So we've done nothing in the interim. I'm getting bored!

Amosa: Why don't you turn on the TV?

Rumafrash: What's on?

Amosa: Cricket match. Motherland versus Some Infidel.

Rumafrash: Sri Lanka, I believe. Today's sports page had a file photo of their captain in an indigo T-shirt. That's Lanka's colour, right?

Basak (switching the box on): Test or ODI?

When the telly flickers up, a T20 India-NZ match comes live.
Basak: Blooming bayonets! Indigo is no longer for Sri Lanka, but for India! Even as we speak their sinful feet are trodding our chaste land.

Rumafrash: Whoa. Let's watch all the overs.

Basak: What the fatwa! Son of a gun, don't you understand what this means? Our parliament has extended its kiss-up courtesy so wide as to let badsmen and wicked keepers and foulers from across the border to come piss on our sacred soil. Switch off the TV, it's time to trigger a few consequences.

Rumafrash: Wait a second, what are those chaps in black caps doing on the field?

Basak (turning the box off): Lock your muzzle, will you? Where's the next match?

Amosa (coming in with a sack of grenades): Lahore. We should be there by night. We got to lie in wait in the a.m. and get them on their way to the ground. Where did I keep my magazines?

Rumafrash (handing over the periodical in his hand): Here, take mine.

Both men give him a long look. Amosa proceeds to pick up a bunch of cartridges from a table drawer.

Rumafrash: Shall I get one of those rocket launchers Sam Chacha* gifted us last year?

Basak: Pack all the toys you can. Amosa, alert our other stations. We may need backup.

Amosa: One of us has to stay behind and look after him.

Amosa points to a middle-aged Danish journalist tied to a pillar with his dead daughter's teddy bear stuffed in his mouth.

Rumafrash: O come on, we don't have to.

Amosa doesn't heed R; he takes a barrel-cleaning rod, places it on a table and gives it a calculated spin. It points at Rumafrash.

Rumafrash: Aw. Let's do it again.

Basak: You're begging to get your butt kicked, I tell you. Take it like a man and bite the bullet.

Amosa: All right, let's go pumping. God is great.

'The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because they are generally the same people.'
- G K Chesterton

* Uncle Sam

A few rounds I set for LitSoc What's The Good Word:

Haunted Typewriter
A mischievous devil has taken shelter in our typewriter, and every time we typed a proverb, he perpetrated a special and irritating variety of typo. He substituted one letter in each word of the proverb with some other. What's more, he took every kind of liberty with punctuation too. For instance, when we tried to key in 'Finders keepers', he interfered and it resulted in 'Fingers -- beepers!'. Could you get us the right proverbs from the following?

(1) Brood it, thinker, then waver
(2) Tie earls, bind matches: toe worn
(3) I'll chat, glistens as now good
(4) I switch on tile, sage's nice
(5) Wet sweeping does lip
(6) Caste maces paste
(7) Emery Don, he's hit Dad!
(8) Belter same, thin worry.
(9) Do 'ear us, He-man! So forgave in divide.
(10) Done site, thy hard teat feels 'IOU'

From the Finals:
(i) Dent out ale, sour ego’s an ole’ basset
(ii) Wetter lane, Thai fever
(iii) Lake bather Mike: ‘S.O.S.!’
(iv) Lever budge… I boot my ID’s coder
(v) I, tolling, atone Father’s, do mops
(vi) Male gay? Whine. She sin swines.
(vii) Stall eaters rue deer
(viii) It is aunt, bloke, font fit in

Writer's Block
Sometimes a name can be divided into two blocks. Like church + ill. Or arm + strong. The names of ten writers (including poets) have been split into two such blocks each, with each block a valid word. Use the direct clues below to get the 20 blocks. Join the right pairs and get the 10 writers' surnames.

Six letter block
* Member of learned society

Five letter blocks
* Having a specified value
* Long raised strip
* Sentence components

Four letter blocks
* Desire
* Shaft dug in earth
* A kind of cabbage
* Fence
* Food fish in Greenland
* Turn
* Haste
* Flood-averting barrier

Three letter blocks
* Conveyance
* Tier
* Curve
* Perish
* Of a female

Two letter block
* Awake
* Gate

Delete the last letter of some words and you still get a valid word. Eg: ASPIRING and ASPIRIN. Fill in the blanks with such pairs. Eg.: Batman resented it when ______ peeked into the dressing room while he was ______ (6 minus 1): ROBIN, ROBING.

1. The musician was heard playing his ______ in his ______ throughout his life sentence. (5 minus 1)

2. In the ______ of ontology, nothing is ______ (5 minus 1)

3. ______ people needn't necessarily be _______; all villagers aren't blunt and unrefined either. (6 minus 1)

4. The _____ chose from among the _______ on the basis of man-eating capacity. (6 minus 1)

5. When the enemy's massive _______ came into sight, we decided to _______ from the shore. (5 minus 1)

NDK's atrociously punny question:

Fill in the blank with a three-word phrase.

Tanay: If it’s an oral test, I’m going to flunk tomorrow!
Tanvi: Don’t worry, you’ll ace it. _______________.

[The format of Haunted Typewriter is not mine -- I had seen such a puzzle in an old issue of Reader's Digest. The q's are, as must befit a LitSoc event, original.]

Answers, some

Writer's Block
The blocks: Fellow, worth, ridge, words, long, well, cole, wall, ling, roll, rush, dike, car, row, arc, die, her, ace, up, or.
The writers: Longfellow, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Orwell, Wallace, Rowling, Rushdie, Updike, Carroll, Archer.

1. cello, cell.
2. realm, real.
3. Urban, urbane.
4. ogress, ogres.
5. fleet, flee.

Nikhil's atrociously punny answer:
It is written.
(Tanay and Tanvi are the tween actors who played Jamal and Latika.)

Focus pulled this out out of nowhere during the last round of LitSoc Crossie Finale: