2009/03/08

Conundra

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

'Fete is coming up.'
'Yes.'
'Chocolate?' he handed me a bar.
'Thank you.'
'Can you set us riddles?'
'On?'
'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?'
'Yes?'
'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

Q1:
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?

Q2:
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!

Q3:
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...

Q4:
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.

Q5:
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!

A1:
Blue
Explanation:
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.

A2:
Black.
Explanation:
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.

A3:
Yellow.
Explanation:
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.

A4:
Red.
Explanation:
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.

A5:
Green.
Explanation:
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
Explanation:
1 is the most common identity element. Unity is strength. Unity = 1. The value of an ace in a deck of cards is 1.

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

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

Q:
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
Explanation:
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.

Q:
‘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
Explanation:
The key to the answer is the letter V, roman numeral for 5. (Quote: V for Vendetta.)

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

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

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

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

Q:
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.
Explanation†:
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.

8 Obiter dicta:

Blogger Full Of Life couldn't resist being opinionated thus:

WOW! Zimply birlliant..dont know if the time-bomb part is true..but one can definitely count on you to make those riddles. Here is my score:
Colours: I got the blue, red and yellow correct though I'm in love with the yellow puzzle! Awesome awesome (gosh! I run out of superlatives)
Numbers: Got four of them right. Will solve the remaining tomorrow :D

11:00 PM  
Blogger unni krishnan couldn't resist being opinionated thus:

I mean...Brilliant.
Absolutely. Yellow was Trademark Marlin.
And did we read the "Red" somewhere else before?

But please, go back to your old style posts, Jar. As much as I would like to try and decode your puzzles I would rather roll on the floor with laughter at your reflections on life and etc...

9:02 PM  
Blogger N couldn't resist being opinionated thus:

FoL,
Ich bin flattered! The time-bomb part is a figment of my i.
Unni,
Merci beaucoup. I thought green was trademark Marlin actually :) Yes, you've read Red elsewhere, I've given the link in the solution. And look who's asking for a new post on lifely reflections!

9:31 PM  
Anonymous monorina couldn't resist being opinionated thus:

That was amazing!!
I'm loving your blog!

2:39 PM  
Blogger Coconut Chutney couldn't resist being opinionated thus:

OMG, you're genius. I got all the answers wrong :D

10:40 PM  
OpenID litterateuse couldn't resist being opinionated thus:

Nicely done! Got the colors, except red (should've got that!). I wish you had not set the digits in numeric order - takes away the chance to crack it since one knows what's coming next.

Are you into cryptics as well? I have an e-group where I send out clues regularly. Do let me know.

gauri

1:55 AM  
Blogger N couldn't resist being opinionated thus:

Monorina,
Flattered!

Coconut Chutney,
Adhukkellaam kidney vaenum :P

Litterateuse,
Thank you! And yes, I must have scrambled the digits. My bad.

2:52 PM  
Anonymous Frame couldn't resist being opinionated thus:

exquisite!!

1:43 PM  

Post a Comment

Caution: Useless link below

Create a Link

<< Back to the big bad blog