Little Mortinsen

Now Mortinsen saw an octopus
She behaved very odd
Pray, boy, and make no fuss,
Said the cephalopod
See the pistol in this tentacle?
You, young man, I've been sentacle
Mortinsen scowled, Mortinsen sighed 
Mortinsen stood there glassy-eyed 
His head was elsewhere, his eyes saw through she 
He absently picked the gun and made some sushi
Mortinsen met a tramp whose vapours
With everyone disagreed
He walked about reading newspapers
They called him Encyclopede
Do you know about, Mortinsen, sneered he,
What are your thoughts on and heard of the?
Mortinsen stretched, Mortinsen bent
Mortinsen did not know where he went
He removed his earphones and asked for directions
And healed the poor tramp of his omniscience 
Mortinsen encountered a pterodactyl
It alighted on his bed
Apparently, sir, I'm a fossil,
The angry reptile said
Every time I take a nap a few million years pass
This time I wake to find me displayed under glass
Mortinsen squinted, Mortinsen yawned
The pterodactyl Mortinsen gazed beyond
When at last he saw it he once or twice blinked,
Fed it some birdseed and made it extinked

Mortinsen dashed into a troika of dots
Their talk was elliptic
They had no more than two or three thoughts
All apocalyptic
The planet, they cried, is becoming ovoid,
It'll hatch one morning that none can avoid
Mortinsen grunted, Mortinsen scratched
The bombast of the dots he hadn't catched 
He leaned forward, put his lips near 'em,
Whispered So? and disproved their theorem
Mortinsen came upon four little boys
They looked just as him
They had even his coiffure and voice
Three of them were dim
"Mortinsen, I your doppelgänger", "Mortinsen, you my clone",
"Our time machine works, Morty!", "Ich? Ein tzwin of your own"
Mortinsen mumbled, Mortinsen frowned
Mortinsen smiled and jot something downed
He pranced home with joy, his soul blithe as bubbles
And cut off his big toe to tell him from his doubles




The G.P.S. that Misdirects

(Just some grammatically correct sentences.)

With Monty Pythonesque airspeed velocity, the unladen swallow shoots supplied by the knights. 

The elf who sees the inconsolable snake shedding tears it.

In the garden of blooming buds and blood-red blossoms, the beautiful rose to go.

Catch the northbound train huskies.

At the china shop we saw the pretty Taiwanese mug and the shiny Japanese bowl to the same person.

Unlike the introverted kind, the outgoing type single-handedly.

Light years from now may bend round a star. 

The weekly laundrymen sit and read is published Mondays.  

As the cyclone approaches, the powerful wind a watch.

The fat but well-dressed Nepali digests plant a flag in the bookshelf after coming to life. 

In autumn and winter spring summer birds to Vladivostok. 

I spoke in Swahili and the Canadian spoke in the language of Lithuania is 'spindulys'.

The first child in a family is always a joy to hold and behold, but the second children begin to speak more articulately should be taped.

The broad shoulders carried cheerled.

See the wikipedia piece on garden path sentences; browsing through its garden path sentences one to an evening in its honeyed prison.

Tip of the turban to Shyamala for the title.


An Unimperial Union

Ms. Patrick, of pornographic renown, and Mr. Iyer, the travel writer, entered wedlock. They were driving back from their nuptials in a -9 when the vehicle ran over a -2pede. Iyer let a yelp of joy out, much to the disgust of his bride.

'You 6lomaniac!' she cried. 'How can you be so 1dent? What a rotten 18mple you would set our children. I must re-think my -1sion on this marriage. I should've probably accepted when the darling nonagenarian proposed to me.'

'Enough of this 2ring and -6managing already!' he returned. 'I had no idea you were one of those 15 types. You are absolutely right, you should've married the -3onaire instead of me. We can correct the situation yet -- I'm calling my -18rney right away.'

How could their matrimonial bliss have lasted long? She was after all a 12 and he, a -12.

That is why you must cast your connubial vote wisely.


Morse Code Mnemonic

Based on the (auditory) length of each monosyllabic word. Wikipedia lent the idea:

In the United Kingdom many people learned the Morse code by means of a series of words or phrases that have the same rhythm as a Morse character. For instance "Q" in Morse is dah - dah - di - dah, which can be memorized by the phrase "God save the Queen"; and the Morse for "F" is di - di - dah - dit, which can be memorized as "Did she like it."

I decided to go one little step further and make it all as alliterative as possible, in order that I remember the code better. Underposted is my scheme, for your mnemonical pleasure.


Strips II

Mixed Signals


Press Charges
[Excuse the image size]


Sharp Tongue

(Title inadvertently suggested by AJ and Shyamala)


His Advice to Youngsters -- Always Play with Soft Hands. Maintain a Sound Technique.

(Acc. to Durga, a parallelism between the two was previously explored in ARR's Fan Club)

Jayavel recently rang out for a posse to collaborate on a webcomic. I joined him and his friend in the attempt. Please take a gander; if it appeals to you, spread the word.

Here are some fine places to start:


Parting Words

[Words behind an asterisk do not belong to this lexicon, strictly speaking.]

Speech of praise given by a company, directed toward itself, in a commercial break

A situation that, due to one getting charged up, spoils a positive setting

Pharmacist who at any given time has a packet of medical marijuana on him

Settling of a sharing dispute by allotting each party a measure chosen at random

The quality of working your buttocks off. Not one, but both of them

A mixer of drinks who switches off the pub television when the Simpsons show comes on

caprice [economics]
Unpredictability in the MRP of staple grains

castrate [as quoted in The Directors' Manual]
To emasculate a film production company by making a movie with actors demanding astronomical pays

Ecological disaster that ensues by killing large numbers of lions, leopards, &c. in view of turning them into prized possessions

centrally [politics]
With the national government, a policy citizens oppose by gathering in multitudes and contributing copper pennies toward the cause

A variety of cigars threatening to overtake its native counterpart in Cuba. They gained in popularity when Castro revealed that Guevara approved of them.

(1) To restrict a prisoner's movements, causing him or her psychological difficulties
(2) To hold back an optimistic plan by rattling off a long list of demerits in it
(3) To confine to one's residence all day on account of a ceaseless thunderstorm

Scheme to get back at a feudal aristocrat by sabotaging his expensive fur

Reduction to a primitive or savage state

Reduction to complete depravity. Considered ten times malicious as decivilization

Reflected carefully as to the surprise ingredient in the sandwich your impatient customer ordered after directing unflattering remarks towards you

The chemicals that make men loathe to do the laundry

Literally, to speak out against a cat that never leaves its abode. A political metaphor used to protest against a government's refusal to trade.

Find that the music stopped a while back

Supernatural. Doubly creepy.

Never attending lectures but erupting like a volcano in the exam to end up topping the class on account of having untiringly toiled like a colony insect in the confines of one's hostel room

enterprising [sales and marketing]
Marked by the willingness to embark on imaginative ways of opening one's customers' wallets up by force

A cattle beast that's a cross between a horse and a bovine, which slaves 12 hours a day with its eyes open and 12 hours closed

Outrageously offensive in the way a speech of excessive emotion delivered at Independence/Republic Day meetings is

In a courtly, established manner, aimed to make comrades

A tendon that amateur radio operators often injure by making a quick dash to their transceivers when they beep

Causing deep anguish by making one come to know of current societal tendencies

Characterized by an abundance not easily duplicated

The problems of dealing with children who are at once mischievous and moronic, for which no known solutions exist

Incapable, as construed from a species of astrology involving pushing Scrabble letters around, of issue

An opportunity to exercise the noble deed of uttering what your listener wishes to hear and burying your own opinion

That which cannot be taught in tuition [courtesy: YSP]

Brief in speech, as practised by certain habitants of an otherwise talkative Paris. Such as mentioned are said to be afflicted with eccentricity

The non-definition printed in self-respecting dictionaries owing to plainness of meaning

The murder of several people after putting them all within certain sq. yards of land

He that claims inability to set right his life to defend his beggary

methought [archaic, humourous]
'It struck me that'
Eg.: Methought an amphetamine should do the trick.

(1) [of a person] Catching one's attention for complete want of aptitude
(2) [of a room] Catching one's attention for complete want of furniture

An unexpected Ashes victory by England. The English claim no surprise on an overturn because the container of the original ashes displays, indisputably, the names of only their cricketers.

overlooking [as defined for gentlemen]
Glancing down upon the tile patterns, as an emperor upon his courtiers, while seated on the commode

peeking [as defined for gentlemen]
Glancing down upon the tile patterns, as an emperor upon his courtiers, while not seated on the commode

Making a fruitful search on the Internet in order to go to the depths of some matter

A rough draft of The Raven

To make a second coming as a fruit does upon being plucked

Bring an overfunctioning extraction plant to its original efficiency by pausing the mining process

Adamant about leaving a wikipedia article short after creating it

All sorts of clothes on a line

In a playfully mocking manner
Eg.: To drive home the atrocity of his prices, the three of us teasingly ordered merely one glass of beverage from Nair

Momentary as the reading in a thermometer taken out of your mouth

Describing the three or less casual relationships a person is allowed to have prior to marriage without seriously damaging it

Pertaining to something you would not like to happen to your child

Relating to the destructivity of the Indian top order, a quality it owes to its opener

Collective name for the sounds a lover of the past makes as he enters a WWII museum

An aircraft that, by virtue of flying faster than Superman, causes his girlfriend to lose interest in him

To remove the underperformers from a side in pursuit of an immediate turnover of fortunes




Snap = Jolt

F/2 = E/2 => F = E


Dealing With Me

Inside your idle brain, come shine or come rain,
All work and no play all night and all day
Not even half a moment of sleep, you see!
Look for me in the details (or check in the fai retails)
When you're loathe to decide -- I'll then come stand beside
Whilst over your shoulder looms the deep blue sea

To your petty conceit placate I'll send my advocate
He'd gladly plead your cases with one of many faces
Of which he has thirty-six, like a pair o' dice
If you are lonely and laust, remember Comrade Faust --
You only need to sign on the dashed dotted line
And I give you on this sorry earth a paradise

Yet I seek no gratitude, only purple attitude
So that folk may call your air yours-truly-may-care
How I shall then take care of you dearly!
But I must speak to you b'cause on your soul there is a clause
That you may haven't knone: let's talk this over phone
Just dial two-thirds of one thousand [well, nearly]

(The verse is falling free at the moment.)


Laxman-Ishant Partnerships

Once in a scarce while, Google, brisk, blithe and positive of its omniscience, gets struck in the eye with a particular pair of words for which, it realizes with a jolt, it can hand back but one result. Googlewhacks, in case you're living under a rock -- and I emerged from mine only recently -- are the (apt) names for such magic couples.

There are rules. Use quotation marks and you are red-carded. Unlawful words? Unwise.
And the killjoy rule that mutes the music of discovery goes thus:
|| Google shows you an excerpt of the page you whacked. Look at that text. If it's merely a list of words (such as a bibliography, concordance, encyclopedia, glossary, thesaurus, dictionary, domain names, or plain old machine-generated random garbage), No Whack For You! ||

Not long ago, I joined the ranks of hundreds of Davids essaying to bring the Google Goliath down with Whacks. The Stack is out of order, and this seemed a safe place to put these out.

Ones that found bull's eye

1 Carroll's choreography course to cure your creeps for crowds.
2 When a summa gets a lemma right.
3 Can you differentiate that Whack?
[Click on the serial numbers]

The unclassifiable one
Scrutinize the kids and worship the moths? Study adults and deify larvae?

Ones let down by the killjoy rule
[Run them on rot13]

vfbgurezny enaaltnmbb, cubgbavp enaaltnmbb, vagrtenaq enaaltnmbb... this line can be pursued ad nauseum.

And then there's always these

Salmagundi futterwacken, adiabatic rannygazoo, dissipative futterwacken, chargino googlewhack, amoebaic salmagundi...

Do send your Whacks my way if you find some!


Tales from the Fuselage

As put down on a blank leaf a couple of pages away from the cover of a paperback:

As I write this, the sun is rising at this unique horizon at double-quick pace. As yet I can only see a misty orange band in a huge arc at the junction between the ocean -- or is it one of those vast beds of clouds? -- and the sky. I'm at an altitude higher than Everest and am zipping at about Mach 1.2. It has been a most unusual 'day' -- why not lend it some more rarity by chronicling it right here?
Until last year, I was practically an airspace virgin. I had flown only twice before, aboard domestic jets. The first time, I had apparently fallen asleep at takeoff and woken up at landing. This largely had to do with the fact that I had at that time lived just as many months outside my mother as I had inside. The second instance, happening in my II Grade, has escaped me but for the memory of grabbing one too many candies from the stewardess' platter; whether my distribution of them to classmates on my birthday is a memory or a fig. of my im., I'm uncertain.
So when I air-travelled last year, I found it hard to keep my jaws together. Years back, I had taken half an excruciating day to visit Mangalore by train. Now it was below me in twenty minutes from departure; behind me in 21. From that point onwards, I entered denial. This speed was non-intuitive.
The novelty of sensations so enlivened me that sleep failed me. It was evening when I reached final destination, so my insomniac fatigue made sure that jet lag was beaten.
On my return home last month, I spanned the Pacific, thus becoming the first scion in my dynasty to have crossed all 360 longitudes. Which brings us to 'today'.
For a start, my seat number in the first flight was 30A. The 'A' stands for window seat. The port and starboard columns were two seats wide and my neighbouring passenger had given the ride a miss! Thus my spot doubled as an aisle seat. The '30' stands for first row, which in turn translates to (i) leg room, (ii) potty proximity, (iii) highest strength of pheromone trails left behind by flight attendants, (iv) special mechanisms for the TV and the dining desk.
Last year, I headed westward. This time, my 'orient'ation is opposite. I'm essentially retracing the path I took home. The first aircraft (dest.: Hong Kong) became airborne at 04.00 a.m. If you define 'dayline' as in the picture, my plane and the dayline were cruising for a headlong collision. I fought back sleep and waited to witness this rare glory, and was handsomely rewarded.
My second plane (on which my stern rests this very moment) is a time machine. I embarked upon it at 02.00 p.m. on Sep. 04, I will touch terminus at 11.00 a.m. on Sep. 04. This leg of the voyage turned out to be much more spectacular than I had imagined.
I slid the window down to cut out the sunlight and slipped into slumber. When I rose an hour later and reopened it, I was totally taken aback. It was pitch dark outside. I had simply unaccounted for the fact that in an aeroplane flying east, particularly when the geodesical trajectory is more parallel than perp. to the equator, the durations of dark and light are halved. There was no way I could go across to the other edge of the Pacific without cutting through night. It was obvious once it happened. All these meant I met the dayline a second time in the journey, which is when I began to pen this. Now the window is a splash of divers degrees of blue and white.
36 hours would this day last, two sunrises and two sundowns would it include. An I.D.L. day -- an ideal day.


Keep Typing, Monkeys!


20/20 Hindsight

In a move that was, like all things IPL, unexpected but not surprising, Lalit Modi has invited a poet to perform at the closing ceremony. The performance being, of course, a recital of his latest work, an ode exalting the league. The hitch: the bard is an American who never has seen a game of cricket. Away he ground at match bulletins, and out he churned this:

Like bowling pins on an ice-rink did wickets tumble

When the ball spun off the fingers of Kumble,
'Twas like the fireworks on the Fourth of July
When the sixes flew off the willow of Ganguly,
One billion point one hearts were achin',
Whenever to the pavilion walked Sachin!
Cricket to IPL is like movies to Cannes,
Unearthing Ojha, Marsh and Nannes!
O IPL, thou art , despite your auctions obscene,
A beauty pageant to men like Jayawardene,
A shot at glory, though the odds are bare,
To the likes of Jakati, Pandey and Tare,
An opportunity to play nefarious fungi
For second-rank cricketers like Tyagi,
Or E Coli,
For V Kohli
And the story of Hansel and Gratel
For Yuvi, Munaf and Parthiv Patel,
Lost as they were. And like Zimbabwe,
Never really in IPL was der Merwe!
A treat it was to at cheerleaders ogle,
As was listening to the outspoken Mr Bhogle,
As was listening to the outspoken Mr Bhogle


Forward March (the 14th)


Rectangular hyperbolic



Tangent hyperbolic

Daylight Savings Time starts today.


Twice Bitten

[Author's note: The original is my favourite joke ever.]

Having lost his poetic touch,
W. B. Yeats works at a corporate office. A popular tabloid, finding that his fame has survived, telephones him and wonders if he would be kind enough to participate in a photo-session for their pages. Thrilled, he writes to his manager asking for (i) a day off and (ii) permission to attend the picture-taking.
In response, the manager informs, 'Both your requests need to be approved by a panda in the upper floor, specifically recruited for the purpose.'
'What! Why?', says W B.
'Look it up', replies the boss.
The former poet thumbs through the office catalogue to get wind of the job description of his mammalian colleague. Which reads thus:
"Panda: Yeats' shoots and leaves."

A robin glides into a café. She orders a sandwich, eats it, then starts telling a joke over and over again till everybody dies of boredom.
'Why?' asks the confused, surviving waiter, as the robin gets airborne exitward. She produces a badly punctuated ornithology manual and tosses it over her shoulder.
'Well, I'm a robin', she says, at the door. 'Look it up.'
The waiter turns to the relevant entry in the manual and, sure enough, finds an explanation.
'Robin: Many-coloured species of bird. Native to Europe and North America. Eats, bugs and flies.'


Dead Physicists Society

Yesterday a pal of mine passed on to me, by good old electronic post, a picture. It was a group snap of the attendees of Solvay Conference 5.0. The few seconds the lensman took to click are historic: everyone present, for once, looked at something from the same angle.

But straightaway my trained eye detected that this was a fake. Retouched, as they euphemized. Cowardly photoshopping of the Dark Room ages is how I see it. And so, for the rest of the evening, I spent all my vim on hunting the original down.
My efforts were met with fruit. I came in touch with Ms. Couprie, the great-granddaughter of the photographer. She had apparently had the master negatives developed, scanned, uploaded and desktopped. It took every oz. of my charm -- and a little threatening -- to wheedle her into dispatching a copy in my direction.
And thus, I present here the great tableau as the late Mr Couprie saw it.

In this version, you will notice these:

Lorentz is contracted.

The space occupied by Einstein is curved.

The camera captured Bragg's X-ray.

Dirac sits tallest, like a delta function.

Wherever she went, Curie listened to FM radio actively.

de Broglie waves.

Heisenberg's position is uncertain, a trait he carried to his grave.

Planck had a black body.

does u c cheezburger sticked outta scchrodinga's pockit, sez he lukin' 4 inspration frm any1 who can has it, lol.

Compton is scattered.

Pauli got himself excluded; it was his principle.


You Say -nomy, I Say -logy

Answers I encountered correcting exam papers.

What is the main cause of erosion on Moon?
Earth's tidal force.

Why is Mars red?
It is closer to the sun.

#1 What causes a star to twinkle?
Objects in space such as asteroids passing in front of stars.

Why does Triton have a less dense atmosphere than Titan?
Because Triton was to not to have an atmosphere.

Which nature of light does diffraction demonstrate?
The practical nature.

What causes a meteor shower?
Earth orbiting through the asteroid belt.

Why are Mars' seasons more extreme than Earth's?
Mars has no living organisms.

#2 What causes a star to twinkle?
The vibration of the earth.

#1 How long does it take for the Earth to orbit the Sun?
1 month

What are two phenomena that occur more frequently during an active Sun?
Full moons, stars dying off.

#1 Why does Mars appear fainter than Venus?
Venus is brighter than Mars.

What is 'hot Jupiter'?
A large star close to Jupiter.

#3 What causes a star to twinkle?
Binary stars: when one star passes in front of another.

Why do astronomers think Mercury has a large iron core?
Because its moons have iron.

#2 How long does it take for the Earth to orbit the Sun?
364 days.

#1 What is the main cause of erosion on Mars?

How far across the sky does a star move in two hours?
Half-way across the galaxy.

#4 What causes a star to twinkle?
Interference of celestial winds.

The Sun's size is not changing. What does this say about the Sun?

That the sun is not affected by the atmosphere.

#2 Why does Mars appear fainter than Venus?
Venus is on fire.

#3 How long does it take for the Earth to orbit the Sun?
Months, not years.

#5 What causes a star to twinkle?
Its emission spectrum.

Mention one method that astronomers use to find objects in the celestial sphere.
Looking up at the stars... not sure where you're going with this.

#2 What is the main cause of erosion on Mars?

#4 How long does it take for the Earth to orbit the Sun?
24 hours.

#5 How long does it take for the Earth to orbit the Sun?
23 hours, 56 minutes.

#6 What causes a star to twinkle?
The hydrogen being converted to helium.

When the dog bites, when the bee stings, when I'm feeling sad, I simply remember these two answers, and then I don't feel so bad:


The diameter of the Sun is approximately how many times larger than the diameter of Earth?
3 x 108 m/s


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.