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Riddle: Double-entendre nations - Baxil [bakh-HEEL'], n. My Sites [Tomorrowlands] [The TTU Wiki] [Photos]
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July 16th, 2006
05:28 pm
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Riddle: Double-entendre nations
kistaro just shared his write-up of participating in Microsoft's Intern PuzzleDay. It's a fun read that gives some flavor of the brain-bendingness of the event. But what caught my eye was the following paragraph:
Another puzzle, "Kingdoms", gave confusing names for countries, approximately; we had to figure out what they meant (few of the puzzles had instructions) and that they were all countries, but it went fairly quickly from there. ("Curve, simple" was "Belize": bell, easy. Yes, they were all that much of a stretch.) Well, each puzzle had a number by it, and using that number as an index into the country name spelled out one more puzzle: "HOTEL SECRETING ORGAN". This is, of course, England. (Or, if you prefer, Inn Gland. However, I am very likely to refer to England as Hotel Secreting Organ for much of the forseeable future.) I have no idea why it struck us all so funny, but it was a huge laugh in the debriefing at the end when it was revealed that a few teams had come to the very wrong answer of "HOTEL SECRET IN GORGON" as the very wrong answer. The woman who invented the puzzle wasn't sure what country that would be, and she didn't really want to know.

What? Even the puzzle creator couldn't be bothered to come up with a solution for HOTEL SECRET IN GORGON? Okay, now that I just can't leave well enough alone.

Using a lazily-googled list of country names (n.b.: I used only their English names, although I suppose you're free to use native equivalents) and a wee bit of Internet research, I quickly managed to come up with a plausible (though terribly unfair to potential solvers) solution.

I challenge you to do the same -- what country does HOTEL SECRET IN GORGON represent? There's no "right" answer, but props are due in direct proportion to the elegance of your solution. As such, I won't screen answers this time, and I'll put my own offering in comments -- it might get your brain thinking in a creatively useful direction.

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From:baxil
Date:July 17th, 2006 12:53 am (UTC)
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The answer I derived was ... St. Helena.

In case you want to try to figure out my reasoning on your own, I'll put the explanation in a spoiler box to give you a chance to wrack your brain. (Highlight the text of this comment, or select the whole page with control-A, to see the answer pop up in the brown box below.)

Per the "Internet research" link in the main post, one of Hesiod's three gorgons was STHENO. Hotel is INN; to secret something is to LAY it aside. So you have INN, LAY IN STHENO. So follow the instructions and insert the first two words into the name: STHE-LAY-INN-NO. Or ST HE-LAY-INN-NO.

Yes, I know, it's the sort of answer that makes your brain hurt. My bad.
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From:ceruleanst
Date:July 17th, 2006 01:32 am (UTC)
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Club Med is a hotel chain. To make something secret, you cover it up. Cover up MED in MEDUSA and you get USA.
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From:baxil
Date:July 17th, 2006 08:22 am (UTC)
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Ooooh. Straightforward and elegant. Ladies and gentlebeings, I think that sound you hear is of someone winning.
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From:frameacloud
Date:July 17th, 2006 05:33 am (UTC)
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When I read Kistaro's original post, I thought about it for a moment and decided that if HOTEL SECRET IN GORGON follows similar rules to HOTEL SECRETING ORGAN, just using synonyms in the same order... then HOTEL SECRET IN GORGON would be something based on "inn-private-in-Medusa," or some similar variation that doesn't come out to any location that I recognize.

Inn... Innsmouth? No, no, the riddle can't reach that except rather indirectly, too many steps away...

Gorgon, Medusa, eyes... ooh! Private eye! ...Except then "in" isn't doing anything.
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