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Old MacDonald had a bias
E I E I O
And at that bias he looked again
E I E I O
With a big cat here and a horse guide there
Here is scarlet
There for each
Everywhere are ions
Old MacDonald flew too close to the sun
E I E I O

Can anyone give me the three words that explain Old MacDonald's apparent decent into madness?


Hint:

The three words don't form a phrase or sentence, but are instead independent words linked only by a common feature.

Hint 2:

The three words a pretty uncommon (one in particular) and range between 10 and 12 letters long. However, there's a key clue that means if you get one it should lead you to all three (possibly with a little help from online tools)...

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  • 16
    $\begingroup$ 'Lysergic acid diethylamide'. $\endgroup$ – Damien H May 1 '15 at 2:27
  • $\begingroup$ Other than frantically googling snippets of suspicious lines in the poem, I'm not sure where to start -- I'm not complaining, though! I like how weird and (to me) pattern-less it seems... $\endgroup$ – DaveBensonPhillips May 1 '15 at 14:05
  • $\begingroup$ WOW! What an amazing puzzle. $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor May 23 '15 at 22:18
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The three words are:

Predilection, reinspection, perihelion

The reasoning behind this is:

Each word contains the letters "EIEIO" in that order, and comes right before an "EIEIO" line in the riddle. Notice in the title, that "reinvention" also fits this pattern.

Old MacDonald had a bias
E I E I O

Bias = predilection

And at that bias he looked again
E I E I O

Looked again = reinspection

With a big cat here and a horse guide there
Here is scarlet

Lion, rein, and vermilion which all contain parts of eieio

There for each

For each = iteration, also close

Everywhere are ions

Lots of the eieio words end in "ions"

Old MacDonald flew too close to the sun
E I E I O

Perihelion = closest point of orbit to the sun

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  • $\begingroup$ Well done! The title was going to be my next hint, so good to see you noticed that. :) Only minor miss, is that while the major clues indeed described the words, the minor clues spell out parts of them - "lion" at the end of perihelion. "rein" in reinspection, "red" in predilection, "per" (for each) in perihelion, and as you note "ion" in all of them. $\endgroup$ – Alconja May 4 '15 at 6:14
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The Kentucky Derby

Some reasoning

It's topical, the 2015 Kentucky Derby will be run tomorrow. Gamblers have an angle, or bias, so Old Mac Donald (OMD) thought he had inside information. Let's say he chose to "fly close to the sun" and pick a longshot. The news has the story that "El Kabeir", a 30-1 pick, may be scratched from the race. El Kabeir's post is #7; the number 2 favorite at 3-1, Dortmund, is at post #8 and Dortmund's jockey will wear scarlet. If only I could stretch El Kabeir's etymology (Arabic for "The Boss" according to the NY Times) into some kind of big cat lion or tiger, I would have a slam dunk. OMD's bet is "here" on #7, El Kabeir. "There" is the rest of the field on the racing form (or horse guide). Adjacent to "here" is the scarlet jockey; each other horse is there. The air is charged everywhere, thus the ions. OMD picked a crazy risky horse to bet on, and is descending into the madness of a gambler.

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  • $\begingroup$ I like it, but no. The answer will be much more clearly correct when you get it. $\endgroup$ – Alconja May 2 '15 at 0:31

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