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My pet underwater snail just chewed up this poem I've been working on! I convinced him to spit it out, but I could only salvage one verse (you know how long I like to make my poems) and the lines are in the wrong order.

Can you put them in the proper order and find out what's going on in this stanza? It rhymes now, but it might not when correctly reconstructed.

What a certain literary professor for his unbeheld felt,
The two of spades, from a new deck dealt,
A din, a doubt...
Out!
Up, up, by the Ort Sphere's smallest test,
But oh, wait, now by one-third less.

Partial answers are welcomed, but for one to be accepted it must explain each line.

HINTS:

GIVEAWAY: He, name redacted (1289-1316), was the first real player.

Line 1: \u0412\u043b\u0430\u0434\u0438\u0301\u043c\u0438\u0440 \u0412\u043b\u0430\u0434\u0438\u0301\u043c\u0438\u0440\u043e\u0432\u0438\u0447 \u041d\u0430\u0431\u043e\u0301\u043a\u043e\u0432

Line 1: Unbeheld, prefix-less and in the first person present rendered, succeeds the unbeheld and "and".

Line 1: _ _ _ _ ( -> _ _ _ ) [4 letter word sometimes abbreviated as 3]

Line 2: The suit is irrelevant; it is without currency.

Line 2: _ _ _ _ _ [5 letter word]

Line 3: Mrs. Malaprop would definitely know this one.

Line 5: What is truth? It is the man who stands before you.

Line 5: Find the man whose name is like a rabbit. Yes! The man, the one with a mathematical habit.

Line 5: _ _ [2 digit number]

Line 6: _ _ [2 digit number]

You're confused, you say? Well, that's a great point.

All the lines together (in the proper order) describe something very specific, but each separate line might represent something distinct on its own.

The tag should provide some direction with the foreign-seeming elements.

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  • $\begingroup$ There are 720 different ways to order these lines. I don't think that brute force is the best approach here. I don't think the lines starting with "What" and "But" make sense as the first line so that cuts it down to just 480 ways. Much easier. $\endgroup$ – Engineer Toast Aug 10 '15 at 16:31
  • $\begingroup$ @EngineerToast Now you're getting somewhere! $\endgroup$ – Riddler Aug 10 '15 at 16:47
  • $\begingroup$ I doubt any of the three lines that end with a comma would be the last line either. $\endgroup$ – Echo Aug 12 '15 at 4:45
  • $\begingroup$ It seems like the wordplay tag would be a good fit here, because of the way the lines are improperly arranged. $\endgroup$ – Randoms Aug 12 '15 at 14:50
  • $\begingroup$ I agree—it's been added, and it actually may provide particular aid in deciphering (what-is-presently) the fifth line. $\endgroup$ – Riddler Aug 12 '15 at 14:54
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Got it!

What a certain literary professor for his unbeheld felt: LOVE (deciphered in other comments); in tennis, "love" means 0.
The two of spades, from a new deck dealt: DEUCE. (Both the name for the card and a name for someone who deals the second card instead of the first to cheat.) A deuce is a tied 40-40 game in tennis.
A din, a doubt: AD IN, AD OUT are tennis terms. When the score is tied at 40-40, a player must win two points in a row to win the game. AD IN and AD OUT are terms meaning the IN or OUT players have one of those points - AD stands for 'advantage'.
Out!: Game over, OUT won.
Up, up, by the Ort Sphere's smallest test, : Up, up refers to two points being gained; therefore the score is 30. Peter Shor's algorithm was first used to test factorization of 15.
But oh, wait, now by one-third less.: The score in tennis goes from 0 to 15 to 30 to 40 (it was an abbreviation for 45); this means the increase is one-third less, as it only goes up by 10 instead of 15. So now the score is at FORTY.

So the order is:

What a certain literary professor for his unbeheld felt: LOVE
Up, up, by the Ort Sphere's smallest test, : FIFTEEN, THIRTY
But oh, wait, now by one-third less.: FORTY
The two of spades, from a new deck dealt: DEUCE.
A din, a doubt: AD IN, AD OUT (the players are switching back and forth between having a deuce and giving one person the advantage).
Out!: Out wins!

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  • $\begingroup$ Yes! Almost entirely correct—Ort Sphere, though, is an anagram for someone's name—you may want to look at the hint for Line 5 that begins "Find the man whose name..." $\endgroup$ – Riddler Aug 25 '15 at 15:09
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    $\begingroup$ @Riddler: GOT IT $\endgroup$ – Deusovi Aug 25 '15 at 15:18
  • $\begingroup$ YES! I was beginning to think no one would... $\endgroup$ – Riddler Aug 25 '15 at 17:50
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Disclaimer: Newbie here! Pardon me for any oversights or mistakes.

I believe the poem refers to the book Deep Space Dogfights. I haven't read it, and the keyword for the book's identification was Ort Sphere. I read a few pages, and found out an Ort Sphere was presumed to be the smallest. Next, the test part, as it is explained in the answer. The poem points to excerpts from the story Final Flight of the Fighting Jack Churchill, and I've presented them accordingly. Hope this is the answer you seek, and in the correct order. I'm pretty sure I have the order messed up, but I'll need more time to read the whole chapter & properly explain & order the excerpts.

The two of spades, from a new deck dealt

There are only 50 CTs aboard. This is a bit doubtful: I presume the two of spades refers to two cards, leaving 50 cards in (or in the book's context: leaving 50 Combat Troopers on) the deck.

A din, a doubt

Prevent a half-dozen pods attaching succesfully and making the Churchill's hull shudder... All personnel will arm in the event forward sections are overrun.

What a certain literary professor for his unbeheld felt,

Good God, the Captain (Royce) realized about their enemy, we don't even know what THEY look like. Unbeheld means unseen.

Up, up, by the Ort Sphere's smallest test,

But could he ask this crew to sacrifice their lives and this antiquated starship just to test if a smaller presumed central sphere managing other attacking vessels theory was true? Previously in the story, it has been established that the smaller sphere is the smallest, and the puppeteer of the enemy armada. OR this could also be pointing to Captain Royce needing to get to the auxiliary override junction, two decks (Up, up) above his current location, in order to force the ship onto a collision-course with the smallest Ort Sphere, and test if this collision will end the battle and bring victory to Earth.

Out!

He watched Terry Alan race... OR 'Permission granted', where the Captain allows Terry Alan to go and assist another fighting crew. However, this does not add up with the OR part above in terms of sequence.

But oh, wait, now by one-third less.

Can't really figure this out, but I think of it as the departure of Terry Alan leaving only two named officers on the bridge out of the actual three.

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    $\begingroup$ Hi Meet, a very creative approach, but I must say that your interpretation of some of the clues seems like a stretch, and "Ort Sphere" is not actually a reference to that book. I think the new tag added at the suggestion of Randoms would actually be very helpful in deciphering that particular clue. $\endgroup$ – Riddler Aug 12 '15 at 14:56
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    $\begingroup$ FYI If you want hide text so that the user must hover over it with his mouse in order to view it, then use >! before the line you want to hide. However, hiding your answers is not required, but makes more sense in some situations. $\endgroup$ – JLee Aug 12 '15 at 15:08
  • $\begingroup$ Aye! Thanks, both of you! Will keep that in mind the next time I'm out solving. And also improve upon my approach to solve the puzzles. $\endgroup$ – Meet K. Sep 2 '15 at 1:18
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I think the man is:

Black Jack (The Card Game)
[The player starts with an Ace and a Nine]

What a certain literary professor for his unbeheld felt,

The dealers repeat their 'scripted' talks about the rules/bets/progress (literary professor). His unbeheld [felt->feel]/touch is that he does not have influence on the results of the game.

Up, up, by the Ort Sphere's smallest test,

The player has a Ace and a Nine totaling to 20. He calls hit and is asking for another Ace (the smallest ort [card]) to get black jack!

The two of spades, from a new deck dealt,

He is dealt a two of spades from the 'new deck'.

But oh, wait, now by one-third less.

He had an Ace which now has become a value of 1 instead of 11. Giving him one-third less of a total? [He must have had an Ace and a Nine for this to occur without having 21 or bust]

A din, a doubt...

He is thinking about his next move. He has a total of 12 in front of him. [statistically speaking he should hit]

Out!

He calls hit. [He gets a 10 or face card] Bust, he lost!

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Edit: I still do not have the answer, but have deciphered some things in the hints that may help others.

"Giveaway":

Louis X of France (1289-1316) was the first person to construct indoor tennis courts in the modern style. I suspect that tennis is the key to this entire thing but I can't quite make it happen!

Hints for Line 1:

These are Unicode codes for Cyrillic characters. Decoded, they are: Влади́мир Влади́мирович Набо́ков, or, in English, Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov. A famous line from Lolita is "There was no Lo to behold." So, she is his unbeheld. What did he feel for her? We're looking for a four (or three) letter word. Because of the tennis clue above, I thought LOVE, but then what's the three-letter word?

Hint for line 3:

Mrs. Malaprop famously got her words mixed up, so we're looking for some kind of misstatement.

Hint for Line 5:

"What is truth? It is the man who stands before you." is the English translation of the famous Latin anagram Quid est veritas? / Est vir qui adest, so I think we're looking for an anagram. Perhaps an anagram of Ort Sphere, the weirdest phrase in here? That could be "three pros", "he reports", etc. but nothing obvious. As for "Find the man whose name is like a rabbit," I came up with Charles Babbage, whose name is reminiscent of Babs Bunny, but that seems like a bit of a stretch.

Putting it all together:

My very loose guess is that this is a cryptic description of a tennis match or point. All I have to go on is the Louis X clue, which I feel confident about, and many other vague inklings: the possibility of LOVE, the two of spades as maybe some reference to a serve, the line "Out!", the author's use of "great point" in the hints. Please, please if someone can use these hints to figure the whole thing out, do it! It's killing me.

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  • $\begingroup$ Ort Sphere could be an anagram for "Three Pros" $\endgroup$ – Cain Aug 14 '15 at 15:37
  • $\begingroup$ @Cain or "Sport here" or "pert horse" or "herpes rot" ... lots of possibilities $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Aug 15 '15 at 18:20
  • $\begingroup$ You're right on both counts, but "A din, a doubt" is not the anagram. $\endgroup$ – Riddler Aug 25 '15 at 0:42
  • $\begingroup$ I won't comment on the giveaway, but you're right about LOVE—it's just sometimes abbreviated/known colloquially as LUV. $\endgroup$ – Riddler Aug 25 '15 at 2:43
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Partial Answer

What a certain literary professor for his unbeheld felt,

Nabokov write Lolita, and the literary professor main character feels love/luv for his unbeheld. Or is it from the first couple of lines... "sin/soul"?

The two of spades, from a new deck dealt,

Hearts starts off like this. The 5 letter word is heart.

...

A din, a doubt...

I wonder how much these next two lines are connected to Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow... A doubt = An idiot (the malapropism), and that can be interpreted as sound (and fury?) and or a tale told by an idiot.

Out!

Out, as in Out brief candle. I doubt both of them are related. Although, this makes me wonder if the entire riddle is a reference to that soliloquy, considering there are 12 lines in that and 6 here. Could they match up when in the correct order?

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  • $\begingroup$ Hearts starts with the two of clubs, not the two of spades. $\endgroup$ – Luke Aug 18 '15 at 14:13
  • $\begingroup$ Your interpretation of the first line (well, one of them) is correct, but re-examine the hints and the poem for the rest. $\endgroup$ – Riddler Aug 25 '15 at 0:42
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I believe I only have a partial answer, but I enjoyed looking at it.

What a certain literary professor for his unbeheld felt,

This certainly is a reference to Nabokov, but a third person reference so it is not about him

The two of spades, from a new deck dealt,

And with that, I have to assume this is a tarot card, the one for a quick thinker - the author likes the idea of writing about Nabokov

Up, up, by the Ort Sphere's smallest test,

which he is now considering a reflection on his own mental abilities (unbeholden, of course), the Ort Sphere being the "place" of thought.

But oh, wait, now by one-third less.

A reduction by a third seems arbitrary, but in character for Nabokov works where the he reflects on his own work, and this author does too

A din, a doubt...

This leads to doubt, confusion and hesitation, but ..

Out!

the poem is written anyway.

I think rhyming in couplets, tarot card references (like 'Pale Fire' and maybe other words) was a strong indication that this is the right direction. If nothing else, I hope you find the answer entertaining!

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  • $\begingroup$ Potentially A din, a doubt... and out! are biblical? Clue "What is truth? It is the man who stands before you" Makes me think of Pilots interrogation of Jesus, a din, a doubt referencing the temple market, and then one-third less could have Holy-Trinity connotations... $\endgroup$ – Cain Aug 14 '15 at 0:33
  • $\begingroup$ Your interpretation of the (presently) first line is very close, but not quite there. The explanation for the rest of the clues, though, seems a little forced. $\endgroup$ – Riddler Aug 14 '15 at 0:44
  • $\begingroup$ @Cain- keep thinking on those, maybe check out the newest hints. $\endgroup$ – Riddler Aug 14 '15 at 0:51
  • $\begingroup$ The main character of Nabokov's book, Lolita, is a literary professor. So his unbeheld would be lolita, and the felt emotion would be... lust... or love or something. $\endgroup$ – Al.Sal Aug 17 '15 at 6:43
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Just a guess based on the tag wordplay

Up, up, by the Ort Sphere's smallest test,

up (on top ), line 1 (smallest)

The two of spades, from a new deck dealt,

two refers to 2nd

But oh, wait, now by one-third less.

third

What a certain literary professor for his unbeheld felt,

A din, a doubt...

Got nothing for these two so far.

Out!

out refers to ending

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  • $\begingroup$ A fair effort, but I think it will require more thinking. The majority of words, also, are not red herrings. $\endgroup$ – Riddler Aug 13 '15 at 4:37
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Based on the hints, I think Line 5 is

The two of spades, from a new deck dealt = 51 (dealing from the top, the 2 of spades is the 51st card in the deck.

Line 6 is

But oh, wait, now by one-third less. = 34 (2/3 of 51)

Together, these two might be

Subway stops?

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  • $\begingroup$ Line 6 might be correct only assuming line 5 and line 6 are adjacent. $\endgroup$ – Rohcana Aug 18 '15 at 20:13

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