I saw this ad in the 'wanted' section of the classifieds:

Male seeks precious stone (only hollow).
Call Antonio: 018 911 937

I thought it was fairly innocent, but a friend told me it was actually a warning against something malevolent. Can anyone explain why?

  • $\begingroup$ I thought I was onto something on this one but then I saw it was "cryptic clues" and I'm garbage at figuring those out $\endgroup$ – question_asker Feb 16 '16 at 14:23
  • $\begingroup$ Well I'm no expert on cryptic clues, I've never done cryptic crosswords myself and certainly never created a cryptic clue before, so it might not be strictly cryptic (if there is such a thing). Should be solvable though :) $\endgroup$ – jhabbott Feb 16 '16 at 15:05
  • $\begingroup$ I'd say you did a good job! $\endgroup$ – question_asker Feb 16 '16 at 15:34
  • $\begingroup$ Out of curiosity - is 3 sets of 3 digits a common phone number format anywhere in the world? $\endgroup$ – Darrel Hoffman Feb 16 '16 at 17:11
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    $\begingroup$ Just call and ask. $\endgroup$ – zundi Feb 16 '16 at 22:12



Gramsci lived from 1891 to 1937... perhaps we're being warned about hegemony?

'Male' = he
'precious stone' = gem
'only hollow' = only = ony

I'm throwing a little party for myself for being able to link to marxists dot org in an answer


I haven't got the true meaning, but can see a hint of malevolence:

Call Antonio: 018 911 937

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    $\begingroup$ but i am not sure why it would be on classifieds...o_O $\endgroup$ – manshu Feb 16 '16 at 17:06
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    $\begingroup$ @manshu maybe it's like, a really chill emergency. $\endgroup$ – question_asker Feb 16 '16 at 17:11
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    $\begingroup$ @question_asker like robbers are at home but you baked some teeth-breaking cookies for them, and its taking time to eat them now. That kind of chill? $\endgroup$ – manshu Feb 16 '16 at 17:17
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    $\begingroup$ @manshu that's precisely it, manshu. you've done it again $\endgroup$ – question_asker Feb 16 '16 at 17:18

If it's an ad published in the UK, it should bloody well be a UK phone number. 01891 (or rather, 0891) was once used for BT ValueCall Premium rate numbers according to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_dialling_codes_in_the_United_Kingdom , so the strange formatting might be intended to obfuscate that fact. I've seen the same sort of game in German 0900 premium numbers.


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