11
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A Discovery

In Samuel Beckett's absurdist play, Waiting for Godot, two characters wait endlessly and in vain for the arrival of someone named Godot. His identity has long been the point of contention, and there are many interpretations as to who or what he symbolizes. During his lifetime, Beckett himself never explicitly revealed Godot's identity. It wasn't until after his death that archivists analyzing papers from his estate uncovered a single page, thought to be an early outline, with the following three cryptic messages and quotes from the play pointing to Godot's true identity1.

The Message

1

$______
allover
veldbee
alsoear
______$
seeclan
____$__
  1. Oh I'm only a small smoker, a very small smoker . . .
  2. Approach, my child.

    Enter Boy

  3. That was nearly sixty years ago . . . His long white hair falls about his face.

2

tne____
nil____
eld____
______!
____cni
____ner
___!ir_
  • Well just fancy that! I could have sworn it was just the opposite.
  1. You're as bad as myself.

3

*cssaap
saeecne
oneeeae
czn?cnk
aetaotc
strriia
kaytncn
  1. Vladimir sways back and forth, doubled in two.

Who, or what, is Godot?


1. Knowledge of Samuel Beckett's life and works is not necessary for uncovering Godot's identity.

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  • 5
    $\begingroup$ Will there need to be any quantum leaps made here? $\endgroup$ – Ian MacDonald Aug 25 '16 at 18:51
  • $\begingroup$ @Ian MacDonald Could you explain your reference? $\endgroup$ – WHY Aug 25 '16 at 18:53
  • $\begingroup$ en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sam_Beckett $\endgroup$ – Ian MacDonald Aug 25 '16 at 18:59
  • $\begingroup$ @IanMacDonald Oh, I wish! Maybe in a future puzzle. This one is quite "self-contained" as far as references to literary or popular culture. $\endgroup$ – WHY Aug 25 '16 at 19:04
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @IanMacDonald I know that I'm hoping each time that the next answer would be the answer of Godot. $\endgroup$ – Engineer Toast Aug 25 '16 at 19:42
4
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For 2:

Each set of 9 is made up of three words which go horizontally and vertically

tne
nil
eld

tne
nil
eld

tne
nil
eld

The words formed are:

tne, nil, eld

And for the second set of nine:

cne, ner, ir_

Don't know what to make of it all though

For 3:

By reading vertically the letters form words:

*so cask / *soc ask,
can zeta,
seen try,
see ? art,
ace coin,
an antic,
peek can

I think the fact that

Each horizontal line forms 2 words

Might be something to do with

Vladimir sways back and forth, doubled in two

And maybe the back and forth bit indicates vertical

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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Sleafar thanks, I always get those two mixed up $\endgroup$ – Beastly Gerbil Aug 25 '16 at 19:15
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Think about a sunset at the beach next time. ;) $\endgroup$ – Sleafar Aug 25 '16 at 19:16
3
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It looks to me as if the second one is

a wordsquare (i.e., same words horizontally and vertically) mirrored left/right and up/down. ("Just the opposite".)

It's not clear to me whether

the exclamation marks should be taken to indicate letters (perhaps they will be used in the final answer), or "blanks" where a word has only six letters, or something else; the first looks like the most plausible option to me.

After a bit of fiddling

there are at least two solutions using at least one really obscure word, and I suspect there are several such solutions, but I haven't found any using only "normal" words.

Here is one:

B R I S T L E
R E N E W A L
I N C L I N E
S E L F D O M
T W I D D L E
L A N O L I N
E L E M E N T

which can readily be turned into another by

putting a G in the top left instead.

If either of these is the intended completion (which I have no very strong reason to believe) then

the letter that replaces the exclamation mark is S. (In both places, of course, because the exclamation marks are symmetrically placed and a wordsquare is always symmetric.)

The really obscure word here is

SELFDOM, which is perhaps gestured towards by the "You're as bad as myself" comment (??).

I guess, without any real evidence, that

to solve this thing we need to complete all the 7x7 squares, filling all the spaces with letters, and then maybe anagramming the letters from the spaces marked by symbols $,!,*,? will yield a somewhat-plausible answer to the actual question. (If so, do we use both of the ! ones from #2? I'm guessing yes, but far from certain.)

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2
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in 1 and 3, I'm finding lines of 2 words stuck together,

1.

all over
veld bee
also ear etc.

3.

peak can
ace coin
see ?art (maybe art, maybe part, or cart, or fart...)
seen try

less sure, but 2. has

mirrored: Tilden and _nicer?

Not an answer yet, but maybe a start?

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  • $\begingroup$ I've cleaned up all the pairs for 3, interesting points for the rest though $\endgroup$ – Beastly Gerbil Aug 25 '16 at 19:23

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