# Could Hobbs Bait a Different Philosopher?

He stands aloof. Lo! Rod and sword
Do both adorn him. Just reward!
His ghanta's clangor among us rings
Who knows from whence this _ _?

To deduce the two missing words, you will need to find what's hidden to see who's named.

Companion Piece

And his claim of a vassal, a morning in May,
Was a sullen amalgam, bellowed in dismay.
He will rage or get ownership by end of day.

From a Former Time: An Interlocked Selection

He may help a soul mate - her dress is a wreck.
Her fichu, so froufrou, encircles her neck.
He enters in triumph. His chariot I greet.
His words are straightforward, they're short and they're sweet.
His eyes gleam with wisdom, they twinkle in thought.
I vanish beside him. I wail, I am naught.
Set maximum bail for the thug soaked in blood
Pursued through the suburb, ankle deep in the mud.

Hint

There's no mistake in the title.

Missing Words! Maybe I was overreaching. If this is too hard, the last line should read:

Who knows from whence this Indian springs?

• ... Ozymandias? Jun 10 '17 at 14:14
• @Randal'Thor Um... did you look on my works and despair? Jun 11 '17 at 6:38
• The companion piece is just making me think of the UK election ... not sure if that's the intention or if I've just spent way too long reading about it recently. Jun 11 '17 at 10:26

Im going to stand on the shoulders of Gareth and other Sphinx's Lair denizens here. Their observation ...

... that there are place names hidden in the poem is good. What's strange, though, is that there doesn't seem to be a connection between the places. Some are big towns, others are small places in the Unites States.

The penny dropped, when ...

... I verified that Iliamna, Alaska is really a non-place in the middle of nowhere, as Gareth said in chat. It really doesn't seem like much of a place in Google Maps, but when zooming in, one can see a distinguishing trait: It has an airport.

... Iata Airport Codes website, and we'll find that each line in the poem hides the name of an airport, from which we take the three-letter code.

Original riddle

FROFlorø, Norway
DOBDobo, Indonesia
AGGAngoram, Papua New Guinea
INSIndian Springs, Nevada

This spells out Frodo Baggins, the hobbit protagonist of the Lord of the Rings.

Companion Piece

SAMSalamo, Papua New Guinea
GAMGambell, Alaska
GEEGeorge Town, Tasmania

This is, of course, Sam Gamgee, Frodo's companion (ha!) on his way to Mount Doom.

From a Former Time: An Interlocked Selection

BIF — Biggs Army Field, El Paso, Texas
URORouen, Normandy, France
RITRio Tigre, Panama
HORHorta, Azores
INKWink, Texas
ILIIliamna, Alaska
BOMMumbai, India
BURBurbank, California

These are the names of some dwarves from The Hobbit, whic takes place before the Lord of the Rings. They are Bifur, Ori, Thorin Oakenshield, Kili and Bombur. There are more dwarves in the party; it's just a selection.

The title ...

... hides the airports Hobbs, New Mexico and Baitadi, Nepal with the codes HOB and BIT.

• Congratulations! You have found me out again! Jun 13 '17 at 9:26
• I do want to remark in passing that annoyingly few names in Tolkein's books are divisible by three and that we need more airports with simpler names. Jun 13 '17 at 9:35
• Damn it. :-) Well done! Jun 13 '17 at 9:36
• @GarethMcCaughan: No way, Madam, as cussing's banned / in junior-tempting Puzzleland. :) I have no idea how you could find Iliamna without the airport connection. Jun 13 '17 at 10:51
• The hint, by the way, was supposed to point out that "Hobbs" in the title could not be Thomas Hobbes (with an "e") who was equally famous for writing the philosophical classic "Leviathan" and for being the namesake of an animated toy tiger in the comic strip "Calvin and Hobbes". Jun 13 '17 at 11:04

I'm pretty sure that at least part of what's going on here is

that there are place names embedded in the lines.

What we are meant to do with them (and what some of them are) remains mysterious. Here is more detail of what I've found so far; there was some discussion in TSL starting somewhere around here which may contain gems I have failed to extract. I think all the specific finds here are mine.

 He stands aloof. Lo! Rod and sword FLORO, Norway?? Do both adorn him. Just reward! BOTHA, W Bengal, India?? His ghanta's clangor among us rings ANGORA = Ankara?? or various Angoras in the US?? Who knows from whence this _ _? INDIAN SPRINGS, NV And his claim of a vassal, a morning in May, ASSALAM, Morocco? ALAMO, CA? 94507 Was a sullen amalgam, bellowed in dismay. GAMBELL, AK? 99742 He will rage or get ownership by end of day. GEORGETOWN, DC / several George Towns elsewhere He may help a soul mate - her dress is a wreck. EL PASO, TX Her fichu, so froufrou, encircles her neck. ROUEN, Normandy, France He enters in triumph. His chariot I greet. TIGRE, Buenos Aires, Argentina? His words are straightforward, they're short and they're sweet. SWORDS, Ireland?? His eyes gleam with wisdom, they twinkle in thought. KLEIN, TX???? 77379 I vanish beside him. I wail, I am naught. ILIAMNA, AK?? 99606 Set maximum bail for the thug soaked in blood MUMBAI Pursued through the suburb, ankle deep in the mud. BURBANK, CA

In many cases

there are other places with the same names listed above. There are also cases where there are multiple different place names on a single line; e.g., there's an ICHU in Brazil. The numbers are zipcodes because @Deusovi suggested they might be relevant, but I currently think they probably aren't, not least because for some of the placenames I can't find credible US locations.

There are many

possibilities for what to do next. Perhaps these places (or others, if I've chosen wrong, which I bet I have in some cases) have something in common. Perhaps they are related to other places (or people or events or something) in a systematic way. Perhaps their names, or their zipcodes, or their coordinates, or the names of countries/states/... they lie in, form words. Perhaps laying them out on a map in order writes or draws something.

Right now

none of those seems more plausible than any other. An obvious constraint, given how the puzzle was originally posed, is that the first 4-line stanza on its own, with its last two words deleted, should be sufficient to deduce that those words were INDIAN SPRINGS. Admittedly the word "springs" was extremely guessable, and what goes before it had to be trisyllabic, which nails things down a lot, but still it seems as if the pattern we're looking for needs to be sufficiently "generative" to lead us much of the way to Indian Springs given its three predecessors. Not that I'm very sure about any of those predecessors.

I'm guessing the person referenced is

Bill “Wild Bill” Williams

I started with the hint that filled in the 2 blanks and found a town:

Looking more into the military base located there didn't turn up anything useful, so I moved onto other things related to the town, finding the individual named above. Turns out,

Gary M. Dobbs, using the pseudonym "Jack Martin" wrote a book titled Wild Bill Williams, presumably about this same person.

As far as the companion piece goes

It seems to be describing the way Wild Bill died.

• The town is a good start. Jun 12 '17 at 15:42