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A German historian is sitting by his desk, pondering a title for his book. He picks up and pen and starts writing down possible titles.

South Asians

No, too short. Let's try to add something to it...

A number of South Asians

Still needs something. Why not make it a bit more specific?

A number of South Asians from northwestern Malaysia

Much better. But better yet to add some characterization to make the title less boring.

A number of South Asians from northwestern Malaysia with a terrible taste

I wonder if that makes it clear that I really mean terrible. Better safe than sorry – I'll add a clarification in the title.

A number of South Asians from northwestern Malaysia with a terrible taste [yes, I really mean that]

Excellent! One more thing: I think it's better if the title hints at the book's story a little bit. That way potential readers are intrigued to pick it up. Let's try this...

A number of South Asians from northwestern Malaysia with a terrible taste [yes, I really mean that] look for...

That should be just enough to get the reader immediately interested. Hmm... It doesn't say what they're looking for, though. Maybe it's even better if I state the goal outright.

A number of South Asians from northwestern Malaysia with a terrible taste [yes, I really mean that] look for the entrance to an ancient city

I think this is perfect. One more thing, though – the title needs to state the name of the author somewhere. That way, when the book becomes famous, so will my name. I'll just add it right there in the beginning.

[Historian]'s A number of South Asians from northwestern Malaysia with a terrible taste [yes, I really mean that] look for the entrance to an ancient city

Yes! This is it!

What is the historian's name?

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  • $\begingroup$ if the lateral thinking tag was there I would have said his name was [Historian] but since it's not, i sure am wrong. $\endgroup$ – Flying_whale Feb 28 at 9:37
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South Asians

SIKHS

A number ...

SIX Sikhs

... from northwestern Malaysia

Six SIK Sikhs

... with a terrible taste

Six SICK Sik Sikhs

... [yes, I really mean that]

Six sick Sik Sikhs [SIC!]

... look for

Six sick Sik Sikhs [sic!] SEEK

... the entrance to an ancient city

Six sick Sik Sikhs [sic!] seek SIQ

[Historian]'s ...

Seeck's Six sick Sik Sikhs [sic!] seek Siq

(Credit for fnding the historian goes to Nudge Nudge.)

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  • $\begingroup$ Spot on so far! I can confirm that, while not a household name, the answer is well-known by the criteria you mentioned :) $\endgroup$ – jafe Feb 28 at 10:22
  • $\begingroup$ Well, at least I'm good at postulating criteria ... :) $\endgroup$ – M Oehm Feb 28 at 10:30
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    $\begingroup$ So, hunting for a Secret? $\endgroup$ – Chronocidal Feb 28 at 11:41
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    $\begingroup$ Could the historian be... rot13(Bggb Frrpx)? $\endgroup$ – NudgeNudge Feb 28 at 11:48
  • $\begingroup$ @NudgeNudge: That seems very plausible. (I had checked the list of German historians on Wiki, but failed to see him. "Seeck" is a homophone of "sick"/"seek" only if you pronounce it as if it were an English name.) $\endgroup$ – M Oehm Feb 28 at 11:57

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