Monday, April 23, 2007

Riddle Me This, Riddle Me...That?

Okay, first off, thanks to everyone who wished me luck with giving tours for Cal Day. As luck would have it, I didn't have to give any tours, instead sitting behind the front desk for almost six hours, answering questions and directing others to give tours. I'd say it went rather well, overall (the other part of my weekend was kind of lousy, but I don't think you want me to go into that).

But that's not why you're here! You have riddles on the brain, don't you? (Yes, yes you do, and nothing you can say will convince me otherwise.) So without further ado, here's the answer to the cliffhanger riddle that you were left with last week. In case you've forgotten (or didn't read [tsk, tsk]), here it is again:
"I am a simple character, but if you place me in the middle of a battle, I transform it from a match of brains to one of brawn."
Before I jump into the answer, let's look at the various aspects of the riddle, one by one:

Oh, right...Don't read this if you want to figure out the answer with no help!!!

...Okay, then.

-"I am a simple character..." has 27 different definitions for the word "character". However, we can narrow it down to about 22, since we can tell that it's a noun. Furthermore, there's a bit of repetition in the definitions, so let's point it down to a few basic categories:
-A person or thing that has a role in some fiction or non-fiction work.
-A trait of a person or thing.
-A visual mark or symbol, such as a piece of a language.
So that's three kinda broad categories. And I can assure you, the answer to the riddle is one of those three. And it's "simple" (whatever that means). If you'd like, you can take this new information and try to fit it into your answer. Don't worry, I'll wait.




Ready for the next part?

-"...if you place me in the middle of a battle..." So here we're talking about some sort of battle. And the character gets placed in the middle of it. This is, of course, a common expression, but for all we know, our character friend could be placed literally in the middle of the battle, between the two opposing one way or another.

I'll let you marinate on that for a minute. More below...




Okay, next part.

-"...I transform it from a match of brains to one of brawn." This, of course, is the main part of the riddle. In order to figure it out, we have to think about what qualifies as a battle of brains and one of brawn. Let's look at the "brawn" category first, as it's a little easier to figure out. Basically, the following things could be defined as battles of brawn, in one way or another:
-A battle betwixt armies.
-An arm-wrestling match.
-A boxing match/WWF WWE wrestling match.

But what about a battle of brains? What kinds of battles of wits do we have?
-Academic competitions.
-Legal battles in court.
-Um...telekinetic fights?

So those are some examples. And we're looking for something that can change a battle of brains to one of brawn. I can guarantee you, the answer lies somewhere within those options. Percolate on that for a minute. I'll still be here.




Okay, are you ready to put everything together? Yes? Good! On we go!

In my examples of battles, I gave you a hint in the form of an ever-so-subtle "one of these things is not like the others" moments. You may or may not have seen it; it's pretty technical (some of my other victims have claimed it's esoteric even, but I refuted that, seeing as I don't specialize in the field in question).

Let's take two men. The first one's name is Evans. The second's is McEnroe. They are involved in some sort of battle. Consider all the options above for the various battles that they could be engaged with each other in.

See it yet?




Alright. I've teased you long enough. The battle of brawn is mostly irrelevant, as they're mostly the same. The battle of brains, though, is important. Insofar as this riddle goes, it's a legal battle. And so, there is some simple character that, when placed in the middle of the "battle," can change it from a legal battle (of brains) to a boxing match (of brawn).


Consider the options for what a character is. Again, they are:
-A person or thing which has a role in some fiction or non-fiction work.
-A trait of a person or thing.
-A visual mark or symbol, such as a piece of a language.

Eh, eh? Think outside the box here...think...



Please tell me you have a better idea now. Consider what the title would be for this if it were a legal battle and if it were for a boxing match.


...This is you last chance to guess...

Okay. Here we go. If this were a legal battle, the title would be:
Evans v. McEnroe

If, on the other hand, it were a boxing match, the title would be:
Evans vs. McEnroe

If you can't see it now, I'm truly sorry. But the answer to the riddle is the following:


That's it. "S" is a simple character, being a solitary letter (a visual symbol that is part of a language) that is placed in the middle of the battle (or the middle of the battle's title, betwixt the names of the two participants), that changes it from a match of brains (a legal battle) to one of brawn (a boxing match or anything else like that). So that's the answer.


So there, now the next time I give a riddle of my own creation, you'll have an idea of the thought process behind solving it.


Anonymous said...

That was awfully long winded for such a short answer.

Anonymous said...

You and your riddles make little children cry, emos be even more depressed and the Religious Right doubt their faith. All in a day's work, eh Mr. Schnorr?

-Comrade Chavez

Unknown said...

i have a riddle for you. figure this out smart guy:

How many Frenchmen can't be wrong?