Winston Churchill Said it Best….

Winston Churchill is not looking for Forrest Fenn's treasure chest...

Winston said, “It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key.” Alright, maybe he wasn’t talking about Forrest’s poem but he might as well have been. Its an apt description.

Have you ever written a riddle?

It occurred to me after an email exchange with Bob that I have never tried to write a riddle poem like Forrest’s and if I did I might learn something. Deconstruction is often a good way to learn how something was built. But you need tools to deconstruct a riddle poem and since I never wrote one, I didn’t know how to start.

Bob is out there looking for the treasure and sent along this great article on writing a riddle. Reading it, and trying the exercise gave me additional insight into how a good riddle poem is designed. And besides…it was fun!

The article is intended as a classroom aid for teachers and is made available through Read/Write/Think. Its very appropriate for those of us looking for the treasure chest….or just trying to make sense of Forrest’s poem.

Thanks Read/Write/Think…and thanks Bob….


16 thoughts on “Winston Churchill Said it Best….

  1. I found it with help from crazyfamily

    Dal, I am sure you remember that the little girl from India was the lark of Jenny Kile, who inserted it into a question she asked me. It might just as well have been a boy from Waxahatchee, where my father was born, or an Arab kid from Marrakech, a city that Winston Churchill said was the most beautiful place in the world. He was an excellent artist and I once sold his oil painting of that city. We are getting a lot of mileage from that little girl from India, doncha think? –Forrest Fenn

  2. May I offer another quote by Churchill (which seems strangely appropriate)?

    “I cannot pretend to be impartial about the colours. I rejoice with the brilliant ones, and am genuinely sorry for the poor browns.”

    Browns?? Hmmmm…..

  3. I was rummaging through the blog and saw a comment by LabRat above. Then I read the article Dal wrote… I don’t believe I have seen this post before. Apparently most may not have as it only has three prior comments.

    I heard mention before about Churchill’s painting, so I google Marrakesh oil painting by him. Hoping to see what it looked like. What I found interesting ~ and has nothing to do with the chase ~ photos of Churchill painting left and right handed. While being ambidextrous is not unusual, yet not common, I was surprised to see someone ‘painting’ with both hands. I wonder if that give a higher value to a painting?
    Now I’m gonna try Dal’s and Bob’s suggestion on writing a riddle poem… I wonder if Focused ever gave this exercise a try… I’d like to see the outcome of that little project.

    • This thread has only a few comments…which seems odd given the poem is a riddle. I do remember when this was posted by Dal…but was wrapped up in an earlier debunked solve theory. How did your poem riddle exercise work out Seeker? I bet you didn’t get far…

  4. all three “serpents” would be blinded by a light many times brighter than the sun. Deganawidah said that he would be that light. His nation would accept the “white serpent” into their safekeeping like a long-lost brother.

  5. Great article on creating a riddle. Plenty of areas for exploration.

    I worry sometimes that my approach emulates Zoolander and Hansel trying to get the files out of the computer. The “Clues are in the Poem” – am I extracting them in the correct manner?

    Back to the article, another way to create something that needs to be solved might be to take that Tonya’s White Cat” and hide it as an anagram in something like “Tight Ocean Highway Rest Stop”. If my approach to identifying the clues is erroneous I’ll be wandering forever in this case.

    For example, in the BIWWWH I can pull out things like “Great Western Trail”. Coincidence? Or is it to be expected given the large number of letters to work with? I’m hoping the MIT team can put that question to rest.

    Anagramming might help to explain this comment, “…The poem in my book is something that I changed over and over again. When you read the poem, it looks like just simple words there, but I guarantee you, I worked on that thing … I felt like an architect drawing that poem….” f (search architect on TS for the context).

    Anyone else have some unique or funny anagrams they’ve pulled?

    Here’s me messing with WC – ” …we shall fight in the fields and in the streams, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender….”

      • Thanks for sharing Fallingrock.

        Here’s one that I find intriguing:
        Space, the final frontier…….to boldly go where no man has gone before.
        Similarity to AIHGAIT AWMTB

        Anagram from FTINPFTM = “Theme from Star Trek”

        (I continue to be entertained)

    • Here’s a bizarre one, it would require a heavy dose of imagination to assume this is anything other than a coincidence….

      Anagram from IYBWAFTB = “Eddie Van Halen’s tone”

      Eddie’s guitar tone is often described as a Brown Sound created by under-powering the power section of the amp.

      “I was never talking about my guitar tone. I was talking about Alex’s snare drum. I’ve always thought Alex’s snare drum sounds like he’s beating on a log. It’s very organic. So it wasn’t my brown sound. It was Alex’s.”

    • Silliness? Very likely, but while we’re waiting for one of the apparently hundred’s of thousands of searchers to have an “why didn’t I think of that before?” epiphany and go straight to the Indulgence with a smile on their face….
      Here’s a few anagrams from the poem that triggered that “ketchup in my brain”
      pulled from single lines (not excluding the potential for me to make typos so my work would need to be verified if it matters)

      Chinese Pheasant – as important to a tyer of Atlantic salmon patterns as the Jungle Cock from SB 127
      General MacArthur – Words that Linger
      Women in Aviation – The World Lost its Darling
      Wooden Katchinas – Butterfly Maiden
      Bald on the Inside – P6
      Oubliette – like the shower with a skylight on P6
      Sloan inheritance (missing the e) – P7
      double Two Ocean & King Canute (WW=2)

      “….have to write themselves….”…not sure if Forrest is using anagrams to come up with topics to write about or whether this all falls within the expected probabilities of having plenty of letters to mess with and coincidence.

      (The Van Halen one is admittedly silly but on the other side of the coin my imagiknowlege tells me that a radar mechanic student would have an intimate knowledge of amplifiers and who knows what topics of conversations he’s had with people over the years? If you need to confirmation bias for “Marshall” [Bob Marshall, Marshall Canyon, etc] into your solve here’s your opportunity).

      Thrown out there with the vague hope that it causes someone to think about something slightly different than they have. Let me know if you’ve had enough.

  6. Could this be why Forrest gut feeling is wavering?

    “Euler’s equations” anagram from LQDYQTC.

    i certainly requires some imagination here

  7. Just reading up on the Yellowstone Hotspot at wiki –
    (actually I was searching for giant kettles in Yellowstone because of the close proximity of Brown gravy to deep canyons on page 48 [ thought maybe they sounded like mud pots but I’ll have to look into that another time])
    It was fascinating to learn about the tectonic plate movement over the hotspot and where it was in Idaho millions of years ago. Anyways this line jumped out at me a bit “Younger volcanoes that erupted after passing over the hotspot covered the plain with young basalt lava flows in places, including Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve. ” because I recall pulling “Craters of the Moon” out of FTINPFTM a while back. (Probably nothing and all the usual disclaimers – probability to related to the available letters, out side the BOTG zone, etc, etc but thought I’d note it just in case it helps someone somewhere {there were enough letters left over to pull “Keep Left” too, I know that’ll get a chuckle}). I’ll continue to wander around in the fog without a map.

  8. When I pulled the anagram “To be or not to be, thus quoth the Lorax” I realized it was time to dial it back… onto another crazy theory:

    Think steganography

    Scroll down to the Friedman’s Cryptographic Christmas Card.

    Now imagine if the text block was a poem with lines in it and that there was a relationship between the lines in the poem and the answers. It might take 15 years to architect something like that. And it would explain why the structure and words are the way they are and cannot be tampered with.

    Lots of people are certain of their WWWH so it might serve as the template to create the grill. From there the grill could be rotated 3 times then flipped and rotated again.

    The 9th clue might be an acrostic derived from the first 8 answers.

    Just one of many things to consider why this might go 1000 years. We might need to look for information above and beyond I Spy – Pin the Tail on the Donkey method.

  9. Thought I’d better wrap up some of my craziness from these posts….

    Not Friedman’s Cryptographic Christmas Card, it’s far more ingenious!

    I’m only scratching the surface at this stage. Trust Forrest, he’s providing excellent guidance.

    So much fun, so much to learn.

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