Saturday, November 11, 2006

Tom’s Challenge-- The Riddler 3 Results

First of all, this one was kind of a poker game for me. To explain this, I need to give you the answers first today:

The three people being discussed were:

1) Silence Dogood,-- the alias for a Boston woman who wrote letters to the editor of the Courant, a newspaper started by one James Franklinaround 1622. Silence wrote letters that satirized the puritanical ethics of the dominant Boston family, specifically it’s patriarch,:
2) Cotton Mather. Much to the Chagrin of Cotton and his kin, this rebellious newspaper, especially publishing the sharp-tongued letters of Silence Dogood, was becoming popular in its rebellion. Even the pseudonym, Silence Dogood, was a play on words as Mather had published two works prior to the arrival of Silence on the scene: Silentarius and Bonifacius or Essays to Do Good.

However, James Franklin had no idea who was behind the Silence Dogood letters that were found slipped under the door of the print shop. In fact they were the work of a very precocious and ingenious apprentice of his, the one setting the lead type and printing the paper (hence the reference to lead being mightier than swords or pens)—his 16 year old younger brother:

3) Benjamin Franklin. James Franklin was less poetic and mysterious in his assaults on the Puritan “ruling class” of Boston and his words landed him in jail and eventually on the lamb from the sheriff. One of the more interesting facts about the younger Franklin’s life was the fact that in order for James’ newspaper to continue, he was forced to sign the management and editing of the print shop over to Benjamin, to prove that he was no longer printing and in compliance with a gag order of sorts.

And so, Benjamin Franklin became the manager and the editor of a Newspaper at the ripe age of 16.

The reason that I gave the answers first was to show that I was gambling that the words “silence” and “cotton” were mundane enough that they wouldn’t be googled. If you simply google those two words you get the answer immediately. I also had to use improper grammar and not capitalize the two proper nouns or I found it drew way too much attention to those words. A bit of a cheat.

As it was, my ruse worked fairly well. The poker analogy is that I gave you the answers up front and so confidently that I was sort of bluffing that you would think them unimportant. Guess I can’t use that trick again, however.

First place: The most unfooled and quickest to the draw was: Goldennib! I always ask my winners how they found their way to the answers—if they just already knew them, or partially so, or if it was their mastery of research (or some combination). I haven’t heard back from Goldennib on this yet but she sure was fast! Perhaps she googled silence and cotton!

Second Place: Quilldancer! Quilly got Benjamin Franklin and Cotton Mather but not Silecne Dogood and at one point, very aptly named James Franklin a the third person-- who did play a role in the whole satirizing of Mather. However, after telling her to try again a few times she did get the final answer: Silence Dogood.

Third place goes to Doug! Doug had an identical problem as Quilldancer and actually turned his answers in second and though I gave him prompts to keep trying for that third answer he let me know that he was headed out of town and probably wouldn’t be able to continue to play.

Honorable mention this time goes to O Ceallaigh for the most complicated wrong answer yet received for our game. Sometimes, OC, being smart is a curse. I’m going to cut and paste his answer to the riddle since I don’t even want to try and copy it:

“I'm going to guess that you're referring to:

Henri Braconnot
Theophile-Jules Pelouze
Christian Friedrich Schoenbein

All of whom were involved in stages of the discovery and refinement of the process resulting in gun cotton (nitrocellulose).”

Dude, get a PhD. Oh, too late.

Thanks for playing and visiting the site. Until next time…

17 Comments:

At 9:28 PM , Blogger QuillDancer said...

I got hung up on that lead thing because BF did write a paper on the hazards of over-exposure to lead. That's where I got the name James Vaughn. Cotton I googled after I got BF, and that's how I came up with Cotton Mather -- but I could find no way to link the three of them. And I got nowhere until I decided to drop the woprd "lead" and try "cotton" instead. You are getting too tricksy, Tom.

 
At 10:40 PM , Blogger Logophile said...

I cruised by Friday, read the riddle and thought,
huh, interesting, I will have to get back around to this,
and then,
didn't.
I am going to claim I am very busy with important matters and far too preoccupied to waste my time on games (in reality, I was just clueless and didn't have much time to research).
It was very tricksy.
Congrats to the winners,
well done.

 
At 12:16 PM , Blogger bazza27 said...

Apologies Tom, haven't been by in a while so missed this one. see you next time.

 
At 12:26 PM , Anonymous jackie said...

Tom, the winners are pretty awesome - I'm impressed. And you're pretty awesome, too - that was tricky. Thanks for all this follow up on how you came up with the riddle - it's my favorite part of your puzzles/riddles.

 
At 12:45 PM , Blogger Dan said...

Man, you guys are like really smart.

Either that or I'm really stupid.

I'm wagering on the latter. ;)

 
At 1:30 PM , Blogger Just Tom said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 1:32 PM , Blogger Just Tom said...

QD, yeah the lead thing turned out to be diversionary. I think it's only fair that if I ask you how you arrived at your answers (information that will be used against you in the future) that I reveal my methods of trickery.

Logo, thanks for dropping by. Just remember that I found that the race doesn't always go to the person who already knows the answer but to the person who googleds the right key words... and has time to do that.

Bazza, no worries mate. I'm rather sporadic in how often I post or hit the blog roll. Catch as catch can.

Jackie, I'm glad you're getting some entertainment value out of it.

Dan, thanks for dropping by. Let me make this perfectly clear to everyone-- by being the author of the game, I get to appear smart. Another ruse. Now, if I were playing and someone else was putting out mysterious riddles...

 
At 1:46 PM , Blogger QuillDancer said...

Tom, drop bt Minka's every Thursday and we can see how you do on the other end of this game.

 
At 1:48 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tom: I emailed you about how brilliant I am and I am waiting for you to tell everyone. Do it now, please.

And you are not allowed to change brilliant to smart ass, like my teachers did, because I know it is not the same thing.

 
At 2:55 PM , Blogger QuillDancer said...

Nessa, I guess that makes you a brilliant smartass ... and that makes you -- perfect!

 
At 3:31 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Quilly, I have finally achieved my goal, not.

 
At 10:54 PM , Blogger Just Tom said...

Oh, I almost forgot: Goldennib, you're a genius!

How was that?

 
At 3:17 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks, Tom, now it's official.

 
At 11:03 AM , Blogger O Ceallaigh said...

Touché!

:)

 
At 11:09 AM , Blogger Doug said...

LOL! That is so O Ceallaigh.

That was tough. The same trick would work on me again, I'm pretty sure.

 
At 11:09 AM , Blogger Doug said...

Oh, and I never would have come up with Silence Dogood. This is the first I've heard of her.

 
At 1:40 PM , Blogger Just Tom said...

Doug, I hadn't heard of her until I started reading a biography of Franklin this Fall. But, putting Silence and cotton or Franklin and cotton or Franklin and Silence into google brings about the answer. Often in these challenges the race goes to the best googler not necessarily the one who already knows the answer.

Like I said, I get to be the writer not the participant, which puts me at a distinct advantage.

 

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