NABOKV-L post 0019508, Wed, 24 Feb 2010 22:20:28 -0800

Subject
zesty skaters riddle
Date
Body
Here again is the riddle: "ZestY SKaters crossed from eXe to WYe".

The riddle becomes more intriguing the more I look at it. I assume
from the sk/x reversal that we are meant to read these letter
backwards as well as forwards. There are several ways just to
formulate the riddle depending on where you place the mirror to make
the crossing effect.

One way is to take the whole series "Z Y sk [crossed] X W Y" which
reads back as "Y W X [crossed] X Y Z".
Another possibility is to break the series at "sk" thus forward
reading it as it is "Z Y sk" and back as "X Y Z." Then you would have
the second half reading "X W Y" and back reading "Y [why?] W X."

I haven't solved it either way. Perhaps the "special frost" is a key?
This might be a Russian variant of the riddle - - in other words sk/x
= st/ts, "ts" being a single letter in Russian while there is no
letter for the sound "x" in Russian. The sound of "sh" in "special" is
also a single letter in Russian. Note also the "st" of zesty is
reversable in Russian as a single letter. A bi-lingual puzzle? Perhaps
the "double-u" is some kind of pun?

Is there a linguistic mathematician in the house? or a mathematical
linguist?

NY Lora C

On Feb 24, 2010, at 6:47 PM, Carolyn Kunin wrote:

On Feb 24, 2010, at 4:05 PM, Alexey Sklyarenko wrote:

People have thought she tried to cross the lake
At Lochan Neck where zesty skaters crossed
From Exe to Wye on days of special frost.

CK: Could zesty skaters be an anagram in Russian (Alexey)?

I don't think it is an anagram. In her (unrhymed) translation of the
poem Vera Nabokov renders zesty skaters as azartnye kon'kobezhtsy.


Dear AleXeY,

I still don't know what if any meaning there is to it, but there is
definitely something odd and alphabetical
(W, X, Y, Z) going on here: ZestY SK[X] aters cross(X)ing from eXe to
WYe.

NY Lora C
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