Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Contest With No Prizes -- Lucky Winners Announced

Alas, there are no lucky winners. No one took me up on my generous offer of no prizes for figuring out the three word plays embedded in the short story "Murder on the Hochflieger Ost." For the curious, here are the answers.

You may recall that I said there were three embedded word plays. One involved an artifact, which I though everyone would get. One involved a location, which I thought would be harder. The last one, involving a character's name, I though would be all but impossible.

The Artifact
When explaining why the plans of the aether battleship are of no use to the French, Renfrew explains that they do not include the plans for the analytic engine which makes the ship so powerful. The analytic engine in question is the Improved Babbage, Model Three Hundred and Sixty.

IBM-360? Nobody caught that? Really?

The Location
Gabrielle's false business card lists the address of her appraisal firm as 13 Rue Madeleine, Le Havre, France. In the 1947 James Cagney World War II espionage film 13 Rue Madeleine, that is the address of Gestapo headquarters in Le Havre.  

The Name
Etienne Villon thinks of Gabrielle Courbiere as having the strength and majesty of a mountain, and when he thinks of her as Mont Courbiere he likes the sound of the name.

Francois Villon is probably the best-remembered French poet of the late middle ages, known probably as much for his remarkably adventurous life as for his writing, and his life formed the inspiration for Bertold Brecht's "Baal" and "Threepenny Opera," the Friml operetta "The Vagabond King", and the novel, play and film "If I Were King." Villon's birth name was probably Francois de Montcorbier.

He liked to sprinkle his poems with hidden jokes.

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