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Obscured Path to Clarity

Riddles are little poems or phrases that pose a question that needs answering. Riddles frequently rhyme, but this is not a requirement.


Puzzle ID:#50011
Fun:*** (2.58)
Difficulty:*** (3.09)
Submitted By:ThinksForFun*




What is the common thread in the following nonsensical poem?

I'm willing to bet that you will know
How to express you approve the show

Brown's a decent fellow, but who knows
Why you won't see a change in his clothes?

Reverberations of days of yore
Century-old moves on the dance floor

The fewer the better when you play
A roof over your head while away

Populous eastern subcontinent
Shakespearean tragic incident

Dost thou know a prefix metrical
Been used for power electrical?

At the origin of a broadcast
As good as the rest, though second last

I'd like to thank the Academy
And one who's always been there for me

Represented by lilies of four
Without her, he chose to live no more

North American mountain expanse
It is said, "it takes two" for this dance

Variations I can't tolerate
To this person a win may elate

Potent product of fermentation
Instrument in examination

I doodle as time goes idly by
From their language, "people of the sky"

What are we?


The International Radiotelephony Spelling Alphabet

This is the most widely used spelling alphabet. It is used to ensure accuracy in verbal communications by means of a set of commonly recognized words, one for each letter of the English alphabet, which are understood by the parties of a radio or telephone conversation.

Each line of the riddle corresponds with the code word of the spelling alphabet assigned to each letter of the English alphabet as follows:
(Single quotation marks enclosing words below indicate that the word is one of the words in the line of the riddle being explained.)

line 1: "A", "Alfa" or "Alpha" - Alpha'bet'

line 2: "B", "Bravo" - The term "Bravo!" is used to 'express' appreciation of an artistic performance at its conclusion.

line 3: "C", "Charlie" - 'Brown' is a reference to Charlie Brown, a comic strip character in "Peanuts".

line 4: "D", "Delta" - The word "delta" is used to describe 'change'. In the comic strip "Peanuts", Charlie Brown was always depicted wearing the same 'clothes'.

line 5: "E", "Echo" - 'Reverberation' is a synonym of the word "echo". So this is another way of saying "echoes from the past".

line 6: "F", "Foxtrot" - The foxtrot is a dance that originated in the 1910s, reaching its peak in popularity in the 1930s. It's still practiced today and is usually accompanied by big band music.

line 7: "G", "Golf" - In golf, the fewer strokes you need to make in order to sink the ball, the better you are doing.

line 8: "H", "Hotel" - A hotel provides a roof over your head while away from home.

line 9: "I", "India" - A reference to the Indian subcontinent.

line 10: "J", "Juliett" or "Juliet" - A reference to "Romeo and Juliet", a tragedy written by William Shakespeare.

line 11: "K", "Kilo" - 'Thou' is a hint for "thousand" which the 'prefix' "kilo-" represents in the 'metric' system of measurement.

line 12: "L", "Lima" - 'Been' sounds like "bean" as in "lima bean".

line 13: "M", "Mike" - The microphone or "mike" is at the 'origin' or starting point of a radio or television 'broadcast'.

line 14: "N", "November" - November is the 'second last' month of the year.

line 15: "O", "Oscar" - The Academy Awards, now officially known as The Oscars, which are awards for motion pictures, are organized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences which has its annual ceremony in Hollywood, California, U.S.A.. This is a common phrase used by many of the award recipients during their acceptance speech.

line 16: "P", "Papa" - Hopefully, this is an apt description for your papa (father) as well.

line 17: "Q", "Quebec" - Quebec is a province of Canada. Its flag (which 'represent's the province) has 'four' white fleurs-de-lis, which are stylized 'lilies'.

line 18: "R", "Romeo" - This is another reference to "Romeo and Juliet" (see line 10 above) in which Romeo, believing that his love Juliet has died, commits suicide.

line 19: "S", "Sierra" - A reference to the Sierra Nevada 'mountain' range located in the U.S.A..

line 20: "T", "Tango" - This is a reference to the expression: "it takes two to tango".

line 21: "U", "Uniform" - One definition of the word "uniform" is: without 'variations' in detail.

line 22: "V", "Victor" - A victor is a 'person' who 'win's, and therefore 'may' be 'elate'd by the victory.

line 23: "W", "Whiskey" - Whiskey is a strong ('potent') alcoholic drink.

line 24: "X", "X-ray" or "Xray" - X-rays are used for 'examination' purposes.

line 25: "Y", "Yankee" - 'Doodle' alludes to "Yankee Doodle" (and thus to "Yankee"), which is an Anglo-American song, and is the state anthem of Connecticut (a state of the U.S.A.).

line 26: "Z", "Zulu" - This word comes from the word "amaZulu" of the Zulu language, meaning "people of the sky".

The title reflects the cryptic nature of the puzzle, the solution to which is a tool designed to provide clarity by avoiding misunderstanding during verbal communications over radio and the telephone.


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Nov 24, 2013

This is one of the best, possible THE best, of the actual poetic riddles I've ever seen. Everything is tied together very well, and the poetry is valid as well. I didn't get it, but the answer actually crossed my mind when I got to "Charlie." Somehow I didn't realize that it was correct.
Dec 03, 2013

I'm with eighsse. I rated this one in review and I think it's absolutely brilliant. As one who is ex-military myself I probably should've gotten the answer, but it escaped me. Very well written.
Dec 04, 2013

Thanks for your compliments, guys!
Feb 27, 2014

Very cool riddle! It's always fun to learn something from the answer.

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