A tram in Graz...In this blogposting...
* Le Blog à Pépère
* Doctor Malevolent's Puzzle Book
* * *
LE BLOG À PÉPÈRE
Serge’s posting 226 is yet another example of why I’ve found learning ‘street-French’ so rewarding - and so much fun. It shows how different languages often choose to express sentiments and observations using very similar - or sometimes even identical - metaphors.
* Au royaume des aveugles, les borgnes sont rois....
In the kingdom of the blind, one-eyed people are kings
* A force d'aller mal, tout va bien.....
This seems to mean ‘by dint of going badly, all goes well’. I’m not sure if this transmutes into an English equivalent or if it tells us something that’s uniquely French.
* A chaque jour suffit sa peine.....
As my Nana used to say…‘sufficient undo the day is the evil thereof.’ She really did used to say that.
* Il n'est pire sourd que celui qui ne veut pas entendre.....
There are none more deaf than those who will not hear.
* On ne peut avoir le beurre et l'argent du beurre…
You can’t have butter and the money for butter - ‘you can’t have your cake and eat it.’
This last is one of two stock phrases that have puzzled me since I was quite young because it doesn’t seem to make sense. Surely you can have your cake and eat it; what you cannot do is eat your cake and (still) have it.
The other is ‘cheap at half the price’, which is no commendation of the price at all. Surely it should be ‘cheap at twice the price’.
Or am I missing something?
* * *
Here are some more side-splitting and intellectually-challenging jokes. I hope you’re sitting down.
* Why do Marx and Engels drink herbal tea? Because proper tea is theft.
* How many psychiatrists does it take to change a light bulb? One - but the light bulb has to want to change.
* A British one-two-three cat had a swimming race against a French un-deux-trois cat. The one-two-three cat reached the finish but the un-deux-trois cat sank.
* Why did the quantum particle cross the road? He was already on both sides.
* Schroedinger’s cat walks into a bar. And it doesn’t.
* Why did the inverse function cross the road? To get to the same side.
* A woman comes home to find her string-theorist husband in bed with another woman. ‘But honey’ he says, ‘I can explain everything.’
* What did the proton say to the grumpy electron? ‘Why do you have to be so negative all the time?’
* * *
DOCTOR MALEVOLENT’S PUZZLE BOOK
In posting 470, I invited you to try and solve The Game of Death. Unsurprisingly, nobody at all has contacted me with the solution.
So, for better or worse, here it is…
The problem is the presence of de Gaulle, who sometimes tells the truth and sometimes tells lies. So you must use your first question to identify which of the phantoms he is, and eliminate him.
So this is what you do…
Let’s call the phantoms A, B and C.
Ask A ‘Is B more likely to tell me the truth than C?’
If the answer is Yes and A is Gandhi, then B is de Gaulle and C is Goebbels.
If the answer is Yes and A is Goebbels, then B is de Gaulle and C is Gandhi.
If the answer is Yes and A is de Gaulle, then B is either Gandhi or Goebbels and C is either Gandhi or Goebbels.
So if the answer is Yes, you know that C is not de Gaulle and you should address your second question to C.
(If A answers No, then the logic is the same, except it’s B who is not de Gaulle.)
Your second question is ‘If you were asked if the left-hand road leads to heaven, would you reply in the affirmative?’ If the left-hand road does lead to heaven, both Gandhi and Goebbels will answer Yes to this question; if it doesn’t, they will both answer No.
It’s as simple as that.
Now - here’s a much trickier one…
THE TWO AUSTRIANS
Two Austrians are waiting at a tram-stop in Graz. One Austrian is the father of the other Austrian’s son.
How are they related?
(Note: You should have got the answer to that one by the time you read this sentence.)
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