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Lateral Puzzles » Solved Lateral Thinking Puzzles » Solved Puzzles - Feb 2005 » [Buzzard] A bubble in a baby's dream « Previous Next »

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Archive through December 07, 2004David Burn22 12-07-04  5:44 pm
Archive through December 08, 2004Johanna22 12-08-04  3:54 am
Archive through December 11, 2004Mezzoforte22 12-11-04  2:39 am
Archive through December 17, 2004David Burn22 12-17-04  9:45 pm
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Archive through February 15, 2005David Burn22 2-15-05  2:15 am
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Johanna (Buzzard)
Posted on Tuesday, February 15, 2005 - 1:26 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

By David Burn (Woubit) on Monday, February 14, 2005 - 10:20 am:


Do we need to know the plot? yes Has this anything to do with mixed-up nursemaids and /or baby farmers? only peripherally

By Simon Downham (Beroean) on Tuesday, February 15, 2005 - 12:23 am:


Any of the following relevant:

The amount of detail you provided?
The slant / focus of your explanation?
Something ironic?
That your explanation made it seem like nonsense or like complete sense?
The comprhensiveness of your explanation?
Something specific within the explanation? not really - I just provided a pretty basic plot summary of HMS Pinafore
Simon Downham (Beroean)
Posted on Tuesday, February 15, 2005 - 3:13 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Did something else relevant happen (or was said) after you divulged the plot?
Johanna (Buzzard)
Posted on Tuesday, February 15, 2005 - 4:19 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Did something else relevant happen (or was said) after you divulged the plot? yes - my brother said something
Tim A. Dowd (Bodo)
Posted on Tuesday, February 15, 2005 - 4:52 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Is anything about Gilbert's penchant for naming naval ships with rather un-warlike names (like Pinafore or Tom-Tit) relevant?
Johanna (Buzzard)
Posted on Tuesday, February 15, 2005 - 5:00 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Is anything about Gilbert's penchant for naming naval ships with rather un-warlike names (like Pinafore or Tom-Tit) relevant? no - what is relevant is the basic plot of HMS Pinafore
David Burn (Woubit)
Posted on Tuesday, February 15, 2005 - 5:40 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

On the quarterdeck of H.M.S. Pinafore, sailors are discovered at work cleaning brass-work, splicing rope and singing as they work. Presently their work is interrupted by the arrival of a Portsmouth bumboat woman, nicknamed Little Buttercup. Her basket is crammed with tempting wares - snuff, tobacco, scissors, watches, knives and ribbons and laces for wives and sweethearts.

In spite of Buttercup's gay and frivolous exterior she confesses to a canker-worm of worry that is eating its way into her heart. The secret of her remorse, which provides the dénouement of the plot, is not unconnected with the name of Ralph Rackstraw. Young Ralph, "the smartest lad in all the Fleet", and an A.B. of H.M.S. Pinafore, has fallen in love with Josephine, daughter of his captain. But Josephine is sought in marriage by no less a celebrity than Sir Joseph Porter, K.C.B., First Lord of the Admiralty. Ralph's love is returned by Josephine and to her father's dismay she confesses her love for Ralph, adding that though she can esteem, reverence and venerate Sir Joseph she cannot under any circumstances love him. "I hate myself when I think of the depth to which I have stooped in permitting myself to think tenderly of one so ignobly born - but I love him! I love him! I love him!" she cries and bursts into tears.

A barge is now seen to be approaching H.M.S. Pinafore and from it steps Sir Joseph Porter, accompanied by a collection of ladies, consisting of his sisters, his cousins and his aunts. Sir Joseph introduces himself in an impressive song:

"When I was a boy, I served a term
As office boy to an attourney's firm."

After this beginning Sir Joseph has risen to the position of First Lord of the Admiralty - a "take-off" by Gilbert of the newly-appointed First Sea Lord, William H. Smith, who, despite his lack of familiarity with the ocean, made a highly successful head of the Royal Navy. Sir Joseph inspects the crew of H.M.S. Pinafore and in a democratic speech declares that all men are equal. These sentiments encourage Ralph Rackstraw to propose to Josephine, who, however, temporizes and rebukes him for raising his eyes to the daughter of his commanding officer: "Sir, you forget the disparity of our ranks." In despair, Ralph decides to take his life, and has actually put the pistol to his head when Josephine intervenes. "Ah! stay your hand. I love you!" she tells him, making her confession before the whole ship's company. They plan to elope that very night, in spite of objections from Ralph's odious mess-mate, Dick Deadeye. Twisted in mind and body, he urges Ralph vindictively to "remember she's your gallant Captain's daughter and you the meanest slave that crawls the water". But he is howled down by the rest of the crew, who all side with Ralph and Josephine.

That night on board H.M.S. Pinafore Sir Joseph expresses to Captain Corcoran his disappointment with Josephine, who has not responded favourably to his proposals of marriage. "Josephine is of course sensible of your condescension, Sir Joseph, but perhaps your exalted rank dazzles her," pleads the Captain. So Sir Joseph once again tackles Josephine, and hoping to further his own suit, he tells her that in his opinion difference of social status is no barrier to love. Little does he know how eloquently he has pleaded his rival's cause, and Josephine, who was in doubt as to the propriety of eloping with Ralph, has now no qualms. But Dick Deadeye has warned Captain Corcoran of the intended elopement and the Captain is in time to prevent it. He rebukes Josephine for the company she keeps, and Ralph Rackstraw bitterly resents the Captain's class-consciousness, telling him proudly: "I am an Englishman." The crew back him up and the boatswain sings in his support:

"For he himself has said it
And it's greatly to his credit
That he is a pompous ass."

But Captain Corcoran is unable to repress his anger, and in front of all Sir Joseph's female relations, who have arrived on the scene, he turns on Ralph with: "Damme, it's too bad!" Sir Joseph is horrified at the Captain's bad language, and orders him to his cabin in disgrace; then, turning to Ralph Rackstraw, he inquires in fatherly fashion how Captain Corcoran came to forget himself. "I am quite sure you had given him no cause for annoyance."

Ralph then admits his love for Josephine, who precipitates herself into his arms. Sir Joseph is livid with rage. "Insolent sailor, you shall repent this outrage. Seize him," he commands. And Ralph is led off in custody. "Josephine, I cannot tell you the distress I feel at this most painful revelation. You, whom I honoured by seeking in marriage - you, the daughter of a Captain in the Royal Navy," says the injured First Sea Lord.

At this point Little Buttercup intervenes with a truly remarkable story. Many years before she had been a baby-farmer and in her charge were two infants; one a well-born babe, the other of humble origin. Inadvertently she had mixed them up, and Ralph Rackstraw is really named Corcoran and the Captain is Ralph Rackstraw. On hearing this revelation Sir Joseph sends for the two affected parties, and Ralph enters dressed in Captain's uniform, and Captain Corcoran as a common sailor. Addressing Captain Corcoran, Sir Joseph says: "I need not tell you that after this change in your condition my marriage with your daughter is out of the question." The Captain protests in Sir Joseph's own words that "Love levels all ranks." "It does to a considerable extent, but it does not level them as much as that," says the First Sea Lord crushingly.

Handing Josephine to Ralph, Sir Joseph admonishes him to treat her kindly, and the curtain falls on general rejoicing and a finale in which all the best tunes are repeated and which finishes on a patriotic note in praise of Englishmen.


Now - which bits of that are relevant? :)
Johanna (Buzzard)
Posted on Tuesday, February 15, 2005 - 5:45 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Now - which bits of that are relevant? You should know better than to ask me questions like this by now.
David Burn (Woubit)
Posted on Tuesday, February 15, 2005 - 6:15 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Oh, I do :) I didn't expect an answer, hence the smiley - I just thought it might help other solvers to have a summary of the plot.
Johanna (Buzzard)
Posted on Tuesday, February 15, 2005 - 8:16 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I suppose it might. So, given that summary (or your own knowledge of the story), if you wanted to provide about a 30-second summary of the plot to someone wholly unfamiliar with it, what would you say?
David Burn (Woubit)
Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2005 - 10:49 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

It would not matter, for I would mumble and no one would understand :(
David Burn (Woubit)
Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2005 - 1:29 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

However, suppose I were to say "There is a lass that loves a sailor, but her father - who is a captain - wants her to marry an Admiral whom she does not love, since for a captain's daughter to marry a common sailor would be unthinkable. It transpires, however, that due to a mix-up at a baby farm (don't ask), the captain is really a common sailor, while the objet of the lass's affections is really a captain. Since the Admiral can't possibly marry the daughter of a common sailor, she is free to marry the captain, and they all lived happily ever after.

Would this contain anything relevant to the puzzle?
Johanna (Buzzard)
Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2005 - 1:36 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Would this contain anything relevant to the puzzle? yes :)
David Burn (Woubit)
Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2005 - 1:39 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Did your brother then remark that this plot appeared to be nonsense?
Johanna (Buzzard)
Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2005 - 1:47 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Did your brother then remark that this plot appeared to be nonsense? no
David Burn (Woubit)
Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2005 - 2:28 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Did your brother remark on the plot at all?
Johanna (Buzzard)
Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2005 - 5:48 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Did your brother remark on the plot at all? yes
David Burn (Woubit)
Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2005 - 6:42 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Did he compare the plot with something else? With The Pirates of Penzance? The Gondoliers? Was his comment factual in nature? or an opinion? or a question?
Johanna (Buzzard)
Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2005 - 9:44 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Did he compare the plot with something else? no With The Pirates of Penzance? The Gondoliers? Was his comment factual in nature? or an opinion? or a question? this is closest
Simon Downham (Beroean)
Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2005 - 11:09 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Was your brother taken aback?
impressed?
unimpressed?
puzzled?

Do we need to discover exactly what he said?
Johanna (Buzzard)
Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2005 - 11:11 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Was your brother taken aback?
impressed?
unimpressed?
puzzled? this is closest, but not quite right

Do we need to discover exactly what he said? well, you need the general idea

Hint: Actually, he interrupted me before I could finish.
David Burn (Woubit)
Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2005 - 11:20 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Was there some aspect of this complex plot that he did not understand?
Johanna (Buzzard)
Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2005 - 11:35 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Was there some aspect of this complex plot that he did not understand? yope - he thought he understood it, but...
David Burn (Woubit)
Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2005 - 11:48 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

When you say he was "puzzled", then, do you mean that he was in fact confused but did not know that he was confused? Had he failed to understand why a captain's daughter could not marry a common sailor? why, if that were the case, an Admiral could marry a mere captain's daughter? why the discovery of the baby-farming mishap should have enabled Ralph to assume the rank of captain?
Johanna (Buzzard)
Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2005 - 12:51 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

When you say he was "puzzled" Did I say that?, then, do you mean that he was in fact confused but did not know that he was confused? this is quite close Had he failed to understand why a captain's daughter could not marry a common sailor? why, if that were the case, an Admiral could marry a mere captain's daughter? why the discovery of the baby-farming mishap should have enabled Ralph to assume the rank of captain? his misunderstanding involved none of these things, and is rather more lateral than any of them.
David Burn (Woubit)
Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2005 - 1:15 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Did I say that? Sorry - was trying to use inverted commas to indicate that "puzzled" was "closest, but not quite right" :)

Did his misunderstanding involve any aspect of the plot at all? is this aspect included in the 30-second summary I have tried to give? did it involve anything else?
Johanna (Buzzard)
Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2005 - 1:37 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Did his misunderstanding involve any aspect of the plot at all? yes is this aspect included in the 30-second summary I have tried to give? yes, but it's not stated as clearly as it could have been did it involve anything else? no(ish, as per previous answer)
David Burn (Woubit)
Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2005 - 3:10 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I am a bit unsure how to proceed here :( Is the relevant aspect of the plot stated clearly enough in the rather longer summary I produced? Is there some way in which it can be deduced from other information that we have?
Johanna (Buzzard)
Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2005 - 4:53 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I am a bit unsure how to proceed here It's a puzzle, woubit. :) Is the relevant aspect of the plot stated clearly enough in the rather longer summary I produced? yes Is there some way in which it can be deduced from other information that we have? I don't know. But you might want to consider the other information that you have.
David Burn (Woubit)
Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2005 - 10:58 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I might, but it seems a bit hard to provide a summary of the plot, to be asked to reduce that summary to a soundbite, and then be told that I have obscured the relevant information in so doing :) I could go through the plot again, step by painful step, and ask "Is this relevant?" Or perhaps, if you would be good enough, you could provide a recap of the information we have so far, pending the appearance of which I will think about it some more, though with what I am not certain :)
Johanna (Buzzard)
Posted on Friday, February 18, 2005 - 9:07 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

********** RECAP ***********

On a long drive several moons ago, my brother and I were listening to my old tapes of Gilbert and Sullivan operettas. First we listened to The Pirates of Penzance, in which Major-General Whatshisname states that he can whistle all the airs from "that infernal nonsense Pinafore". Then we listened to HMS Pinafore. My brother was not familiar with this work (even though we had both seen at least one production of it When We Were Very Young), and asked me what the plot of it was. I began to explain, and at one point, my brother interrupted me and made a comment that showed that he misunderstood what was going on, and perhaps that he had taken to heart the notion that HMS Pinafore is "infernal nonsense".

Now, if you were hearing a plot summary of HMS Pinafore for the first time, on what part of it would you be most likely to comment?
Simon Downham (Beroean)
Posted on Friday, February 18, 2005 - 9:23 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

On re-reading Woubits summary I would have interrupted in the first few lines - "a Bumboat woman called Buttercup"?

And I may have been interrupting all the way through but how about:

"I am an Englishman."
"For he himself has said it and it's greatly to his credit that he is a pompous ass."
(I hope you didn't have either Woubit or I in mind!!)

Or is more to do with a notion than the actual words said?
Johanna (Buzzard)
Posted on Friday, February 18, 2005 - 11:32 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

On re-reading Woubits summary I would have interrupted in the first few lines - "a Bumboat woman called Buttercup"?

And I may have been interrupting all the way through but how about:

"I am an Englishman."
"For he himself has said it and it's greatly to his credit that he is a pompous ass."
(I hope you didn't have either Woubit or I in mind!!)

Or is more to do with a notion than the actual words said? Well, given that I didn't use the exact same words as woubit did, it does have more to do with a notion. Focus on the shorter summary, but keep in mind that I phrased the relevant bit differently.
Simon Downham (Beroean)
Posted on Friday, February 18, 2005 - 2:01 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

"Focus on the shorter summary"
- Please could you direct me?
Johanna (Buzzard)
Posted on Friday, February 18, 2005 - 5:51 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Please could you direct me? 16 Feb, 1.29 pm
Quintus Marcius (Philippus)
Posted on Friday, February 18, 2005 - 11:17 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I've been lurking around this puzzle in a confused state, as I have trouble with the plot of Pinafore myself. However, it now appears that this is potentially useful, so...

Did your brother comment on the age difference between the captain's daughter and her lover?
Did he comment on anything connected with the baby farm?
Johanna (Buzzard)
Posted on Saturday, February 19, 2005 - 8:04 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Did your brother comment on the age difference between the captain's daughter and her lover? no(ish)
Did he comment on anything connected with the baby farm? yes, close enough. Perhaps I will fill in the details:

I said (more or less): "So there was a captain, and there was a sailor, and the captain's daughter was in love with the sailor. But she couldn't marry him, because she was supposed to marry the admiral instead. But then it turned out that the captain and the sailor had actually been switched at birth, so..." My brother then interrupted me and said...
Quintus Marcius (Philippus)
Posted on Saturday, February 19, 2005 - 11:14 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

"Hang on, doesn't that mean she's in love with her real father?"

At least, that's the question that would have popped into my head, if I had been trying to drive, listen to music and have a conversation all at the same time.
Johanna (Buzzard)
Posted on Saturday, February 19, 2005 - 1:08 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

"Hang on, doesn't that mean she's in love with her real father?" brilliant :)

At least, that's the question that would have popped into my head, if I had been trying to drive, listen to music and have a conversation all at the same time. indeed - are you sure we're not related?

************ SPOILER ************

On a long drive several moons ago, my brother and I were listening to my old tapes of Gilbert and Sullivan operettas. First we listened to The Pirates of Penzance, in which Major-General Whatshisname states that he can whistle all the airs from "that infernal nonsense Pinafore". Then we listened to HMS Pinafore. My brother was not familiar with this work (even though we had both seen at least one production of it When We Were Very Young), and asked me what the plot of it was.

I said (more or less): "So there was a captain, and there was a sailor, and the captain's daughter was in love with the sailor. But she couldn't marry him, because she was supposed to marry the admiral instead. But then it turned out that the captain and the sailor had actually been switched at birth, so..."

My brother interrupted me and said, "So she was actually in love with her own father?" Which, of course, makes no sense at all, if you think about it while you're not trying to drive. And the incestuous implications might be vaguely described as "infernal". And so it occurred to me that maybe my brother had taken the Major General's statement a bit too seriously, and might not have reached the conclusion he did if we'd listened to the operettas in the opposite order.

Thanks for playing, one and all, and well done to Quintus Marcius for the lurk-and-swoop. :)
Quintus Marcius (Philippus)
Posted on Saturday, February 19, 2005 - 3:08 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thank you for an amusing puzzle, Johanna.
Johanna (Buzzard)
Posted on Saturday, February 19, 2005 - 5:57 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

You're very welcome. :) Please have a go at one of my others, unless you've got something better to do.
Simon Downham (Beroean)
Posted on Sunday, February 20, 2005 - 12:36 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hmm.. interesting thought from your brother. Has he ever considered frittering away some of his time with lateral puzzles?

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