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Davesnothere (Davesnothere)
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Posted on Thursday, June 04, 2009 - 11:07 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Complete the following Ė ďIt was dark. It was darker than ÖĒ

I thought I would attempt to devise a new puzzle construction (new to me at least; Iíve not seen it before): a two-stage puzzle. Iíll start off by giving some hints and attribution to the quotation. Once the quotation is partially complete, Iíll add some additional clarification which should be helpful in completing the quote. That way, the puzzle is broken into two distinct phases that must be solved in a serial fashion.

It would be possible to solve the entire puzzle in one stage and without hints, but I think this will be faster and more entertaining.

The quotation is from a line of dialog spoken by Garrison Keillor on the _A Prairie Home Companion_ during one the regular Guy Noir Private Eye episodes. For those of you who are familiar with the show, you will know that Guy Noir begins each segment with a narrative in the first person to set up the story. It was during such a monologue that he delivered this line, to quite the long pause for laughter from the live audience. I have subsequently stolen the line and seek out opportunities to describe darkness just so people will think Iím funny.

Iíve revealed the source and context to start you off in the right direction and reduce the amount of casting around Ė please donít spoil early if you heard the show or find it online.

So, the goal for Stage 1 is to determine the first phrase in the quote. Then, Iíll define the form of the rest of the quote, which contains the punch-line. The goal for Stage 2 will be to complete the line. Hope you enjoy!
Jenburdoo (Jenburdoo)
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Posted on Friday, June 05, 2009 - 12:55 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I listen to Prairie Home Companion most Sundays, but luckily I don't remember this bit.

"It was darker than --":

- a physical object?
- the inside of something?
- something intangible?

Is a joke about Minnesota relevant? A joke about the non-Minnesota setting of the show during a tour? Any of the show's guests relevant?

I look forward to seeing how this puzzle works.
Logician (Logician)
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Posted on Friday, June 05, 2009 - 1:14 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

"...than dark"? "...than black"? "...than a black cat in a windowless room with the door shut"?

Does the "it" in "it was darker than..." refer to an object? a situation?
Davesnothere (Davesnothere)
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Posted on Friday, June 05, 2009 - 1:49 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

"It was darker than --":

- a physical object? Yes
- the inside of something? Yes
- something intangible? No

Is a joke about Minnesota relevant? No
A joke about the non-Minnesota setting of the show during a tour? No
Any of the show's guests relevant? No, only that it characterizes the kind of dry humor that Guy Noir uses


I look forward to seeing how this puzzle works. Thanks for giving it a go -- when it's done you'll have to let me know if the linear approach takes too much away from the challenge of solving. Worst case is you will have a line you can use!
Davesnothere (Davesnothere)
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Posted on Friday, June 05, 2009 - 4:56 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Bonehead Move !

"It was darker than --":

- a physical object? No
- the inside of something? Yes
- something intangible? No

Sorry about that
Cicido (Cicido)
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Posted on Friday, June 05, 2009 - 4:57 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Is it the inside of a physical thing?
Noobdogg (Noobdogg)
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Posted on Friday, June 05, 2009 - 3:10 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

You missed Logician's post.
Davesnothere (Davesnothere)
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Posted on Friday, June 05, 2009 - 4:53 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

"...than dark"? No
"...than black"? No
"...than a black cat in a windowless room with the door shut"? No

Does the "it" in "it was darker than..." refer to an object? No
a situation? Yes

Is it the inside of a physical thing? Yes -- that's how I originally got confused when I answered yes to the physical thing. It's as dark as the inside of a physical thing, not the physical thing itself

You missed Logician's post. Sorry about that, Logician. This site is sometimes a lateral puzzle -- I could have sworn your post did not show up until today. Maybe I was in the process of typing my response when you posted, so I didn't see it. I also sometimes find that my posts appear not to "stick", only to appear later.
Jenburdoo (Jenburdoo)
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Posted on Saturday, June 06, 2009 - 1:12 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

The inside of an animal?

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside a dog, it's too dark to read?"

Is the thing hollow? Is it large enough for a person to actually get inside it, or is this just a figure of speech?

It's a physical thing, yet not an object? Is it solid, liquid, or gas?
Davesnothere (Davesnothere)
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Posted on Saturday, June 06, 2009 - 4:09 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

The inside of an animal? Yes

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside a dog, it's too dark to read?" Not the inside of a dog


Is the thing hollow? No
Is it large enough for a person to actually get inside it No , or is this just a figure of speech? Yes


It's a physical thing, yet not an object? It's an animal Is it solid, liquid, or gas? 100% solid animal
Jenburdoo (Jenburdoo)
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Vertebrate or invertebrate?
Davesnothere (Davesnothere)
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Posted on Saturday, June 06, 2009 - 7:44 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Vertebrate This or invertebrate?
Jenburdoo (Jenburdoo)
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Posted on Saturday, June 06, 2009 - 8:16 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Fish?
Amphibian?
Reptile?
Bird?
Mammal?

Domesticated? Wild? Common? Endangered?
Davesnothere (Davesnothere)
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Posted on Sunday, June 07, 2009 - 6:33 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Fish? No
Amphibian? No
Reptile? No
Bird? No
Mammal? Yes

Domesticated? Yes Wild? No Common? Yes Endangered? No
Jenburdoo (Jenburdoo)
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Posted on Monday, June 08, 2009 - 12:40 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

A pet? Farm animal? Carnivore? Herbivore? Rodent? Horse? Cow? Pig? Cat?
Davesnothere (Davesnothere)
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Posted on Monday, June 08, 2009 - 4:43 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Cow
Bolapara (Bolapara)
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Posted on Monday, June 08, 2009 - 9:57 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

So its as dark as the inside of a cow? Any particular inside part?
Davesnothere (Davesnothere)
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Posted on Monday, June 08, 2009 - 10:32 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

So its as dark as the inside of a cow? Yes Any particular inside part? Yes
Kalira (Kalira)
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Posted on Monday, June 08, 2009 - 10:43 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

It isn't a play on the milk-producing parts of a cow, is it? "Udder" darkness, perhaps (though I think that would produce more groans than laughs)?

Is it a part of the cow located in the digestive tract? One of the four stomachs?
Davesnothere (Davesnothere)
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Posted on Wednesday, June 10, 2009 - 12:43 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

It isn't a play on the milk-producing parts of a cow, is it? "Udder" darkness, perhaps (though I think that would produce more groans than laughs)? No

Is it a part of the cow located in the digestive tract? Yes One of the four stomachs? Yes -- that's it, and the solution to Stage 1!

** Stage 1 Spoiler **

"It was darker than the inside of a cow's stomach ...

For Stage 2, this phrase is completed by the addition of three conditions, each of which will serve to make it even darker. Logician's earlier guess, "It was darker than a black cat in a windowless room with the door shut", is an example of the form of the phrase, albeit with two conditions instead of three.
Logician (Logician)
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Posted on Friday, June 12, 2009 - 2:30 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Is there some black liquid/food which is the cow is said to have consumed? Another liquid/food substance? Is there a foreign object inside the stomach? Is the stomach still attached to the cow? Is the stomach/cow somewhere relevant (e.g. in a windowless room with the door shut)?

Is it relevant that a cow has four stomachs, of which the stomach mentioned is only one?
Blackmagic (Blackmagic)
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Posted on Friday, June 12, 2009 - 5:37 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

has the cow been smoking and got tar in its stomach?
Davesnothere (Davesnothere)
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Posted on Friday, June 12, 2009 - 10:50 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Is there some black liquid/food which is the cow is said to have consumed? No Another liquid/food substance? No Is there a foreign object inside the stomach? No Is the stomach still attached to the cow? Yes Is the stomach/cow somewhere relevant (e.g. in a windowless room with the door shut)? No, the cow is located in its natural habitat, i.e., a cow pasture.

Is it relevant that a cow has four stomachs, of which the stomach mentioned is only one? No
Logician (Logician)
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Posted on Saturday, June 13, 2009 - 2:23 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

So is there a particular substance inside the cow's stomach at all that makes it darker than usual? Or are these extra clauses more focused on us inside the cow's stomach? Something that may, for instance, impair our vision?
Davesnothere (Davesnothere)
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Posted on Saturday, June 13, 2009 - 7:25 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

So is there a particular substance inside the cow's stomach at all that makes it darker than usual? No Or are these extra clauses more focused on us inside the cow's stomach? Something that may, for instance, impair our vision? No, creative thinking, but the phrase does not alludes to our ability to see, nor does it metaphorically place us inside the cow aside from the idea that we are somehow assessing darkness within there. The phrase would work equally as well if you assumed that there was a light sensor in her stomach
Yabblesmacker (Yabblesmacker)
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Posted on Sunday, June 14, 2009 - 1:46 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Are any of the conditions to do with:

The weather outside the cow?
Time of day?
Something the cow has been doing?
The colour of the cow?
Another particular feature of the cow?

Do you think that if there was a light sensor in the cow's stomach, and these other clauses were implemented, any of them would actually make a difference to the light level, in real life?
Davesnothere (Davesnothere)
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Posted on Sunday, June 14, 2009 - 6:26 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Are any of the conditions to do with:

The weather outside the cow? No
Time of day? Yes
Something the cow has been doing? Yes
The colour of the cow? No
Another particular feature of the cow? No

Do you think that if there was a light sensor in the cow's stomach, and these other clauses were implemented, any of them would actually make a difference to the light level, in real life? Not really -- only the first clause could conceivably make a slight difference, but the last two are purely absurd hyperbole.
Logician (Logician)
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Posted on Sunday, June 14, 2009 - 10:27 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

The time of day: dawn? morning? high noon? afternoon? evening? dusk? night?

What the cow has been doing: eating? drinking? excreting? copulating? killing? other?

Are there any other conditions that Yabblesmacker didn't mention that are relevant?
Davesnothere (Davesnothere)
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Posted on Monday, June 15, 2009 - 3:46 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

The time of day: dawn? morning? high noon? afternoon? evening? dusk? night? Night. Once you determine what kind of night it was, you will have solved the first of the three conditions.

What the cow has been doing: eating? drinking? excreting? copulating? killing? other? Other -- my previous yes on this is misleading -- I should have answered "yesish" -- the conditions really have more to do with the cow's state of being, rather than her engaging in particular activities.

Are there any other conditions that Yabblesmacker didn't mention that are relevant? No, once the idea of doing is limited, both of the remaining conditions fall into that category.
Kalira (Kalira)
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Posted on Tuesday, June 16, 2009 - 2:39 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Was it a dark and stormy night? Lunar eclipse relevant? Was it one specific night in history (e.g. sinking of the Titanic)? One whose conditions have happened more than once (or are likely to happen again?)? Are the conditions on this night completely fictional and never likely to happen in real life?

"the conditions really have more to do with the cow's state of being, rather than her engaging in particular activities"
Darn... there goes my idea of the cow jumping over the lunar eclipsed moon.

The cow's state of being: does either condition belonging to this category have to do with physiological goings-on of the cow? both?
Davesnothere (Davesnothere)
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Posted on Tuesday, June 16, 2009 - 6:24 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Was it a dark Yes and stormy No night? Lunar eclipse relevant? Simpler that that Was it one specific night in history No (e.g. sinking of the Titanic)? One whose conditions have happened more than once (or are likely to happen again?)? Yes Are the conditions on this night completely fictional and never likely to happen in real life? No

The cow's state of being: does either condition belonging to this category have to do with physiological goings-on of the cow? I think so at a very basic level, yes. When this is solved, you can tell me if I answered this correctly both? yes

Hint: the entire quip is very terse and consists of only 22 words, 10 of which are already taken. That means that the remaining 3 conditions are described in 12 words. Keep in mind that this is an aside spoken by Guy Noir.
Davesnothere (Davesnothere)
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Posted on Tuesday, June 16, 2009 - 6:26 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Lunar eclipse relevant? Simpler than that
Logician (Logician)
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Posted on Thursday, June 18, 2009 - 12:58 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

So from your previous set of answers, am I right in assuming that one of the conditions was "on a dark night"?

So just to clarify: the further conditions have nothing to do with any substance with the stomach itself, nor with any ability to see goings-on inside the stomach, nor with the location of the cow (beyond, perhaps, it being presumably outside on a dark night). Correct?

I'm trying to think of how else light could (hyperbolically) affect a cow's stomach - maybe through entering one/more of the cow's orifices? (e.g. eyes/nose/mouth) If so, do these orifices account for one? both/all? of the remaining conditions?
Davesnothere (Davesnothere)
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Posted on Thursday, June 18, 2009 - 5:41 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

So from your previous set of answers, am I right in assuming that one of the conditions was "on a dark night"? very close, however the word "dark" should be substituted with another word that would specify why it's dark.

So just to clarify: the further conditions have nothing to do with any substance with the stomach itself, nor with any ability to see goings-on inside the stomach, nor with the location of the cow (beyond, perhaps, it being presumably outside on a dark night). Correct? All correct

I'm trying to think of how else light could (hyperbolically) affect a cow's stomach - maybe through entering one/more of the cow's orifices? Yes (e.g. eyes this one /nose/mouth) If so, do these orifices account for one? both/all? of the remaining conditions? both, which is all of the remaining conditions, as you already have the night pretty much pegged.

Given that I'm looking for the exact phrase, I'll lay out the form so we don't waste time looking for incidental conjunctions and prepositions (which incidentally, I considered including in the starting puzzle statement, so don't take it as a giveaway):

"It was darker than the inside of a cow's stomach, on a blank blank, with her blank blank, and her blank blank."
Kalira (Kalira)
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Posted on Thursday, June 18, 2009 - 6:32 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Word to replace 'dark' = 'moonless'?
Does it have to do with her having her eyes shut or closed?
Both of the final two conditions have to do with the cow's eyes?
Davesnothere (Davesnothere)
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Posted on Friday, June 19, 2009 - 1:19 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Word to replace 'dark' = 'moonless'? Yes
Does it have to do with her having her eyes shut or closed? Yes
Both of the final two conditions have to do with the cow's eyes? Just one

"It was darker than the inside of a cow's stomach, on a moonless night, with her eyes shut, and her blank blank."
Jenburdoo (Jenburdoo)
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Posted on Wednesday, June 24, 2009 - 2:20 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Her nostrils? Ears? Udders? Sphincter? Pores?
Davesnothere (Davesnothere)
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Posted on Wednesday, June 24, 2009 - 5:02 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Her nostrils? Ears? Udders? Sphincter? Relevant Pores?
Logician (Logician)
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Posted on Wednesday, July 01, 2009 - 11:53 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

So is the sphincter also shut? Or otherwise covered up in some relevant way?
Davesnothere (Davesnothere)
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Posted on Wednesday, July 01, 2009 - 9:03 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

So is the sphincter also shut? Yes, but ... Or otherwise covered up in some relevant way? Yes
Kaygee (Kaygee)
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Posted on Thursday, July 02, 2009 - 2:55 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Is the answer G-rated? Is there another word other than "sphincter"?
Davesnothere (Davesnothere)
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Posted on Thursday, July 02, 2009 - 10:47 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Is the answer G-rated? Yes - the line was spoken on public radio and to a live audience that presumably contained some children Is there another word other than "sphincter"? No -- neither sphincter nor a synonym of sphincter was used. So while the sphincter is relevant, it was not directly referenced -- that's why I answered "Yes, but ..." to the previous question.
Kaygee (Kaygee)
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Posted on Friday, July 03, 2009 - 4:54 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Well, I'm glad I didn't say what I was thinking, then! ;-]

Would the cow be constipated?
Davesnothere (Davesnothere)
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Posted on Friday, July 03, 2009 - 5:23 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Well, I'm glad I didn't say what I was thinking, then! ;-] I figured that just trying to solve this part would be pretty entertaining!

Would the cow be constipated? No, and to relieve the more polite people of possible discomfort, I will say that neither cow patties (meadow muffins, pasture pastries, etc.) nor their base ingredients are involved in the solution of this puzzle.
Ohlala8 (Ohlala8)
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Posted on Monday, July 13, 2009 - 10:41 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

So her bum is just shut? Or covered by something else? Her tail? Another cow? A pair of cow-pants?
Davesnothere (Davesnothere)
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Posted on Tuesday, July 14, 2009 - 6:29 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

So her bum is just shut? Or covered by something else? Her tail? Yes! Another cow? A pair of cow-pants?

****** Spoiler ******

The line, delivered by Garrison Keillor on public radio was, "It was darker than the inside of a cow's stomach, on a moonless night, with her eyes shut, and her tail down."

I remember thinking at the time, now THAT is dark. The audience was rolling and even the other performers got the giggles.

Thanks for playing!!

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