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Wednesday 12 May 2021

The pleasure of the senses Inmate awaiting trial

Inmate awaiting trial

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Two-way Italian is the title of a nice volume by Francesco Comerci and Mario Cosmai of many years ago (Levante Editions, Bari, 1983) which contains a choice of «mnemonic cryptographies». The anthology, the work of Cosmai, an Apulian linguistic scholar, is taken from over ten thousand examples then collected by the Florentine Comerci.

The interest that this genre of game arouses even in an audience of laymen is certainly justified and it is significant that its mechanisms are the object of attention by experts in puzzles as well as by students of language.

«These ambiguous expressions - wrote Cosmai - known to enigmists with the grim name of" mnemonic cryptographies ", are sentences of complete meaning in which two distinct meanings transpire and alternate, as in a magical game of dissolves".

Speaking of "mnemonics", Stefano Bartezzaghi in one of his essays indicates ambiguity as "... determined by the competition of two isotopies starting from the same expression" and observes that in many cases the link between the two readings does not necessarily derive from a double meaning of the words involved in the game, but also (or only) from a «… re-interpretation of entire standard phrases…, which can admit alternative or unexpected readings». The expression "prisoner awaiting trial", for example, can become the solution of a "mnemonic cryptography" with exposed RECORD TO BE APPROVED: more than a change in meaning, it is a modification of the semantic value, which is established in the passage from the phrase-exposed to the “cliché” of the solution.

The two isotopies generally do not "affirm", merely "existing"; however, it would be incorrect to believe that everything is resolved always and only in the discovery of the key word: sometimes, in fact, "disambiguation does not completely cancel ambiguity" and Bartezzaghi demonstrates this with the example of Giuseppe Laganà


which is explained by women's liberation movement, in which it almost seems that "a surreptitious and malicious opposition between striptease and feminism" is being established.

The following “mnemonics”, all by Neapolitan authors, are a further example of the surprising ambiguities offered by our lexicon.

TIGHT TO THE BELT (6,2,4), of Juve
HOT AIR BALLOON (5,2,4), de The Antipatico
PORTICO (9,1,5), by Alpha of the Centaur
ADVERTISING BATTAGE (2,8,2,4), de The Gagliardo
CATALECT (5,3,2,11,5,5), of Argon
BEAUTY COMPETITION (5,2,8,9), by Minos
CAREZZARE (7,2,4), by Marius
CENTELLININO (5,5), of Namio
SIN WITH THOUGHT (5,3,4!), By Siren
COSMETIC (4,3,7!), De The sixth
PLACENTA (2,7,1), de The Schizophrenic

The first encryption is resolved with minutes of life, the 'hot air balloon' suggests ball in the net, while the 'portico' is defined by a string ensemble, with a very valid doubling of meaning.

The following examples are solved with the Lodi countryside and with plan for the relaxation of states. The 'beauty contest' becomes a comparative anatomy examination, as well as 'caressing' hides the solution pass the hand; for the following the solutions are Bevan plan e not for an idea!

More complex is the mechanism necessary to arrive at the solution of the last two ciphers: èsca, please! e the second E: for these, a further “reading” of the sentence is necessary to be able to perceive its double meaning: “ésca for pleasure” and “the second is” ('second' is, in fact, synonymous with 'placenta').

The following “mnemonics” are all of King Enzo. You can try to find for each "exposed" the right solution among those suggested but arranged in another order (the right matches in the next episode of The charm of the double).

Dwarfs ●
taken by the neck
compressed air
aft crowning
constitutional courts
parties at the polls
modern peoples
the great sympathetic
the reflexive verb

* The quotations shown are all taken from the text by Stefano Bartezzaghi, Systematics of ambiguity. Notes on the semiotics of puzzles (VS Versus, Quaderni di studi semiotic, n ° 64, Bompiani, Milan, 1993).

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