enigma

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Related to enigmas: riddles

a riddle wrapped in an enigma

That which is so dense and secretive as to be totally indecipherable or impossible to foretell. It is a shortened version of a line used by Winston Churchill to describe the intentions and interests of Russia in 1939: "I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest." Many versions, variations, and appropriations of the quote, its structure, and its meaning have since been in use. I can't make any sense of this calculus textbook, it's like a riddle wrapped in an enigma. I just don't have any idea what Mary expects from me; she's a riddle wrapped in an enigma.
See also: enigma, riddle, wrap

a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma

That which is so dense and secretive as to be totally indecipherable or impossible to foretell. It is from a line used by Winston Churchill to describe the intentions and interests of Russia in 1939: "I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest." Many versions, variations, and appropriations of the quote, its structure, and its meaning have since been in use. Political campaigns make my head hurt. They're just a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.
See also: enigma, inside, wrap
References in periodicals archive ?
Debio de preocupar (2) por entonces el tema de las adivinazas a Machado y Alvarez, pues en agosto del mismo ano de 1879 escribe sobre ellas el cuarto articulo, (3) "Las adivinanzas (apuntes para un estudio)", que tambien incluira pocos anos despues en la Biblioteca de las Tradiciones Populares Espanolas (1884:251-260; 2005:182-185), dedicado en este caso al estudio de las enigmas del propio Perez de Herrera.
Lo cierto es que Demofilo tambien incluyo en su coleccion (1880 y 2005: Anexo al tomo I) los enigmas del salmantino, aunque, eso si, haciendolo constar en cada caso.
No nos habriamos extendido tanto en las palabras de Demofilo si nuestro autor de partida no fuese otro que el salmantino Cristobal Perez de Herrera, cuya coleccion de enigmas esta datada en 1618.
Para lo que nos interesa, algunas de las enigmas de Herrera ya figuraban semejantemente en Las cuatrocientas respuestas a otras tantas preguntas de fray Luis de Escobar aparecidas en 1545.
Augustine's insight into enigma on the largest scale inspires Cook's development, in chapter 3, of enigma as "masterplot" a term she borrows from Terence Cave's Recognitions to mean a plot whose outcome is guaranteed by a certain view of the order of the world.
Random, as in Epicurus, or in some deconstructionist enigma;
Sibylline or long-term, as in Wallace Stevens's use of "enigma" in his late work.
I believe that the Enigmas represent her most mature writing, a distillation of a lifetime of meditation upon love and the pursuit of knowledge.
Although I can never abandon Sor Juana, further renderings of the Enigmas will only better my own.
Enrique believes that the answer to all of the riddles is some refinement of love, "infinitos disenos de la pasion amorosa." What if this Enigma had to do with the love of studies?
Gaader utiliza en El Enigma y el Espejo la formula que le dio resultado en sus recientes novelas, basada en el trato simple de los problemas que angustian a la gente, mediante interrogantes que un infante intenta resolver.
El Enigma y el Espejo es una novela insustancial que parece mas un mal sermon sobre la vida y el papel de los angeles.
As may be seen from the copy of the almanac at the HathiTrust site, there were only six enigmas offered in the 1782 almanac--six, not twelve.
Ronnie Kon came tantalizingly close, in the August Word Ways, to identifying the long-sought intended solution to Eliza Hurst's 1782 Ladies' Diary enigma. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately, for it is a poor fit for her riddle), the solution he found--an oven--could not have been Eliza's intended one.
So it seems we must wait yet a while longer to learn at last the intended answer to this elusive little enigma. For the nonce, at least, rival theories of what in the world Eliza Hurst may have been hinting at in her rhymes may still be entertained; for my part, I have previously indicated my belief that the answer to her riddle is probably "a honeybee," much to the general apathy.