enigma

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Related to enigmas: riddles

a riddle wrapped in a mystery wrapped in an enigma

That which is so dense and secretive as to be totally indecipherable or impossible to foretell. Derived 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 riddles wrapped in mysteries wrapped in enigmas as far as I'm concerned. I just don't have any idea what Mary expects from me. She's always been a riddle wrapped in a mystery wrapped in an enigma.
See also: enigma, mystery, riddle, wrap

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. I just don't have any idea what Mary expects from me. She's a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.
See also: enigma, inside, wrap
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
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?
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.