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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

a mystery to (one)

Something that is difficult to understand. Why she walked out in such a huff this morning is a mystery to me! She was acting normally before that. It was a mystery to scientists where the birds migrated to until they banded some of them and tracked their movement.
See also: mystery

be another of life's great mysteries

To be difficult to understand or decipher. This phrase is often humorously applied to unimportant things. The living cannot truly understand death—it's another of life's great mysteries. Why dogs and cats hate each other is another of life's great mysteries.
See also: another, great, mystery, of

mystery meat

n. any unidentified meat. (Collegiate.) There are no hints as to what this mystery meat is—except its strange pinkish color.
See also: meat, mystery
References in periodicals archive ?
We live in a time that screams for prophetic statements by our hierarchy, that searches for prophets among the laity, that demands all Christians stand up for peace, not a time for new mysteries for a somewhat obsolete prayer form.
It's no wonder gay mysteries date back practically to the beginning of the gay liberation movement, with George Baxt's 1966 A Queer Kind of Death.
Striding Folly offers three short mysteries, all written after Honeymoon, each providing a neat puzzle for Wimsey to solve.
What: Series of mysteries based on Ian Rankin's detective novels.
Author Evelyn Coleman has written two American Girls History Mysteries that feature African American characters, and she is happy to see children exposed to mysteries.
Let us now turn our attention to the second component, the meditation on the mysteries of our salvation in each decade.
Ritual is a positive, constructive way of being in the presence of great mysteries death, birth, marriage, illness, suffering.
The contest is named after the prolific American writer of historical fiction and mysteries for children and young adults, Joan Lowery Nixon.
Three new titles provide hard-hitting, hot mysteries for any who want something out of the ordinary in genre writing.
Adapted from 12th- and 14th-century stagings of Old and New Testament stories, and titled ``The Mysteries,'' the Gang's season finale is peculiar, edgy and strangely reverential.
MystNoir won a Golden Web Award for 2002-2003, and last year was chosen as a mystery site of the week by the Arts & Entertainment channel's Mysteries.
The "all-star" mysteries are read by talented narrators including actor Gould (who could write or read the book on audio noir), Horsley, Cashman, Gray, and others.
A Dominican friend defines the mysteries simply as "events in the life of Christ celebrated as Stories in the gospels and meant to be lived by believers.
And she shares her prayer life with us in the mysteries of the Rosary.
DALLAS -- Today's female healthcare executive has ascended to administrative ranks through nursing, spends her free time reading mysteries and romance novels, and balances her career by ranking family time as the number one activity outside the hospital work environment.