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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 ?
Six mysteries exemplify this reality and lie at the heart of Mark's portrait of Jesus Christ, Son of God.
Each mystery you come to understand just leads to more mysteries.
It is important to recognize that, while Mumbo Jumbo resists the Western impulse to solve mysteries, determine meanings, and discover truths, this does not mean that Reed's detective novel does not concern itself with attaining knowledge.
Packed with evocative photographs and informative diagrams, maps, and plans, The Seventy Great Mysteries of the Ancient World is a unique guide to some of the most contentious issues of the human past.
The graphics, sound, challenging problems, and a well-done manual add to the strengths of Math Mysteries.
The invigorating mysteries of our shared existence do not exist in a rationalist conception of the universe simply because they cannot be explained.
Part of the "One Minute Mysteries" series ideal for young people in grades 3-6, One Minute Mysteries: 65 More Short Mysteries You Solve With Science
Newly released and now available for fans and enthusiastically recommended for community library DVD collections, "The Inspector Lynley Mysteries 4" is a boxed set of 4 DVDs which continue the adventures of one of Britains most sophisticatedly presented investigators, Inspector Lynley (Nathanial Parker) and his assistant, Detective Sergeant Havers (Sharon Small) who unravel particularly convoluted mysteries based on the stories of acclaimed mystery author Elizabeth George.
Chapters explore mysteries of the Sumerian and Egyptian civilizations; the beliefs of the Dogons, an African tribe with inexplicable knowledge of the Sirius star system; the secrets behind crystal skulls and the ark of the covenant; and much more.
99), presents a set of marshy mysteries involving a burned-out house, and a spooky story surrounding pirate treasure.
Assorted protagonists and sleuths--police, private, and amateur detectives (among the latter a delightful trio of 11-year-old girls in one of the anthology's best stories)--solve mysteries, investigate crimes, and confront a mind-boggling assortment of modus operandi (gunshot, poison, sexual mutilation, animal attacks, and more) and assorted criminals (unhappy spouse, corrupt policeman, gun-toting cowboy, computer hacker, werewolf, and more).
Last year, as the world reached the brink of yet another war, Pope John Paul II startled the church by proclaiming an additional set of five mysteries to the rosary's traditional three sets (15 mysteries).
When was the meditation on the mysteries introduced?
Mysteries have proved to be one of the strongest and most resilient genres of gay and lesbian publishing.
George Baxt's flamboyantly gay Pharaoh Love is less well known than Tibbs or Shaft, but the mysteries are cleverly written, and Love is important both racially and sexually, since he is one of the earliest gay crime fiction heroes and perhaps the only black gay detective.