riddle

(redirected from riddling)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

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

talk in riddles

To speak in a (perhaps intentionally) convoluted way. Primarily heard in UK, Australia. That record store clerk is like some kind of magic gnome who talks in riddles. He never gives a straight answer when you ask a question about something.
See also: riddle, talk

riddle someone or something with something

to fill someone or something with small holes, such as bullet holes. Max pulled the trigger of the machine gun and riddled Lefty with holes. The police riddled the wall with holes trying to shoot the escaped convict in the house.
See also: riddle

talk in riddles

or

speak in riddles

If someone talks in riddles or speaks in riddles, they talk in a slightly strange, or mysterious way and it is not clear what they mean. Stop talking in riddles and tell me what you're getting at! `What did she mean by that?' `You know what Judy is like. She often speaks in riddles.'
See also: riddle, talk

riddle with

v.
1. To pierce something in many places, especially with bullets or some other projectile: The troops riddled the side of the tank with gunfire.
2. To be permeated with some kind of puncture or hole. Used in the passive: The side of the house was riddled with bullet holes.
3. To be permeated in many places by something, especially by flaws. Used in the passive: That report was riddled with errors.
See also: riddle
References in periodicals archive ?
For both youth and the adult, the riddling session offers them an opportunity to be 'naughty' without any social reprisal since such matters may not be said in any other forum without contradicting the social norms.
There could be an explicit indicator to an end of a mchongoano contest from an overwhelmed contestant, though in riddling the closing formula tends to be understood.
The lack of mention of modern referents from technology in riddles can probably be as a result of the fact that traditional riddling is dormant or new riddles are not coming up to reflect this reality, although there are riddles that do mention the motorcar, which was an early entrant than the computer technology.
For riddles, as mentioned above, there are those riddling sessions that adults (Ishengoma, 2005, Amuka, 1994, Njoroge, 1994) and there are those that the children/ youth perform amongst themselves depending on the topics; because for some reasons, the topics may not be comfortable to the adults in the presence of the young and vice versa.
He learns eventually that his true parentage is unknown and departs in search of his father; it is in the course of his wandering that he encounters and kills the riddling giant.
Even in his pagan condition, Apollo outdoes the giant in the art of riddling.
11) Common to all versions, though, is the device of using actual or implied mother-son incest as a riddling figure for the incest of father and daughter.
Both Layus in Thebes and Canor in Tristan are warned against infants that will some day kill them--Canor's warning takes the form of a riddling dream--yet this knowledge in no way enables either king to avoid his fate.
Narayana Rao dwells at some length on folk riddling among adolescents, among whom this "hitting" is typically irreverent, often with sexual innuendo or blatant obscenity, and always exuberant.
For example, there is the profusion of possibilities for punning which Chinese monosyllabism makes possible: punning thus is so common, so expected, that it becomes nearly unusable as a riddling device.
There is, however, at least one major literary text where riddling plays a prominent role throughout.