It all began quite innocently enough, when the inwo-list snagged another poor victim.

Date: Mon, 1 Sep 1997 17:12:27 -0500
From: Jayce Ting (jrting@arch.housing.wisc.edu)

Subject: I am sorry, but I need to know!

After many attempts through conventional channels to find out what it means I have given up and am resorting to humble myself to ask:

"What does 'fnord' mean??????"

Please, I need to know!

A flurry of responses followed, along predictable lines: read the Illuminatus trilogy; we can't just tell you; you're not cleared for that; and, of course, fnord. This annoyed him somewhat, but consider this response:

Date: Tue, 2 Sep 1997 08:41:16 +0200 (MESZ)
From: Werner Arend (werner.arend@uni-tuebingen.de)

On Mon, 1 Sep 1997, Jayce Ting wrote:

[ . . . ]
Oh, I am sorry, I must be out of line. I did not realize that one could not ask a serious straight question and expect to recieve a straight answer in reply.

Ugh - straight answers, in INWO? And about "Fnord", especially? You shouldn't be surprised. This has nothing to do with "childish behaviour". Accept that a straight answer to this question is simply not given, except by newbies, perhaps. It would go, let's say, against the spirit of the theme. Have a look into the INWO concordance , reachable over a link from SJGames' INWO pages. And read those books. You see, it should take a little work to become illuminated ;-).


"The best secret is the empty secret."
- Umberto Eco

Someone eventually gave in and told him, but the story didn't stop there.

Date: Tue, 2 Sep 1997 18:50:11 +0000
From: "David Streeter" surturz@zip.com.au

At least he didn't ask what EitP meant. <nod>


Date: Tue, 2 Sep 1997 11:51:29 -0500
From: Jayce Ting (jrting@arch.housing.wisc.edu)

Okay, I'll bite, what does EitP mean?

Foolish, foolish, foolish. (See, of course, Ralph Melton's explanation on the history of the INWO-cards mailing list for a definitive answer.)

Date: Tue, 02 Sep 1997 15:30:10 EDT
From: kennedy7@juno.com (Kevin Kennedy)

Oh boy we've got him now.

[ . . . ]

As far as EitP is concerned it is a stupid question and stupid questions get stupid answers. So any or all response are a lot like sorting through the stories in a liars' club. But I'm going to be honest:

EitP is an acronym for what the great Cthulhu said right before it was imprisoned in the ocean which was: eberpharthrgh intrghuprhftnx tertaghyzxgh popuywqeraretibe. Loosely translated it means "I shall rise forth to rule this pathetic planet again and I shall wrap my tentacles about it and bleed it until it dies". And somehow the brilliant people at SJG have managed to incorporate it into every card.

"This year we will practice zero tolerance of teenagers"
-Bibb County Public Schools

Pope Kevin Kennedy "I do whatever the leprechauns tell me to do"

Date: Wed, 3 Sep 1997 10:43:38 +0000
From: "David Streeter" surturz@zip.com.au

I thought "popuywqeraretibe" was actually spelt "popuywkeraretibe"???

Am I missing something? (besides my wisdom teeth, that is?)

Date: Thu, 11 Sep 1997 23:28:17 -0400 (EDT)
From: Darrin Brig (DarrinBrig@aol.com)

You've obviously both been confused by Pritchard's Latin translation. The /k/ or /q/ phoneme is actually a glottal consonant usually designated <x> in the phonetic alphabet. This "back of the throat" glottal stop generally gives a lot of Americans a lot of trouble when they try to learn German or Arabic. This phoneme was at one point present in Old English, but due to Grimm's Law the phoneme has shifted to an aspirated or unaspirated /gh/. Those of you who've studied Chaucer or Middle English are probably aware that the /gh/ in "knight" is not silent. In Modern English, this phoneme has become either silent or an /h/ or /hwa/ sound. In Latin, the phoneme shifted to the harder /k/ or /eks/ sound we are more familiar with, but in German the phoneme is still present, though sounds more like a hard /g/ or /guh/ sound. Pritchard was obviously trying to cover up the origins of the word by using the unfamiliar "q" spelling, but to most linguists "q" isn't a consonant at all, not in the phonetic alphabet at least. Its actually a consonant cluster of an alveolar stop with a a glide, a "kwuh" sound. When you pronounce it with the original phonetical elements, and account for the Great Vowel Shift, <^pu^peiiwxaroradypa> translates "to pull, manipulate, or castigate one's limbs or motive elements". We can only assume that the great C'thulhu meant some sort of maiming, mutilation, or permanent destruction was in order. Either that or he wants to pull your leg.

As for the rest, well, YNCFT.

(More of this stuff)

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