The deadly thirteen:
456. Lost Property -- Something I have remarkably little experience with
I have never lost my phone, wallet, or keys, which I have been informed is "weird."
460. Diversion Control -- Ironic counterpart to the old Disambiguation Cage
The obvious reference here was to version control; the clue played on the parallel to the previous PDN 'Disambiguation Cage' (cf. disambiguation page) -- highlighting the possibility that an ostensibly helpful organizing function has become a hindrance (an entrapment or a distraction).
462. Safe Word Gauge -- In which Cloud is restrained, and takes damage
Without veering too far from family friendly, this one connects the limit break meter or gauge from some RPGs (which fills up as you take damage) with perhaps parallel activities involving a safe word -- which indeed would be used, much like a limit break, if one's limits are broken. I picked Cloud both as the main character of FF7 (probably the game most associated with limit breaks) and because his 'taciturn soldier' personality seemed appropriate for the scenario.
463. Wonderful Limitations -- Duke Ellington's prescription for everybody
"Personalized arranging is about arranging with all of the better characteristics of the performer in mind, with a deep consideration for the limitations of each one. Limitations are wonderful things. Everybody should have them." -- Duke Ellington
469. Lynchpin -- Helps keep a suspect class in their place; may be an ACME Chief
The linchpin for a lynching, perhaps. More happily, this also refers to Lynne Thigpen, who played the ACME Chief on the Carmen Sandiego game show, who helps to keep Carmen's suspected henchmen in their place, and who seems to be referred to as Chief Lynchpin in some places. (She was terrific.)
475. Tempestuous Winds and Gusts -- Roman Restoration offers a Trojan allusion
Okay, this one may be the most obnoxious clue I've had, and it's unfortunate it ended up in such a tough batch. The initial reference was to Marcus Andronicus' speech at the end of Titus Andronicus
, in which he and Lucius are (much like Fortinbras in Hamlet
) restoration figures:
You sad-faced men, people and sons of Rome,
By uproar sever'd, like a flight of fowl
Scatter'd by winds and high tempestuous gusts
This is all wrapped up in a metaphor comparing storms to political-personal mixings that doom the state, with mythological reference to Troy, as Marcus suggests a few lines later:
The story of that baleful burning night
When subtle Greeks surprised King Priam's Troy,
Tell us what Sinon hath bewitch'd our ears,
Or who hath brought the fatal engine in
That gives our Troy, our Rome, the civil wound.
479. Safety in Numbers -- Majoritarianism, unless you fail the identity test and plummet
The straightforward meaning here is that it's safe to be part of the majority in any majoritarian system that protects the majority; people whose identity excludes them from that group do not have safety in numbers. However, there's a more specific reference to 3 in Three
, which may be seen here
(halfway down the page, starting where the monitor reads "ENABLE RETURN"); the 3 fails the mathematical identity test (3 = 3) due to a system error, and is sent plummeting down to the Lifts. The particular location of that scene, the home of the numbers, so to speak, is called "Safety in Numbers" -- a title whose use becomes clearer when the 3 asserts, much later, that "all characters have access to the entire system" -- an admirably anti-majoritarian ideal.
480. Striking Silent Letter of Them All -- Snow White
Okay, this was another tricky one, and it's my fault for waffling on the clue. I think in the future I need to err on the side of give-away clues rather than tough ones for these. The reference here, though, was simply to the wicked queen's question from Snow White, suggesting here that "Snow White" has the most striking silent letter of them all -- the silent e that comes after the quasi-silent w of "snow" and h of "white."
483. Detales -- Modular counterpart to a whole story
A detale might be a detachable tale, and presumably, it would be more of a detail than the bigger story. I probably should have referenced Eeyore here.
488. _phantasmal coarticulation_ -- 1st-level linguist grammar in which sounds appear to spread
Coarticulation is what happens when the way we say a particular letter or sound, is influenced by the sounds that surround it. Usually, this is something we aren't aware of at all and don't consciously hear. Most commonly this just means vowels are pronounced a little bit differently, but here's a more shocking example in English: when we have a /t/ sound followed by an /r/ sound, we almost always pronounce the t as a /ch/ sound instead. Try it and listen carefully: it's pretty crazy the first time you hear it. So, phonetically, the 't' in words like "truck" is a bit of a phantom.
The other reference here is to phantasmal force
, a 1st-level illusionist spell in most versions of D&D (and probably the most iconic D&D illusion spell in general).
490. Four Letter Patsy -- In M.P. Sex Row
This is a simple reference to a newspaper headline read aloud in one episode of Absolutely Fabulous
: "Four Letter Patsy in M.P. Sex Row." I think this might have made a decent guess just based on the fact that both halves have British-sounding parts. How Nikki missed this I don't know. (Below is a different, later headline.)
499. O wad some Pow'r the giftsie gie us -- The Malachite Brooch, maybe
This one I was particularly proud of. Edgwyn appears to have correctly identified the PDN as a famous line from the Robert Burns poem "To A Louse," approximately 'oh would some power give us the gift...' Well, almost
correctly. There has been one small edit. In the original, the word is "giftie." Now the PDN asks, would the GIFTSie give us something? Well, in the first game, they provide the party with the Malachite Brooch.
501. Sub Roma -- State secrets, maybe
Simply a play on the phrase sub rosa,
meaning "in secret," suggesting something that is both secret and under the dominion of Rome, i.e., the state.
"I, for one, prefer to believe that the forums are dead and that Lilith, Slarty, and I are all ghosts haunting the forum." -- Triumph
"I think we all have days where we feel like a Displacer Iguana." -- Slarty