There comes a time in any adventure when it’s time to call it a day. Although I had had a great time, travelling through space and time with the Actuary, I missed my family and friends and was ready to go home.
“Before you go,” said the Actuary. “Let me take you on one last journey. I’ll take you anywhere you want to go. What’s your favourite time of year?”
“Then we’ll go to an intergalactic Christmas party in the year 5014 A.D. You’ll love it and it won’t take long.”
What could I say? I do love Christmas, so I had no choice but to agree, and we had a great time. Interestingly, many of our Christmas traditionsfromthe21stcentury have managed to survive to the 51st, including my personal favourite, Christmas crackers. At an intergalactic Christmas party, though, the jokes inside the crackers aren’t necessarily in English. I couldn’t understand a single one of them. Nevertheless, I saved as many of the little slips of paper as I could find, if only to keep them as souvenirs.
At the end of the evening, the Actuary took me back to my office on the night we first met. Even though it had seemed to me like a year had passed, to the rest of the world, I had barely been gone five minutes.
“Are you sure this is what you want?” said the Actuary. “There’s still time to change your mind.”
“I’m sure,” I said. “But I wouldn’t mind one last puzzle, if you could manage it.”
“Check your pockets.”
I did so and pulled out the joke slips I’d saved, as well as another sheet of paper covered in the Actuary’s handwriting. “What do I do with these?”
The Actuary smiled. “You’ll figure it out.” With that, he wished me farewell, stepped into his time machine and vanished from my life. I hoped it wouldn’t be forever.
1. Yhw did eht nekcihc ssorc eht daor? Ot teg ot eht rehto edis.
2. Wophopatop’sop bopropowopnop anopdop soptopicopkopyop? A bopropowopnop soptopicopkop.
3. Hw ta ik dn fo um dr re re ah ms ro la if rb e? Ca re ae kl li el r.
4. Atwhay oday ouyay allcay otway owscray onway away anchbray? Attemptedway urdermay.
5. Otw fhis aer in a aknt. Eno nrstu ot eht ehort adn assy “Do ouy know how ot deirv hist ghint?”
6. Ipx nboz tvssfbmjtut epft ju ublf up dibohf b mjhiu cvmc? Gjti.
7. An ngisma, an rihmn ad a Autrlin wlk nt a br. Te brmn aks, “s tis joe?”
The Actuary’s Joke:
Owt hopunoptoperopsop ra e outway in uif wods nehw onope fo emthay acellopss. If dosn’ mees topo eb eathingbray adn ijt eys era goplopazopedop. Ht e otherway guy qvmmt ou sih pophoponope na d allscray 000. If gaps, “Ym fopropienopdop si eadday! Ahtw ep I od?” Tophope po re ta ro ayssay, “Aclm epxo. Fist s’tel mopakope us er e’shay adde.” Uifsf is ecnelis, tophopenop a otshay is ifbse. Bak no tophope hp no e, ethay guy tbzt, “OK, won wophopatop?”
Presented above are seven jokes, written in seven different ‘alien languages’ (i.e. codes). Decipher the jokes and then combine this information to decipher the Actuary’s joke.
ACTUARIES 194 SOLUTION
In Actuaries 194, you were told that 25 of the 28 cards in a deck made up of 8 through Ace in each of the four suits had been dealt into a five by five grid and asked to deduce the face values and locations of each of the dealt cards. The solution is presented opposite.
16 correct answers were submitted. The winner of this month’s prize, selected randomly from among the correct entries, was Su Li Sin, who will receive a $50 book voucher.
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