Thursday, December 23, 2010

Ten Hints to Dave's Christmas Present, 2010 Edition

My brother likes to figure out his Christmas presents by groping the wrapping paper. Last year I got him a book, but left a series of hints as to which book in the card. I shared the hints here and people seemed to enjoy it. I'm doing it to him again this year and figured I might share it again as well. The rules are not to Google anything. You can work it out with others, though, and converse in the Comments section.

  1. This is a book. The title is fewer than five words.
  2. The author had an unusual first name. It's almost like a measurement of direction and weight. 
  3. This is not the most famous book of its author. You probably read excerpts from this author's most famous book in high school.
  4. The author was very socially conscious. That most famous book helped spark reform in the meatpacking industry, though that wasn't the author’s point.
  5. 80 years after its publication, this book was adapted into a film with a different title. That title is also fewer than five words. 
  6. The book and film both deal with one of the essential materials of the modern industrial world.
  7. The main character of the film is different from that of the book. Though the book's main character plays an important role in the film, the actor wasn't nominated for anything. Perhaps he was too young.
  8. All of the letters in the title of the book are present in the title of the film.
  9. If you add the number of words in the titles of the book and film, you would have five words.
  10. The titles of the book and the film both refer to liquids (well, you might call one a fluid).

Have fun!


  1. No Googling? Damn, I'm at a loss. I hope you reveal the answer after Christmas :)

  2. No clue. But I love how creative you get with your gift giving. It' like finding the gift, or finding out what it is, is part of the gift. Too much fun!

  3. Clue #4 gives us the author -- it refers to "The Jungle" by Upton (direction + weight) Sinclair.

    Unfortunately, I can't come up with any of his other books.
    Clue #7 hints that the main character is a young boy...

  4. I will give the answer here on Christmas Day, unless you all figure it out before then.

    4andyman is right about #4, and spotted the bonus clue in #7.

    Feel free to guess answers to the clues out. Maybe brainstorming will work. That's what Dave goes for when he gets family around the clue list...

  5. fluid sounds like something in one of the titles might be about blood. And I'm thinking it's the film because my brother is a fan of Upton Sinclair so...I'm trying to visualize his books...and I don't remember a "blood" one.

  6. Got it.

    Thanks to the collaborative memory jogging of my wife, my mother-in-law and my brother-in-law (both in for the holiday), and a session of anangramning, the title of the movie is "There Will Be Blood". We got as far as Daniel Day Lewis for the main character of the movie, but couldn't remember the kid's name.

    The title of the book is "Oil".

  7. I guessed Upton Sinclair easily, and got Oil, but didn't know the movie. What a fun riddle. Darn that Tony! Peace...

  8. Well, I thought #4 was far too big of a clue about the author, and #5 and #6 pretty much gave away the movie, then the book.

    At least I thought so. But I spent ages on clue #8 looking for the letter I in the movie title. Dyslexia bites.

  9. This thing has utterly stumped Dave so far, so accusations of any clues being too big won't hurt me. He loves the movie, which is the hidden clue.

  10. They beat me to it. Damn! ...


    Upton Sinclair



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