Odious and Peculiar

Philology and esoterica: scribblings, ravings and mutterings.

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Forging the Sampo

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Saturday, February 03, 2007
John Derbyshire has a word puzzle that's right up my alley: matching the names of western writers with their Pinyin transliteration. I shall take the liberty of reproducing it in full:
OK, here are 30 Western writers:

(1) Camus. (2) D.H. Lawrence. (3) Bunyan. (4) Trollope. (5) Pushkin. (6) Edgar Allen Poe. (7) Donne. (8) Rousseau. (9) Yeats. (10) Cervantes. (11) George Bernard Shaw. (12) Wells. (13) Dante. (14) Chaucer. (15) Dostoyevsky. (16) Kipling. (17) Goethe. (18) Kafka. (19) Dos Passos. (20) James. (21) Fitzgerald. (22) Keats. (23) Aristophanes. (24) Gogol. (25) Hardy. (26) Charlotte Brontë. (27) Johnson. (28) Thackeray. (29) Flaubert. (30) Shelley.

Now here, in a different order, are the pinyin transcriptions of their Chinese names.

(a) Guogeli. (b) Xiaobona. (c) Alisituofen. (d) Saiwantisi. (e) Zhanmeisi. (f) Gede. (g) Danding. (h) Yuehansheng. (i) Puxijin. (j) Qiaosou. (k) Duosi-Pasuosi. (l) Jiamiao. (m) Tangen. (n) Tuosituoyefusiji. (o) Yezhi. (p) Fuloubai. (q) Feicijielade. (r) Xialuoti-Bolangte. (s) Jici. (t) Kafuka. (u) Sakelei. (v) Jibulin. (w) Ailun-Po. (x) Xuelai. (y) Teluoluopu. (z) Hadai. (aa) Lusuo. (bb) Banyang. (cc) Weiersi. (dd) Laolunsi.

Your task is to match off the second list with the first. You have five minutes to do this, starting… now.
I think I made a pretty respectable showing on my first attempt, getting over two-thirds in the initial five minutes. Of course, I was at work, and therefore not at liberty to keep trackof my results other than mentally.