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Quotational Quandary (Posted on 2004-02-16) Difficulty: 2 of 5
We use quotation marks for (among other things) mentioning words. In other words, we quote words in order to indicate that we are talking about the word, phase, or sentence occurring within the quotes, and not what what that word, phrase, or sentence refers to. Thus:

Red is a color and "Red" has three letters are true while Red has three letters and "Red" is a color are false.

With this in mind we can see that "Red" names red. is true while each of Red names red and "Red" names "Red" are false.

In addition, we can add multiple pairs of quotes to talk about a word, phrase, or sentence that itself contains quotes. For example ""Red"" takes five keystrokes to type and ""Red"" names "Red" are true.

With this in mind, what is the least number of pairs of quotation marks that need to be added to the following poem to make it true, non-redundant, and not nonsense?

According to W. Quine
Whose views on quotation are fine,
Boston names Boston
and Boston names Boston
But 9 doesn't designate 9.

[Note: "Designates" is understood to be synonymous with "names".]

See The Solution Submitted by RoyCook    
Rating: 2.5000 (4 votes)

Comments: ( Back to comment list | You must be logged in to post comments.)
Solution More | Comment 6 of 20 |
When you say that something is according to someone, that doesn't necessarily imply a direct quote; I can say, "According to Einstein, e=mc²" and it is correct without inner quotes.

Also, I brought up the point about the single quotes and other inconsistencies with this problem in voting, but they were ignored...

The fewest number of pairs (not the least number, another point that was ignored) that are needed is just one, as a few people have pointed out:

"According to W. Quine
Whose views on quotation are fine,
Boston names Boston
and Boston names Boston
But 9" doesn't designate 9.

or:

According to W. Quine
Whose views on quotation are fine,
"Boston names Boston
and Boston names Boston
But 9" doesn't designate 9.

If you think something of that nature amounts to nonsense, then you need at least four:

According to W. Quine
Whose views on quotation are fine,
"Boston" names Boston
and ""Boston"" names "Boston"
But 9 doesn't designate 9.

Either way, it seems pretty trivial..
  Posted by DJ on 2004-02-16 11:47:39
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