Software Musings

The Old Church

Posted on: 24/03/2007

Writing the previous blog entry caused me to reread my earlier entry on the essential books in any child’s library. That brought me, again, to Littlewood’s Miscellany.

There is one joke in that amazing book that I have never got. Could someone help me? On page 167 of the 1986 edition Littlewood includes this joke:

The old church.

Old lady: “We have a very old church here, 1913.”

“Oh, Aunty dear, you mean 1319.”

“Not at all, my dear, 1325”

Littlewood goes on to say that this joke sharply divides the human race but I must say that I seem to be with the goats rather than the sheep. Any help would be gratefully received.


1 Response to "The Old Church"

As a fellow goat who’s fiddled w/ that one occasionally for quite a while, the best I can do is share a fragmentary thought or two..

1) If Aunty has ‘permutational dyslexia’ which maps 1319->1913 the permutation is ambiguous due to the repeated ‘1’ digit, and the two possible percursors to 1325 are 2513 and 1523. (Leading alas nowhere as far as I can tell).
2) Does “not at all” mean roughly “you’re welcome” in British English, and if so is that a clue?

I agree that there is much to savor in that book, (and in my case at least, much left to savor; there’s a lot I haven’t yet understood).


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March 2007
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The author of this blog used to be an employee of Nortel. Even when he worked for Nortel the views expressed in the blog did not represent the views of Nortel. Now that he has left, the chances are even smaller that his views match those of Nortel.
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