by Guy Jacobson and Greg Pliska
Problem: Thanksgiving Town/​New Year’s Town

The puzzle is presented as nine audio clips, each with from one to four numbers following it.

The nine “melodies” are strings of pitches, ranging from C up to B, in quarter notes with occasional rests between them. More about them later.

The lyrics to these melodies are well-known movie quotes, though the quotes don’t align with the beginnings and ends of the clips (in most cases). So the first thing solvers should do is reorder the clips so that the string of movie quotes makes sense. That reordered set looks like this:

1I drink your milkshake!There Will Be Blood
2Yo, Adrian!Rocky
3Pardon me, boy. Is this the Transylvania station?Young Frankenstein
4Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope.Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
5I could’ve had class. I could’ve been a contender.On the Waterfront
6Goblin King! Wherever you may be, take this child of mine far away from me!Labyrinth
7He has his father’s eyes.Rosemary’s Baby
8Phone home.E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
9All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up.Sunset Boulevard
10Excuse me, I believe you have my stapler.Office Space
11No, I’ll just be hanging around the mistletoe hoping to be kissed.Love Actually

The first letters of the eleven movies spell the message TRY SOLRESOL.

There are several sources of information about Solresol, including the website Sidosi (a compilation of information about Solresol, the universal musical language), which gives this brief history:

Solresol is a constructed (consciously built, rather than naturally evolved) a priori (not based on a previous language) language. It is based on the solfège scale (do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, si), with each note being a syllable upon which words of 1–5 syllables are built. It was created by François Sudre in 1827, and Sudre published a major book about it, Langue musicale universelle, in 1866. Solresol reached a peak in popularity with the 1902 publication of the Grammaire du Solresol by Boleslas Gajewski. Since then, it has declined in popularity due to the creation of dozens of other constructed languages.1 For more information, please check out the Resources page.

Other useful resources include:

Once solvers learn about Solresol, they can translate the nine melodic clips. Each Solresol word is a string of notes, with a single rest indicating a space between words.

The sheet music showing the nine clips with both their movie-quote lyrics and their solfège syllables (above the staff) can be viewed here.

The nine melodies, in solfège, read like this:


Solvers can use the Solresol dictionary to figure out what these “words” mean in Solresol. The key insight is recognizing that they form another nine famous movie quotations.

Here are the nine translations. Note that Solresol words represent concepts more than specific parts of speech, so solvers will need to use their knowledge of film quotes to help extract the particular meanings referenced here.

1. mirefado simi fa redo sifa midosi

  • mirefado: say, diction, elocution, speech, speaker
  • simi: good morning/afternoon, hello
  • fa: at, to
  • redo: my, mine
  • sifa: little, scarcely
  • midosi: fond of, attached, be attached to, friend, friendly, take to
  • = Say hello to my little friend (Scarface)

2. domifare la remirere

  • domifare: live, exist, be, life, existence
  • la: the
  • remirere: to make something round, ball, round
  • = Be the ball (Caddyshack)

3. laresolla la doremi

  • laresolla: take, seize, grab, taking, seizure, capture, catch, booty, loot, spoil (n.), prey
  • la: the
  • doremi: day
  • = Seize the day (Dead Poets Society)

4. lasolfado dore la lafasoldo

  • lasolfado: show, display, spread out, showman
  • dore: I, me, myself, personally, we, ourselves
  • la: the
  • lafasoldo: currency, money, cash, monetary
  • = Show me the money (Jerry Maguire)

5. dore domifare la domidoresol siremisol

  • dore: I, me, myself, personally, we, ourselves
  • domifare: live, exist, be, life, existence
  • la: the
  • domidoresol: pumpkin
  • siremisol: royalty, sovereignty, the king, queen, sovereign, monarch, dictator, royal
  • = I am the Pumpkin King (The Nightmare Before Christmas)

6. simi redo relamire

  • simi: good morning/afternoon, hello
  • redo: my, mine
  • relamire: neighborhood, vicinity, close, neighborly, neighbor
  • = Good morning, my neighbors (Coming to America)

7. mila do resilasi mimiremi remifala

  • mila: voila, behold, here is
  • do: no, not, nor
  • resilasi: location, place, locality, local
  • mimiremi: as, like, alike, such as
  • remifala: home, house, hut, cottage, hotel
  • = There is no place like home (The Wizard of Oz)

8. dofa rere solmisire domi sido do silasila

  • dofa: he, she, it, him, her, them, they
  • rere: (indicates past tense)
  • solmisire: teach, instruct, educate, profess, professorship, teaching, didactic, teacher, tutor, professor, didactics
  • domi: you, yourself, (singular or plural)
  • sido: how
  • do: no, not, nor
  • silasila: lose, loss, deficit, loser, lost, irremediable, irreparable
  • = He taught you how not to lose (Searching for Bobby Fischer)

9. midofala la famisila dosolsisol la dolasolla

  • midofala: abandon, leave, abandonment, abandoned, forsaken
  • la: the
  • famisila: pistol, handgun
  • dosolsisol: take, carry, bring
  • la: the
  • dolasolla: pastry, cake, meringue, pie
  • = Leave the gun, take the cannoli (The Godfather)

Once the titles of the nine films have been determined, the index numbers given with each clip can be used to extract letters from the reordered film titles. These letters are all from A–G, and again form Solresol words, one per film title.

This chart shows the quotes and their films, with the extracted letters in red. It also shows the resulting notes and their Solresol equivalents.

QuoteFilm TitlesNotesSolresol
Say hello to my little friendScarfaceCdo
Be the ballCaddyshackC D Cdoredo
Seize the dayDead Poets SocietyE Cmido
Show me the moneyJerry MaguireAla
I am the pumpkin kingThe Nightmare Before ChristmasG F E Csolfamido
Good morning, my neighborsComing To AmericaC G C Adosoldola
There's no place like homeThe Wizard Of OzDre
He taught you how not to loseSearching For Bobby FischerA C G Cladosoldo
Leave the gun, take the cannoliThe GodfatherE D Emiremi

The final Solresol quote can be translated thus:

do doredo mido la solfamido dosoldola re ladosoldo miremi

  • do: no, not, nor
  • doredo: time
  • mido: for
  • la: the
  • solfamido: to grow old, decline, be on the decline, old age, decay, decrepitude, old man, old person, old age, decrepit
  • dosoldola: inside, in, internal, internally
  • re: and
  • ladosoldo: outside, exterior, external, outwardly, outdoors, in open air
  • miremi: beloved, darling, dear, dearly loved
  • = No time for the old in-and-out, love.

This is a quote from A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, which is the answer to this puzzle.

1. It is the humble opinion of your authors that, in fact, the presence of “dozens of other constructed languages” wasn’t the primary reason for the decline of a language that requires everyone to memorize the vague meanings of 1000s of random sets of pitches.

Authors’ Note

If you want to learn more about Solresol and other invented languages, the authors highly recommend In the Land of Invented Languages, by Arika Okrent.