NABOKV-L post 0004892, Wed, 15 Mar 2000 11:14:30 -0800

Re: A Cryptic l962 Response to McCarthy's Pale Fire Article in
Encounter. Help! (fwd)
If you mean "McCarthy to Nabokov in five plus three" it's word golf as
played in Pale Fire (index and elsewhere), a word game in which you turn
one word into another by changing one letter at a time, forming a
legitimate word at each stage. (Example: one way to do lass to male
would be lass, last, mast, malt, male). Here the author has cheated a
little: he's made "McCarthy" into two words (harm cyt) and then
transformed each one separately until he got book and van, which can be
joined and rearranged to make "Nabokov". I'm not sure what cyt means
though; that must be what the parenthetical explanation is about. I
should look it up but, as the reader will by now have guessed, I'm
supposed to be doing my income taxes right now.

Mary Bellino