Thursday, January 06, 2000

Ho, ho, ho: Who would know the answer?




BY JIM KNIPPENBERG
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        And this from the puzzled Loretta Cook: He struck again. Cook is the Anderson Township woman who for 28 years has found an elaborate Christmas puzzle on her doorstep — a 3-D riddle based on a tortured play on words.

        Such as:

        A leafless tree with a bullet (A Cartridge in a Bare Tree). Two Volkswagen engine heads topped with springs and gumdrops (While Sugarplums Danced in Their Wee Little Heads). A toy truck full of cows, crashing into a stockyard. The truck sign said “Parton Cattle Ranch” (Wreck the Stalls with Cows of Dolly).

        Last year it took Cook plus several Eye readers to figure it out: A sheep and two watches on the belly. One had the correct date and time (facing out), the other had 3 a.m., Aug. 3.

        “Ewe better watch out” was the consensus.

        The sender is anonymous. Cook swears she'd “kill to find out.”

        Now the perp has struck again and Cook, fresh back from French Polynesia and suffering jet lag, has no idea:

        It's three toy cars, '30s vintage, at the Hollywood and Vine intersection in Hollywood. There's an empty director's chair (red canvas) and each car has a name in gold: Buster Keaton, Clara Bow, Charlie Chaplin.

        Two cars are empty. Chaplin is in the third. Naked.

        “Now how do I figure that out? I hope Charlie naked doesn't mean anything, but you never know.

        “Maybe your readers can help?”

        Hmmm. Readers? Ideas?

        SOLVED: At least one holiday mystery has been solved.

        Shortly before Christmas, 1,000 locals got a card with photos of the Beatles and Elvis and a line asking, “What do you get when you put All the Kings Men and Four Fab Young Lads together?”

        The back of the card promised “you'll find out soon.”

        Now we know: It was a teaser sent by ad exec Rob Riggsbee to hype his annual media party, a little job for 1,000 that always includes a national act.

        This year, it's the cast of the Elvis Tribute Show playing the Taft Jan. 15. Hence the Elvis picture.

        The Beatles? Seems Backbeat, the group of four Anderson pre-teens who do Beatles hits (even did one on Rosie O'Donnell once), is opening the show.

        Riggsbee, who had his company logo on the card, got mega response: “More than 100 calls and e-mails from people wanting to know or trying to guess who was playing.

        “A few figured it out, but most thought it meant Ringo Starr or Julian Lennon was coming in.”

        PLAY IT: Proving once again, the show must go on ...

        So Lee Stolar, one of the city's top pianists (also known for hideously punny jokes) played a gig the Tuesday before New Year's Eve, went home and had chest pains — like four years ago when he needed heart surgery.

        He drove to the hospital and was admitted. Wednesday, his cardiologist ordered an angiogram, took a look and ordered angioplasty. Now!

        He was released Thursday, rested some and, yes, played his New Year's Eve date with Mary Ellen Tanner at the Celestial.

        “I went in tired but thanks to my cardiac rehab at Jewish Hospital, I managed to play energetically. It was one hell of a New Year's Eve.”

        Knip's Eye View appears Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Have an item to report? Call Jim Knippenberg at 768-8513; fax: 768-8330.