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 [quote="Zag"]Brilliant work, Oscar. The only thing you missed is[spoiler] that the dashes and slashes are clearly in order of length, so there's no reason to think that their order is meaningful. If you use the order of the original clues and put the letters that fall on the asterisks in that order, you get: slave who befriended a thorn-ridden lion[/spoiler] So, of course, the final answer is [spoiler]Androcles[/spoiler]![/quote]
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Oscar
Posted: Sun Apr 17, 2011 4:59 pm    Post subject: 1

D'oh! How could I have missed that, Zag?! I had it written out in front of me!
Zag
Posted: Sun Apr 17, 2011 4:37 pm    Post subject: 0

Brilliant work, Oscar. The only thing you missed is that the dashes and slashes are clearly in order of length, so there's no reason to think that their order is meaningful. If you use the order of the original clues and put the letters that fall on the asterisks in that order, you get:

slave who befriended a thorn-ridden lion

So, of course, the final answer is Androcles!
Oscar
Posted: Sun Apr 17, 2011 4:10 pm    Post subject: -1

These moral proverbs can all be found in Aesop's fables. More precisely in stories entitled using two subjects and the conjunctive 'and'.
e.g. the moral of the story 'The Ant and the Dove' is 'one good turn deserves another'. If we drop definite pronouns and replace 'and' with a slash then story titles can be found which embody all the morals. The problem is that there are various different ways of translating from the original Greek and several fables have different derived morals, according to the interpreter.

Another problem is how the 17 slash-divided sequences have been ordered: they don't match the translated morals and they don't seem to match any alphabetical order of question or answer.

One interpretation which seems to almost work is:

'One does not benefit from untouched affluence' =
'Wealth unused might as well not exist' from 'The Miser & his gold' (5/3,4) i.e. section 8.
'Calamity puts on trial the earnestness of companionship' =
'Misfortune tests the sincerity of friendship' from 'The Bear & two travelers' (4/3,9) i.e. section 16.
'Divine beings deign to aid those who are most self-sustaining' =
'Gods help those who help themselves' from 'Hercules & the Wagoner' (8,7) i.e. section 13.
'We endure when together, but stumble when separate' =
'United we stand divided we fall' from 'The Father & his sons' (6/3,4) i.e. section 10.
'None can completely disregard wrongs when with he who has committed the wrong' =
'No one truly forgets injuries in the presence of him who caused the injury' from 'The laborer & the snake/viper' (7/5) i.e. section 6.
'Fowl sharing similar plumage tend to congregate with one another' =
'Birds of a feather flock together' from 'The Farmer & the stork' (6/5) i.e. section 4.
'Unwavering plodding shall achieve victory in the competition' =
'Slow and steady wins the race' from 'The Tortoise & the hare' (8/4) i.e section 7.
'An act of kindness merits a similar response' =
'One good turn deserves another' from 'The Ant & the dove' (3/4) i.e. section 1.
'Truthfulness is the optimal course of action' =
'Honesty is the best policy' from 'Mercury & the woodmen/workmen' (7/7) i.e. section 11.
'A subset of the population are able to exhale varying temperatures in one aspiration' =
'Some men blow both hot and cold' from 'The Man & the satyr' (3/5) i.e. section 2.
'Refraining from corporal punishment will engender a sense of entitlement to your progeny' =
'Spare the rod and spoil the child' from 'The Thief & his mother' (5/3,6) i.e section 12.
'Enticement is superior to coercion' =
'Persuasion is better than force' from 'The North Wind & the sun' (5,4/3) i.e. section 9.
'Needfulness spawns ingenuity' =
'Necessity is the mother of invention' from 'The Crow & the pitcher' (4/7) i.e. section 5.
'Caution that you don't sacrifice material by reaching for something intangible' =
'Beware you lose the substance by grasping at the shadow' from 'The Ass/Dog & the shadow' (3/6 i.e. section 3.
'It is preferable to eat poorly in serenity than well while distressed' =
'Better starve free than be a fat slave' from 'The Town Mouse & the country mouse' (4,5/7,5) i.e. section 17.
'One shouldn't tally hens before a sufficient incubation period has elapsed' =
'Don't count your chickens before they are hatched' from 'The Milkmaid & her pail' (8/3,4) i.e. section 14.
'Avarice frequently extends beyond itself' =
'Greed often overreaches itself' from 'The Goose & the golden eggs' (5/6,4) i.e. section 15.

Taking the asterisked letters in the order given yields:

and although the 'LION' bit looks promising other words are hard to come by.

Maybe there's some definitive interpretation Aesop hinted at in the puzzle text, but I can't see it...
D_Shane
Posted: Sun Apr 17, 2011 5:42 am    Post subject: -2

17. Avarice frequently extends beyond itself.greed often overreaches itself -dsb

12. Enticement is superior to coercion.persuasion is better than force -dsb
Zag
Posted: Sat Apr 16, 2011 4:23 pm    Post subject: -3

Letter counts in the dashes and asterisks (assuming they are letters)

Code:

-*-/*---            3/4    (2nd/1st)
-*-/--*--           3/5    (2nd/3rd)
*--/---*--          3/6    (1st/4th)
*-----/---*-        6/5    (1st/4th)
-*--/-*-----        4/7    (2nd/2nd)
--*----/----*       7/5    (3rd/5th)

-----*--/---*       8/4    (6th/4th)
--*--/--- --*-      5/3 4  (3rd/6th)
--*-- ----/--*      5 4/3  (3rd/3rd)
---*--/--- -*--     6/3 4  (4th/5th)
-*-----/---*---     7/7    (2nd/4th)

-*---/--- -*----    5/3 6  (2nd/5th)
------*-/*------    8/7    (7th/1st)
--*-----/--- --*-   8/3 4  (3rd/6th)
--*--/-----* ----   5/6 4  (3rd/6th)

--*-/--- ---*-----  4/3 9  (3rd/7th)
---- ----*/---*--- -----     4 5 / 7 5  (9th/4th)

Looking up just one of the aphorisms that is certainly correct, this seems pretty definitive that there isn't a clear "author" one could point to. http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/birds-of-a-feather-flock-together.html
Zag
Posted: Sat Apr 16, 2011 3:52 pm    Post subject: -4

4. We endure when together, but stumble when separate. United we stand, divided we fall.

8. An act of kindness merits a similar response. One good turn deserves another.

Also, for #2, "indeed" is all one word. (I don't know if this matters.) And I'm not sure that's the right saying for that interpretation, anyway -- it would have been something more like, "An acquaintance who requires assistance will certainly be companionable."

Observation: there are 17 sayings, and 17 of the dash & asterisk sets, so clearly they connect. I thought they might be the names of the person who said each one, but many of the aphorisms are too old to be attributable. (I think -- I'll go check.)
ralphmerridew
Posted: Sat Apr 16, 2011 3:34 pm    Post subject: -5

1. One does not benefit from untouched affluence.
2. Calamity puts on trial the earnestness of companionship. A friend in need is a friend in deed. (indeed?) -rm?
3. Divine beings deign to aid those who are most self-sustaining.God helps those who help themselves. -rm
4. We endure when together, but stumble when separate.United we stand, divided we fall - Zag
5. None can completely disregard wrongs when with he who has committed the wrong.
6. Fowl sharing similar plumage tend to congregate with one another.Birds of a feather flock together. -rm
7. Unwavering plodding shall achieve victory in the competition.Slow & steady wins the race. -rm
8. An act of kindness merits a similar response. One good turn deserves another. - zag
9. Truthfulness is the optimal course of action.Honesty is the best policy. -rm
10. A subset of the population are able to exhale varying temperatures in one aspiration.... blow hot, blow cold -rm
11. Refraining from corporal punishment will engender a sense of entitlement to your progeny.Spare the rod, spoil the child. -rm
12. Enticement is superior to coercion.Persuasion is better than force. -ds
13. Needfulness spawns ingenuity.Necessity is the mother of invention. -rm
14. Caution that you don't sacrifice material by reaching for something intangible. Don't throw good money after bad. - rm?
15. It is preferable to eat poorly in serenity than well while distressed. Better to starve free than be a fat slave. - rm?
16. One shouldn't tally hens before a sufficient incubation period has elapsed.Don't count your chickens before they hatch. -rm
17. Avarice frequently extends beyond itself. Greed often overreaches itself. - ds
Neo
Posted: Sat Apr 16, 2011 6:13 am    Post subject: -6