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Is there an emphasis/clue on the number 10 in Chapter 4, entitled Agent X?

  • X is the Roman numeral for ten
  • S is referred to as Agent X by the newspaper and jokingly by his fugitive friends.
  • The tenth footnote has a marginalia drawing of a large X. This is also the only self-referencing footnote in the book.
  • The Chapter 4 cipher uses ten words beginning with ex- (expressly, expatriate’s, extracting, exiling, explosives, explicitly, examination, experiment, exculpation, extraverts) to reveal the ten-word solution (AVOID GRAND CENTRAL KEY STOLEN ASSUME BAG GONE I FAILED)
  • Pfeifer regrets not making the diversionary fire ten times larger (139)
  • When the fugitives first notice Vevoda’s blasting site in the meadow, it is at least a ten-minute walk from where they stand.
  • The blast site is a double-quincunx – a cluster of ten overlapping holes. A quincunx is five dots that form the shape of the letter X, like the five on a domino. And the word quincunx ends in x.
  • P135 seems to have several references to the number 10…
    • Corbeau mentions that she worked at the factory for ten years
    • Fn8 mentions dime novels
    • Fn8 mentions the 1920s and 1930s – decades separated by ten years
  • On the last page of the chapter, Jen and Eric discuss Filomela’s middle name, which begins with X: Xabregas.
  • X often marks the spot where something is hidden. This chapter ends with Corbeau shouting We found it! We found a cave! As she says this, she is looking down at S (Agent X) and Stenfalk (whose name contains the word ten).
  • The last chapter of Ship of Theseus (Chapter 10) is entitled Ships of Theseus. The only difference between the book title and the Chapter 10 title is the letter S. And, of course, Chaper 10 begins and ends with the letter S.
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