Evelyn B. Christensen



More Puzzles

- Five Puzzles
- Hinky Pinkies
- Puzzle Games
- Puzzle Story
- Oodles of more puzzles
- Halloween Riddles

I grew up in a family that enjoyed puzzles of all kinds. Sharing them with each other was part of the fun. Here are five puzzles that I remember from my growing up years.

  • A man without eyes
    Saw pears on a tree.
    He did not take pears.
    He did not leave pears.
    How could this be?

  • A man had three very intelligent daughters. He decided that he wanted to leave all his wealth to the smartest one so he devised a test for them.

    He brought all three girls into an empty room and blindfolded them. Then he told them that he would put a black or white dot on the forehead of each of them. At the signal they were all to remove their blindfolds. If they saw a black dot on either or both of their sisters' foreheads they were to raise their hand. The first person to figure out the color of her own dot would win the inheritance.

    The father then proceeded to put a black dot on each of the daughters' foreheads. The girls removed their blindfolds at the signal. Since each of them saw two black dots they each raised their hand. After a few minutes one of the girls figured out that she had a black dot on her forehead.

    How did she do it?

  • A boy is going to market with a goose, a sack of corn, and a pet fox. He needs to cross a river in a row boat, but it's only large enough to carry him and one of his three items at a time. If he leaves the fox and goose together, the fox will eat the goose. If he leaves the goose and corn together, the goose will eat the corn. He can cross the river as many times as he needs to. How does he get all 3 items safely across?

  • The parents received their first letter from their teenager who'd just gone off to college. The letter said only "Please..." and the following:



    Each letter in the addition problem stands for a different digit 0-9. Can you figure out how much money the college student needs? (Hopefully it's cents and not dollars!)

  • Draw a 3 x 3 grid with nine squares. Place the numbers 1-9, one in each square, so that the sum of the numbers in every row, in every column, and in both diagonals is the same.

Hinky Pinkies
were another kind of puzzle which my family enjoyed. In these you think of two rhyming words and then give a one-word clue for each one. (The puzzles are best if the two rhyming words make at least some sense together.) If the words are one syllable, it's called a "hink pink," two syllables, a "hinky pinky," and if you're clever enough to think of a three-syllable rhyme, then it's a "hinkety pinkety." I've given you two examples below and then some for you to test your thinking on. There's a new one posted each week on the Puzzle Page, too. Enjoy!

  • hink pink: plump kitten -- fat cat

  • hink pink: damp airplane -- wet jet

  • hinky pinky: humorous rabbit

  • hink pink: large hog

  • hink pink: distant sun

  • hinky pinky: skinny horse

  • hink pink: angry father

  • hink pink: nice evergreen

  • hinky pinky: cowardly guy

  • hink pink: petrified rib

  • hink pink: tardy escort

  • hink pink: tuna platter

  • hinky pinky: bloody tale

  • hink pink: timid fellow

  • hinkety pinkety: career site

We also had great fun with Puzzle Games
when I was growing up. These games were usually played at a party, but any group setting would do. They always had a trick to them, which the leader and sometimes an accomplice knew. The fun was in trying to figure out the puzzle trick. The games were played until everybody solved the puzzle or until people got tired of playing. If some people still hadn't figured out the puzzle at that point, we usually didn't tell them---that way we could play the game some other time. Here are four of the puzzle games.

  • Smiley Face (or Pumpkin Face): Everybody, including the leader, sits in a circle. The leader has a long stick, such as a yardstick, and says, "Observe me very carefully and see if you can do everything exactly as I do it. I'm going to draw a smiley face. First I draw the head. Then I draw 2 eyes, the nose, and the mouth. Now it's your turn." She makes a great to-do about "drawing" each thing on the floor in front of her with the stick as she mentions them. She uses her right hand to draw. As she says, "Now it's your turn," she inconspicuously changes the stick to her left hand before passing it to the person on her left. That person then tries to imitate the procedure. When he asks, "Did I get it right?" the leader asks, "Are you finished?" If he is, she answers, "Yes" or "No." The tricky part is that to have done the procedure correctly, the person must have passed the stick to the next person, after switching it to his left hand, and said, "Now it's your turn."

  • Black Magic: For this game the leader has an accomplice who knows the secret. The accomplice leaves the room and the group decides on some object visible in the room to be the secret object. When the accomplice returns the leader points to various objects in the room and asks each time, "Is this the secret object?" The accomplice, seemingly by magic, is able to guess the object correctly. The entire sequence is repeated as many times as desired, with a different object being picked each time. When people think they know the secret, then they can be the one to leave the room and test their theory. The actual secret is the fact that the leader will always point to something black immediately before the secret object (hence the name "Black" Magic).

  • I'm Going on a Trip: The leader starts by saying, "I'm going on a trip and I'm taking __ with me." (For example, I might say that I'm taking a cantaloupe with me.) Each person takes a turn saying what they want to take. The leader responds to each by saying, "Yes, you can go on the trip with me," or "No, I'm sorry you can't go." The leader takes one turn each round just like everybody else, telling something he or she will take. The secret to this game is that the thing the person takes must start with the same letter as the person's last name. Alternatively, you can have it be the person's first name, especially if you're playing with a lot of family members. This game can be fun for the car also.

  • My Aunt Tillie Likes Coffee but not Tea: The leader shares something that Aunt Tillie likes and something she doesn't like. Examples: she likes summer but not winter, she likes pepper but not salt, she likes rummy but not concentration, she likes daffodils but not dandelions. After the leader shares one thing Aunt Tillie likes and one she dislikes, each person in the group gets a chance to suggest one of each. The leader tells whether Aunt Tillie likes or dislikes the things suggested. The game continues around with each person taking turns, including the leader. [This is a fun car game as well as party game.] Oh, did you figure out the puzzle from my examples? If not, you can email me to ask.

When I was in high school I was delighted to discover a Puzzle Story entitled "Ladle Rat Rotten Hut" by Howard L. Chace and had great fun memorizing most of it and then quoting excerpts like "Comb ink" and "Hoe-cake" at appropriate times. It was intriguing to puzzle out what the words in the story meant. And it had obviously been a puzzle for Chace to figure out how to write it! Maybe you'd like to change another story into a puzzle the way Chace did this one, without a single word being the correct one!

Ladle Rat Rotten Hut

Wants pawn term dare worsted ladle gull hoe lift wetter murder inner ladle cordage honor itch offer lodge, dock, florist. Disk ladle gull orphan worry putty ladle rat cluck wetter ladle rat hut, an fur disk raisin pimple colder Ladle Rat Rotten Hut.

Wan moaning Ladle Rat Rotten Hut's murder colder inset, "Ladle Rat Rotten Hut, heresy ladle basking winsome burden barter an shirker cockles. Tick disk ladle basking tutor cordage offer groin-murder hoe lifts honor udder site offer florist. Shaker lake! Dun stopper laundry wrote! Dun stopper peck floors! Dun daily-doily inner florist, an yonder nor sorghum-stenches, dun stopper torque wet strainers!"

"Hoe-cake, murder," resplendent Ladle Rat Rotten Hut, an tickle ladle basking an stuttered oft. Honor wrote tutor cordage offer groin-murder, Ladle Rat Rotten Hut mitten anomalous woof.

"Wail, wail, wail!" set disk wicket woof, "Evanescent Ladle Rat Rotten Hut. Wares are putty ladle gull goring wizard ladle basking?"

"Armor goring tumor groin-murder's," reprisal ladle gull. "Grammar's seeking bet. Armor ticking arson burden barter an shirker cockles."

"O hoe! Heifer gnats woke," setter wicket woof, butter taught tomb shelf, "Oil tickle shirt court tutor cordage offer groin-murder. Oil ketchup wetter letter, an den-- O bore!" Soda wicket woof tucker shirt court, an whinny retched a cordage offer groin-murder, picked inner windrow, an sore debtor pore oil worming worse lion inner bet. Inner flesh, disk abdominal woof lipped honor bet, paunched honor pore oil worming, an garbled erupt. Den disk ratchet ammono pot honor groin-murder's nut cup an gnat-gun, any curdled ope inner bet.

Inner ladle wile, Ladle Rat Rotten Hut a raft attar cordage, an ranker dough ball. "Comb ink, sweat hard," setter wicket woof, disgracing is verse. Ladle Rat Rotten Hut entity bet rum, an stud buyer groin-murder's bet.

"O Grammar!" crater ladle gull historically, "Water bag icer gut! A nervous sausage bag ice!"

"Battered lucky chew whiff, sweat hard," setter bloat-Thursday woof, wetter wicket small honors phase.

"O, Grammar, water bag noise! A nervous sore suture anomalous prognosis!" "Battered small your whiff, doling," whiskered dole woof, ants mouse worse waddling. "O Grammar, water bag mouser gut! A nervous sore suture bag mouse!" Daze worry on-forger-nut ladle gull's lest warts. Oil offer sodden, caking offer carvers an sprinkling otter bet, disk hoard-hoarded woof lipped own pore Ladle Rat Rotten Hut an garbled erupt.

MURAL: Yonder nor sorghum stenches shut ladle gulls stopper torque wet strainers.

(See Ladle Rat Rotten Hut for copyright explanation.)

Halloween Riddles

I've always enjoyed riddles, which are a kind of verbal puzzle. Here's a list of Halloween ones I've collected over the years. (I'm sorry I can't acknowledge the authors. They weren't given.)

Here are the answers. Can you match them up correctly?

Here are even more:

Q: What happened to the monster children who ate all their vegetables?
A: They gruesome.

Q: Why did the ghost go to hospital?
A: To have his ghoul stones removed.

Q: What did the evil chicken lay?
A: Deviled eggs.

Q: How did the ghost repair his sheet?
A: With a pumpkin patch.

Q: Why do witches think they're funny?
A: Every time they look in the mirror, it cracks up.

Q: What do you get if you cross a teacher with a vampire?
A: A blood test

Q: What is the one room a ghost won't go in?
A: A living room.

Q: What kind of dog does the mad scientist have?
A: A lab.

Q: Why aren't there any famous skeletons?
A: They're a bunch of no bodies.

Q: What does a vampire never order at a diner?
A: A stake sandwich

Q: What type of dog does Dracula have?
A: A blood hound.

Q: What kind of music do mummies listen to?
A: Wrap music.

Q: What do you get When you divide the circumference of a jack o'lantern by its diameter?
A: Pumpkin Pi

Q: Why are there always fences around cemeteries?
A: People are dying to get in.

Q: Do witches ride their brooms when they're angry?
A: No, because they're afraid of flying off the handle.

Copyright 2005 Evelyn B. Christensen
Website Design by Stephen M. Christensen