1. In The Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter is tasked with cracking this puzzle during the Triwizard Tournament:

First think of the person who lives in disguise, Who deals in secrets and tells naught but lies.
Next, tell me what’s always the last thing to mend, The middle of middle and end of the end?
And finally give me the sound often heard during the search for a hard-to-find word.
Now string them together, and answer me this, Which creature would you be unwilling to kiss?

2. In Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the Mad Hatter poses this puzzle to Alice:

Why is a raven like a writing desk?

3. In James Joyce’s Ulysses, Stephen Dedalus poses a riddle to his pupils:

The cock crew,

The sky was blue: 

The bells in heaven

Were striking eleven.

’Tis time for this poor soul

To go to heaven.

4. An 18th century English riddle may ring more readable than Joyce:

As I was going to St. Ives,

I met a man with seven wives,

Each wife had seven sacks,

Each sack had seven cats,

Each cat had seven kits:

Kits, cats, sacks, and wives,

How many were there going to St. Ives?

5. In J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, Gollum earned his freedom in riddle competitions. Here’s one we liked:

There are 30 white horses on a red hill: First they champ, then they stamp, then they stand still.  What are they?


How’d you do? If you’re in the mood for a real whopper of a pet riddle, check out Einstein’s Riddle as a special online bonus — and, OK, the answer is nothing you’d want on a pet, but this one stumped Homer (just Homer, not Simpson, although it would probably elicit a “D’oh!” from him as well): ppmag.us/11173


ANSWERS ... 1. A spider. | 2. There isn’t one. But readers wanted an answer so much, Carroll later posed one: “Because it can produce a few notes, tho they are very flat; and it is never put with the wrong end in front! This, however, is merely an afterthought; the Riddle, as originally invented, had no answer at all.” (We liked it better without the answer.) | 3. “The fox burying his grandmother under a hollybush.” Don’t get it neither do we and that was Joyces point its a riddle about riddles thats Joyce for you but the answer has a fox and his late grandmother in it and somebody must have had a pet fox yes yes and yes. | 4. One. Classic trickery. | 5. Teeth.

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