
How to Get Riddle Answers
How do you arrive at riddle and puzzle solutions? It depends
on the type of riddle. Here are examples of a few different ones,
and some simple rules or techniques you can use to solve them.
The Key Element
If your sock drawer has 6 black socks, 4 brown socks, 8 white
socks, and 2 tan socks, how many socks would you have to pull
out in the dark to be sure you had a matching pair?
For riddles like this, the fastest way to get an answer is
usually to find the "key element." Like many riddles,
this is designed to mislead you by mentioning the numbers of
socks of each color. The key element, however, is the total number
of different colors. You see this easily once you imagine trying
to get a matching pair out of a hundred different colors. Since
there are only four colors in this case, taking out five socks
will guarantee that two of them will match. Look for the key
element.
Misleading Clues
Are you good at math? Complete the last two in this sequence:
1=3, 2=3, 3=5, 4=4, 5=4, 6=3, 7=5, 8=5, 9=4, 10=3, 11=?, 12=?
Again, a riddle usually tries to mislead. As soon as you read
"Are you good at math?" you should suspect that this
is more than a math problem. In fact the answers for both are
6, because that is the number of letters in the name of the numbers.
Look for misleading clues.
Look for the "Trick"
A frog fell into a hole that was 14 1/2 feet deep. He could
jump 3 feet, but he slid back a foot each time he jumped. How
many jumps does it take him to get out of the hole?
The riddle answer might appear to be 8 jumps, because the
frog only makes 2 feet of progress each time he jumps. By this
reasoning he is at 14 feet after 7 jumps, so he needs one more
to get out. However, he actually jumps 3 feet each time, and
though he normally slides back a foot, his 7th jump, starting
from 12 feet, would take him up and out of the hole. Look for
the "trick."
Riddle Answers You Can't Get
What English word is nine letters long, and can remain an
English word at each step as you remove one letter at a time,
right down to a single letter? List the letter you remove each
time and the words that result at each step.
You won't often get the answers to riddles like this. This
is more "word trivia" than riddle, because to find
the answer, you would probably have to just start going wordbyword
through the whole dictionary, testing each nineletter word.
You could try "reverse engineering" your own solution,
starting with a one letter word, like "I," and adding
a letter at a time: I, in, tin, tint, stint, stints...
Well, that one only makes it to six letters, but you get the
point. This, of course, doesn't give you the answer to the original
riddle. It is a way to create a new riddle, though, and one for
which you'll know the solution.
