Riddles are fun to figure out, like this one: What gets wetter as it dries? This puzzle has a simple answer: a towel.
If you think about it, the answer makes a lot of sense. The towel soaks up all the water as you dry yourself or something else. When you step out of the shower and use a towel to dry off, you’ll notice that the towel is still wet. When you dry the dishes after washing them, depending on how many dishes there were, the towel will be very wet.
Whether you use a towel made of paper or fabric fibres, like cotton, the cellulose molecules in the plant fibres will cause the fibres to soak up water. Cellulose has sugar in it, and when water comes in contact with the dry fibres, the sugar sticks to the water.
What do Riddles Mean?
A riddle is a question, sentence, or phrase that you have to figure out. It can be hard and make you think because it often has more than one meaning. Riddles are a great way to get you to think about things and look at them from a different angle.
Different Kinds of Riddles
There are two main types of riddles. A riddle can be any hard question or problem that has a meaning or answer.
One of them is an enigma, which is a problem that is talked about in a figurative way. To solve the riddle, you have to figure out what the vague statement means. I have a body and a tail, but I’m not a snake. This is an example of an enigma. Qué soy? A coin is the answer.
A conundrum is the other kind of riddle. This question is hard to answer because it has a play on words. What’s the difference between a jeweller and a jailor? is an example of a riddle. The answer is that one of them sells watches and the other one looks at cells.
Riddles in the books
In The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, Bilbo and Gollum get into a riddle contest. One of the hard riddles is: “It cries without a voice, flutters without wings, bites without teeth, and mutters without a mouth.” The wind is the answer.
In Sophocles’s Oedipus Rex, the Sphinx asked Oedipus a well-known riddle. What walks on four legs in the morning, on two legs at noon, and on three legs in the evening? Man is the answer. This is because a baby man crawls around on all fours, an adult man walks on two legs, and an old man needs a walking stick.
TV and movies with puzzles
The character called the Riddler in the TV shows Batman and Gotham and the movie Batman Forever is a clear example of a riddle in a TV show or movie. As Edward Nygma’s (E. Nygma) secret identity, the Riddler left puzzles as part of his crimes. One of these was said in the movie: “We’re five little things you’d find in a tennis court.” The correct answer was “vowels.”
In National Treasure, Ben Gates, a historian, has to figure out a puzzle to find a treasure map. The answer is: “The legend was written, and the stain was made.” The key to Silence is to stay quiet. Mount Matlack can’t hurt anyone with its 55 iron pens. The Declaration of Independence is the answer, which is how Ben Gates figured out that the map was on the back of it.
Make up your own puzzle.
Once you know what a riddle is and have read enough of them to get used to thinking creatively, you’re ready to write your own.
It’s best to start with an answer that’s easy. Choose something people know well, like an animal or a storm, or something that happens in nature. Choose how long the riddle should be. A short riddle can be just a couple of sentences long, while a longer one can be any length you want as long as it’s not too long for your audience to focus on.
To write a riddle, it’s easiest to give the thing you’ve chosen a personality. Think about a yellow pencil with an eraser on the end, for example, and think of adjectives and verbs that describe it. These could be “wood,” “yellow,” “pink hat,” “1” shape, and “2” lead. Next, think about what you do with the thing. For instance, you sharpen pencils so you can keep using the lead to write. Think about what the object does as well. Even though it’s small, a pencil can write anything you want it to.
Now, use the list of verbs and adjectives to come up with metaphors. You need to come up with a creative way to describe your everyday pencil that is vague but eventually makes it clear that it is a pencil. A possible riddle for a yellow pencil could be: “A golden sword with a pink hat has two trees that are both 1 and 2.” Your riddle could always make it sound like the object is talking. In this case, your pencil would say, “I’m a golden sword with a pink hat. I have two trees that are both numbered 1 and 2.”
Say it out loud to see how it sounds to your audience. Use simple words instead of fancy ones. Use rhyme and alliteration to get people more interested. When you’re done writing your riddle, ask your family or friends to answer it. If they get it right away, take a little time to change it and make it more general. If they are having trouble, make it easier for them.