The Challenge Questions



These are some toughies. If you can solve these puzzles, if you can answer these questions, if you can unravel the mystery and find the key, if you can break these chestnuts open, you shall glower in the meaty reward: posting on the Sphinx's "Hall of Fame" board.

Do you know the answer? Really? Send me your solutions at the_sphinx@usa.net. You don't have to answer them all; one will do. But the more you answer, the higher your listing on the Hall of Fame... now, on to the puzzles!


Challenge Question #1: A Contextual Anagram Plus One Puzzle

If you've never solved these before, they're explained on the word games page.
  The ancient wizard collapsed under the power of the magic amulet. He
   just didn't have the __(7)__ to use the __(8)__ anymore.

Challenge Question #2: Another Contextual Anagram Plus One Puzzle
  It is true more often than not that the wisdoms of __(7)__ are just
   plain __(6)__.

Challenge Question #3: Dancing Number Squares
What comes next in this sequence?
            1 4 2       1  7  2 11 
  1 4       8 6 3      15  3 10  6
  2 3       7 9 5      12  4 13 16
                       14  8  5  9

Challenge Question #4: Another Number Sequence
What comes next in this sequence?
26, 51, 95, 161...

Challenge Question #5: A Scrambled Sonnet

The idea is to reconstruct the original sonnet from the words in the grid below. The sonnet is written in iambic pentameter (to each line, five iambic feet of two syllables each, with the accent on the second syllable of each foot) and has the Shakespearean rhyming pattern: ABAB, CDCD, EFEF, GG. Each of the ten columns contains words taken piecemeal from the poem. The first column only contains the first word in a line, the second column the second word in a line, and so on. Since each line may only contain ten syllables, (not counting "feminine" verse, not included here) each line may contain up to ten words, but usually less. (Here, two lines have ten words, five have nine words, and the remaining seven have eight words.) This is also an acrostic sonnet. The initial letters of the first ten lines spell out a word. When the sonnet is correctly reassembled, it should contain fourteen lines of perfect iambic pentameter, with the correct rhyming pattern, and will spell out the ten-letter word when read downwards.

Given all this information, it's only a matter of diligence to find the sonnet... but does any mortal have the staying power? The Sphinx will find out!


 I.        II.        III.      IV.        V.       VI.      VII.        VIII.      IX.       X.

Feed    | dales    | heart's | night    | creeps | more   | and       | longings | I'd     | fly,   |
And     | my       | be      | longings,| no     | more   | upon      | morn     | off     | death. |
Fain    | these    | my      | relief,  | sate   | bid    | in        | spring's | back,   |        |
These   | overcome,| whose   | which    | they   | my     | a         | beats    | joy,    |        |
Nor     | my       | mean    | dales    | I,     | take   | do        | ev'ry    | strong, |        |
In      | April's  | the     | visage,  | I      | now    | dark'ning | ward     | die.    |        |
Availed | eyes     | the     | air      | though | as     | with      | my       | breath, |        |
To      | autumn's | heart's | ends     | in     | soft   | this      | boy,     |         |        |
I'll    | darks    | doth    | bliss    | I've   | resign | agèd      | towers,  |         |        |
Mine    | as       | glower  | wife     | I      | bid    | sunset's  | lack,    |         |        |
E'en    | to       | life's  | revel    | I      | I      | heart     | grow,    |         |        |
Ere     | my       | in      | lost     | can    | my     | dim       | now.     |         |        |
Near    | not      | flower  | please   | as     | knew   | so        | long.    |         |        |
Eve     | fields   | would   | though   | once   | known  | me        | hours;   |         |        |

(Incidentally, the grave sign over agèd indicates that it is to be pronounced in two syllables.)


Challenge Question #6: Another Scrambled Sonnet

Here's another decidedly jumbled sonnet, to be worked as the above, as the Sphinx is generous with puzzles. This one's an acrostic sonnet, also, except it's the first eleven lines that spell out the phrase, and it's two words long. It's a song title. Remember, the strict structure and symmetry of the sonnet shall aid you. Go to't, the Sphinx's well-wishes go with you!


 I.         II.         III.       IV.         V.        VI.       VII.    VIII.      IX.

Resolved | wond'rous | raise    | I         | account | weren't | all    | my      | pen;  |
Could    | my        | praise   | the       | would   | express | how    | to      | woo,  |
Although | flowered  | doth     | would     | her,    | of      | love   | too     | true, |
Enter    | can       | tongue's | psalter,  | ev'ry   | a       | so     | I       | knew, |
Exits    | only      | love's   | halter    | words   | my      | her    | I       | know. |
My       | a         | hymn     | falter    | which   | if      | I'd    | relate. |       |
But      | all       | calm     | of        | as      | is      | not    | abate,  |       |
Paeans   | to        | beauty   | composed  | I       | for     | joys   | add,    |       |
And      | wordwise  | a        | composure | they    | I       | lift   | bad.    |       |
Nor      | words     | once     | kiss      | but     | day     | whit   | anew,   |       |
If       | my        | a        | whispered | thanks  | does    | grow,  |         |       |
Your     | I'd       | verse    | beyond    | word    | her     | women. |         |       |
In       | my        | my       | highest   | prose   | itself  |        |         |       |
In       | with      | I        | for       | fairest | myself, |        |         |       |


Challenge Question #7: A Cryptographic Word Ladder

Below you'll see a word ladder with seven rungs. Each cartouche contains symbols replacing the letters of its word. Each symbol means the same letter for the entire puzzle, and each symbol means a different letter. With each rung, another letter is added, and the order is scrambled to make a new word. Try to figure out what letter each symbol stands for, and discover what words make up the ladder.


Challenge Question #8: A Sick Syllogism

Socrates loved these, and you will, too. It may look bizarre, but it's really highly logical.

SPAM : SPIDER :: ??? : ???

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