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Word games and logic puzzles. I feel so alive!




Here, a mortal with a bookish mind and a love for language will find much to ponder over. Savor the flavor of these puzzles... I, the Sphinx, have carefully fashioned them for you.

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The Word Games (and Logic Puzzles)



If the prefix re means "to do again", and the word reveal means "to disclose" or "to make known", what does veal mean?

The answer.

        A L L O Y
        O B L O N G
        S A C
        T O D D L E
        N O I S E
        C E A S E F I R E
What word comes next in this series: APPROPRIATE, FURLONG, NAPED, HOLOGRAPHIC, or FACTORIES?

The answer.

NAPOLEON...
loves Beethoven, but not Brahms.
loves Jefferson, but not Lincoln.
loves Kant, but not Spinoza or Heidegger.
loves George III, but not Nebuchadnezzar or Sargon.
loves hot air balloons, but not bicycles.
Which does Napoleon love: ice cream, Doberman Pinschers, the cinema, or cuneiform?

The answer.

WINSTON CHURCHILL...
loves cigars, ashtrays, and pipes, but hates smoking.
loves England, but hates Britain.
loves both war and armstice.
loves Roosevelt, but hates Stalin.
loves Patton, but hates Eisenhower.
Which of the following does Churchill love: D-Day, airplanes, Blitzkreig, or Allies?

The answer.

You can make one other English word from the letters of "drain". What is the word?

The answer.

Even the most intelligent of you humans make embarrassing mistakes. For example, here's an interesting statement I found on the MENSA home page (this is not a verbatim quote, but it is what was said):

     Q: Isn't it true that many questions on intelligence tests can be
        answered in many equally valid ways?

     A: It is true that people of similar intelligence, when asked the
        same question on IQ tests, respond in similar ways.

What is wrong with MENSA's reply?

The answer.

Unscramble these strange letter sequences. What words are hidden in each?

taactsylupeinrjseweofrlw iroantcapsirreoulaubalev

The answer.

Warning from the Sphinx: There is a diabolical trick to this puzzle, so be careful!

What completes these phrases?

ENGLISH is to ENGLAND as AMERICAN is to...
GEOGRAPHER is to GEOGRAPHY as MATHEMATICIAN is to...
ANGELIC is to ANGEL as DEMOTIC is to...
PARIS is to FRANCE as ROME is to...

The answer.

This nonsense phrase is actually an encoded Biblical proverb. It was coded word-wise; that is, it will make sense again if you do something to each word. How can you break this odd code?
Bass mos xouq oearlr aeford rwind.
The answer.

Unscramble these strange letter sequences. What words are hidden in each?

groaasulibahturomuses refmeupylasrctcincese

The answer.

The month preceding me has the same number of days that I do. There are four vowels in my name. What month am I?

The answer.

You are given the word EVIL and the numbers 2, 3, 4, and 5. You are to take each number and change a letter in EVIL for the one that number of places forward or backward in the alphabet: for example, you can replace E with the letter 2 places later (G) or earlier (C) in the alphabet, or 3 places later or earlier, or 4 places later or earlier, etc. Use each number once and each letter once. You can "wrap around" the alphabet: consider the letter after Z to be A, and the letter before A to be Z.

When done correctly, you will find the name of a Shakespearean character who was, appropriately enough, very evil. Who is this character?

The answer.

I mentioned Shakespeare in the last puzzle, which reminds me of the visit the Bard paid me a while back. No, I will not prattle and bore you with an overlong anecdote. He revealed to me, between cups of Almond Bréve, the location of the only manuscript of his "lost play." Now have I piqued your interest? There hasn't been such a literary discovery since the recovery of Dante's Divine Comedy! Anyway, the puzzle is to discover where the play is hidden. It can be found in an English city, the name of which has been obscured in this puzzle:
       (32,4) (3,3) (2,1) (15,1) (15,3) (1,1) (2,9) (31,8) (31,3)
And if it helps, I can tell you that this is equivalent to:
       (8,4) (16,2) (10,1) (97,2) (3,10) (2,5) (16,4) (89,3) (3,8)
Figure out how to read the name of the city, and do the English literary world a monumental service.
The answer.

Which two of the following phrases are perfect anagrams of this Walt Whitman quote: "A mouse is miracle enough to stagger a sextillion infidels"?
"I mime silent oxen for a sage, ill eagle. Gout hurts aid's coins."
"Fees lead me to the ill lion. Names stone sad rocs; I ax rag's arc."
"Faust's ill lees ax the goose; a trice nims room. I gun gin; I lead."
"Death's exit mines more gold for ill snails. It is so, I can sing!"
"So, can I see the sax or must I store a fee? Mail no gun, sage child!"
(Hint: in a perfect anagram, the letters have all been scrambled; each is used once and only once in the resulting phrase.)

The answer.

What words can mean both ROYAL and AWFUL?

The answer.

CONTEXTUAL ANAGRAMS

Here's some puzzles I picked up during tea with King Anagrammemnon. In each of these puzzles, two words in a sentence or phrase have been replaced by a number. These words are anagrams of each other, and can be made by rearranging the letters of one word to find the other. Use contextual clues to find one of the words, and then the other word may be found by scrambling the first word. The number represents the number of letters in each word. An example:

You can tell the __(5)__ of the moon by its __(5)__.
The words that fill in the respective blanks are phase and shape.

 1. You need to __(5)__ your hair; it's starting to look like an unkept
   __(5)__.

 2. It is said the inventor of __(6)__ was inspired by a walk through
   burr-bearing plants. I wonder what he would have invented had he
   walked through patches of __(6)__ instead.

 3. As a poet, you must make the metre fit your purpose; in other words,
   you must make the __(5)__ __(5)__ you.

 4. The conservationist __(6)__ the endangered animal with a new-fangled
   __(6)__.

 5. Be careful how you __(5)__ the __(5)__! You know how the manager hates
   it when the meat gets disorganized.

 6. It is a jewel of wisdom that the smallest oft best the large. Many a
   __(6)__ has been said to start __(6)__ of lions.

 7. For all her __(5)__ finery, the Queen actually __(5)__ me.

 8. Funny mannequins have been used on farms throughout the world to __(5)__
   birds away, thus protecting __(5)__ of crops.

 9. When birds are first born, puny __(6)__ are their only form of __(6)__.

 10. The __(6)__ as hopes to escape the law must hurriedly __(6)__ from
     place to place.

 11. She never realized that she had a __(6)__ for anagrams; it must have
    been __(6)__ in her all this time.

 12. As we finished putting the __(6)__ on the tree, we sang a reflective
    refrain of "__(6)__ Night".

 13. For his dangerous flight into outer __(5)__, Superman experimented
    with a wide variety of new __(5)__.

 14. His new __(5)__ was the worship of home furnishings. Every day he'd
    bow down to the floral imprint wallpaper and sing hymns to his
    home __(5)__.

 15. Joy: You weren't very discreet. Couldn't you have been more __(6)__?
     Roy: How could I have been heard otherwise over the noise and __(6)__?

 16. John: Did you know professional baseball pitchers can make $1,000 for
           each ball they serve?
     Don: I didn't know a __(5)__ was __(5)__ that much.

 17. Plea of a Wife on a Cold Night:
     Mary: Gary, would you __(6)__ let me a few covers? It's freezing in
           here... oh, my, he's __(6)__.

 18. Two Schoolchildren Come to Self-Realization:
     Jo: D'you know that Teacher doesn't know all the answers, but gets
         them out of a book?"
     Flo: Yes. I suppose that means __(7)__ is a __(7)__."

 19. Ralph: He's such a one-dimensional punk. Absolutely nothing he does
            suprises me... he's so linear.
     Alf: Oh, he's a __(6)__ __(6)__, then.

 20. The __(6)__ man is strong, steadfast, sturdy, and __(6)__.

The answers.

CONTEXTUAL ANAGRAMS, plus one!

How to work these puzzles:

These are worked just as the above puzzles, but one word is longer than the other by one letter, as indicated by the number. Thus, the smaller word is an anagram of the larger word, but the larger word is only an anagram of the smaller word plus one extra letter.

 1. The first __(6)__ landing on the moon was __(5)__ "Apollo 11".

 2. You can tell he __(5)__ the old lady. Every day last winter he used his
   best __(6)__ to clear her walk.

 3. I would __(5)__ do anything to dull this mantelpiece's __(6)__!

 4. With one final __(5)__, the young woman became a new __(6)__.

 5. Joe: "I hate to tell you this, but I don't think Maria likes the new
   __(5)__ you bought her."
    Moe: "Why do you say that?"
    Joe: "She tore it to __(6)__."

 6. The police seargant was too __(5)__ to investigate the witnesses'
   testimony, so he took it on good __(6)__.

 7. That's one twisted zombie. He actually enjoyed being blown to bits. As
   a matter of fact, I'd go so far to say that he __(5)__ being __(6)__.

 8. The horse thief hoped to escape the __(5)__ by appealing to the
   sheriff. Although he had pity on the still-young varmint, the mayor
   protested: "Hang the boy, and the __(6)__, the better!"

 9. Q: What do you call a single man who drinks bad water?
    A: Why, a __(8)__ with __(7)__.

 10: He drives too erratically for me. He starts speedily, slams on the
     __(6)__, and then __(7)__ again.

 11. Isn't it true that a kingdom ruled by a mare might be said to have
     an __(6)__ __(5)__?

 ... and I'll finish with a really bad pun:

 12. Zoe: "I think it's shameful the way those archaeologists raided tombs
           in Egypt, disturbed the dead, and stole their treasures! They
           didn't even __(5)__ them!"
     Noah: "Of course they did. Didn't you hear them say '__(4)__'?"
Want more anagram fun? Try the Hall of Fame Challenge questions.

The answers.