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Neil/Fred's List of Riddles


The following books are collections of riddles similar to the ones on this page (and incidentally, the books have answers):


I've received a lot of email about the famous GRY "riddle". Allegedly there are three words in the English language that end in "gry", the first two being "angry" and "hungry". For information about this "riddle", read this essay. Also, check out this site which includes a list of all the -gry words to be found in the most common dictionaries in use (OED, Merriam-Webster, etc). (Incidentally, that latter site also contains a lot of information about other interesting word phenomena... Unfortunately, it's not hyperlinked, so you have to just strip off part of the url, and look around what's there.) In any case, I don't include the GRY riddle in my list because I don't consider it to be a riddle.


In each of these riddles the object is to figure out why something happened, or how someone knew, or how something is possible, or basically just what's going on. You can figure them out by asking yes/no questions. I never tell the answer. If you are interested in solving some, please ask me questions. And if you know of any that I don't have on this list send me them, but again, don't tell me the answer, let me figure it out.

To mail me, click one of the links at the bottom of the page.

And now, without further ado, here is my list of riddles:

  1. A man lives on the 50th floor of an apartment building. Each day he takes the elevator down to the 1st floor, and goes to work. When he comes home he takes the elevator to the 25th floor, and walks up the stairs the rest of the way, unless it's a rainy day, in which case he takes the elevator all the way to the 50th floor.
  2. Mr. and Mrs. Workle go on a trip to Switzerland. While they're gone a man sees in a newspaper: "Mr. Workle Killed in Ski Accident." He immediately calls the police and says, "Arrest Mrs. Workle when she gets off the plane; she killed her husband."
  3. A man and his daughter are traveling and stop to get rooms for the night. They both check in and go to their respective rooms to get a good night's sleep. The next morning, there is no trace of the daughter.
  4. A man in Chicago receives a package. He opens it, smiles, and sends it to a woman in L.A. She opens it, smiles, and sends it to a woman in Miami, who opens it, smiles, and sends it to a man in Seattle. He opens it, smiles, and throws it out.
  5. A man is walking down the street, and sees in a restaurant window, "Special Today: Albatross Soup." Excited, he runs in and orders a bowl. As soon as they bring it to him, he crams a spoonful into his mouth, swallows, runs home and shoots himself.
  6. A man and his son get in a car accident. The father dies instantly, and the son is rushed to the hospital. A doctor sees the boy and says, "I can't operate on this child; he's my son."
  7. A black car with no headlights stops just before hitting a black man in a black cloak.
  8. A cabdriver goes right past a stop sign without stopping. A cop sees it but does not give the cabdriver a ticket.
  9. A man jumps through a 99th floor window because he hates his job. He survives the jump.
  10. A man is in his car with all the doors and windows closed, and he gets shot in the head, without any glass breaking.
  11. An airplane is a mile above sea-level. The pilot sees a mountain straight ahead of the plane, but is not alarmed.
  12. Dick is lying asleep on the couch and Jane is dead in a pool of water with broken glass around her.
  13. Woman on island; no bridge, no boat.
  14. A woman wakes up, picks up the phone, dials, listens to it ring twice, then hangs up, and goes back to sleep.
  15. A woman pushes a wheelbarrow, then stops in front of a hotel and frowns.
  16. A woman goes home, turns out the light, and goes to sleep. She wakes up, reads the newspaper, and kills herself.
  17. A woman is driving to work, but then she drives off a cliff.
  18. A woman walks into a bar, and asks for a glass of water. The bartender pulls out a gun. She says, "Thank you," and leaves.
  19. A man kisses his wife one morning, leaves the apartment, pushes the elevator button, and thirty seconds later he realizes his wife is dead.
  20. A man is running down a corridor with a piece of paper. Suddenly the lights flicker. He stops running, rips up the paper, turns around, and walks back.
  21. A man is in a train. The train goes into a tunnel. The train comes out of the tunnel. The man is dead.
  22. A house is burning, and there's a man in SCUBA gear inside.
  23. A man is walking down the street; he sees a woman, pulls out a gun, and shoots her. He is arrested, but no charges are pressed.
  24. Jury finds guilty; judge refuses to sentence.
  25. Two people look exactly the same, but they're not twins.
  26. Two people are dead in a cabin on the side of a mountain.
  27. Two pieces of charcoal and a carrot lie in the middle of a field.
  28. He's heading home, but he's stopped by a masked man.
  29. Phone rings; man frowns; man dies.
  30. Bell rings; man dies; bell rings.
  31. The music stops and the lady dies.
  32. She leaves on Wednesday, stays there for two days, and then returns on Wednesday.
  33. Smooth chest, no hinges or lid, / But deep inside golden treasure is hid.
  34. In the morning he walks on four legs, in the day he walks on two legs, and in the evening he walks on three legs.
  35. The person who makes it doesn't use it; the person who buys it doesn't want it; the person who uses it doesn't know it.
  36. It's better than the gods, it's worse than the devil. The dead eat it all the time, and the living who eat it die slow.
  37. At a hardware store you can buy 1 for 25 cents, 12 for 50 cents, and 100 for 75 cents.
  38. A man is hanging dead in an empty room which is bolted shut from the inside.
  39. A man lies dead in a phone booth.
  40. A man lies dead in the desert with a hole in his shoe.
  41. A man lies dead in the desert with a pack on him.
  42. A man lies dead in the forest with a pack on him.
  43. A man lies dead in a room with 53 bicycles.
  44. A man lies dead and naked on the beach, holding half a match.
  45. A man lies dead in bed. On the window sill is a glass with a pink liquid in it.
  46. A man lies dead by a pool of red with two sticks by his head.
  47. A man lies dead near a stone.
  48. A man lies dead near a pile of sawdust.
  49. A man lies dead in a desk chair which faces a closed window. On the desk is nothing but a broken pencil.
  50. A man lies dead in a net outside the eighth floor.


If you mail me asking for the answers to the riddles, please be aware that your letter will be promptly thrown away. As stated above, I will NOT give you the answers, no matter what reason you give me for needing them. I really don't care if you're a teacher who wants to use them in your class, or if you've heard some of these from your friend and you really want to stump him with one he's never heard, or you don't speak very good english, or whatever reason you might have.

That may sound arrogant or like I think I'm somehow "superior". I really don't think that. It's just very annoying to get mail asking for the answers, even though I explicitly state that I will not give them to you. Perhaps the arrogant part is in my refusal to give the answers. But I assure you that it's not because I think I'm better than you, it's just because it would defeat the purpose of the riddles for me. The whole point is the back-and-forth process. I am happy to enter that process with random strangers on the internet because I enjoy it. But why should I give away something I worked to attain?

If you really want to know the answers, you are welcome to put in some effort to figure them out. It's really not all that difficult. I'll even help you. And, best of all, once you do, you'll know the answers.

If you really insist on asking for the answers even knowing that your mail will be thrown away, please direct such inqueries here:

"I understand that my mail will immediately be thrown away, but I want to ask Neil/Fred for the answers anyway."
If you use this link rather than the other, it makes it easier for me to trash your mail.

If you would like to begin figuring out a riddle by asking yes-or-no questions, or if you would like to send me a new riddle, click here:

"I would like to begin figuring out a riddle by asking yes-or-no questions."
"I would like to submit a new riddle."
I generally reply quite quickly, but if I don't reply to your mail within, say, a couple weeks, feel free to mail me again and complain.

Comments, questions, additions? to mail me, see the link above