What is a riddle?
A riddle is a statement, question or phrase having a double or veiled meaning, put forth as a puzzle to be solved. Riddles are of two types: enigmas, which are problems generally expressed in metaphorical or allegorical language that require ingenuity and careful thinking for their solution, and conundra, which are questions relying for their effects on punning in either the question or the answer. A riddle is a question which is designed to trick or deceive with a hidden or double meaning. Riddles are generally designed for you to question a hidden assumptions and apply careful thinking. Once the answer is revealed the flaw in your thinking seems obvious (and to some rather frustrating). Riddles are generally utilizing one of either two tricks.
- Wordplay: Using words with a double meaning which hide the true question and answer.
- Enigmas: Use metaphors which require creative thinking to understand what is being asked
How do I make a riddle?
To make your own riddle use either of the above two common methods of either wordplay or enigmas to ask a question. Lets take wordplay. Riddles often use the spelling of a word instead of it's meaning to deceive. Say we wish to ask a question about a Week and Year. Our brains will begin to think about the meaning we have attached to these words and not the actual words themselves. We will think about Calendars, dates and time and not the actual spelling of the word, this is how we deceive and construct our riddle.
What happens twice in a week but once in a year?
Surely there is nothing that can happen in a week that couldn't happen in a year right? A year is much longer than a week. This is where our brains become stuck and we no longer challenge the assumptions we've already made in the question. The answer of course lie in the spelling of the words and not what the words represent. The answer is 'e' which is frustratingly obvious once you get the hang of riddles
How can I get better at riddles?
Answer 100 riddles and you will begin to see a few common patterns. If you've read the above and see how we created our own riddle you will understand how difficult riddles can be to answer when you are not questioning assumptions you might already be making.
- Test the assumptions you're making if you're stumped
- Look for wordplay, is the answer in the spelling of the word
- Relax, creativity increases when you're chill
- Think of similar riddles and see if you can find patterns
- Practice, practice practice and you'll see all the usual tricks