A Collection of Riddles

Voices cover art

Voices, The First Book

I have in my collection of books a series of anthologies called “Voices”, put together by some chap called Geoffrey Summerfield in the late 1960s.

The books contained a mix of obscure, anonymous poems as well as lesser-known scribblings by famous writers. Among them are various riddles, some ancient, some modern.

The answers are written in “white text” under each riddle. Highlight the text to read it.

 

Decapitations by ‘C.C.’

Behead a small animal
and find a river in England

Answer >> (M)ouse <<

Behead a loud call
and find a plaything

Answer >> (W)hoop <<

Behead a stream of water
and find a bird

Answer >> (B)rook <<

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News and Updates for October

Dreams of Gerontius logoThis is a monthly update of treasure hunt, game and puzzle tidbits.

Harry Hid It, But Where Is It?” is an armchair treasure hunt with a prize of at least $5000. Harry has hidden his stolen treasure and the challenge is to find where. Entries can be submitted between 1 March and 15 June, 2017.

Clues to the treasure are found in an adventure novel which can be bought for $9.99 as a download or $19.99 for a physical copy. The first five chapters are available for free to check if it’s your sort of thing.

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The Bus Game: Print out and Play

bus board game

The Bus Game Board

Good news, I have created a printable version of The Bus Game for everyone to enjoy.

You can download it here: The Bus Game Print Out and Play

Download and print off the file. Then you can either cut out and stick together the playing pieces, or you can use Lego bricks for the buses and a coin for the time-track counter.

There are numbers on the top of each bus so you can use a normal six-sided die if you want.

I hope you enjoy the game. Please leave a comment to let me know how you got on!

Citadels

Citadels game box

Bruno Faidutti’s Citadels

Citadels is a tidy little card game in a small blue box. When you have a lot of games, and when you want something to take round a friend’s house or to the pub, these things are important!

It’s also fun to play, this being the other important thing in a game.

The players are noblemen (and/or women) competing with each other to build the best citadel. This can only be achieved with lots of gold and the help of powerful characters such as the Thief, the Merchant and even the King.

Each round players secretly choose a character to aid them from a deck of cards. Each character has very different skills and abilities. The Bishop will earn you more gold if you favour the Church, while the Warlord will destroy buildings in your opponents’ citadels, for a price.

Most intringuing are the Assassin and Thief. These characters kill or steal from others, but only if the player correctly guesses the character selection made by others.

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Neil Gaiman’s A Study In Emerald

Study in Emerald game box

Neil Gaiman’s A Study In Emerald, the game

Sherlock Holmes vs Cthulhu, the ultimate showdown! This is the selling point of A Study In Emerald, the game by Martin Wallace, if not quite the plot of the Neil Gaiman short story.

A little background is necessary. In 2003 there was a short story collection called Shadows Over Baker Street. In it, 18 different authors mash together Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes and H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos in a nightmarish alternative history.

Neil Gaiman wrote the first story in the collection, beautifully introducing the concept and twisting the reader about like a confused puppet. His story, which won a Hugo Award, is available as a free PDF from his website and is worth a read if you’re a Sherlock fan – the style and in-jokes are clearly targeted at fans of Doyle rather than Lovecraft.

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The Bus Game

Bus Board Game

The Bus Game final prototype

The Bus Game is a children’s board game of my own design.

My other half and I made a prototype (for my nephew’s birthday) by buying bits of wood off the Internet, painting them with acrylics and tester paints intended for when we finally redecorate the bedroom, then spray-varnishing them.

Players try to get the four coloured buses through the village, from one bus depot to another, before bed-time. The game is co-operative so everyone wins or loses together.

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The Ultimate Quest

Ultimate quest book cover

The Ultimate Quest

The adage of never judging a book by its cover was never truer than with The Ultimate Quest by William Lynhope. The forest scene daubed in primary colours creates an expectation of something similar on turning the page.

The harsh reality of the interior is 50 pages of unremitting grey text as a grey man meets with a grey lawyer and his blonde assistant. Make it through the story to the clues that supposedly lead to the Holy Grail and you’re rewarded with grey photos of a Michelin road map of France and a copy of The Burlington Magazine. My excitement is barely contained!

Published in 2001, The Ultimate Quest is the search for the Grail. The first person to locate the Grail Keeper and answer his questions three (no, five!) would receive a “priceless” replica of the Grail itself. In 2011, the publishers admitted defeat and closed the competition, never revealing the solution.

The puzzle is a combination of code-breaking and cryptic clues. A little searching on the Internet reveals that nobody has much idea of the solution and the pieces that have been decoded hint at a level of ambiguity that probably renders the puzzle impossible.

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The Egyptian Jukebox

Egyptian Jukebox book cover

The Egyptian Jukebox

The Egyptian Jukebox is an intriguing puzzle book and certainly worth a read, though it is not one that you are likely to return to time and again.

Written by Nick Bantock in 1993 the titular jukebox is a cabinet having 10 drawers, each associated with a different Egyptian God, and all lovingly photographed. Every drawer is stuffed with creepy knick-knacks, coins and postcards from around the world. A short, often ghostly story accompanies each drawer and gives context to the contents.

The creator of the jukebox poses a single riddle: “Where do my worlds join?”. To help solve it, cryptic clues have the reader running around each drawer like a rat in a maze.

This is an enjoyable and solvable puzzle. Small clues scattered throughout the book must be pieced together to find the correct path through every drawer. It’s nicely structured so that the reader can see that they’re making progress, but different stumbling points present themselves on each page and require a slightly different approach to solve.

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Untitled Bee Book by Kit Williams

Bee Book cover

Untitled Bee Book by Kit Williams

A few years after Masquerade‘s hunt for the golden hare came to an end, Kit Williams produced a new puzzle book featuring a golden bee.

Having learned from experience that inciting people to dig up England wasn’t a wise move, this time the puzzle was a postal competition: work out the title of the book, represent it artistically and mail it in within the 1 year time limit. Kit chose his favourite solution and awarded the prize of a mahogany box containing a titled copy of the book on a special edition of the Terry Wogan show in 1985.

As with Masquerade, the art is gorgeous. Rather than straight paintings, Kit Williams shows off his marquetry skills with beautiful and imaginative frames, set with gems and carvings. Sometimes, as on the cover, the painting itself is only a tiny part of the whole work. Everything is beautifully photographed to show off how 3-dimensional each piece is.

The story is whimsical and timeless, though lacking the quest narrative impact of Masquerade.

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