Riddles are fun to solve and an example is: What gets wetter and wetter the more it dries? The answer to this brain teaser is a towel.
When you think about the answer, it's very logical. As you dry yourself or an object, the towel soaks up all the water. When you're nice and dry, having used a towel after stepping out of the shower, you'll notice that the towel is damp. When you dry the dishes after washing them up, the towel will be quite wet, depending on how many dishes there were.
Whether you use a towel made from paper of cloth fibers, such as cotton, the fibers will soak up the moisture because of the cellulose molecules naturally found in the plant fibers. Cellulose contains sugar that sticks to water once it comes into contact with the dry fibers.
What Are Riddles?
A riddle is a question, phrase, or statement that acts as a puzzle for you to solve. Often having a double meaning, it can be challenging and thought-provoking. Riddles are a great way to get you thinking and to look at things from a different perspective to try and solve them.
Types of Riddles
While any question or problem that is hard to work out but has a meaning or answer can be called a riddle, there are two main types.
One of these is an enigma, which is a problem that is described metaphorically. You have to work out what the ambiguous statement means to solve the riddle. An example of an enigma is: I have a tail and a body, but I am not a snake. What am I? The answer is a coin.
The other type of riddle is a conundrum. This is a puzzling question that involves a play on words. An example of a conundrum is: What's the difference between a jeweler and a jailor? The answer is: One sells watches and the other watches cells.
Riddles in Literature
In J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, Bilbo and Gollum end up in a riddle competition. One of the challenging riddles is: Voiceless it cries, wingless flutters, toothless bites, mouthless mutters. The answer is the wind.
A well-known riddle is the one that the Sphinx asked Oedipus in Oedipus Rex by Sophocles. The riddle is: What goes on four legs in the morning, on two legs at noon, and on three legs in the evening? The answer is man. This is because a man crawls around on all fours as an infant, he walks on two legs as an adult, and he has to use a walking stick when he becomes elderly.
Riddles in TV and Movies
An obvious example of riddles occurring in a TV show or movie is the character called the Riddler in the TV shows Batman and Gotham or the movie Batman Forever. As the altar-ego for Edward Nygma (E. Nygma), the Riddler left riddles as part of his crimes. One of these in the movie was: We're five little items of everyday sort; you'll find us all in "a tennis court." The answer to this was "vowels."
In National Treasure, the historian Ben Gates has to solve a riddle to find a treasure map. The riddle is: The legend writ, the stain affected. The key in Silence undetected. Fifty-five in iron pen, Mt. Matlack can't offend. The answer is the Declaration of Independence, leading Ben Gates to realize the map was on the back of it.
Create Your Own Riddle
Once you're familiar with what riddles are and have read a lot of them so that you become used to thinking creatively, you're ready to write your own riddle.
It's best to pick an easy object as the answer first. Choose a familiar object, such as an animal, or a natural phenomenon, such as a storm. Decide how long to make the riddle. A short riddle can be just a couple of phrases while a longer one can be any length you like as long as it's not too long for your audience to focus on.
The easiest way to write a riddle is to personify the object you've chosen. For example, consider a yellow pencil with an eraser at the end and think about adjectives and verbs that relate to it. These could be wood, yellow, pink hat (to describe the eraser), the fact that it looks like the number "1," and that it has a number 2 lead. Next, think about ways you use the object. For example, you sharpen pencils to keep writing with the lead. Also, consider what the object does. For example, despite its small size, a pencil writes everything you want it to.
Now think of metaphors using the list of verbs and adjectives. You need a creative description for your ordinary pencil that is obscure but eventually leads people to guess that it is a pencil. An example of your riddle for a yellow pencil could be: A golden sword wearing a rosy hat, it has two trees, both number 1 and number 2. Your riddle could always read as though the object itself is speaking. In this case, your pencil would describe itself to the audience: I'm a golden sword wearing a rosy hat, I have two trees, both number 1 and number 2.
Use simple rather than elaborate words and say it out loud to gauge how it sounds to your audience. Use rhyme and alliteration to make it more engaging for the audience. When you've finished composing your riddle, test it out on your family or friends. If they solve it quickly, take a bit of time to revise it and make it more abstract. If they struggle with it, make it a bit simpler.