How To Solve a Riddle

Learn to Answer Hard and Tricky Riddles

Riddles are a centuries-old challenge and have passed the test of time by virtue of how imaginative and fun they can be. The form of riddles has evolved through the years, and today's generally rely upon double-meaning and word-play. Without a little bit of skill and luck, they can be frustrating, but here are some helpful hints and a few samples that will hopefully help you unlock your inner riddle-master! 

  1. The single most important thing to remember when attempting to solve hard riddles is that they are meant to trick you. With that in mind, look for any language that could have multiple meanings and guard against your own assumptions. Usually riddles are comprised of a few different lines, so the best plan of starting to solve one is to break it into manageable chunks.solve riddles
  2. Once you have your clues divided, you must look at them individually to come up with any possible answers. What you need to know is that a clue is usually meant to mislead you. Consider the first line of a riddle. "What runs, but never walks?" One of the most common tricks is giving everyday objects human characteristics. When you initially hear the word "runs" or "walks," you think of a human or animal. But, you have to remember that riddles usually lend themselves to objects, not people. If you think about the two key words, you will realize that they may be talking about an inanimate object, such as a fridge. Electronics run, but of course, they don't walk. Water also runs, but never walks. You need to examine the key words and dissect them to figure out how they may be misleading you.
  3. Let's move on to the next line. "What has a face, but never weeps?" Once again, you may be fooled into immediately jumping to the conclusion that the solution is a person or animal, so consider the alternatives. What else has a face? Consider everyday objects, since the joy of riddles is often in how mundane, yet imperceptible the solution is to us. What has a face, but not in the way humans have faces? The answer may have dawned on you -- a clock has a face but doesn't weep. Clock also satisfies the first line.
  4. Now that you know the basic trickery of riddles, it's time to try something a little different. Letter riddles are basically questions that poke fun at the alphabet. Similar to a play on words, they play directly on the alphabet. An example would be, "How is a D like a pirate?" The answer is, "because it follows the C." In this instance, the letter C is actually indicating the word sea. Consider another example: "How do you file an axe?" Answer: "Under the letter A!"
  5. Word riddles are challenging, but math riddles are even tougher. The most important part to remember is that there is no right solution. Math intensive riddles usually aren't that "math intensive" at all, but use numbers to mislead you. Once again, you have to read between the lines to make sense of what it is asking. Break it down into small chunks so that you can tackle one part at a time and avoid completely overwhelming yourself. Look carefully for tricky subject matter. What is it trying to imply? The answer is quite contrary to the implication.
  6. Let's conclude with a few riddles involving numbers. "When do elephants have 8 feet?" The most interesting thing about this is that the real answer is so obvious, yet we adults over-think what it's actually indicating. A single elephant, of course, can never have 8 feet. But elephants can have 8 feet if there are two of them!

    "What has 100 legs, but cannot walk?" Once again, it is easy to let the implications of numbers and subject matter mislead you. Your best strategy is to reject the most obvious solution. In this case, the legs aren't human or part of a living creature. 50 pairs of pants is the answer.

  7. Finally, the most important tip is to always think outside the box. Riddles work because people immediately draw a hasty conclusion. English uses some words to have many different meanings. If you don't think carefully, and look outside the box, you'll never be able to properly tackle riddles.
  8. Here are a few fun riddles to try -- look for the answers at the bottom of the article!
    • "What is alive and only has one foot?"
    • "What is the difference between a new penny and an old quarter?"
    • "How do you stop a skunk from smelling?"
    • "Why is the letter A like a flower?"

Good luck in solving your own riddles. Provided are some links to get you started. See what you can crack on your own! Then, once you solving, you may even want to start telling tricky riddles to others!


  • A leg.
  • 24 cents.
  • Plug its nose.
  • It is follow by B's.


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