I got somewhere between seven and 1014 guesses in my contest quiz.
A few sharpies got both parts right, including Laurie Jones, of Perry, whom a random number generator chose as the winner of my tattered copy of “Shadow of a Broken Man” by George C. Chesbro.
Would you like to know the answers, O Best Ones?
Or would you rather read my annotation of Kierkegaard’s “Eighteen Upbuilding Discourses” instead?
To the answers it is. Here’s the two-part quiz again:
1. What is the last word in this sentence.
2. What is the fourth word in this sentence.
The key is punctuation. Notice that each sentence ends with a period, not a question mark. That’s because they’re not questions. They’re statements.
Think back on your wasted youth. What kind of quiz has statements instead of questions?
A true or false quiz.
Both parts of my quiz have the same answer: False.
What is not the last word in the first sentence and what is not the fourth word in the second sentence. It’s the first word in both sentences.
I was going to use my favorite literary puzzler for the contest. It was written by Jorge Luis Borges. But it’s semi-famous and easily Googled.
And I know you scamps.
But I want to share it anyway. The answer is below my call-me/email-me line.
Here it is: In a riddle whose answer is chess, what is the only prohibited word?
To contact writer Randy Waters, call 744-4240 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The answer is, of course, chess. He tells you that right at the beginning (“In a riddle whose answer is chess ...”). The rest is just there to confuse you.
He could just as well have written: In a riddle whose answer is chess, how is a spinning mouse?
And the answer would still be chess.