You may have come to know riddles and brain teasers as a great way to get a good laugh, or maybe to challenge a friend. You may even like to challenge yourself with these riddles. But did you know that thousands of years ago, people just like you were interested in a good riddle or puzzle, too?
Some were interested for different reasons than others, depending on their needs. For instance, one of the first uses for a riddle was to “secretly” carry a message from one person to another — a quiz of sorts that only you knew the answer to, and hopefully the person on the other end would be smart enough to solve or figure out. Unfortunately, not everyone was. For example, one of the most famous riddles of all time was that of Samson from the Bible. As a challenge, Samson tried to trick the Philistines with a riddle about honey. Frustrated and angry, the people decided to solve the riddle of Samson's strength instead. When they discovered the answer, they removed his hair, took away his strength, and defeated him.
Many of the words or expressions in our world are forms of these earlier riddles and brain teasers. Take your name, for example. Did you know that your name has a hidden meaning? The stories behind both our first and last names are usually more than meet the eye. Entire books have been written to explain the original meanings behind any first name. Last names are usually easier to guess, as people used to “sneak” what they did for a living into their last name, such as Smith (for blacksmith or goldsmith) and Wagoner. Or, they would use their father's name and then add the word “son” on the end, as in Johnson and Peterson. And middle names? Well, they hid your family lineage by using your mother's maiden name for your middle name.
Puzzling maybe, but there's more: Do you know which famous author secretly fooled a great number of readers by using his last name spelled backward? Actually, his last name was Geisel, and when he wrote it backward, it became Lesieg … but he became famous through his middle name. Do you know what it was? (Answer: It was Dr. Seuss! His real full name was Theodor Seuss Geisel.) Authors aren't the only tricksters. Artists and actors, musicians and entertainers also like to challenge us to try to figure out the sometimes-tough riddle of who they are. Or better yet, who they were.
Probably the biggest brain teaser of all is trying to solve the puzzle of the mind itself. Understanding how our brains work has been one of the greatest mysteries ever. Today, the workings of the brain are still a riddle or brain teaser in need of a solution, if you are interested. This book would be a wonderful place for you to start warming up for a mental challenge.
Almost everyone loves a good mystery or puzzle, and puzzles are a fun way of exercising your brain and testing your friends' skills as well. Best of all, riddles and brain teasers are there to be enjoyed. So, prepare to be tricked, tested, riddled, and teased until you can't take any more — and have fun!