An Annotated Compendium of Stumpers

Authors: 
Maya Bar-Hillel
Abstract: 

A stumper is a riddle the solution to which is typically so elusive that it does not come to mind, at least initially - leaving the responder stumped. I consider two kinds of stumpers. Regular ones, which work by eliciting a (typically visual) representation of the situation described in the narrative, which then blocks the solution; and linguistic ones, which work by eliciting a linguistic interpretation of the words in the narrative, which then blocks the solution. I have collected all the riddles I know of at this time that qualify, in my opinion, as stumpers. I have invented a few, and tested many. Whenever rates of correct solutions were available, they are included, giving a rough proxy for difficulty.

Date: 
July, 2020
Number: 
737