A Riddled Praise: An Acrostic Coincidence


In 1894, Christopher L. Ward of Wilmington, Delaware wrote the following riddle for two young ladies:

When you seek a harder question
To unriddle, your suggestion,
I am sure, itself suggests its answer plain.
It has puzzled many sages
Of many lands and ages.
But no doubt you will not tackle it in vain.

Ward had been writing several puzzle rhymes for them and they were able to solve all the riddles. So, one day, they requested “something harder”.

The ladies were able to solve the riddle by noticing a partially hidden acrostic. Taking the first letter of the first line, the second letter of the second line, and so on for the first five lines, the letters can be read as “WOMAN”. However, the ladies let Ward know that this is not the only hidden acrostic in the riddle. Just like before, but taking the second letter of the first line, the third letter of the second line, and so on for the first five lines, the word formed is “HUSSY”, to Ward’s chagrin.

Ward said that when he composed the riddle, his only intention was to hide the word “WOMAN”, and he had no idea that another word was hidden in almost the same manner.

If Ward was telling the truth, then this is indeed a remarkable coincidence.

Reference (Click to Show)

The Critic, June 30, 1894

See Also:

A Poem with a Hidden Acrostic

An Acrostic on Napoleon Bonaparte


Posted by

My name Edmark M. Law. I work as a freelance writer, mainly writing about science and mathematics. I am an ardent hobbyist. I like to read, solve puzzles, play chess, make origami and play basketball. In addition, I dabble in magic, particularly card magic and other sleight-of-hand type magic. I live in Hong Kong. You can find me on Twitter` and Facebook. My email is edmarklaw@learnfunfacts.com

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