“Too Much Sex and Violence” and It Degenerates from Here

In the 1980s, N. Sally Hass of Illinois created an interesting and groan-inducing wordplay based on degenerative puns. This is the starting point: Why did they ban The Story of O? Too much sex and violence. Then it gradually degenerates: Why did they ban Ivanhoe? Too much Saxon violence. Why did they ban the story […]

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Tjiliwirri: A Language of Opposites

The Warlpiri people, a group of Indigenous Australian, teach a strange language called Tjiliwirri to their boys who go through an initiation rite. Tjiliwirri literally means “funny’ or “clown”. The peculiar thing about this language is that it expresses every idea as its opposite. For instance, if you want to say “It’s hot”, you have […]

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An Old Chain of Riddles and Its Apparent Uses

During third grade, my English teacher challenged us to answer some riddles. Here’s the first question: How do you put an elephant inside a refrigerator? There are three steps. I realized that this was part of a series of old riddles which are connected to each other. To not spoil my classmates’ fun, I refrained […]

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Is That an Acrostic?

We’ve been talking about acrostics a lot lately on Learn Fun Facts. While thinking about other acrostics, I remember an “acrostic” I read a while ago. It’s a conundrum submitted by a man from Boston as his entry to an acrostic competition during the end of the nineteenth century: If you stick a stick across […]

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A Song with All Words Beginning with the Letter M

Here is another example of alliteration. In a book titled Songs of Singularity, a compilation of poems, written by Walter Parke, the “London Hermit”, and published in 1875, there is a song with all words beginning with the letter M. Apparently, this is a serenade in M flat, performed by Major Marmaduke Muttonhead to Mademoiselle […]

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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 […]

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A Letter Sequence Puzzle

Aside from letter E, is there another which letter could follow this sequence? Solution (Click to Show) F. Write it on top of the line to form the letter E. This question was asked by our third-grade English teacher. Three of us, including me, figured out the answer almost at the same time after half […]

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A Welsh Verse Which Only Consists of Vowels

The following short Welsh verse on the silkworm only contains vowels. Note that there are seven vowels in Welsh, namely, a, e, i, o, u, w, and y: O’i wiw ŵy i weu ê â a’i weuau O’i ŵyau e weua; E’ weua ei ŵe aia’. Ai weuau yw ieuau iâ. It can be translated […]

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A Short Story with All Words Beginning with the Letter W

The following 440-word short story consists entirely of words beginning with the letter W. It contains only 18 hyphenated words. This anonymously-written story first appeared in the November 18, 1876, issue of the Waikato Times: “Warm weather, Walter! Welcome warm weather! We were wishing winter would wane, weren’t we?” “We were well wearied with waiting,” […]

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Ending a Sentence with Several Prepositions

I had an English teacher during high school who I can honestly say was good. Her technical knowledge of English grammar and usage was excellent and she had a knack for teaching. However, she liked to insist that we should not end a sentence with a preposition, which I found absurd. The preposition in the […]

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