Guess Me (1879)

Guess Me, a curious collection of enigmas, charades, acting charades, double acrostics, conundrums, verbal puzzles, hieroglyphics, anagrams, etc. Compiled and arranged by Frederick D’Arros Planché; 1879; Pott, Young and co. in New York.

Illustrated by George Cruikshank among others, this example of good old-fashioned and wholesome entertainment offers a collection of enigmas, conundrums, acrostics, “decapitations”, and a series of incredibly tricky rebuses. The preface explains that an enigma can have many solutions whereas a conundrum only has one, and that “The essence of a good conundrum is to be found in its answer, which should be itself something of a pun, a puzzle, or an epigram, an inversion of the regular and ordinary meaning of the word.” Some of the 631 conundrums included in the book:

Why is a clock always bashful? – Because its hands are ever before its face.
Why are persons fatigued, like a wheel? – Because they are tired.
Why are good resolutions like fainting ladies? – They want carrying out.
When is a kiss like rumour? – When it goes from mouth to mouth.

Perhaps the highlight of the book are the rebuses — called here “hieroglyphics” — the solving of which vary from difficult to near on impossible. Some highlights below.

Housed at: Internet Archive | From: The Library of Congress
Underlying Work: PD Worldwide | Digital Copy: No Additional Rights
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