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YouTube // TED-Ed
YouTube // TED-Ed

Can You Solve the Bridge Riddle?

YouTube // TED-Ed
YouTube // TED-Ed

If you like river crossing puzzles, you'll love this video. In a slight twist on the "cross the river with these annoying restrictions" formula, this TED-Ed lesson has you escaping zombies across a rickety bridge. With a few tries, you may be able to solve this...or you can just let the solution be explained to you. (Note: there is no "trick" or way-outside-the-box thinking; you just have to think through the different timing scenarios.)

For more on this, check out the TED-Ed lesson page.

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Words
10 Common Crossword Puzzle Words You Should Know
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Cracking a crossword isn’t just about wits—you get better the more you do them and the more you become accustomed to common tricks and familiar beats. In The Crossword of the Century, author Alan Connor devotes a section in his 100-year chronicle of the medium to "words found more often in crosswords than real life." It should be noted: There are much more common words in crosswords and life (era, area, and one for example), but these are the head scratchers that feel like they live exclusively to be penned (or penciled! no judgment here) onto the surface of a newspaper or magazine.

1. ALEE

Ship on the ocean.
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The side of a ship that’s sheltered from the wind, this word can also be an adverb meaning “away from the wind” or an order to steer toward the lee.

2. ARGO

Drawing of Jason and the Argonauts.
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You’re not a crossword master if you only know the 2012 film or the cornstarch brand. Argo is also the name of the ship on which Jason and the Argonauts sailed in search of the Golden Fleece.

3. ASEA

View of the sea.
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This one is both easier and harder than you think. Intuitively, it means "on the sea" or "to the sea," but is often used in intentionally misleading clues like "puzzled."

4. EMU

Portrait of an emu.
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As you might have noticed by now, vowel-heavy words are popular in the crossword world. Connor notes that while the flightless bird often gets the attention, eau (as in the French word for water) and ECU (or European Currency Unit, the precursor to the euro) are similar and oft-used alternatives.

5. ERATO

The nine Muses.
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One of the Greek muses, she is a favorite both because of the number of vowels in her name and for the convenient double meaning of "muse" depending on whether it’s a verb or a noun.

6. IAMBI

Circa 597 BC, An engraving of the Greek poetess Sappho (650 - c.590 BC) by Charles Oliver Murray.
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Shakespeare is the reason we all know about iambic pentameter, but the Greeks came up with it (and after multiple mentions, we can safely say there’s a pattern here suggesting that a working knowledge of the ancient civilization will serve you well in the crossword game).

7. PSST

A man's hand next to his ear.
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Psst: this one can be tricky because it doesn’t have any vowels. All-consonant words are increasingly hard to come by when you get beyond a few letters, though abbreviations can often pop up in their place.

8. SMEE

Two ducks walking on a beach.
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Mostly commonly associated with on Mr. Smee, Captain Hook’s right-hand man in Peter Pan, the term can also refer to a duck, which means the common threads there are water and a general sense of being underappreciated.

9. SOHO

Neon Soho sign.
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Londoners and New Yorkers both have a neighborhood bearing this name (for the Brits it’s "Soho" and for the Yankees it’s "SoHo"), but Connor notes it can also be used as an exclamation.

10. STYE

Close-up of an eye stye.
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Okay, this one might run amok in the world of black and white boxes and inside the walls of doctors' offices. The red, painful lump that can pop up on or near your eyelid, is also known to be a pain when completing the crossword, as it's sometimes spelled without the "e." The complications don't stop there though, because "sty" can also be a place where pigs reside.

This piece originally ran in 2016.

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fun
Try to Solve This 'Cows and Chickens' Riddle Without Laughing
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Some puzzles require a mind for math, others a keen eye. Then there are brainteasers that are so nonsensical the biggest challenge is saying them with a straight face. The "cows and chickens" riddle falls into the latter group.

You can hear the riddle in the video below shared by digg. The filmmaker’s parents can’t listen to the question without cracking up, and after thinking about it for a few seconds you may start to feel a bit hysterical as well. But keep watching: If you listen to the phrasing close enough, you may be able to sort out the sentences before the clip ends.

The riddle can only be listened to, not read, so stop here if you still want to get to the bottom of it on your own.

The reason it’s so tricky is that it sounds like an incomplete thought when read aloud. The parents hear, “There are 50 cows and 28 chickens. How many didn’t?” which is nonsense.

But the answer suddenly presents itself when the question is written out correctly. What the son is really asking is: “There are 50 cows, and 20 ate chickens. How many didn’t?” Once you’ve caught the sneaky word play, you can use simple subtraction to conclude that the answer is 30. Save that one for your next family get-together.

[h/t digg]

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