Post your answers in the comments section below.

I.
A place that never is in its own place
And where it is is where it’s made to be;
Not that it’s made from scratch within that space
Where traces of the feet one’s bound to see.
Oh no, it comes from interwoven thread
Of those who ever on it stomp and tread.
What am I?

 

II.
My gaze looks everywhere to find something
While others look at me and find nothing,
For I am bald and scarred upon my face—
Of interesting features there’s no trace.
But still they look each month when I return,
My brilliance is a trait for which they yearn.
What am I?

 

III.
I traveled from the East to West
And there I met a red-skinned friend
And others who brought life some zest,
Some sweet, some salty—a perfect blend.
A body long and slender frame
Are also how you’ll know my name.
What am I?

 

IV.
Is slavery a violation of man’s rights?
When it built civilizations of the whites
That benefit still now the likes of me and you?
Could what is normal and once good be now untrue?
When I surrendered to the North at Appomattox
I left these questions in the dust with the Romantics.
Who am I?

 

V.
My belly scratches on the ceiling;
My feet are twisted ‘round your hands;
I sometimes have an electric feeling,
Which will ensure that your hair stands.
What am I?

 

VI.
A poet who’s famous but none understand,
Who sees every era and sees every land,
And after events he predicted occur,
It still seems unclear and some still won’t concur.
Who am I?

 

VII.
Oh no! I need a guide to show me where
Has gone my missing hand. And where’s my hair?
I cannot quite make out what place I’m at,
And why I feel as if my life is flat.
Alas! I need to find life’s boundaries,
Then filling in the rest will come with ease.
You’re still perplexed? Well if you want to win a
Prize, don’t pout: I’m just a person in a…

 

VIII.
The character that’s most portrayed
In movies on the shining screen.
A Roman greeting is displayed
When his long Benz rolls on the scene.
Who am I?

 

IX.
I have eight siblings who are bigger,
Who see how strange I am and snigger.
I can’t keep straight in line with them
Or follow their rules, so they condemn
Me with derogatory names—
I’m some weird “dwarf,” or so one claims.
What am I?

 

X.
He comes for you with sharpened blades
Destroying what you’ve long been doing.
In darkness he around you wades
To cut off what you’ve been accruing.
Who am I?

 

XI.
I’m traveling and yet I’m fixed,
I’m landing on three continents,
My taste for history is mixed
My upper half likes governments
Of Greek and Roman Republics;
My lower half likes establishments
Of royalty and Sons of Gods
Who wield Egyptian iron rods.
What am I?

 

XII.
I feed on ancient glory’s prize
But trample over other’s lives.
I forge great nations yet destroy
The very people I employ,
And every leader must consider
If I show up and make lives bitter,
What will they sacrifice to me
On fields where some win victory?
What am I?

 

XIII.
I have a head, two arms, and symmetry,
My mother makes a sweet and sticky treat,
You may therefore enjoy my company
Especially on hot days, have a seat
Beneath me and my brethren’s canopy,
Where coolness from our shade may sway your feet.
What am I?

 

XIV.
Time can’t touch him as he flies;
History beneath him lies
Like the buildings, and he the clouds
Gazed at by the dazzled crowds
Ever wondering if he’s
More than children’s imagery.
Mercy in a form that’s linked,
In a sort of secret wink,
Back to Heaven’s holy Saints;
That’s the fresco that he paints
Wrapped in pageantry inspiring,
Filled with music worth admiring,
Jingling without expiring,
Notes of hope and faith conspiring.
Who is he that flies?

 

XV.
I’m held a prisoner and forced to hit
At faultless folks who did no crime commit,
And yet I live in court like royalty,
Enjoying all the love that life serves me.
What am I?

 

XVI.
A magic salve that can transform
A surface darkening like a storm
Into a sleek and perfect form.
I may leave cuts; that is the norm.
What am I?

 

XVII.
To fail just once is bad enough
But two more times is awfully rough.
Though if your heart is good and true,
These crushing fails will remake you
Into a christened leader, tough
Enough to see key changes through.
What Saint am I?

 

XVIII.
A traveler who misbehaves
While transporting himself on waves,
He crosses borders where he likes
And if he stays, the danger spikes.
The easiest way to stop him known
Is putting on his path a bone.
What is he?

 

XIX.
Only he can lift his weapon
Just as he is only left in
Battles against many foes who
Cannot make their spear heads go through
Him, who seems invincible, yet
Can be stubborn as a bull set
On some grudge that he’s still holding
While the good guys are near folding,
But don’t worry he’ll come back swinging
Still his praises we’ll be singing
Of this god who seems half mortal,
His refinement, and the moral.
—Wait! that riddle is too easy,
So for you to win and please me,
Name two characters both matching
That description—start head scratching!

 

XX.
I roll around the neighborhood
While wearing my exquisite rings.
My vast blue suit is understood
To be one of the coolest things.
What am I?

 

 

Evan Mantyk teaches literature and history in New York and is President of The Society of Classical Poets.


I. Rug / Carpet | II. Moon | III. Noodle | IV. Robert E. Lee | V. Balloon | VI. Nostradamus | VII. Puzzle | VIII. Adolf Hitler | IX. Pluto | X. Barber | XI. The Mediterranean Sea | XII. War | XIII. Maple Leaf | XIV. St. Nicholas, Santa Claus | XV. Tennis Racquet | XVI. Shaving Cream | XVII. Saint Peter | XVIII. X-ray | XIX. Achilles (ancient Greece mythology); The Monkey King (classic Chinese literature) | XX. Uranus

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42 Responses

      • Evan Mantyk

        Jeff, the Jalapeno traveled from the West (Mexico) to the East, in theory. You are on the right track. It is a food.

      • Evan Mantyk

        Not a cucumber, Jeff. Not a fruit or vegetable, but indeed a food.

      • Mike Bryant

        Evan… it must be spaghetti. The sweetness of the tomato, red-skinned, is the perfect companion along with olives, bell peppers and an array of herbs. There are many stories of spaghetti’s origins, but everyone knows that China is the most popular one. From the internet… Italian spaghetti, plural of spaghetto “string, twine,” diminutive of spago “cord,” of uncertain origin.

      • Evan Mantyk

        That’s right, Mike. The answer is noodles, the common belief, true or not, being that Marco Polo brought it back to Italy from Asia.

  1. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    IX Pluto – the 9th planet from the sun. Perhaps this is why it’s riddle number 9 🙂

    Reply
    • Evan Mantyk

      Margaret, good guess. That is the misdirection answer. Key words “long” and “cut off”

      Reply
      • Margaret Coats

        You can’t mean it is a barber who cuts hair in the dark!

      • Mike Bryant

        Margaret, perhaps it’s only dark for the guy sitting in the chair… at least until the barber trims his bangs. 🙂

      • Evan Mantyk

        You have it, Margaret! And Mike has cracked the clue. Thank you, both.

  2. Roy E. Peterson

    I. Could be a floor mat.
    VIII. Could be the MGM Lion.
    XV. Could be a tennis racquet.
    XX. The closest I can come is fog or frost.

    Reply
    • Evan Mantyk

      I. That’s more or less right. A rug or carpet.
      VIII. Someone already guessed this one: Hitler
      XV. Right!
      XX. No. Hint: Much vaster than fog or frost.

      Reply
  3. Jeff Eardley

    The equator of Uranus is at a right angle to its Solar orbit so it “Rolls” around the solar system like a car wheel.

    Reply
    • Evan Mantyk

      Uranus is correct! It rolls on its side, has rings, and is an “ice giant.”

      Reply
    • Evan Mantyk

      XIX. Roy, Thor is a very good guess, but not the answer. I will point you to Greek Mythology for one of the two answers.

      XVII. Some “key” words are emphasize below:
      To fail just once is bad enough
      But two more times is awfully rough.
      Though if your heart is good and true,
      These crushing fails will remake you
      Into a *christened* leader, tough
      Enough to see *key* changes through.
      Who am I?

      Reply
  4. Evan Mantyk

    Dear All,
    Thank you for your efforts! All of the answers have been added at the end of the post.

    Reply

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