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An 1872 “Charade”: Another Keepa Puzzle

By: Ardis E. Parshall - July 28, 2009

Like our modern game, a 19th century “charade” was a word puzzle. Instead of acting out clues to the riddle, though, the old game was based on spelling.

This one was created by Marcia Ann Gates (1856-1926), of Mill Creek, Salt Lake Valley (later Mrs. George Thomas Waters of Idaho Falls), when she was 16 years old.

Please answer by telling us that, say, #10 is such-and-such a letter. Please solve only one small part and leave the rest for others Keepa’ninnies to play along.

I am composed of 12 letters: __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __

My 3, 10, 11 is an animal.

My 2, 7, 8, 4, 5 is what all like to eat.

My 12, 2, 9 is used on wagons.

My 1, 4, 10, 6 is what all like to do.

My 1, 3, 10, 6 is what all should do.

My whole is one of the Twelve Apostles who was with the Prophet Joseph Smith in Nauvoo.



25 Comments »

  1. 3 is R

    Comment by Mark B. — July 28, 2009 @ 8:01 am

  2. Those clues are really ambiguous–I don’t think you could solve the puzzle without starting with the names of the 12 and working backwards.

    Comment by Mark B. — July 28, 2009 @ 8:04 am

  3. Nah, not that hard or ambiguous… the last two clues are VERY obvious because of the similar letters. Those alone are enough to solve it.

    But the “12” was a nice clue!

    Comment by Coffinberry — July 28, 2009 @ 8:29 am

  4. I agree with both of you — the clues are too non-specific to be a whole lot of help and would never be accepted as adequate modern crossword clues, but recognizing the similarities between the last two worked for me.

    I’m not sure puzzles like this tell us a whole lot about life in the past, except that this is yet another detail that was *different*.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — July 28, 2009 @ 8:34 am

  5. Anybody want to make up a modern puzzle of this type, with better clues and a solution that draws on some more current name or phrase? That could be fun for us to solve.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — July 28, 2009 @ 8:36 am

  6. 11 is T

    Comment by Dane — July 28, 2009 @ 8:39 am

  7. So we’ve got _ _ R _ _ _ _ _ _ _ T _

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — July 28, 2009 @ 9:17 am

  8. 9 is R as well

    Ardis is really just trying to see who is online early in the morning. :)

    Comment by Bruce Crow — July 28, 2009 @ 9:38 am

  9. Yeah, these 19th-century “charades” are to modern crossword puzzles what those awful candies they used to pass out after tours of the Beehive House are to Werther’s caramels.

    Or maybe I’m just sour because I can’t never figure these dumb things out. Seriously.

    Comment by Hunter — July 28, 2009 @ 9:54 am

  10. With Bruce’s addition, we have:

    _ _ R _ _ _ _ _ R _ T _

    Hunter and others, try this: The first clue (“My 3 10 11 is an animal”) means you’re looking for a three-letter word for an animal. Others have already solved that 3 (the third letter of the 12-letter solution) is R, and that 11 (the 11th letter of the 12-letter solution) is T, so we know that our animal is R _ T. That should be enough of a clue to tell you that the middle letter (the 10th letter in the 12-letter solution) is A, since “RAT” is an animal. So we transfer A into the 10th position of the solution, which gives us:

    _ _ R _ _ _ _ R A T _

    Just keep working back and forth from the solution to the clues. We know the solution to the 3rd and 10th letters now (R and A) — both 3 and 10 appear in the last clue (“My 1 3 10 6 is what all should do”), so maybe with those two letters you can come up with a four-letter answer, and thereby have two more letters to plug into the solution.

    Comment by Ardis Parshall — July 28, 2009 @ 10:16 am

  11. Many P’s, but #1 for now.

    Comment by kevinf — July 28, 2009 @ 11:21 am

  12. P _ R _ _ _ _ R A T _

    (So that means “What all like to do” is P _ A _ and “What we all should do” is P R A _ — with the last letter in both clues being identical, since they’re both 6, the 6th letter in the total solution.)

    Comment by Ardis Parshall — July 28, 2009 @ 11:38 am

  13. Tar is used on wagons? Obviously, not in any way that makes any sense in the 21st century.

    Comment by kevinf — July 28, 2009 @ 12:08 pm

  14. It was an axle lubricant, I believe. Since the hub was not enclosed the lubricant needed to be viscous enough to stay on the axel, yet still reduce friction.

    Comment by Bruce Crow — July 28, 2009 @ 12:57 pm

  15. I’ve seen references in emigrant diaries to the good fortune of coming across natural tar springs just when the emigrants most needed it. Also, a lot of the signatures left on natural landmarks were painted on with tar brush and bucket that was a standard piece of wagon equipment.

    Comment by Ardis Parshall — July 28, 2009 @ 1:34 pm

  16. So having solved “tar,” I guess that leaves our solution at:

    P A R _ _ _ _ _ R A T _

    Now’s your last chance, you hangers-back. Somebody’s going to announce the whole solution pretty quickly if you don’t jump in.

    Comment by Ardis Parshall — July 28, 2009 @ 1:36 pm

  17. 4 is L

    Comment by iguacufalls — July 28, 2009 @ 3:50 pm

  18. oh, and you forgot to put the t for tar in the 12th spot

    Comment by iguacufalls — July 28, 2009 @ 3:55 pm

  19. Thanks, iguacu — so we’re to:

    P A R L _ _ _ _ R A T T

    Anybody still in the dark, or can we put this puzzle out of its misery?

    Comment by Ardis Parshall — July 28, 2009 @ 3:58 pm

  20. Pat, I’d like to buy a vowel…

    5 is E

    Comment by a random John — July 28, 2009 @ 3:59 pm

  21. I don’t want to be a smart aleck…alas, too late…but I solved it in about 3 minutes by noticing the similarities of the two bottom “My”.

    Comment by larryco_ — July 28, 2009 @ 4:12 pm

  22. Thanks, you two. So, for the record …

    the animal is R A T
    the comestible is A P P L E
    the wagon thingy is T A R
    we all like to P L A Y
    we all should P R A Y

    and the apostle is P A R L E Y P P R A T T

    Comment by Ardis Parshall — July 28, 2009 @ 4:43 pm

  23. OK, I get it now.

    Comment by Hunter — July 28, 2009 @ 5:27 pm

  24. [grin]

    Comment by Hunter — July 28, 2009 @ 5:28 pm

  25. Even with spaces and the period? Good on you! [return grin]

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — July 28, 2009 @ 6:04 pm

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