Old-Fashioned Puzzles
1956 The Old Farmer's Almanac

1956 Old Farmer's Almanac
1956 Old Farmer's Almanac - RF Cafe[Index]

Reproduced here are various Mathematical Puzzles from The Old Farmer's Almanac, published continuously since 1792. All copyrights hereby acknowledged.

Old-Fashioned Puzzles, 1956 Old Farmer's Almanac - RF CafeThese "Old-Fashioned Puzzles" - and particularly the riddles - from the 1956 issue of Old Farmer's Almanac are definitely of a different ilk than what you would find in a modern copy. Even Batman's notorious question-mark-bedecked foe would probably have trouble with the "Anagrams" below. In fact, it is the solicited solutions which are anagrams, and even then they are a stretch. I can't imagine anyone figuring them out; I certainly couldn't. The "Conundrums" proved a tad bit easier, but even they are quite a challenge. The "Problems," finally, should be solvable by anyone practiced in working word problems using simple algebra with multiple unknowns. Let me know if you figure out any of the Anagrams, and I'll give you an honorable mention on the page!

Old-Fashioned Puzzles


1. On me the records of the years depend,

And when I die all history has an end;

Turn me about and I will then proclaim,

With cries of anguish or the breath of fame,

That deed that else might lie within the tomb

Of silence waiting for the day of doom.

Turn me again and I become so small

You scarcely can discover me at all;

Turn me again and then you will peruse

In plainest prose some striking bit of news.


2. A tender sapling I am found

Erected and rooted in the ground

With head to every breeze inclined;

But turn me and I leave my bed

With mantling branches on my head,

And travel fleeter than the wind.


3. Still at the top I shall be found

On the extreme and upper end;

Nor leave the summit or the brink;

Bu t if reversed and shifted around

I always to the bottom tend,

And down below the level sink.


4. In schools I'm met with every day,

Transposed you've stories

fraught with wonder;

Again transposed I'm small you'll say,

Again you'll learn to rob and plunder.


5. Five letters only make my name

I read from right to left the same;

I daily vary with the mind,

Learning or wisdom of mankind.

In some I serve to kindle strife

Others prize me more than life.

My use is what the humble know.

The scholar turns me oft to show;

But while through every form I range,

In one respect I never change,

For such my pliancy or merit,

My love of peace or want of spirit,

That all, how'er they disagree,

Unite in this - they hold by me.


6. My first and last are alike, you will own,

My second and fourth are the same ;

Of either my first or my fifth be it known,

My third just its half will proclaim.

My whole is a title addressed to a dame

And backward or forward will still be the same.



1. What men may be said to be made from trees?

2. What vegetables may be removed to ashes merely by removing a part of them?

3. What spice can never be adulterated?

4. What men never wish to be in, and yet labor hard to possess?

5. What is the difference between sixteen ounces and a small boy at a piano?

6. What word is that which by haying a single letter transposed becomes its opposite?

7. Why is handwriting like a dead pig?

8. Why is a blacksmith the most dissatisfied of mechanics?



1. A motor car is three times as old as its tires were when it was as old as its tires are now. When its tires are as old as the car is now, the car will be a year older than the tires are now. What are the present ages of car and tires?

2. A traveller said to a merchant, if you will lend me as much money as I have now I will buy $12 worth of goods. This was done and the process was twice more repeated, when the traveller had no money left. How much did he then owe the merchant?

3. Three boys began together to fill a cask holding 53 gallons. The first boy deposits a pint at the end of every three minutes; the second boy a quart at the end of every five minutes, and the third boy a gallon at the end of every seven minutes. How much was the last contribution?


Answers to Puzzles

Puzzles: Anagrams: 1) Time-emit-miteĀ­item. 2) Reed-deer. 3) Tip-pit. 4) Slate least-steal. 5)Tenet, 6) Madam.

Conundrums: 1) Alderman. 2) Squashes. 3) Allspice. 4) Bonds. 5) One weighs a pound, the other pounds away. 6)United (untied). 7) Because it is done with a pen. 8) He is always striking for pay.

Problems: 1) Car 18 mos. old; tires 12 mos. 2) $25.50. 3) A quart.



Posted August 22, 2023