Text: Edgar Allan Poe, “Original Conundrums (Parts I & II),” Saturday Museum (Philadelphia), vol. I, nos. 16 and 17, March 25 and April 1, 1843


[Text: Edgar Allan Poe, “Original Conundrums,” from Saturday Museum (Philadelphia), I no. 16, March 25, 1843]


What difference is there between a regular sot and the purple convolvulus? The one is drunk every day, and the other is blue only every other day.

Why are the feline race like a chain? Because it's a catty nation. (catenation.)

Why are murder and the English synonymous terms? Because the English are assassination. (A sassy nation.)


[Text: Edgar Allan Poe, “Original Conundrums,” from Saturday Museum (Philadelphia), I no. 17, April 1, 1843, p. 2, col. 1]


Our friend Du Solle, who is a judge, says that our original conundrums of last week “will do.” We have no scruple, therefore, in continuing the series.

Why is the Pacific like an inhabitant of Languedoc? Because it's a languid ocean. (A Languedocian.)

Why out our friend Miss Sarah Amanda be able to stand fire? Because she's a salamander. (Sal. Amanda.)

Why is a lean cat like a common fish? Because it's a poor puss. (porpus [porpoise].)

Why is a bleeding cat like a question? Because it's a catty gory. (category.)

Why does a lady in corsets need no comfort? Because she's already so laced. (solaced.)

Poor Mary's dead! Why is she like a many-sided figure? Because she's a polygon. (polly gone.)

Why is a teasing creditor like the dam just finished at Fairmount? Because he's a dam done. (a d——d dun.)

Why are these conundrums like a song for one voice? Because they’re so low. (solo)



These items were first attributed to Poe by T. O. Mabbott, “Poe's ‘Original Conundrums,” Notes and Queries, CLXXXIV, June 1943, pp. 328-329. As Mabbott notes, a number of these conundrums are repeated from Poe's “Enigmatical and Conundrum-ical” article in Alexander's Weekly Messenger for December 18, 1839.

Since no copy of the March 25, 1843 issue of the Saturday Museum has been found, the first three items above are quoted from a reprint in the Spirit of the Times, March 28, 1843.

Du Solle's comment, mentioned above, appeared in the Spirit of the Times, vol IX, no. 115, March 28, 1843, p. 1, col. 6, and  read “The Philadelphia Museum gives the following original conundrums. They will do!”


[S:0 - N&Q, 1943] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Misc - Original Conundrums]