Making a guess on lantern riddles
  Riddle Preparations

Preliminary preparations shall not be omitted while participating in the guessing game of lantern riddles. This may be explained in two areas. One is to extensively gather information, that is, to prepare for some likely categories in advance for search at any time. The categories of the answer to a riddle are comprehensive. Almost any linguistic characters that can be expressed may be used as the answer to a riddle. The world of riddle is like the mist and the ocean in that they are hard to be grasped or one hasn¡¦t even got the slight clue. Hence, it will be beneficial to prepare in advance and carry some frequently used information or popular materials for questions such as characters with the various stroke-counts, names of the movies (movie catalogue), and names of

TV programs (TV catalogue) or even some indexed tool books because the answer to a riddle is generally quite common. As for numerous classical or professional answers to the riddles, it is quite convenient that materials used for riddle such as political terms, phrases used in bridge games, character in the ¡§Four Book¡¨, ¡§Liao Mu¡¨, and ¡§Ben Tsau¡¨ have been compiled and published and may be selected.
On the other hand, one may develop individual knowledge in traditional culture, as questions of lantern riddles are often prepared based on the knowledge of traditional culture, such as the various meanings of a character, literary reference and origin of characters etc. Those who have more in-depth appreciation for Chinese culture may more likely hit the jackpot. As we may understand, one that knows lantern riddles in depth is in fact attributed to extensive studying. The old saying ¡§ it is beneficial to open the books¡¨ may be reflected upon lantern riddles. At the show of the lantern riddle, even there are people from all levels of the society, of different occupations and categories, those who are at ease, exerting skills freely and go home with a full load of success are lovers of traditional culture equipped with abundant knowledge if not teachers or scholars.

1. Win by knowing your opponent

If there are many answers to the riddle when making the guess at the show, the thinking path that leads to solving the riddle may be traced. First, it is to estimate your opponent. Lantern riddle guessing is a type of fight on the paper with emphasis on one¡¦s wisdom. If you know your opponent and yourself well, you may then win every battle. The various riddles issued by the various riddle maters are different in terms of styles. If one can understand the thinking customs of the questioner issuer, then clues may be more easily traced.

2. Respond to riddles by linking characters

Secondly, it is the so-called ¡§word linking¡¨- to carefully observe the questions of the riddle and make various reasoning on the basis of the sentences of the questions. Here, the person making the guess must have in-depth understanding on the meanings of characters. Often, the question of a riddle is full of traps and the key words of the question are likely to carry different interpretation. The multiple meanings of Han characters are well applied in such context. Taking the character ¡§ white, pronounced as Pai (¥Õ)¡¨ for example, it may linked to the character ¡§lee¡¨ of ¡§Lee Pai¡¨, characters and words such as ¡§speak¡¨, ¡§talk¡¨, ¡§describe¡¨, ¡§word¡¨, ¡§waste¡¨, ¡§color¡¨, ¡§west¡¨, ¡§gold¡¨, ¡§white¡¨, and ¡§snow¡¨, however, there is only one answer to the riddle. Examples such as the sentence ¡§ there is beauty in the North¡¨, the guess may be pointed towards the character ¡§¦¼¡¨ as the north is associated with water (¤ô) or alternatively, the guess may be pointed towards the colloquialism ¡§ lost beautifully¡¨ as the word ¡§north¡¨ implies ¡§lose¡¨ (i.e. the loser wins the beautiful girl). The intention of the question issuer must be reasoned and considered with effort. Generally speaking, the words in the question of the riddle may be linked in several ways and this must be bourn in mind when making a guess on the riddle. Common examples are as follows:

(1) Five Elements, Directions, Colors, Seasons: Gold (West, white, autumn), wood (east, green, spring), water (north, black, winter), fire (south, red, summer), soil (middle, yellow, mid-summer)
¡ie.g.¡j2nd Spring¡X¡Xname of the sport team : ¡§Asia East¡¨ (Asia refers to second, spring is linked to wood)
Spring scenes are in front of the eyes¡X¡Xone word : ¡§scenery (¬Û)¡¨ (¡¨spring scenes¡¨ is linked to woods (¤ì), ¡§in front of eyes¡¨ is linked to ¡§eyes¡¨(¥Ø))
(2) Earth Index and Chinese Year by Animals: Tze ¡§¤l¡¨ (mouse) ¡BChou ¡§¤¡¡¨ (ox), Yin ¡¨±G¡¨ (tiger), Mao ¡§¥f¡¨ (rabbit), Chen¡¨¨°¡¨ (dragon), Shi¡¨¤x¡¨ (snake), Wu¡¨¤È¡¨ (horse), Wei¡¨¥¼¡¨ (goat), Sheng¡¨¥Ó¡¨ (monkey), Yiou ¡¨¨»¡¨ (chicken), Shih¡¨¦¦¡¨ (dog), Hi¡¨¥è¡¨ (pig)
¡ie.g.¡jstart ¡¨°_¡¨¡X¡Xone new term: ¡§snake walk¡¨ (snake is Shi¡¨¤x¡¨¡FTzou ¡§¨«¡¨ is walk)
Dian Wu Moving South ¡¨¨å¤È«n²¾¡¨¡X¡Xone Han People¤@: ¡§name of a historic character Se Ma Chian ¡§¥q°¨¾E¡¨¡§ (Wu ¡§¤È¡¨ is linked to horse ¡§°¨¡¨)
(3) The eight diagrams:
Chian ¡§°®¡¨ (sky), Kuan ¡§©[¡¨ (earth), Kan ¡§§¢¡¨ (water), Li ¡§Â÷¡¨ (fire), Juan ¡§´S¡¨ (wind), Jang ¡§¾_¡¨ (thunder), Gan ¡§¦á¡¨ (mountain), Duei ¡§§I¡¨ (lake)
¡ie.g.¡joverturning the sky and the earth¡X¡Xone phrase: ¡§rotate the sky and earth¡¨ (Chian Kuan ¡§°®©[¡¨ is linked to sky and earth)
Gan the back ¡§¦á¨ä­I¡¨¡X¡Xone place: ¡§backside of the mountain ¡§¤s¥J¦Z¡¨¡§ (Gan is linked to mountain, Ho is linked to ¡§back¡¨ referring to the backside)
(4) Objects and characters: Gentlemen (Bamboo, Lotus), wind (tiger), cloud (dragon), doctor (pine), coin (spring water, literature, Yuan, dollar, gold, shell, knife, clothe), wife (thorn, big, midmost), mistress (little, do, side), lady (girl, water, daughter, horse, girlie), master/president (God¡¦s son ¡§¤Ñ¤l¡¨, ¡§¤ý¡¨¡B¡§¬Ó¡¨¡B¡§«Ò¡¨ all referring to King, Dragon, Emperor, Highness, Master)
¡ie.g.¡jKings were rich in the Era of Chuan Chiu¡X¡Xone Poet in the Tan Dynasty: ¡§Wang Chun Lin¡¨
Gentlemen captured¡X¡Xone place: ¡§Chu Wei ¡§¦Ë³ò¡¨ the characters carry the meaning of surrounded by bamboo¡¨
Loved mistress in the arms of King¡X¡Xcolloquialism used in baseball games: ¡§sideway throw¡¨

The linking methods described above seem complicated on a glance. It is attributable to a long period of accumulation of culture and traditions. One is able to elaborate with slight understanding.


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