Making a guess on lantern riddles
  Riddle Preparations

In riddle making, there are “four not dos” that shall be avoided- (avoid difficulty、avoid drilling down、avoid vagueness、avoid being stubborn) and “three dos” (elegant、natural、delicate) . However, these are the fine tunings after becoming a specialist in this field. Basically, preliminary learners of riddle making shall study more, observe more and practice guessing more riddles. It is not difficult to find the path and gradually increase abilities. However, there are several principles that shall be followed first, otherwise an lousy riddle will become a ridicule. Firstly, consider the order of the question and the answer to the riddle. Preliminary learners often get very confused with the decision of whether use answer to form the question or vice versa. This in fact shall not

cause confusion, as both the answer and the question must be carefully considered. Shall there be interesting and fresh new solutions? Once there is a new solution, it can be either the question of or the answer to the riddle. The riddle club calls the practice of using the question to find the answer as “Shi Pu” and vice versa as “Han Pu”, used in parallel.

Secondly, there is only absolute principle to riddle making. That is words contained in the question and the answer cannot be repeated except for those riddles marked as “Spring Exposure Form”. Taking the question “safe journey (一路平安)” to make a guess for the name of a place, although “An Da” fits the meaning very well, but as the word “An (安)” is being repeated, “An Da” has to be given up as the answer and be replaced with “旅順, meaning safe journey”. The same principle applies for the examples “ four seasons are like the spring(四季如春)” are not to be used as the question for “恆春” as the word “春” is repeated; and “傳道授業解惑 meaning teachers educate and clarify one’s confusion” is not to be used for guessing “陳師道” as the character “道” is being repeated. This rule will not be violated for the main draft of the riddle at the riddle show, hence this shall be bourn in mind when making a guess.

In addition, the relationship between the question and the answer shall not be too vague. If using the character “play(玩)” to guess “成吉斯汗”, then the rule is violated as the answers such as the names of the king “忽必烈、蒙哥、窩闊台” all qualify for an answer. The sentence “eat the fruit, vow in front of the tree” may not be used to guess the phrase “ be thankful to飲水思源” otherwise phrases carrying similar meaning such as “ think of every drop of the rice on your plate as the fruition of hard work” may also be used as the question- riddle making is not boring as such.

Certainly, a piece of riddle is like a song. Regardless of amazing effort of man, naturally formed riddles are regarded above all. For example, in Du Fu’s “ it is the beautiful season in River South, meet you again in the season of falling flowers”, each words are lively articulated as if the scene is right in front of you; it is indeed very touching. The creation of a natural piece of work is first dependant on the elegance of the question, which is best to be a phrase (with origin) or words shall be refined and natural and the tone be smooth and even. For example, use the question “when do I know you” for guessing the character of the Chinese opera “Wu Shen”, the sentence “as if among the five miles of mist” for guessing “missing”, the sentence “all that fight will be retained” for guessing the jargon when drinking wine “break through the door”, the sentence “ stones rot, ocean dries up- describes longing” for guessing food “dried bean curd” and even “cheer groups are not allowed to sit down” referring to business “petrol station”, “fine hair is not well” referring to the colloquialism “ small problem” and “protect the eyes” referring to the colloquialism “ narrow-minded”. Even though the questions are distinguished in terms of elegance, but they are all wholly formed and easily understood on a glance, thus all are excellent pieces of work. Although Lai Chu Kan , the club leader of ex-Thoughts Gathering Club passed away for many years, but there are numerous works of his that were naturally amazing and are still discussed favorably by the public. Such as “ wives of others are better” referring to the phrase “ making nuisance out of oneself (自討沒趣)”; the character “討” is interpreted as “ find a wife”, quite perfectly formed. As for “rich water not to flow into others’ fields” referring to the phrase “便要還家” in “Tao Hua Yuan Chi”. Although the “Bell Form” is used (that is the joint name for untying bell and tying bell, implying that a character in the answer shall be pronounced with its alternative pronunciation, here the word “要” is originally pronounced as ㄧㄠ, but the in the answer, it is pronounced as ㄧㄠ\). The natural elegance of the style of this work is fit to be called as God’s work.


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