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Puzzle   Listen
verb
puzzle  v. t.  (past & past part. puzzled; pres. part. puzzling)  
1.
To perplex; to confuse; to embarrass; to put to a stand; to nonplus. "A very shrewd disputant in those points is dexterous in puzzling others." "He is perpetually puzzled and perplexed amidst his own blunders."
2.
To make intricate; to entangle. "They disentangle from the puzzled skein." "The ways of Heaven are dark and intricate, Puzzled in mazes, and perplexed with error."
3.
To solve by ingenuity, as a puzzle; followed by out; as, to puzzle out a mystery.
Synonyms: To embarrass; perplex; confuse; bewilder; confound. See Embarrass.






Collaborative International Dictionary of English 0.48








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"Puzzle" Quotes from Famous Books



... these were distributed among the various forts. We even had a competition in trimming hats, and a prize was given to the best specimen as selected by a competent committee. In the evenings we never failed to receive the Mafeking evening paper, and were able to puzzle our heads over its excellent acrostics, besides frequently indulging in a pleasant game ...
— South African Memories - Social, Warlike & Sporting From Diaries Written At The Time • Lady Sarah Wilson

... implements, and with the aid of a pair of very blunt needles, and a peculiar species of dye obtained from a tree, succeeded, after a good hour's work, in embellishing us—L. with a ring on each shoulder (the sign manual of the tribe), and myself with a bird, whose genus it would puzzle most naturalists to determine, but which was popularly supposed among the Poonans to represent a hornbill, on the arm. Strange to say neither L.'s punctures nor mine showed the slightest signs of inflammation afterwards, and the ...
— On the Equator • Harry de Windt

... a poker with great delight, not at all regretting that it is not a gold one, and much less wishing it an Arabian horse which he would not know how to manage. I am reading an idle tale, not expecting wit or truth in it, and am very glad it is not metaphysics to puzzle my judgment, or history to mislead my opinion. He fortifies his health by exercise; I calm my cares by oblivion. The methods may appear low to busy people; but if he improves his strength, and I forget my infirmities, we both attain very ...
— The Age of Pope - (1700-1744) • John Dennis

... the present time, about 600,000 aliens are coming to America yearly. What is the result? I was invited to meet a distinguished German visiting in New York last month, and at the dinner a young lady who sat by my side said to me, "I wish I could puzzle him." "Why?" I asked, in amazement. "Oh," was her reply, "he looks so cram full of knowledge; I would like to take him down." "Ah," I said. "Ask him which is the third largest German city in the world. It is New York; he will never guess it." She did so, and I assure you he was "puzzled," ...
— As A Chinaman Saw Us - Passages from his Letters to a Friend at Home • Anonymous

... Parliamentary news, one learns that "Mr. Harcourt intrigued the House of Commons by his sustained silence for two years" and that "London is interested in, and not a little intrigued, by the statement." This use of intrigue in the sense of "perplex, puzzle, trick, or deceive" dates from 1600. Then it fell into a state of somnolence, and after an existence of innocuous desuetude lasting till 1794 it was revived, only to hibernate again until 1894. It owes its new lease of life to a writer on The Westminster Gazette, a London journal ...
— Fifteen Thousand Useful Phrases • Grenville Kleiser

... go for to puzzle yer brains over it. That pictur' has nearly druv all the thinkin' men o' Cove mad, so we'll let it alone just now. Here's a man-o'-war, ye see; an' this is the steps for mountin' into the four-poster. It serves for a—a—some ...
— Shifting Winds - A Tough Yarn • R.M. Ballantyne

... glad of the excitement and the occupation, for they kept him from brooding over his troubles and worrying about the future. He had not time to puzzle over Violet's silence. She had not written to him since their parting. As a matter of fact she seldom thought of him, so engrossed was she in the pursuit of pleasure. Admittedly the prettiest woman in Darjeeling that season she received enough attention and admiration ...
— The Jungle Girl • Gordon Casserly

... drawing-room proper there is none; the large front room is the studio, where he and Sabina eat and drink, as well as work and paint but out of it opens a little room, the walls of which are so covered with gems of art (where the rogue finds money to buy them is a puzzle), that the eye can turn nowhere without taking in some new beauty, and wandering on from picture to statue, from portrait to landscape, dreaming and learning afresh after every glance. At the back, a glass bay has been thrown ...
— Two Years Ago, Volume I • Charles Kingsley

... of Colton, but his interest in the Shore Lane was a mystery. Why should he wish to buy that worthless strip of land? And what did he mean by asking if I had chances to sell it? Still pondering over this puzzle, I walked toward the front of the store, past the group waiting for the mail, where the discussion concerning the Coltons was still going on, Thoph Newcomb and Alvin Baker both ...
— The Rise of Roscoe Paine • Joseph C. Lincoln

... on curiously. He still had his lesson to learn, for the quill he had once picked up in his foot had been a loose quill. But since the porcupine seemed to puzzle Thor, the cub turned and made ready to go back along the slide if it became necessary. Thor advanced another foot, and with a sudden chuck, chuck, chuck—the most vicious sound he was capable of making—Porky advanced backward and his broad, ...
— The Grizzly King • James Oliver Curwood

... it, Thor. I have to stand it day and night, without ever getting away from the thought of it. I have to go back and puzzle and wonder and speculate as to why you did what you've done to me. I see things this way, Thor: There was a time when you thought you might come to care for me. You really thought it. And then—something happened—and ...
— The Side Of The Angels - A Novel • Basil King

... colonists. Neocles had by then lived on his bit of land for thirty years, and was old to begin life again. The ruined family took refuge in Colophon, and there Epicurus joined them. They were now too poor for the boy to go abroad to study philosophy. He could only make the best of a hard time and puzzle alone over the ...
— Five Stages of Greek Religion • Gilbert Murray

... with mental analysis; his effort to untangle his ideas in this case merely added to his puzzlement; it was like one of those patent trick things which he had picked up in idle moments, allowing the puzzle to bedevil attention and time, intriguing his interest, to his disgust. He had felt particularly lonely and helpless when he came away from Comas headquarters; instinctively he was seeking friendly companionship—opening his heart; he had caught something, ...
— Joan of Arc of the North Woods • Holman Day

... ask, but it 'ud puzzle me to answer for I ain't got no 'ome, unless I may say that London is my 'ome. I come an' go where I pleases, so long's I don't worrit nobody. I sleep where I like, if the bobbies don't get their eyes on me w'en I'm agoin' to bed, ...
— My Doggie and I • R.M. Ballantyne

... a sore puzzle," said Mickey, "and so many beautiful and irritating plans come up before me that I cannot find it in my heart which way to decide, I goes to slape and drames me way through it, right straight into ...
— In the Pecos Country • Edward Sylvester Ellis (AKA Lieutenant R.H. Jayne)

... Barkly, to prevent any misfortune on that ground, came forward on his personal guarantee, and became responsible until Parliament should again meet. The funds asked for by Wright, and even more, were granted; but I believe it would puzzle the committee, to this day, to find what became of them. One of the avowed objects was to purchase sheep; this, at least, was neglected. Hodgkinson fulfilled his mission zealously, and returned to Wright within as short a time as possible. But Wright ...
— Successful Exploration Through the Interior of Australia • William John Wills

... and satirical Ned Ward, who informs us, in the "Delectable History of Whittington's College," that "When the prisoners are disposed to recreate themselves with walking, they go up into a spacious room, called the Stone Hall; where, when you see them taking a turn together, it would puzzle one to know which is the gentleman, which the mechanic, and which the beggar, for they are all suited in the same garb of squalid poverty, making a spectacle of more pity than executions; only to be out at the elbows is in fashion here, and a great ...
— Jack Sheppard - A Romance • William Harrison Ainsworth

... There is no getting over this difficulty, as the standard of actual Nature is set up on the stage by the men and women appearing on it at a known distance. It used to be asked in classical times by ingenious puzzle-makers—"What is the size of the moon?" A true answer to that question would be "that of a plate a foot in diameter seen at a distance of ...
— More Science From an Easy Chair • Sir E. Ray (Edwin Ray) Lankester

... kneeled and listened, his jaws set hard together. Fast as the man talked the thoughts of Lance flew ahead, snatched at the significance of every detail, every bit of evidence. Some things puzzled Burt Brownlee, but Lance knew the answer to the puzzle while Burt talked and talked. Finally he laid his hand over the finely traced maps that showed secret trails, unguessed, hidden little draws where stolen stock had been concealed, all the fine threads that would weave the ...
— Rim o' the World • B. M. Bower

... officer," he remarked, "presumably English, known to both Miss Beverley and Jocelyn Thew, seems rather a puzzle. He may be the connecting link. I hope to goodness your man ...
— The Box with Broken Seals • E. Phillips Oppenheim

... and its owner, increased, though Eugenia could not conceal from herself the fact, that she stood very much in fear of the latter, whose keen black eyes seemed to read her very thoughts. How such a man came to marry Ella Grey, was to her a puzzle; and if occasionally she harbored the thought that Eugenia Deane was far better suited to be the mistress of Howard Hastings's home than the childish creature he had chosen, she was only guilty of what had, in a similar manner, been done by more than one ...
— Dora Deane • Mary J. Holmes

... motion, but his scrape is homely and his nod worse. He cannot kiss his hand and cry, madam, nor talk idle enough to bear her company. His smacking of a gentlewoman is somewhat too savory, and he mistakes her nose for her lips. A very woodcock would puzzle him in carving, and he wants the logick of a capon. He has not the glib faculty of sliding over a tale, but his words come squeamishly out of his mouth, and the laughter commonly before the jest. He names this word college ...
— Microcosmography - or, a Piece of the World Discovered; in Essays and Characters • John Earle

... conjecture is not improbable, and accounts for the singular fact that salmon and herring are caught in all the lakes communicating with the St. Lawrence, but no others. As the Falls of Niagara must always have existed, it would puzzle the naturalists to say how those fish got into the upper lakes unless there is a subterranean river; moreover, any periodical obstruction of the river would furnish a not improbable solution of the mysterious flux and influx of ...
— Bay State Monthly, Vol. II, No. 1, October, 1884 - A Massachusetts Magazine • Various

... get hurt, if he did give it to you," I replied, doggedly, "and I did what he told me. You are a born tyrant, Evelyn. Constance told you so a month ago, when you twisted Laura Stanbury's arm for not teaching you that puzzle; and there is a wicked word I know that suits you to-day, only I am afraid to say it—Constance would be angry—but it begins with an L and ends with an R, and has only four letters in it. ...
— Miriam Monfort - A Novel • Catherine A. Warfield

... 1746 he ran away, and, entering Scotland, was arrested as an English spy. His captors endeavored to force from him some terrible disclosure, but could obtain nothing, not even an answer, and it was something of a puzzle to them to determine exactly what they ...
— ZigZag Journeys in Northern Lands; - The Rhine to the Arctic • Hezekiah Butterworth

... have to thank for being more a son of the Revolution than of the Crusaders was a singular character who was long a puzzle to us. He was an elderly man, whose mode of life, ideas, and habits were in striking contrast with those of the country at large. I used to see him every day, with his threadbare cloak, going to buy a pennyworth ...
— Recollections of My Youth • Ernest Renan

... unusual dovetail joint, which, when put together properly is a puzzle. The tenon or tongue of the joint is sloping on three surfaces and the mortise is cut sloping to match. The bottom surface of the mortise is the same ...
— The Boy Mechanic: Volume 1 - 700 Things For Boys To Do • Popular Mechanics

... this notice, in the hope that the readers of "N. & Q." may supply farther particulars; such as the time of its commencement or completion, and also whether it is still in France. With respect to the arms of England, which yet present a puzzle to all antiquaries, I beg to submit a conjecture. I think it was intended as a present to our Henry VIII., when he was in such high favour at Rome, for his Defence of the Seven Sacraments, that Leo X. conferred ...
— Notes and Queries, Number 237, May 13, 1854 • Various

... she ever find it out, I'd like to know," asked Toinette. "Not a soul said a word, and my box didn't come till the very last minute. I hardly had time to let the girls know, and how Miss Preston ever got her tub of cream in time is more than I can puzzle out. Maybe Mrs. Stores had ...
— Caps and Capers - A Story of Boarding-School Life • Gabrielle E. Jackson

... "Well, here's a wire puzzle, only I think a bit of it's lost, and the clasp of a cricket belt, and old Dick Rodman's chessboard and some of the men, and some stuff for ...
— The Triple Alliance • Harold Avery

... good many small pieces," explained the kangaroo; "and whenever any stranger comes near them they have a habit of falling apart and scattering themselves around. That's when they get so dreadfully mixed, and it's a hard puzzle to put ...
— The Emerald City of Oz • L. Frank Baum

... hour Dick returned. He had found nothing to throw light on the puzzle of the night. Tom was back already, having beaten Dick to Greg's hiding place by ...
— The High School Boys' Fishing Trip • H. Irving Hancock

... we had finished replacing the pigs in the hold, a filthy but delicate operation, as they fit like a puzzle, and if one is out of place the floor-boards won't shut down. Coming on deck after it, we saw to our surprise the Blitz, lying at anchor in the Schill Balje, inside Spiekeroog, about a mile and a half off. She must have entered the Otzumer Ee at high-water for ...
— Riddle of the Sands • Erskine Childers

... sons, by print, may set their hearts at ease, And be mankind's contempt, whene'er they please; Like trodden filth, their vile and abject sense Is unperceiv'd, but when it gives offence: Their heavy prose our injur'd reason tires; Their verse immoral kindles loose desires: Our age they puzzle, and corrupt our prime, Our sport and pity, punishment and crime. What glorious motives urge our authors on, Thus to undo, and thus to be undone? One loses his estate, and down he sits, To show (in vain!) he still retains ...
— The Poetical Works of Edward Young, Volume 2 • Edward Young

... somewhat of a puzzle to me," Garton replied. "It really should be an ideal parish, for nearly all of the people belong to our Church. Mr. Stubbles himself is a member, and senior warden, so ...
— The Unknown Wrestler • H. A. (Hiram Alfred) Cody

... had never had what might be called a real chance to get in the know in New York, could so quickly pass him who had been born and bred in New York, had spent the last ten years in cultivating style and all the other luxurious tastes. He did not like to linger on this puzzle; the more he worked at it, the farther away from him Susan seemed to get. Yet the puzzle would not ...
— Susan Lenox: Her Fall and Rise • David Graham Phillips

... pursuits that I feel bound to claim the mathematical mind to some extent, with the result that I can look down wonderingly upon these deeps of ignorance yawning daily in the papers—much, I dare say, as the senior wrangler looks down upon me. Figures may puzzle me occasionally, but at least they never cause me ...
— If I May • A. A. Milne

... intricate and ever shifting maze. For years he had known no dealings with the breed, and their movements now were so light and rapid that it rather bewildered him. They were in and out between the kitchen, corridor, and bedroom like bits of a fluid puzzle. One moment a child was beside him, and the next, just as he had a suitable sentence ready to discharge at it, the place was vacant. A minute later 'it' appeared through another door, carrying the samovar, or was on the roof ...
— A Prisoner in Fairyland • Algernon Blackwood

... the best of our winter sports—wood hauling through the drifts over a rocky road down the mountains. My lands, but it was jolly! On a quiet day there'd be only one runaway, one wagon fetched to the shop in sections, like a puzzle. Then another day all hands would seem to be quite mad about the sport, and nothing but the skinners and the mules would get back to camp that night—with the new outfit of harness and the hoodlum wagon going back next morning to ...
— Ma Pettengill • Harry Leon Wilson

... get an engagement to tour for a limited number of weeks. If so, she gazes in despair at her small wardrobe, trying to puzzle out three costumes to be used in the play, for actresses going on tour have usually ...
— Women Workers in Seven Professions • Edith J. Morley

... going to put before you a 'Hero-ic' puzzle of mine, but please remember I do not ask for your solution of it, as you will persist in believing, if I ask your help in a Shakespeare difficulty, that I am only jesting! However, if you won't attack it yourself, ...
— The Story of My Life - Recollections and Reflections • Ellen Terry

... crusts than the jays began to carry them off, not to eat, as I observed, but to hide them in the thicker branches of the spruce trees. How tame they were, coming within three or four yards of one! Why this species of jay should everywhere be so familiar, and all other kinds so wild, is a puzzle. ...
— Camping with President Roosevelt • John Burroughs

... was putting the country half mad, and I, ambitious of shining in conversation parties on Sundays, between sermons, at funerals, etc., used a few years afterwards to puzzle Calvinism with so much heat and indiscretion, that I raised a hue and cry of heresy against me, which has not ceased to ...
— The Letters of Robert Burns • Robert Burns

... hungry,—it makes them savage. Beats all, Captain, what foolish notions some of those people on the other side have of us Southerners. They seem to think we are entirely different from themselves; yet I reckon it would puzzle any recruiting officer up yonder to show a finer lot of fighting men than those fellows ahead there. 'Food for powder?' Why, there isn't a lad among them ...
— My Lady of the North • Randall Parrish

... Osborne was content at home, he had everything he could wish for; but he had a wife elsewhere—he wanted to see her continually—and that necessitated journeys. She, poor thing! had to be supported: where was the money for the journeys and for Aimee's modest wants to come from? That was the puzzle in Osborne's mind just now. While he had been at college his allowance— heir of the Hamleys—had been three hundred, while Roger had to be content with a hundred less. The payment of these annual sums had given the squire a good deal of trouble; but he ...
— Wives and Daughters • Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell

... with a very extensive flaming choker on, above which was a frightful large swelling. Not being a medical man, I was very much puzzled when I saw the said swelling move about like a penny roll in a monkey's cheek; presently the sympathy fled, and the puzzle was solved, as a shower of 'bacco juice deluged the floor. Poor boy! it must have taken him an hour's hard work to have got the abominable mass in, and it could only have been done by instalments: the size it had reached ...
— Lands of the Slave and the Free - Cuba, The United States, and Canada • Henry A. Murray

... puzzle! I do not know. I never heard of any such person in my life—not that I remember. Evidently, though, he knows enough about me to know that I own that sheep ranch, and to think that I ought to go out there and see it. I do not understand it at all. ...
— The Story of Wool • Sara Ware Bassett

... long time. Perhaps you would like to know why this has happened. If so I will tell you. It is because for some days past I have purposely lost their spoor, which they knew we were following, and lit fires to puzzle them. Now, thinking that they have done with us, they have become incautious and shown us where they are. That is my ...
— She and Allan • H. Rider Haggard

... some supper, and I'll give you a shakedown." The two children, picked up by some policeman and placed in the refuge, or stolen by some mountebank, or having simply strayed off in that immense Chinese puzzle of a Paris, did not return. The lowest depths of the actual social world are full of these lost traces. Gavroche did not see them again. Ten or twelve weeks had elapsed since that night. More than once ...
— Les Miserables - Complete in Five Volumes • Victor Hugo

... too, on my part, to bring them to so speedy an end; for what I owe to those dear little things I am powerless to express. Those entertaining people who sit speechless, and only answer yes and no with an eternal smile on their faces: give them a puzzle. There is no further effort to amuse them required on your part. They are at once absorbed in "shot." Their only idea is to successfully get them into their places. They never do; but being good thorough-going characters will never ...
— Lazy Thoughts of a Lazy Girl - Sister of that "Idle Fellow." • Jenny Wren

... property. We do not have water poured out over our fingers before the meal begins,—the preliminary wash in the tent is invisible and does not count,—and we do not say "Bismillah" before we start eating. We are just heathens, they must say to themselves. Our daily bathing seems to puzzle them greatly. I do not notice that little Larbi or his brother Kasem ever tempt the sea to wash or drown them. Yet they look healthy enough, and are full of dignity. You may offer them fruit or sweetmeats ...
— Morocco • S.L. Bensusan

... has troubled you, as I dare say it has troubled a great many other people," said Cousin Delight. "It used to be a puzzle and a trouble to me. But now it seems to me one of the most beautiful things ...
— A Summer in Leslie Goldthwaite's Life. • Mrs. A. D. T. Whitney

... "Ozma would never try to deceive her friends, or prevent them from recognizing her, in whatever form she happened to be. The puzzle is still a puzzle, so let us go on to the wicker castle and question the magician himself. Since it was he who stole our Ozma, Ugu is the one who must tell us where to ...
— The Lost Princess of Oz • L. Frank Baum

... disaster; why Love is always pure; erroneous ideas of success and failure; what is real degradation? the pathway of love from chemical attraction to spiritual union; why spiritual mates must be the answer to Life's puzzle; what constitutes actual infidelity? what is to be done with sex relations that are not spiritual unions? Are they immoral? too much made of the marriage ceremony and too little of fitness; is it better to be "respectably bonded" or spiritually mated? what will happen when we rid Society ...
— Sex=The Unknown Quantity - The Spiritual Function of Sex • Ali Nomad

... you walk the whole length of it, to the last inch, keeping in the centre of the path, it's exactly two miles and half a furlong. Now, while you find out the length and breadth of the garden, I'll see if I can think out that sea-water puzzle." ...
— A Tangled Tale • Lewis Carroll

... of the wreck of a vessel which had pounded herself to death upon the strand near Kitty Midget's Hammock. How curiously those white-haired children watched the man who had come so far in a paper boat! "Why did not the paper boat soak to pieces?" they asked. Each explanation seemed but to puzzle them the more; and I found myself in much the same condition of mind when trying to make some discoveries concerning Kitty Midget. She must, however, have lived somewhere on Clark's Beach long before the present proprietor was born. We spent the next day fishing with nets in the surf for blue-fish, ...
— Voyage of The Paper Canoe • N. H. Bishop

... to account for our being sent to the Trentino. One was that an Austrian attack was feared there, another that an Italian attack was intended, but that the intention was afterwards abandoned, a third that the whole thing was a feint to puzzle the Austrians. But in any case we did not remain there long. By the beginning of August we were back on the Plateau. On the return journey, which was again by road all the way, we were given three days' rest at Desenzano ...
— With British Guns in Italy - A Tribute to Italian Achievement • Hugh Dalton

... in an inhabited country. My proposal was well received, and then began the discussion of names. Jack wished for something high-sounding and difficult, such as Monomotapa or Zanguebar; very difficult words, to puzzle any one that visited our island. But I objected to this, as we were the most likely to have to use the names ourselves, and we should suffer from it. I rather suggested that we should give, in our own language, such simple names as should point out some circumstance connected with the spot. I ...
— The Swiss Family Robinson; or Adventures in a Desert Island • Johann David Wyss

... she had met in church circles, to dinner, and manifested such an interest in the sewing society that the principal ladies of the congregation called on her in succession; and although they never got beyond an interchange of formal visits, yet it served to puzzle the gossips in the streets, and one or two who had "forgotten" to call on Mrs. McClintock when she first came to the locality paid her a formal visit; their shaky position in society being secured by the fact that all the best people called there, including the Bishop and clergy, and ...
— The Mysteries of Montreal - Being Recollections of a Female Physician • Charlotte Fuhrer

... pork, forms the common food of the people of Cuba. Twice in the day food was brought us. It was both abundant and good, so that we had no reason to complain of the way the pirates treated us. The great puzzle was to discover why it was that they were so civil. Had they kept us on bread and water, and spared our lives, we should have had reason to be grateful; as the usual mode of proceeding of such gentry, we understood, always was to shoot all who ...
— Old Jack • W.H.G. Kingston

... before her, her first thought was, evidently to make a good meal of it. I took up the little thing and caressed it, and then put it down again. She now approached it in a motherly way, and looked at it; its ears seemed evidently to puzzle her. After a while, she tried to take it up as she did her kittens, but saw she could not safely; then she went to her nest and mewed, and then came to me and rubbed herself against me; and then went to the rabbit and licked it tenderly; I now ventured ...
— True Stories about Cats and Dogs • Eliza Lee Follen

... if you can defind him chapely, isn't it so much saved? isn't it the same as if you definded him at a higher rate? Sure, if one lawyer tells the truth for the poor boy, ten or fifteen can do no more; an' thin maybe they'd crass in an' puzzle one another if you hired too ...
— Fardorougha, The Miser - The Works of William Carleton, Volume One • William Carleton

... of you," Duane said. "Womankind are needed here. I could do so little. Mrs. Laramie, you look better already. I'm glad. And here's baby, all clean and white. Baby, what a time I had trying to puzzle out the way your clothes went on! Well, Mrs. Laramie, didn't I tell you—friends would come? ...
— The Lone Star Ranger • Zane Grey

... the tables in the library. She was a lady who received thirty letters a day, the subject-matter of which, as well as of her punctual answers in a hand that would have been "ladylike" in a manageress, was a puzzle to ...
— The Tragic Muse • Henry James

... lyrical and meditative poems of Walter Savage Landor are very beautiful; his longer poems sometimes delight but oftener puzzle us by their obscurity of thought and want ...
— Handbook of Universal Literature - From The Best and Latest Authorities • Anne C. Lynch Botta

... classic studies made a little puzzle, Because of filthy loves of gods and goddesses, Who in the earlier ages raised a bustle, But never put on pantaloons or bodices;[40] His reverend tutors had at times a tussle, And for their AEneids, Iliads, and Odysseys,[j] Were forced to make an odd sort of apology, ...
— The Works of Lord Byron, Volume 6 • Lord Byron

... little Armand is playing, shouting, laughing. What can be the cause of this terrible disease with children? Vainly do I try to puzzle it out, remembering that I am again with child. Is it teething? Is it some peculiar process in the brain? Is there something wrong with the nervous system of children who are subject to convulsions? All these thoughts ...
— Letters of Two Brides • Honore de Balzac

... head. Those two first of all faced that extraordinary puzzle. How had the murderer entered and left the room with both doors locked on the inside, with the windows too high for use? They went to the upper story. She urged the butler into ...
— The Abandoned Room • Wadsworth Camp

... an old tale, and when he was wrong, U used to set him right. V was a virtuoso. W warred against Warburton. X excelled in algebra. Y yearned for immortality in rhyme, and Z in his zeal was always in a puzzle." ...
— Notes and Queries, Number 20, March 16, 1850 • Various

... you never saw such stew-pans! they shone like silver. And all sorts of dishes, and jars and jugs, and lots of things of which it would puzzle me to tell the use! And a cellar of wine, claret, burgundy, and champagne—yes! enough to supply ...
— The Downfall • Emile Zola

... the shadow of her big garden sun-bonnet—and then he stiffened suddenly and grew very pale. He was a little behind the other two, and they observed nothing, but Sabine saw the change of color in his healthy handsome face, and the look of surprise and incredulity and puzzle which grew in his ...
— The Man and the Moment • Elinor Glyn

... is like to puzzle the earl himself, so that it is hard for a plain man to unriddle. But I think that half Reedham are here to see justice done you; even if it is naught but Earl Ulfkytel's justice!" And ...
— Wulfric the Weapon Thane • Charles W. Whistler

... understood that it was for the luggage and the maid. It was impossible to take her with them in what the porter called the herrschaftliche Wagen, for it was a kind of victoria, and how to get their four selves into it was a sufficient puzzle. "What shall we do?" said Susie, in despair, ...
— The Benefactress • Elizabeth Beauchamp

... recognize me, I cannot puzzle you; and I could never tell you how much you puzzle me," said the Marquise d'Espard, amazed at the coolness and impertinence to which the man had risen whom she had ...
— Scenes from a Courtesan's Life • Honore de Balzac

... the customary ceremonies of washing and burial. Shall he make a libation of the poison? In the spirit he will, but not in the letter. One request he utters in the very act of death, which has been a puzzle to after ages. With a sort of irony he remembers that a trifling religious duty is still unfulfilled, just as above he desires before he departs to compose a few verses in order to satisfy a scruple ...
— Phaedo - The Last Hours Of Socrates • Plato

... did not seem to puzzle her, the problem of this feeling so ill-founded. It was so. Very well, then—so ...
— The Call of the Blood • Robert Smythe Hichens

... lower than the other. Do you hear the difference? Now turn round so as not to see the keys; I will strike two keys, one after the other; now which is the highest (the sharpest), the first or the second? (I go on in this way, gradually touching keys nearer and nearer together; sometimes, in order to puzzle her and to excite close attention, I strike the lower one gently and the higher one stronger, and keep on sounding them, lower and lower towards the bass, according to the capacity of the pupil.) I suppose you find ...
— Piano and Song - How to Teach, How to Learn, and How to Form a Judgment of - Musical Performances • Friedrich Wieck

... drew on, it became us to look out for some inn or shelter; to which perplexity another was added, and that was, what we should say for ourselves, if we were questioned. After some puzzle, the young fellow started a proposal, which I thought the finest that could be; and what was that? why, that we should pass for husband and wife: I never dreamed of consequences. We came presently, after having agreed on this notable experience, ...
— Memoirs Of Fanny Hill - A New and Genuine Edition from the Original Text (London, 1749) • John Cleland

... the money? Coming up redheaded curates from the county Leitrim, rinsing empties and old man in the cellar. Then, lo and behold, they blossom out as Adam Findlaters or Dan Tallons. Then thin of the competition. General thirst. Good puzzle would be cross Dublin without passing a pub. Save it they can't. Off the drunks perhaps. Put down three and carry five. What is that, a bob here and there, dribs and drabs. On the wholesale orders perhaps. Doing a double shuffle ...
— Ulysses • James Joyce

... acquaintanceship; but the homogeneousness of the people, complete and thorough as it was, was not marked by any monotony. On the contrary, character and individuality ran riot, appearing in such strange and attractive shapes as to puzzle and bewilder even those who were familiar with the queer manifestations. Every settlement had its peculiarities, and every neighborhood boasted of its humorist,—its clown, whose pranks and jests were limited by no ...
— Stories Of Georgia - 1896 • Joel Chandler Harris

... his cane with an air of reverence. Beneath the coffin lid below Sarah Mosely lay with her hands folded, faintly smiling like a little withered girl who has done something, left a curious deed which was to puzzle those who were still awake when they discovered what she had done. And ...
— The Co-Citizens • Corra Harris

... spirit, and public spirits, were about the year 1700 household words with us. Leibnitz was struck by their significance, but it might now puzzle us to find synonyms, or even to explain the ...
— Curiosities of Literature, Vol. 3 (of 3) • Isaac D'Israeli

... whole party looked as if they had been at an Irish funeral and nearly been made 'cold corpuses' themselves. After a long hunt, they at last found Titehugge stuck fast where the fox had left him, and now the puzzle was to get him out. The three brothers all tried in vain, and at last Grumpy-growly caught hold of Titehugge's tail, Longclawse of Grumpy-growly's, Stubtail of Longclawse's, and Bushyball of Stubtail's, and they all pulled and tugged together; ouf! ...
— Red, White, Blue Socks, Part First - Being the First Book • Sarah L Barrow

... knitting, like the work of a copying clerk, it gradually neutralises and sets to sleep the serious activity of the mind. We can think of this or that, lightly and laughingly, as a child thinks, or as we think in a morning doze; we can make puns or puzzle out acrostics, and trifle in a thousand ways with words and rhymes; but when it comes to honest work, when we come to gather ourselves together for an effort, we may sound the trumpet as loud and long as we please; the great barons of the mind will not rally ...
— The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson - Swanston Edition - Vol. 2 (of 25) • Robert Louis Stevenson

... the question, or, rather, there was need for it, and the answer ought to have been clear to them; their sin was the all-sufficient reason for their defeat. There are plenty of Christians, like these elders, who, when they find themselves beaten by the world and the devil, puzzle their brains to invent all sorts of reasons for God's smiting, except the true one,—their ...
— Expositions Of Holy Scripture - Volume I: St. Luke, Chaps. I to XII • Alexander Maclaren

... thought that that was the strangest path he had ever seen, for it seemed to lead to nowhere, and why it should have a bar at the top, to keep anyone from going nowhere at all, was more than even his lively mind could puzzle out. ...
— The Tale of Frisky Squirrel • Arthur Scott Bailey

... or savage. The swallows are the companions of the human race, nesting beneath their eaves, and sharing the shelter of their roofs in every clime. Why this difference exists in creatures subjected to the same conditions is a puzzle that we cannot explain. In like manner we may observe the difference in animals, many of which are by nature extremely timid, while others of the same genus are more bold. The beasts of prey vary in an extraordinary degree according ...
— Wild Beasts and their Ways • Sir Samuel W. Baker

... was "with them" in thought, intention, and feeling, yet there was the friendly act of the morning during the struggle with the grizzly, and his late interference to prevent the warrior from injuring him, which united to puzzle the captive. ...
— The Young Ranchers - or Fighting the Sioux • Edward S. Ellis

... and water vapor weighs less than the air by itself. One would think that by adding water vapor which, while light, still has weight, the total weight would be the sum of both. It really is so, notwithstanding the above figures, and the explanation of the puzzle is that there was an increase in pressure with expansion, so that the volume of the air and saturated vapor was greater than one cubic meter. Since then a cubic meter of air and saturated vapor weighs ...
— Popular Science Monthly Volume 86

... said he, "you must alter the colour of your hair, then you must have a false nose, and put a spot on some part of your face, or a wart, or a few hairs." I laughed, and said, "Help me to contrive this for the next ball; I have not been to one for twenty years; but I am dying to puzzle somebody, and to tell him things which no one but I can tell him. I shall come home, and go to bed, in a quarter of an hour."—"I must take the measure of your nose," said he; "or do you take it with wax, and I will have a nose made: you can get a flaxen ...
— The Memoirs of Louis XV. and XVI., Volume 2 • Madame du Hausset, and of an Unknown English Girl and the Princess Lamballe

... contrived to endure it, or even to exist, was a puzzle to me; but possibly the vinchucas respected them, and only dined when, like the giant in the nursery rhyme, they "smelt ...
— The Purple Land • W. H. Hudson

... veneration, thanks to one or two old soldiers who have returned to their native homes, and who of evenings tell marvelous tales about his adventures and his armies for the benefit of these simple folk. Their coming back is, moreover, a puzzle that no one can explain. Before I came here, the young men who went into the army all stayed in it for good. This fact in itself is a sufficient revelation of the wretched condition of the country. I need not give you a detailed ...
— The Country Doctor • Honore de Balzac

... puzzle to me why primitive people should make for themselves stone idols to whom they might sacrifice and pray; but what is to us a rock or stone may be to the Indian a man or a god of ancient times, now turned into stone. By carving out features, head, ...
— Unknown Mexico, Volume 1 (of 2) • Carl Lumholtz

... enticement and have had to be refused at least twice a day for a year. A widow can't say she didn't understand what she was doing, even to herself, but—My humiliation is complete and the only thing that can make me ever hold up my head is to puzzle him by—by happily ...
— The Melting of Molly • Maria Thompson Daviess

... a stiff game; but 'Scruff' Mackenzie maneuvered cunningly, with an unconcern which served to puzzle the Sticks. He took great care to impress the men that he was a sure shot and a mighty hunter, and the camp rang with his plaudits when he brought down a moose at six hundred yards. Of a night he visited in Chief Thling-Tinneh's lodge of moose and cariboo skins, talking big and dispensing ...
— The Son of the Wolf • Jack London

... real character, and this lady, called Taven in the bill, is Mlle. PASSAMA, who sings a song about a papillon, for what particular reason I do not know, except to please the audience, which it did, being encored, and to puzzle Mireille, in which it also succeeded, if I might judge by Miss EAMES's expressive countenance. And here I must observe that I found my intimate acquaintance with the French language almost useless, for except an occasional "oui," given, as Jeames has it, "in excellent ...
— Punch, Or The London Charivari, Vol. 100, June 27, 1891 • Various

... way of getting at things—generally more circuitous than now, though he struck on a tangent sufficiently acute momentarily to puzzle Bohun. ...
— The Fortune Hunter • Louis Joseph Vance

... is pellucid, and so is the wine: So bring them together and see them combine: Tis a puzzle; one moment, all wine and no cup; At another, in turn, 'tis all ...
— The Book Of The Thousand Nights And One Night, Volume I • Anonymous

... languages are all hard, and the beginner can never go far enough to get a rule fixed soundly in his mind without meeting exceptions which puzzle and confuse him. Esperanto is as clear, logical, and consistent as arithmetic, and, like arithmetic, depends more upon intelligence than upon memory work. If Esperanto were adopted as the first foreign language to be taught in schools, and all grammatical teaching were postponed until Esperanto ...
— International Language - Past, Present and Future: With Specimens of Esperanto and Grammar • Walter J. Clark

... was that yellow livid face watching us out of the upper window. What link could there be between that creature and my wife? Or how could the coarse, rough woman whom I had seen the day before be connected with her? It was a strange puzzle, and yet I knew that my mind could never know ease again ...
— The Strand Magazine, Volume V, Issue 26, February 1893 - An Illustrated Monthly • Various

... to do that?" said Madame. "'Twould puzzle a wise man to do so, for in these parts there are so many turnings. However, I will send a girl to guide you. You could find room for her on the box-seat, could ...
— Dead Souls • Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol

... of Leyden!" he soliloquized, restraining his impulse while he puzzled the problem out. "That's no mystery; suspense knocked him out when I got here first. That's no puzzle either. But how in thunder did Leyden get so solid with the little lady? ...
— Gold Out of Celebes • Aylward Edward Dingle

... moment there might be a pair of eyes somewhere in that hurrying throng on La Salle Street ready to follow his every move. However much they might suspect him, his exact status in the case was probably still a puzzle to them. He did not believe it safe as yet to betray his connection with the Government. The problem then was to reach the ...
— The Sheridan Road Mystery • Paul Thorne

... wondered," said Penfentenyou, "whether it would puzzle a monkey?" He had forgotten the needs of his Growing Nation, and was earnestly parting the ...
— Actions and Reactions • Rudyard Kipling

... my uncle has given me a very full account of what he learned from Mr. Leavitt, and yet many things puzzle me—this Mr. ...
— O. Henry Memorial Award Prize Stories of 1920 • Various

... his rage upon herself for aiding the wife's flight. She must, must, must keep on good terms with him till she and Isabel could somehow get the child. So passed the awful hours, mother and husband each marvelling in agony over the ghastly puzzle of ...
— Bylow Hill • George Washington Cable

... body must have been left in two pieces, to puzzle the ingenuity of those gentry to unite. Yet, venerable and learned as they were, I ...
— The Spy • James Fenimore Cooper

... the Siwash people puzzle me. Professor Grubb is always a trial. That man alternates a smooth-shaven face with a full beard in the most startling manner. Petey Simmons is short and flaxen-haired, long and black-haired, and wide and hatchet-faced in turns, depending on the illustrator. I never know ...
— At Good Old Siwash • George Fitch

... readers to the notes of Dr Croly's edition for a running commentary of confutation to the "Essay on Man" distinguished by solid and unanswerable acuteness of argument.) But such an eloquent and ingenious puzzle as it is! It might have issued from the work-basket of Titania herself. It is another evidence of Pope's greatness in trifles. How he would have shone in fabricating the staves of the ark, or the ...
— Poetical Works of Pope, Vol. II • Alexander Pope

... these Indians for many years they frequently asked questions which would puzzle, the most profound philosopher to answer. For instance, they inquired, "Who made ...
— Building a State in Apache Land • Charles D. Poston

... stuff about the Cardinal Archbishop of CRANBERRY, instead of CHAMBERY. I got a dispatch from, him quoting the Virago of Paris—meaning the Figaro, of course. And then that Schema; a Sphinx could not have made it more of a puzzle, whether he meant that the bishops voted that the Pope should be deified, or defied, or that the de fide should pass ...
— Punchinello, Vol. 1, No. 8, May 21, 1870 • Various

... "do I puzzle you with such a simple thing? My hair was brown the day before yesterday, it is black to-day; is that a sufficient disguise? Pardieu, when I went to a music-hall in London that same night to see some stupid nonsense—bah! ...
— Sunrise • William Black

... enigmas to most of us—I don't include you, dear Constance!—and every now and then puzzle us by acts so strangely out of keeping with all that we had predicated of them, as to leave no explanation within our reach, save that of evil fascination, or temporary loss of reason. We see their feet often turning aside into ways that we know lead to wretchedness, and onward ...
— The Allen House - or Twenty Years Ago and Now • T. S. Arthur

... got at some house plans by accident that they found out where he fitted in. He'd go over a set of them puzzle rolls that mean as much to me as a laundry ticket, and he'd point out where there was room for another clothes closet off some chamber here, and a laundry chute there, and how the sink in the butler's pantry was on the wrong side for a right handed dish washer, ...
— Odd Numbers - Being Further Chronicles of Shorty McCabe • Sewell Ford

... have therefore degenerated BECAUSE THEY WERE OF NO FURTHER VALUE TO THE INSECT. But if selection did not influence the setting aside of these parts because they were neither of advantage nor of disadvantage to the species, then the Darwinian factor of selection is here confronted with a puzzle which it cannot solve alone, but which at once becomes clear when germinal selection is added. For the determinants of organs that have no further value for the organism, must, as we have already explained, embark on a gradual course ...
— Darwin and Modern Science • A.C. Seward and Others

... Marine and the Japanese Lily, a book of adventures in the land of the Rising Sun, which will delight many rising sons for whom chiefly was this book intended. There are always "more ways than one," and so Where Two Ways Meet there is like to be a puzzle, solved in this instance by the authoress, SARAH DOUDNEY. Put down the books! Come to the festive board! Down—(the right way of course) with the mince-pie and plum-pudding! Strange is it that the source of so much enjoyment, the very types of Christmas good cheer, should ...
— Punch, Or The London Charivari, Vol. 101, December 19, 1891 • Various

... emendations, substitutions of one reading for another, and discussions of the condition of the Ms. Until Wlker's text and the photographic fac-simile of the original Ms. are in the hands of all scholars, it will be better not to introduce such matters in the school room, where they would puzzle without instructing. ...
— Beowulf • James A. Harrison and Robert Sharp, eds.

... the shore, three flags are observed to be flying in the town. One is the consular flag of our own nation; another is the banner of Portugal; and the third, being blue, white, and blue, is apt to puzzle a stranger, until he reads UNION HOTEL, in letters a foot long. When last at Porto Praya, a few friends and myself took some slight refreshment at the hotel, and were charged so exorbitantly, that we forswore all ...
— Journal of an African Cruiser • Horatio Bridge

... this that they derive the name of "prairie-dogs," for in nothing else do they resemble the canine species. Like all marmots—and there are many different kinds— they are innocent little creatures, and live upon grass, seeds, and roots. They must eat very little; and indeed it is a puzzle to naturalists how they sustain themselves. Their great "towns" near the Rocky Mountains are generally in barren tracts, where there is but a scanty herbage; and yet the inhabitants are never found ...
— The Boy Hunters • Captain Mayne Reid

... doing this, and, like Jimmy, it was his aim to be as much of a sailor as possible. Why the Captain did it, I cannot say, unless it was for the reason that sailors often seem to enjoy doing things in an odd and awkward fashion, so as to puzzle landsmen. Neither of them made very good progress by it, and Clarence wabbled the boat, and caught crabs every ...
— The Voyage of the Hoppergrass • Edmund Lester Pearson

... scarcely tell you," replied his lordship. "I am somewhat in a puzzle. If you want to know who is the queen of the fete, I can tell you. It is Lord Earle's daughter, Miss Beatrice Earle. She is over there, ...
— Dora Thorne • Charlotte M. Braeme

... desk trying to puzzle out the enigma of the night. The more he thought upon it, the further he seemed from any solution. There was the perplexing behaviour of Mrs. Oliver herself. She had been troubled, greatly troubled, to find her window unbolted on two successive nights after she had taken care to bolt it. Yet on the ...
— The Broken Road • A. E. W. Mason

... him sharply, as a man does who thinks he has caught another man's soul secret. It was only under considerable stress of feeling that such coherence of ideas could have been expressed by his irrelevant friend. What he had learned the last few minutes had been a surprise, a pain, and a puzzle to him. The runaway marriage held more elements than he had imagined. ...
— Septimus • William J. Locke

... vigour, and the plastic mind most susceptible of receiving and retaining impressions, are wasted in poring over the metaphysics of a Latin Grammar, which they cannot possibly comprehend; and in learning by heart a number of declinations, conjugations, and syntax rules, which serve only to puzzle and disgust, instead of affording instruction or amusement: that the grammar, or philosophical part of a language, is useful only for the niceties and perfection of that language, and not a subject for boys. In all instances, perhaps, where the language ...
— Travels in China, Containing Descriptions, Observations, and Comparisons, Made and Collected in the Course of a Short Residence at the Imperial Palace of Yuen-Min-Yuen, and on a Subsequent Journey thr • John Barrow

... without sign, and keep my very existence as secret as possible, until the moment I had achieved my end, when I would go to my bishop, and tell him all, requesting to be reinstated in my sacred office. There was only one puzzle in the affair, and that was how the act towards Mrs. Payton in regard to her daughter's engagement to me. The old lady was not gifted with much common sense, I knew; and I feared both that she ...
— Adela Cathcart - Volume II • George MacDonald

... are likewise a puzzle to the uninitiated. To Westerns, the brahmans[33] are best known as the priests of the Hindus; more correctly, however, the name brahman signifies not the performer of priestly duties, but the caste that possesses a monopoly of the performance. The brahman caste is the Hindu Tribe ...
— New Ideas in India During the Nineteenth Century - A Study of Social, Political, and Religious Developments • John Morrison

... his absent-minded, startled way. He had never understood her since she was first put into his hands, aged six months, a fluffy bundle of motherless babyhood. She never ceased to startle him. She was an enigma beyond any puzzle in mathematics he had ever brought his mind ...
— Bambi • Marjorie Benton Cooke

... our sakes. We'll put the deeds in the old bureau to-morrow, and try and forget it all till the proper time comes. There, I'm better now. Glad too, very glad, Tom. First that he repented of the wrong-doing, and glad that you are so independent, my boy. It was always a puzzle to me that your poor mother should have left you so badly off. I said nothing, for I thought she must have foolishly frittered away ...
— The Vast Abyss - The Story of Tom Blount, his Uncles and his Cousin Sam • George Manville Fenn

... keenly. The man's manner fully confirmed his suspicions, and even in the tenseness of the moment he felt a passing amusement at the big fellow's puzzle-headed attempts to invent an explanation that would square with the facts. Failing to hit upon a plausible argument, he ...
— In Clive's Command - A Story of the Fight for India • Herbert Strang

... the spectacle there was aught still to puzzle them, it was the seeing only one man in the boat ...
— The Ocean Waifs - A Story of Adventure on Land and Sea • Mayne Reid

... if about to make some astounding revelations, "that their land was too small to hold them, and so they came away. I told them that that was wise; that Cree Indians would have done the same. But then came the puzzle, for they told me that there were vast tracts of land where they lived with plenty of lakes, rivers, and mountains, in which there was nobody—only fish and birds and deer. Then I said, 'You told me that your land was too small ...
— The Buffalo Runners - A Tale of the Red River Plains • R.M. Ballantyne

... puzzle that he could not solve; but at last, as he lay there thinking, the light broke more and more into the darkness ...
— Middy and Ensign • G. Manville Fenn



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