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Puzzle   /pˈəzəl/   Listen
Puzzle

verb
(past & past part. puzzled; pres. part. puzzling)
1.
Be a mystery or bewildering to.  Synonyms: amaze, baffle, beat, bewilder, dumbfound, flummox, get, gravel, mystify, nonplus, perplex, pose, stick, stupefy, vex.  "Got me--I don't know the answer!" , "A vexing problem" , "This question really stuck me"
2.
Be uncertain about; think about without fully understanding or being able to decide.



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"Puzzle" Quotes from Famous Books



... small, yet suffereth himself to be importuned into a slice against his first resolution. He sticketh by the port, yet will be prevailed up to empty the remainder glass of claret, if a stranger press it upon him. He is a puzzle to the servants, who are fearful of being too obsequious, or not civil enough to him. The guests think "they have seen him before." Every one speculateth upon his condition; and the most part take him to be a tide-waiter. He calleth you by your Christian name, to imply that his other is the ...
— The Best of the World's Classics, Vol. V (of X) - Great Britain and Ireland III • Various

... was not hard to pick up the lost trail. But Binhart's movements, after leaving that port, became a puzzle to the man who had begun to pride himself on growing into knowledge of his adversary's inmost nature. For once Blake found himself uncertain as to the other's intentions. The fugitive now seemed possessed with an idea ...
— Never-Fail Blake • Arthur Stringer

... home to realize how little our men knew of what was happening. The majority of them never saw the newspapers, and of course the monotony of our life and the apparent hopelessness of making any great advance was a puzzle to them. I never failed to take the question seriously and give them, as far as I was able, a general idea of the aspect of the war on the various fronts. In order to be able to do this I read "The Times" daily with great care. It was (p. 181) really the only paper that one could depend on, and its ...
— The Great War As I Saw It • Frederick George Scott

... time to clean up the matter. From what I know of Sally May, I cannot believe that she has written them. Don't tell me anything more about it. I leave it to you; please do your best to get them stopped." And she left them to solve the puzzle. ...
— Judy of York Hill • Ethel Hume Patterson Bennett

... to puzzle into the right thing, 'sometimes things are sent to punish us, and then we ...
— Friarswood Post-Office • Charlotte M. Yonge

... taste is the sense of novelty; and this latter is helped out in its surrogateship by the curiosity with which men view ingenious and puzzling contrivances. Hence it comes that most objects alleged to be beautiful, and doing duty as such, show considerable ingenuity of design and are calculated to puzzle the beholder—to bewilder him with irrelevant suggestions and hints of the improbable—at the same time that they give evidence of an expenditure of labor in excess of what would give them their fullest efficency for ...
— The Theory of the Leisure Class • Thorstein Veblen

... a puzzle to most persons. Very few treatises explain it satisfactorily. The definition just given, though explicit, is not quite enough. For it will be perceived that an ordinary subtraction of the degrees of temperature on a wet thermometer, which had cooled down by evaporation, from the actual ...
— Atlantic Monthly Vol. 6, No. 33, July, 1860 • Various

... They are attentive (which the American child is not) but not retentive, and they can keep up a steady, even pull at regular tasks, especially in routine work, at which American children usually rebel. In fact, they prefer routine work to variety, and grow discouraged quickly when they have to puzzle out things for themselves. They will faithfully memorize pages and pages of matter which they do not understand, a task at which our nervous American children would completely fail. They are exceedingly sensitive to criticism, and respond quickly ...
— A Woman's Impression of the Philippines • Mary Helen Fee

... fear," replied Carlo, laughing. "I looked just as you do now- -I felt just as you do now—all in a fright and a puzzle, when I first heard of angles and sines, and cosines, and arcs and centres, and complements ...
— The Parent's Assistant • Maria Edgeworth

... friend, plunge in, for if you passed any such night as mine, the clear cold water of Holywell Spring has marvellous healing properties, and it will freshen your wits for whatever the day may bring for them to puzzle over." ...
— The Best Short Stories of 1920 - and the Yearbook of the American Short Story • Various

... although he could be obstinate enough when he liked, and refuse to pass the green paddock where he grazed; but he wanted no beating, while with his young master on his back: he would trot off with his little hoofs going pitter-patter, twinkle-twinkle over the road, at a rate that it used to puzzle old Dumpling, the fat pony, to keep ...
— Hollowdell Grange - Holiday Hours in a Country Home • George Manville Fenn

... a sore puzzle to the men who have never heard of these things. Calvin (that appalling exception who had nothing in him of France except lucidity) could make neither head nor tail of him. Geneva was glad enough to chaunt through the nose his translations of the ...
— Avril - Being Essays on the Poetry of the French Renaissance • H. Belloc

... suggestive both of warfare and refugee life, was a great puzzle to a party of city young men who not many years ago penetrated these forest solitudes, on a hunting excursion. They concluded that it was built at a time when defense against the Indians was necessary. A writer for a New York magazine, who seems to have stumbled on this old "block-house," ...
— When Life Was Young - At the Old Farm in Maine • C. A. Stephens

... blue silk, and her frocks had an inclination to trail. On her mother's side she was French and on her father's English; from her mother she got the technique of her stories, the light-hearted boldness of her conversation and her extraordinary devotion to her family. She was always something of a puzzle to English women because she was a great deal more domestic than most of them and yet bristled with theories about morals and life in general that had nothing whatever in common with domesticity. Some one once said of her that "she was a hot water ...
— Fortitude • Hugh Walpole

... very much, and my sister is quite proud of them. For the first time in my life I congratulated myself upon the shortness and meanness of my name. Had it been Schwartzenberg or Esterhazy it would have put you to some puzzle." ...
— The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb IV - Poems and Plays • Charles and Mary Lamb

... "You'll puzzle me to my dying day," I answered. "And how be it in your power to give me Arthur Parable, supposing I was to want him? It's a delicate subject," I said, "and he will never take another, having all ...
— The Torch and Other Tales • Eden Phillpotts

... overthrow of Louis Philippe, and again at the overthrow of the Second Republic, and again at the overthrow of the Second Empire, and again at the overthrow of the Commune, these alterations wept on, it is seen that the puzzle offered to Paris people in general, and to Paris postmen in particular, must be anything but amusing. Should the Third Republic perish to-morrow, a new christening of streets would have to be made; but the event only would determine whether the new ...
— Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science - April, 1873, Vol. XI, No. 25. • Various

... Colonban. There is a legend about it which I will tell you some evening when you cannot sleep. You will see there the tombs of Marguerite de Bourbon, Philippe le Bel, and Marguerite of Austria. I will puzzle you with the problem of her motto: 'Fortune, infortune, fort'une,' which I claim to have solved by a Latinized version: 'Fortuna, in fortuna, forti una.' Are you fond of fishing, my dear friend? There's the Reissouse at your feet, and close at hand a collection of ...
— The Companions of Jehu • Alexandre Dumas, pere

... everywhere. Social idealism is growing everywhere. People who want to persuade us that social idealism depends on religion are puzzled by this. It is only because they are obstinately determined to connect everything with Christianity, in spite of its historical record. There is no puzzle. We have transferred our emotions from God to man, from heaven ...
— Communism and Christianism - Analyzed and Contrasted from the Marxian and Darwinian Points of View • William Montgomery Brown

... from that broad strip of violet sky, and perceived that that too was impossible. Then she understood that the will had already lost touch with the body, that the crumbling world had receded to an infinite distance—that was as she had expected, but what continued to puzzle her was that her mind was still active. It was true that the world she had known had withdrawn itself from the dominion of consciousness, as her body had done, except, that was, in the sense of hearing, which was still strangely alert; yet there was still enough memory to be aware that there was ...
— Lord of the World • Robert Hugh Benson

... would puzzle the London detective police, I believe they are the most knowin' coons ...
— Nature and Human Nature • Thomas Chandler Haliburton

... thy puzzle—to amuse thee, carinissima; for verily thy brain is dull. It is no wonder with the gravity of this court! But happily to-morrow—thou shalt see to-morrow how the people shout to him, for Cyprus doth owe him ...
— The Royal Pawn of Venice - A Romance of Cyprus • Mrs. Lawrence Turnbull

... was a sturdy fellow of about nine-and-twenty, whose existence was a puzzle to his neighbors. During the last seven years he had worked only eighteen months all together. The rest of the time he had been on the Saw-Grinders' box, receiving relief, viz.: seven shillings and sixpence for his wife, and two shillings for each child; and every now and then he ...
— Put Yourself in His Place • Charles Reade

... modest wisdom, and clear science of the one, are contrasted with the confident ignorance and blind opinionativeness of the other; dispute and controversy must of course arise: where the false pretender cannot fail of being either puzzled or confuted. To puzzle him only is sufficient, if there be no other persons present; because such a man can never be confuted in his own opinion: but when there is an audience round them, in danger of being misled by sophistry into error, then is the ...
— Introduction to the Philosophy and Writings of Plato • Thomas Taylor

... your tricks well," Sir Ralph said, good-temperedly, "and, in truth, your quick returns puzzle me greatly, and I admit that were we both unprotected I should have no chance with you, but let us see what you could do were we fighting in earnest," and he took down a couple of suits of complete ...
— A March on London • G. A. Henty

... understand,' she said, 'how you ever came to care about me! It always was a puzzle,and never so much as to-night.' The brown eyes were strangely ...
— The Gold of Chickaree • Susan Warner

... connections presented itself to Joel on the day preceding the golf tournament and the football game with Westvale. On account of the latter there had been only a half hour of light practice for the two squads, and Joel at half past four had gone to his room to study. But when it came time to puzzle out some problems in geometry Joel found that his paper was used up, and, rather than borrow of his neighbors, he pulled on his cap and ...
— The Half-Back • Ralph Henry Barbour

... to Owen, "we must make the best of it. We must brush up our manners, and set the house tidy, and amuse her as well as we can. The difficulty is where to put her; and, when that is settled, the next puzzle will be, what to order in to make her comfortable. It's a hard thing, brother, to say what will or what will not ...
— The Queen of Hearts • Wilkie Collins

... who have a sense of humor are so — so, well so QUEER about it, if you get what I mean. That is, if you know they have one, of course you're naturally watching for them to say humorous things; and they're forever saying the sort of things that puzzle you, because you have never heard those things before in just that way, and if you DO laugh they're so apt to act as if you were laughing ...
— Hermione and Her Little Group of Serious Thinkers • Don Marquis

... out of the bunk in remarkably quick time, but he was still confused, and his brain refused to solve the puzzle before him, so he, to use a familiar expression, pulled himself together. The young officer resented being spoken to in this rough manner and threatened by a stranger with an American accent, and in as haughty a tone as he could assume ...
— The Black Bar • George Manville Fenn

... understand exactly what he meant by the "inside," but she did not puzzle her head about it. She was happy to know that her father was so well and that Chester was speeding to her. The day promised to be fair, and the drive to the station would be delightful. She was looking out ...
— Story of Chester Lawrence • Nephi Anderson

... his father, rising; "that is just the puzzle. It will take you years to find it out. Lindy, look into the morning-room in about half an hour, and you will hear a tale whose lightest word will harrow up thy soul, ...
— Cecilia de Noel • Lanoe Falconer

... The puzzle was no clearer at the end of the half-hour. I picked up the morning papers, which were still full of the looting of the Traders' Bank, the interest at fever height again, on account of Paul Armstrong's death. The bank examiners were working on the books, and said nothing ...
— The Circular Staircase • Mary Roberts Rinehart

... stranger's disappointment at there being no fish after the soup has only been equalled by his astonishment when it turns up in the fourth place. It is for this reason that the Tuscan bill of fare proves such a puzzle to the stranger with only a smattering of the language, for it is not made out under the headings of fish, entrees, joint, etc., but of lessi, fritti, umidi, and arrosti; and fish, for instance, will be found under ...
— The Gourmet's Guide to Europe • Algernon Bastard

... fix them on this truth just under your nose; and Andrew Undershaft's views will not perplex you in the least. Unless indeed his constant sense that he is only the instrument of a Will or Life Force which uses him for purposes wider than his own, may puzzle you. If so, that is because you are walking either in artificial Darwinian darkness, or to mere stupidity. All genuinely religious people have that consciousness. To them Undershaft the Mystic will be quite intelligible, and his perfect comprehension of his daughter ...
— Bernard Shaw's Preface to Major Barbara • George Bernard Shaw

... clergy. I much doubt if he could have passed what would now be called a creditable examination in the Fathers; and as for all the nice formalities in the rubric, he would never have been the man to divide a congregation or puzzle a bishop. Neither was Parson Dale very erudite in ecclesiastical architecture. He did not much care whether all the details in the church were purely Gothic or not; crockets and finials, round arch and pointed arch, were matters, ...
— My Novel, Complete • Edward Bulwer-Lytton

... older than Sweetwater, I had just such a conviction concerning a certain man against whom I had even less to work on than we have here. A murder had been committed by an envenomed spring contained in a toy puzzle. I worked upon the conscience of the suspect in that case, by bringing constantly before his eyes a facsimile of that spring. It met him in the folded napkin which he opened at his restaurant dinner. ...
— Initials Only • Anna Katharine Green

... perhaps you have not learned to write letters yet; but if you have, I would like to hear from you, how you come on—what convictions you feel, if you feel any—what difficulties, what parts of the Bible puzzle you, and then I would do my best to unravel them. You read your Bible regularly, of course; but do try and understand it, and still more, to feel it. Read more parts than one at a time. For example, if you are reading Genesis, ...
— The Biography of Robert Murray M'Cheyne • Andrew A. Bonar

... Two hours after leaving Njole we are facing our first rapid. Great gray-black masses of smoothed rock rise up out of the whirling water in all directions. These rocks have a peculiar appearance which puzzle me at the time, but in subsequently getting used to it I accepted it quietly and admired. When the sun shines on them they have a soft light blue haze round them, like a halo. The effect produced by this, with the forested ...
— Travels in West Africa • Mary H. Kingsley

... years at the primary school. The child learns that if it does bad things it will be laughed at and despised by the neighbours and scolded by its parents. We are busy with the betterment of economic conditions and questions about morality and religion puzzle us." ...
— The Foundations of Japan • J.W. Robertson Scott

... explain all the puzzle of any single man's mind and character, but they form co-efficients in the making of him which can be no longer disregarded. The chief point to be noticed in reference to Cavour is that he was the outcome of ...
— Cavour • Countess Evelyn Martinengo-Cesaresco

... stole round her waist. Well, this was not unnatural. Would they not be soon man and wife? The puzzle was that she had no feeling of response. She would rather that he did not embrace her. She did not want to be noticed. Yet she could not find it in her heart to be unkind, so she allowed him to draw ...
— Madame Flirt - A Romance of 'The Beggar's Opera' • Charles E. Pearce

... thing I never expected would come to pass, if you'll believe me, came to pass then," continued Mrs. Penny. "Ah, the first spirit ever I see on a Midsummer-eve was a puzzle to me when he appeared, a hard ...
— Under the Greenwood Tree • Thomas Hardy

... not have time to see that your room was all right. I merely gave the order, and heard that it had been fulfilled. But it just occurred to me, that as the landladies of Paris have some curious customs which might puzzle an entire stranger, my presence here for a moment might explain any little obscurity. Yes, it is as I thought," ...
— Israel Potter • Herman Melville

... I can't tell you. He was always thinking he had squared the circle, or found the missing bit to fit into the puzzle; but he kept his schemes very dark. He left boxes full of papers behind him when he died, and Miss Joliffe handed them to me to look over, instead of burning them. I shall go through them some day; but no doubt the whole thing is ...
— The Nebuly Coat • John Meade Falkner

... returning soldiers. The men square their shoulders and smile knowingly at one another; some of them look a little bored. Hicks slowly lights a cigarette and regards the end of it with an expression which will puzzle his friends when ...
— One of Ours • Willa Cather

... tragedy, and will, no doubt, produce some modification in the final stage of its history. And now, Shiel, let us sit together and confer on this matter. From the manner in which you have expressed yourself, it is evident that there are points which puzzle you—you do not get a clean coup d'oeil of the whole regiment of facts, and their causes, and their consequences, as they occurred. Let us see if out of that confusion we cannot produce a coherence, a symmetry. A great wrong is done, and on ...
— Prince Zaleski • M.P. Shiel

... mean to flatter. Although in some respects you puzzle me, I am very clear and positive as to my feeling of gratitude. While my aunt feels kindly toward me, she is formal. It seemed to me when I came out of the cold of the wintry night I found within a more chilling coldness. But when you gave me your warm hand and ...
— From Jest to Earnest • E. P. Roe

... the region of romance; history knows nothing of it. Even the name of Scilly is a puzzle, though perhaps the best authorities think that it derives from the widespread tribe of the Silures. Strictly speaking, the name Scilly only attaches to one small islet lying off Bryher, but somehow it has affixed ...
— The Cornwall Coast • Arthur L. Salmon

... puzzle has been solved we know that the original script of the Sumerians had been a picture-language, quite as much as ...
— Ancient Man - The Beginning of Civilizations • Hendrik Willem Van Loon

... continual puzzle to her, this man. There was no servility about him, but she had a feeling that he, too, was in some fashion under Mercer's heel. He made himself exceedingly useful to her in his silent, unobtrusive way; but he seldom spoke on his ...
— Rosa Mundi and Other Stories • Ethel M. Dell

... increase of years might lie squarely on his quickness in the "draw"; when he went abundantly armed by day and slept lightly at night—trigger fingers instinctively crooked. Of course such days have very definitely passed; wherefore the engaging puzzle of certain survivals in Jimmie Time—for I found him still a two-gun man. He wore them rather consciously sagging from his lean hips—almost pompously, it seemed. Nor did he appear properly unconscious of his remaining attire—of the broad-brimmed hat, its band of rattlesnake ...
— Somewhere in Red Gap • Harry Leon Wilson

... amusement kept the orange hose constantly before the public. When not disporting herself in this way, she dozed in the salon, or consumed much food at table with a devotion that caused her to suck her fingers, on every one of which shone an antique ring of price. Her head-gear was a perpetual puzzle to the observing Lavinia, who could never discover whether it was a cap, a bonnet, or a natural production, for it was never off. Madame walked out in it, wore it all day, and very likely slept in it. At least ...
— Shawl-Straps - A Second Series of Aunt Jo's Scrap-Bag • Louisa M. Alcott

... betook herself into Tai-yue's apartments. Contrary to her expectation Tai-yue was not at this time in her own room, but in Pao-yue's; where they were amusing themselves in trying to solve the "nine strung rings" puzzle. On entering Mrs. Chou put on a smile. "'Aunt' Hsueeh," she explained, "has told me to bring these flowers and present them to you to wear in ...
— Hung Lou Meng, Book I • Cao Xueqin

... stone tablet, bearing the name,—River's Cottage. There was a little garden between the road and the house, across which there was a straight path to the door. In front of one window was a small shrub, generally called a puzzle-monkey, and in front of the other was a variegated laurel. There were two small morsels of green turf, and a distant view round the corner of the house of a row of cabbage stumps. If Trevelyan were living there, he had certainly come down in the world since the days ...
— He Knew He Was Right • Anthony Trollope

... mysterious fashion which gave her a bewilderingly girlish appearance. As he looked in upon her she raised her face so that the light shone full upon it; her brows were puckered, she nibbled at the end of her pencil, in the midst of some creative puzzle. ...
— The Iron Trail • Rex Beach

... solicited from all. Puzzles containing obsolete words will be received. Write contributions on one side of the paper and apart from all communications. Address 'Puzzle Editor,' Golden ...
— Golden Days for Boys and Girls - Volume XIII, No. 51: November 12, 1892 • Various

... Hanlon, as he approached the stone, "that there will be no disappointment, and that I won't have my journey on sich a dark and dismal night for nothing. How this red ruffian can have any authority over a girl like Sarah, is a puzzle that I can't ...
— The Black Prophet: A Tale Of Irish Famine • William Carleton

... decided—as though we did know; But that's because BUTLER or SCHENCK voted so. Such points may come up, in the course of the day, As would puzzle the Seraphim ...
— Punchinello, Vol. 1, No. 9, May 28, 1870 • Various

... laughed. "There's the question rhetorical, my little one, and the question interrogative. However, we'll not puzzle thee with Quintilian. Run away to thy lute. And so it is, Senhor da Costa. I love my Judaism more than my Portugal; but while I can keep both my mistresses at the cost ...
— Dreamers of the Ghetto • I. Zangwill

... her parents succeeded in baffling nature's promise, but failed of the fulfillment of their own. At twenty, Jemima was a puzzle to every body, and a weariness to herself. Conscious of her powers, but not knowing how to spend them, she gave in to every imaginable caprice. Having made the discovery of her superiority, she despised the opinions of others, while her own ...
— The Ladies' Vase - Polite Manual for Young Ladies • An American Lady

... dressed so unevenly—oh, that cerise frock yesterday at church!—she must see some beauty in life, or she could not play the piano as she did. He had a theory that musicians are incredibly complex, and know far less than other artists what they want and what they are; that they puzzle themselves as well as their friends; that their psychology is a modern development, and has not yet been understood. This theory, had he known it, had possibly just been illustrated by facts. Ignorant of the events of yesterday he was only ...
— A Room With A View • E. M. Forster

... to me his system of taxation; and to inform me whether he had established a poll, or a house tax, or in what special form the dues were represented. This seemed to be a great puzzle to the mind of the governor, and after applying to my colonel, to whom he spoke in Turkish, he replied that the people were very averse to taxation, therefore he made one annual tour throughout the country, and collected ...
— Ismailia • Samuel W. Baker

... very likely be attended by all the idle populace between Hammersmith and London, besides a host of radicals, who will not let go by such an auspicious opportunity. How the peace of the metropolis or the safety of the Parliament is to be secured under all these circumstances, might puzzle wiser heads than those whose business it will be to decide upon it. T—— admits himself to be considerably alarmed, and describes the appearance of the Ministers in these latter days as betraying more anxiety and apprehension ...
— Memoirs of the Court of George IV. 1820-1830 (Vol 1) - From the Original Family Documents • Duke of Buckingham and Chandos

... The result was always the same. Not only was there no tendency to brain disease—there was not even a perceptible derangement of the nervous system. 'I can find nothing the matter with you,' he said. 'I can't even account for the extraordinary pallor of your complexion. You completely puzzle me.' ...
— The Haunted Hotel - A Mystery of Modern Venice • Wilkie Collins

... "I puzzle myself. Don Courtier is a conundrum with which I struggle night and morning. In brief, Paul, I have been ...
— The Orchard of Tears • Sax Rohmer

... and crumbling Roman brick, digging for lost knowledge in the form of broken inscriptions, hands and heads of statues, bits of carved cornice, and a hundred buried treasures by means of which the historical puzzle-picture might gradually be matched together. Vanno became interested, and spent an hour watching and talking to the superintendent of the work, a cultured archaeologist. When he began his descent of the mountain, a train on the funicular railroad ...
— The Guests Of Hercules • C. N. Williamson and A. M. Williamson

... murmuring hum of busy insect-life, birds shriek, whistle, call, hoot, peep, chirp, and sing among the intertwining branches, and frogs croak hoarsely in the watery shallows beneath. Noises, too, are heard, that would puzzle, I venture to say, many a scholarly, book-wise and specimen-wise naturalist to define as coming from the articulatory organs of bird, beast, or fish. The slow, measured sweep of giant wings beating the air is heard above, and the next moment a huge bustard floats down through the trees and ...
— Around the World on a Bicycle Volume II. - From Teheran To Yokohama • Thomas Stevens

... dismal, wretched, man-forsaken stretch of country it beats anything I ever saw," Walter exclaimed in disgust. "The river itself is about a half mile wide, but it twists, turns, and forks every few yards so as to puzzle a corporation lawyer. The shores for half a mile back from the water are nothing but boggy marsh, with here and there a wooded island. Ugh, the sight of it is enough to make ...
— The Boy Chums in the Forest - or Hunting for Plume Birds in the Florida Everglades • Wilmer M. Ely

... the puzzle is that though the author, as we have said, has true and biting humour in him, he never drives his stanza with the conscious lilt that you find in, for example, Byron's use of a substantially kindred measure in "Beppo," or "Morgante Maggiore." ...
— The Contemporary Review, Volume 36, September 1879 • Various

... point of view, greatest richness of life come from greatest possible difference between men and women. And most of all it is so in Rajputana. But over here...." She sighed, a small shivering sigh. The puzzle and pain of it went too deep with her. "All this screaming and snatching and scratching for wrong kind of things hurts my heart; because—I am woman and they are women—desecrating that in us which is ...
— Far to Seek - A Romance of England and India • Maud Diver

... to be done? It would never do to wake up poor tired father, and bring him out in the cold too. So she stood there trying to puzzle out some plan for ...
— Dick and His Cat and Other Tales • Various

... Africa for lucre; with the "Indians" of South and Central America they were always on excellent terms, and the Californians proffered divine honours to Francis Drake. These are paradoxes precisely similar in kind to those which so often puzzle amiable and mature observers of the British schoolboy to-day. Broadly, they were governed by instincts and impulses rather than by reasoned ethical theory, instincts occasionally barbaric but for the most part frank and generous; and they were sturdily loyal to the somewhat primitive code ...
— England Under the Tudors • Arthur D. Innes

... asked the name of the place, and was again told that it was San Ildefonso; but when he asked what country it was in and how far it was to San Francisco, he was met with a polite "I do not understand you, Senor." Here was a puzzle: becalmed in a strange port only two days drift from the city of San Francisco; a town which the schoolmaster declared was not laid down on any map; a population that spoke only Spanish and did not know English when they heard it; a Mexican flag flying over the town, and an educated priest who ...
— Stories by American Authors (Volume 4) • Constance Fenimore Woolson

... They got capital seats for sixpence each, high up but not in the gallery, and the night was so fine that there was plenty of room. Mildred's eyes glistened. She enjoyed herself thoroughly. There was a simple-mindedness in her which touched Philip. She was a puzzle to him. Certain things in her still pleased him, and he thought that there was a lot in her which was very good: she had been badly brought up, and her life was hard; he had blamed her for much that she could not help; ...
— Of Human Bondage • W. Somerset Maugham

... What, then, are taxes? The question is one which is apt to come up, sooner or later, to puzzle children. They find no difficulty in understanding the butcher's bill for so many pounds of meat, or the tailor's bill for so many suits of clothes, where the value received is something that can be ...
— Civil Government in the United States Considered with - Some Reference to Its Origins • John Fiske

... first time he began to notice the words that showed dimly through the stain, began to read them, to puzzle them out, as if they were new ...
— The Lions of the Lord - A Tale of the Old West • Harry Leon Wilson

... the truth is, that the city having gathered round the Sepulchre, which is the main point of interest, has crept northward, and thus in great measure are occasioned the many geographical surprises that puzzle ...
— Eothen • A. W. Kinglake

... a meteorological record unless you have a special liking for that science. If you camp in Jacob Sawyer's pasture, and he gives you a quart of milk, say so, instead of "a good old man showed us a favor;" for in after-years the memory of it will be sweeter than the milk was, and it will puzzle you to recall the "good old man's" name and what the favor was. If you have time, try to draw: never mind if it is a poor picture. I have some of the strangest-looking portraits and most surprising perspectives in my diaries written when fifteen to ...
— How to Camp Out • John M. Gould

... Agustin Chinco, also of Chinchew, a rice merchant, who had been baptized five years earlier than Lam-co. His baptismal record suggests that he was an educated man, as already indicated, for the name of his town proved a puzzle till a present-day Dominican missionary from Amoy explained that it appeared to be the combined names for Chinchew in both the common and literary Chinese, in each case with the syllable denoting the town left off. Apparently when questioned from what town ...
— Lineage, Life, and Labors of Jose Rizal, Philippine Patriot • Austin Craig

... 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 ...
— Odd Numbers - Being Further Chronicles of Shorty McCabe • Sewell Ford

... be mentioned as a sort of foxhound in miniature, and nothing can well be more perfect than the shape of these small dogs. But how different are they in their style of hunting! The beagle, which has always his nose to the ground, will puzzle for a length of time on one spot, sooner than he will leave the scent. The foxhound, on the contrary, full of life, spirit, and high courage, is always dashing and trying forward. The beagle, however, ...
— Anecdotes of Dogs • Edward Jesse

... which supple and prepare the body for more muscular feats: these are calisthenic exercises. Such are being at last introduced, thanks to Dr. Lewis and others, into our common schools. At the word of command, as swiftly as a conjuror twists his puzzle-paper, these living forms are shifted from one odd resemblance to another, at which it is quite lawful to laugh, especially if those laugh who win. A series of windmills,—a group of inflated balloons,—a ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Volume 7, Issue 41, March, 1861 • Various

... trying," said Joe, "though compared to this a Chinese puzzle is as simple as A B C. Let's take a hack at it, anyhow. We'll each take a separate sheet of paper and try to get something out of it ...
— The Radio Boys Trailing a Voice - or, Solving a Wireless Mystery • Allen Chapman

... teaching Frida English, my mother and I, and she and I made a great frolic of her teaching me Swedish. I would bring home Swedish newspapers and stories for her, and we would puzzle them out together,—she as much troubled to find the English word as I to find out the Swedish. Then she sang like a bird when she was about her household work, or when she sat sewing for my mother, and she had not lived with us a fortnight before she began to join ...
— The Brick Moon, et. al. • Edward Everett Hale

... old grey bearded man and the wicked one puzzle me. I think and think but cannot understand them. Most of the time however I do not think of them at all. I keep thinking about the dandified man who laughed all through ...
— Triumph of the Egg and Other Stories • Sherwood Anderson

... receive it with a cry of delight. Bab seized the games, and Ben was lost in admiration of the little Arab chief prancing on the white horse,—all saddled and bridled and fit for the fight. Thorny poked about to find a certain curious puzzle which he could put together without a mistake after long study. Even Sancho found something to interest him; and, standing on his hind-legs, thrust his head between the boys to paw at several red and blue letters on ...
— Under the Lilacs • Louisa May Alcott

... the figures and figuring of statistics. We admit honestly that we know no more to-day than when Paul de Decker discussed Quetelet's labors in statistics of morality in the Brussels Academy of Science, and confessed what a puzzle it was that human conduct, even in its smallest manifestations, obeyed in their totality constant and immutable laws. Concerning this curious fact Adolf Wagner says: "If a traveler had told us something about some people where a statute ...
— Robin Hood • J. Walker McSpadden

... explanation of the drug which produced hallucinations back on the mountain side. But how that likeness fashioned of phosphorescence had been sent by an absent man to hunt his enemies was a eerie puzzle. ...
— Voodoo Planet • Andrew North

... under the punishment, threw himself once more upon the impassive "monkey-puzzle" on four legs, but beyond tearing himself into an even more ghastly apparition than before, he accomplished nothing. Finally he broke away, and slid off, a rustling, half-guessed, fleeting vision, and there was fear ...
— The Way of the Wild • F. St. Mars

... write a solid slab of purple prose, scissor it into a jig-saw puzzle, serve it with a dazzle dressing and ...
— Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 158, February 25th, 1920 • Various

... not in the least surprised," returned Wyley with an easy smile. "Though I admit that I am interested. A wife is sauce to any story." He looked placidly round the company. He alone held the key to the puzzle, and since he was now become the centre of attraction he was inclined to play with his less acute brethren. With a wave of the hand he stilled the requests for an ...
— Ensign Knightley and Other Stories • A. E. W. Mason

... Pat, suddenly waking up. This sounded rather like a riddle, or a puzzle of some kind, and ...
— Miss Mouse and Her Boys • Mrs. Molesworth

... in all of them at once; and we should have no practical controversy with philosophers who, after the fashion of the author I have been quoting, are so smart in proving that we, who differ from them, must needs be so bigotted and puzzle-headed. ...
— The Idea of a University Defined and Illustrated: In Nine - Discourses Delivered to the Catholics of Dublin • John Henry Newman

... territory torn by factions and internal dissensions, like the great empire whose name it bears; and what will be the result would puzzle the apothecary himself, with all his talent at prognostics, to determine, though I apprehend that it will terminate in the total downfall of ...
— The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. • Washington Irving

... would have been a puzzle to the other, if the elder of the two had not been Mrs. Kinzer, and the widow had never been very much puzzled in all her life. At all events, she put out her hand, ...
— Dab Kinzer - A Story of a Growing Boy • William O. Stoddard

... in her own mind during these few weeks a light had been steadily growing, illuminating many things she had been wont to puzzle over or habitually to pass by as teasing and obscure. She saw the whole world constructed on one purpose, that all living creatures should love and help one another to be happy. Even such a man as Rosewarne found a place in it, as one to be pitied because he erred against ...
— Shining Ferry • Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch

... had but little opportunity to examine the inner workings of the Catholic Church the subject of the conventual life has always been something of a puzzle. Of course it has been difficult for them to obtain a personal insight into its details, just as it would be difficult to gain admittance into the mosque of St. Sophia or a Hindu community of religious. ...
— Lippincott's Magazine, Vol. XVII, No. 99, March, 1876 • Various

... town, I make no doubt, has its own peculiar air or atmosphere that one familiar with the same may never puzzle about in his mind, but finds come over him with a waft at odd moments like the scent of bog-myrtle and tansy in an old clothes-press. Our own air in Glen Shira had ever been very genial and encouraging to me. Even when a young lad, coming back from the low country or the scaling of school, the cool ...
— John Splendid - The Tale of a Poor Gentleman, and the Little Wars of Lorn • Neil Munro

... beautiful, and wealthy woman of fashion who would be willing to teach me, what you women can explain so well—life. I shall find a M. de Trailles everywhere. So I have come to you to ask you to give me a key to a puzzle, to entreat you to tell me what sort of blunder I made this morning. I mentioned an ...
— Father Goriot • Honore de Balzac

... inquired innocently. Her mind was occupied with the puzzle of the income which, womanlike, engrossed ...
— Trusia - A Princess of Krovitch • Davis Brinton

... that. And I cant argue with you: you are clever enough to puzzle me, but not to shake me. You are so utterly, so wildly wrong; so incapable of ...
— The Doctor's Dilemma • George Bernard Shaw

... for yourselves, where you 're to pay, Thet 's the best practice," sez a shepherd gray; "Ez for their oaths they wun't be wuth a button, Long 'z you don't cure 'em o' their taste for mutton; Th' ain't but one solid way, howe'er you puzzle: Till they 're convarted, let 'em wear ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 17, No. 103, May, 1866 • Various

... feeling as proud as though I owned the army. Suddenly the colonel and staff turned out of the road, and faced to the rear, and started to ride back to one of the regiments in the rear. I saw them coming, and felt that I must salute them. How to do it was a puzzle to me. If I saluted with my left hand, it would be wrong, besides I would have to drop the reins, and my horse might start to run, as he was prancing and putting on as much style as I was. If I saluted with my right hand, I should have to let go the flag ...
— How Private George W. Peck Put Down The Rebellion - or, The Funny Experiences of a Raw Recruit - 1887 • George W. Peck

... Scripture styles the judicial hardening the hearts and blinding the eyes of men, who, by their former voluntary wickedness, have justly deserved to be destroyed, and are thereby brought to destruction,] is a very just one, and in him not unfrequent. Nor does Josephus ever puzzle himself, or perplex his readers, with subtle hypotheses as to the manner of such judicial infatuations by God, while the justice of them is generally so obvious. That peculiar manner of the Divine ...
— The Antiquities of the Jews • Flavius Josephus

... yesterday compared with these creatures, whose stone-bound bones were buried in the sands that drifted on the shores of this world centuries before the first man drew into his nostrils the breath of life. Does the thought ever occur to you, that, ages hence, some enthusiastic student of nature may puzzle his brains over the bones of some such humble individuals as you and I, and wonder to what manner of creature they belonged? Or that, perched upon the shelves of some museum in the year 500000, ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 18, No. 105, July 1866 • Various

... and a Premature Peace," calling attention to this danger and urging the need for guarding against it. First too bellicose and now too pacific, High Finance is buffeted and spat upon by men of peace and men of war with a unanimity that must puzzle it. It can hardly err on both sides, but of the two accusers I think that Mr. Crammond is much more likely to be right. But my own personal opinion is that both these accusers are mistaken, that the financiers never wanted war, that if (which I beg to doubt) diplomacy conducted ...
— International Finance • Hartley Withers

... counsel, I take off my shoes and put on a pair of zori, or straw sandals provided for me, as the rock is extremely slippery. The others land barefoot. But how to proceed soon becomes a puzzle: the countless stone-piles stand so close together that no space for the foot seems ...
— Glimpses of an Unfamiliar Japan - First Series • Lafcadio Hearn

... almost as great a puzzle as preordination. I cannot persuade myself that such a multiplicity of organisms can have been produced, like crystals, in Bastian's (236/1. On September 2nd, 1872, Mr. Darwin wrote to Mr. Wallace, in reference to the latter's review of "The Beginnings of Life," by H.C. Bastian (1872), in ...
— More Letters of Charles Darwin - Volume I (of II) • Charles Darwin

... raiders appeared upon the outskirts of the mesquites. Then Blanco Sol stopped. His shrill, ringing whistle came distinctly to Gale's ears. The raiders were mounted on dark horses, and they stood abreast in a motionless line. Gale chuckled as he appreciated what a puzzle the situation presented for them. A lone horseman in the middle of the valley did not perhaps seem so menacing himself as ...
— Desert Gold • Zane Grey

... barely get the balls over the plate, but he used his head in a wonderful manner, and the slow ball proved a complete puzzle for Harvard after they had been batting speed all through the game, so they got but one safe hit off Heffiner that ...
— Frank Merriwell at Yale • Burt L. Standish

... I shall be going to live with the R.F.C., so as to be able to snatch their photographs the instant they come in—puzzle them out—put them quickly on to a map—and send them off. Everyone then will know far more quickly what Fritz ...
— Letters to Helen - Impressions of an Artist on the Western Front • Keith Henderson



Words linked to "Puzzle" :   discombobulate, reflect, game, fuddle, tangram, speculate, think over, excogitate, confound, escape, throw, befuddle, muse, acrostic, stump, problem, riddle, confuse, chew over, mull, ponder, meditate, mull over, sudoku, crossword, mix up, fox, contemplate, elude, bedevil, word square, pose, ruminate



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