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Illustration: Axios Visuals

I asked Axios Pro Rata newsletter readers on Wednesday to submit riddles from their kids, as so many of us try to balance working from home with childcare/makeshift school amid the coronavirus outbreak.

My 9 year-old kicked it off: A cowboy rode to town on Friday. He stayed for three days. He rode back home on Friday. How did he do it?

  • Answer: The horse's name was Friday.
Riddles

1. What is the size of an elephant, but weighs nothing?

2. You’re trapped in a room with no doors and no windows. Inside, there are two pumas, a jaguar, and a lion. You have a pistol with one bullet. How do you get out?

3. You’re in a room with two doors. One has roaring flames, and the other has a glass tube that magnifies the sun with so much intensity it could fry you. There is a small hole 12 inches wide in the ceiling. How do you get out?

4. Whether I add or subtract, I always shrink. What am I? 

5. Imagine you’re in a room with no exits. How do you get out?

6. You walk into a room. There's a bunny eating a carrot, a pig eating slop, and a cow munching on grass. What's the smartest animal?

7. How do you spell mousetrap with three letters?

8. What is something that you throw away when you need it and bring back when you don't?

9. The more you take, the more you leave behind.  What am I?

10. There was an old man who had three sons. Each wanted to prove they should be king after their father died. The father gave each son a coin to buy something to fill up the whole room. The first son bought hay, but that only filled one corner of the room. The next son bought sticks, but that only filled up half of the room. What did the last son buy to fill up the whole room?

11. What stays in place but travels around the world?

12. What is tall when it's young and short when it's old?

13. What has a head and a tail but no body?

14. What's orange and sounds like a parrot?

15. (for older kids) Name something that the buyer doesn’t want it, the maker doesn’t use it, and the user doesn’t see it.

Answer Key

1. An elephant’s shadow

2. You put on the Pumas (the shoes, get it?) jump in the Jaguar (the car), shoot the lion with your pistol, and smash the wall with the car.

3. Wait till it’s night (you can tell through the hole in the ceiling) and go through the glass tube.

4. A pencil.

5. You stop imagining

6. You

7. C-A-T! 

8. An anchor.

9. Footsteps

10. A candle, which filled the room with light.

11. A stamp.

12. A candle.

13. A quarter.

14. A carrot.

15. A coffin.

Related: Pro Rata's got kid jokes

Go deeper

Latinos twice as likely as white people to die from gunfire

Expand chart
Data: Violence Policy Center; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

Nearly 3,000 Latinos each year have died from gunfire in the United States over the last two decades, making them twice as likely to be shot to death than white non-Hispanics, according to a study from the Violence Policy Center.

By the numbers: Almost 70,000 Latinos were killed with firearms between 1999 and 2019, 66% of them in homicides, according to the center’s data analysis.

Top labor leader Richard Trumka dies unexpectedly at 72

Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, who led the largest federation of unions in the country for over a decade, has died at 72.

The big picture: Trumka began working as a coal miner in 1968 and would go on to dedicate his life to the labor movement, including as president of the 12.5 million-member AFL-CIO beginning in 2009.

California wildfire explodes in size, destroys historic town

Battalion Chief Sergio Mora looks on as the Dixie fire burns through downtown Greenville, Calif. on Aug. 4, 2021. Photo: Josh EdelsonAFP via Getty Images

The small Sierra town of Greenville, Calif., was heavily damaged on Wednesday night into early Thursday as the Dixie Fire surged northward amid high winds, extremely dry air and hot temperatures.

The big picture: The Dixie Fire, California's biggest blaze and the sixth-largest wildfire in state history, razed houses and businesses as it ripped through Greenville and surrounding areas in Plumas County.