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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

Mayors feel powerless to reduce homelessness

Expand chart
Recreated from 2021 Menino Survey of Mayors; Chart: Jacque Schrag/Axios

America's mayors know their constituents hold them accountable for homelessness, but many don't feel they have the tools or power to fix things, a brand new survey says.

Why it matters: While homelessness has become more acute during the pandemic, city leaders say they lack the money, staff or political support needed to make a meaningful difference.

Ina Fried, author of Login
2 hours ago - Technology

Microsoft to buy Activision Blizzard

Microsoft

Microsoft announced Tuesday it plans to acquire video game giant Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion in cash.

Why it matters: The move comes as Activision Blizzard has faced a wave of accusations of workplace harassment.

3 hours ago - World

Blinken to visit Ukraine as Russia invasion threat looms

Blinken (R) with President Zelensky. Photo: Efrem Lukatsky/Pool via Getty

Secretary of State Antony Blinken will travel to Ukraine on Tuesday as the country faces an ongoing threat of Russian invasion.

Driving the news: Blinken will meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, as well as officials at the U.S. embassy in Kyiv to discuss contingency planning. He'll then travel to Berlin to meet German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and attend a meeting of the "Transatlantic Quad" — France, Germany, the U.K. and U.S.