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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



... nowhere did we come upon any trace of the Striped Beetle. At several places they had seen the brown car go by the day before and at one place it had stopped for gasoline, but no one knew of any repairs that had been made on it. The thing began to loom up like a puzzle. If the Striped Beetle had not been delayed by accident why had not Gladys arrived in Ft. Wayne the night before as ...
— The Campfire Girls Go Motoring • Hildegard G. Frey

... good of you, Hunky, to take so much interest in me, and incur so much risk and trouble; but do you know," said Leather, with a look of surprise, not unmingled with amusement, "you are a puzzle to me, for I can't understand how you could tell Captain Wilmot such a heap o' lies—you that has got the name of bein' the truest-hearted scout ...
— Charlie to the Rescue • R.M. Ballantyne

... shrill enjoyment at their release. There are such hooks, swivels, blocks and tackles, such confusion of ships' devices as would be enough for the building of a sea tale. It may be fancied that here is Treasure Island itself, shuffled and laid apart in bits like a puzzle-picture. (For genius, maybe, is but a nimbleness of collocation of such hitherto unconsidered trifles.) Then you will go aloft where sails are made, with sailormen squatting about, bronzed fellows, rheumatic, all with pipes. And ...
— Journeys to Bagdad • Charles S. Brooks

... in monarchy, and a discourager of much liberty in the people, I avow; but it is not clear to me that our colonies are completely our subjects.' Letters of Boswell, p. 180. Four years later he wrote to Temple:—'I must candidly tell you that I think you should not puzzle yourself with political speculations more than I do; neither of us is fit for that sort of mental labour.' Ib 243. See post, Sept. 23, 1777, for a contest between Johnson and Boswell on ...
— Life Of Johnson, Vol. 2 • Boswell, Edited by Birkbeck Hill

... proving—no day! Here's the puzzle. Passed and passed my turn is. Why complain? He's so busied! If I could but muzzle People's foolish mouths ...
— Browning's Shorter Poems • Robert Browning

... in one sense; but it would puzzle a Philadelphia lawyer to foreclose it. Why, the equitable interests in that town-plot, people the place of themselves. I ordered my agent to commence buying up the rights, as the shortest process of getting rid of them; and he told me in the very last letter I received, that he had succeeded in purchasing ...
— The Redskins; or, Indian and Injin, Volume 1. - Being the Conclusion of the Littlepage Manuscripts • James Fenimore Cooper

... manner in which Mark had treated his stepbrother, Frank may be excused for the wish to puzzle him a little. ...
— Making His Way - Frank Courtney's Struggle Upward • Horatio Alger, Jr.

... of her fascination over Henry was a puzzle to observers. "Madame Anne," wrote a Venetian, "is not one of the handsomest women in the world. She is of middling stature, swarthy complexion, long neck, wide mouth, bosom not much raised, and in fact has nothing but the King's great appetite, and her eyes, which ...
— Henry VIII. • A. F. Pollard

... office, where busy till evening, and then with Balty to Sir G. Carteret's office, and there with Mr. Fenn despatched the business of Balty's L1500 he received for the contingencies of the fleete, whereof he received about L253 in pieces of eight at a goldsmith's there hard by, which did puzzle me and him to tell; for I could not tell the difference by sight, only by bigness, and that is not always discernible, between a whole and half-piece and quarterpiece. Having received this money I home with Balty and ...
— Diary of Samuel Pepys, Complete • Samuel Pepys

... ever wedded the Lady Alianora. One of the enemies of her own husband, and she herself set prisoner in his kinsman's keeping, and to wed her gaoler's cousin, all against the King's pleasure and without his licence—canst solve the puzzle?" ...
— In Convent Walls - The Story of the Despensers • Emily Sarah Holt

... metamorphoses, and their consequences, might well puzzle a wiser head than that of ...
— Bricks Without Straw • Albion W. Tourgee

... the name in the order for the gold ring, signed "B. V. H."—a link, indeed, but a fresh puzzle. Knowing the stubborn prejudices of caste in Germany, and above all in Eastern Prussia and Silesia, I should have been compelled to accept "Otto," whose sister was in service, as himself the servant of "B. V. H.," but ...
— Beauty and The Beast, and Tales From Home • Bayard Taylor

... women or women in men to admire is generally a puzzle to those who know the men and ...
— Crankisms • Lisle de Vaux Matthewman

... being is evoked from a simple germ. What mystery is there here—and how shall I proceed to enunciate the conception which I have ventured to form of what may prove to be its proper solution! It is an idea by no means calculated to impress by its greatness, or to puzzle by its profoundness. It is an idea more marked by simplicity than perhaps any other of those which have explained the great secrets of nature. But in this lies, perhaps, one of its strongest claims ...
— Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation • Robert Chambers

... to puzzle his brains about the meaning of this departure, another pigeon came flying in from the city of ...
— The Bee-Man of Orn and Other Fanciful Tales • Frank R. Stockton

... has always been a marvel to me—that French language; it has always been a puzzle to me. How beautiful that language is! How expressive it seems to be! How ...
— Mark Twain, A Biography, 1835-1910, Complete - The Personal And Literary Life Of Samuel Langhorne Clemens • Albert Bigelow Paine

... who was standing in the bows with his long leaping-pole in his hand; "I do puzzle, squire. I've been looking out for a light to show where Grimsey lies, for here, in the dark, it's watter, watter, watter, and I can't see the big poplar by Tallington's. Hi! Dave, where's Grimsey, ...
— Dick o' the Fens - A Tale of the Great East Swamp • George Manville Fenn

... Phil, a little sadly; "there are so many things that puzzle me. I thought that perhaps, as you came from the stars, you ...
— Prince Lazybones and Other Stories • Mrs. W. J. Hays

... to Paris for a year? No, no!—too many of the Englishmen who went to Paris lost their individuality and became third-rate Frenchmen. He would puzzle out things for himself—stick to his own ...
— Fenwick's Career • Mrs. Humphry Ward

... morals—why his beverages should be seemly to drink on all days of the week, yet on one of them seemly but if taken behind shut doors and shielding curtains. But he adhered conscientiously to the American rule. His Lutheran pastor had once, in an effort to clear up the puzzle, explained to him that the Continental Sunday would never do at all in this land of his choice; but it left Herman still muddled, because fixed unalterably in his mind was a conviction that the Continental Sunday was the best of all Sundays. Nor was there anything the least clandestine ...
— The Wrong Twin • Harry Leon Wilson

... a game of dominoes, a mutilated picture-puzzle, some copies of Zion's Herald, and a pile of New York ...
— Short Stories for English Courses • Various (Rosa M. R. Mikels ed.)

... succeeded by chance in saving him from sending across some 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 ...
— Punchinello, Vol. 1, No. 8, May 21, 1870 • Various

... showed white and untanned on cheekbone and jaw, the steadfast young eyes puckered at the corners of the lids with much staring through red- hot sunshine, the slow, untroubled breathing, and the curious, crisp, curt speech seemed to puzzle him equally. He could create men and women, and send them to the uttermost ends of the earth, to help, delight, and comfort; he knew every mood of the fields, and could interpret them to the cities, ...
— This is "Part II" of Soldiers Three, we don't have "Part I" • Rudyard Kipling

... people often rise by their industry to great wealth in the colony; to such the preference shown to the educated man always seems a puzzle. Their ideas of gentility consist in being the owners of fine clothes, fine houses, splendid furniture, expensive equipages, and plenty of money. They have all these, yet even the most ignorant feel that something ...
— Life in the Clearings versus the Bush • Susanna Moodie

... thought of that. Hang it! man, you're making a bigger puzzle of it than ever. You're not insinuating that that boy murdered old Simmons, are you? I ...
— Masterpieces of Mystery In Four Volumes - Detective Stories • Various

... puzzle the iron-master, who studied awhile upon it, and then returned to the subject of my political mission. "I suppose you speak French," said he; "it is necessary in diplomacy. I can speak it also"—which he began to do, ...
— Northern Travel - Summer and Winter Pictures of Sweden, Denmark and Lapland • Bayard Taylor

... surprise, because he had no key to this new puzzle, but he said: "Do wait, my boy, and have some refreshments with us. I have so much to ask you about ...
— Polly's Business Venture • Lillian Elizabeth Roy

... the warst majority of the four millions on us is a passing their days and nites in wundering which blew side will win. Why they is both blew, puzzles me. If so be as they was both saleing boats, in course I coud unnerstand it, but, as they ain't, I gives up the puzzle, and gos a-head. ...
— Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 98, March 29, 1890 • Various

... all too great a puzzle. Benson finally decided to stop guessing until some future time. He went on with his dressing. Finally, with his blouse buttoned as exactly as ever, and his cap placed gingerly on his aching head, he opened the stateroom door, stepping out ...
— The Submarine Boys and the Middies - The Prize Detail at Annapolis • Victor G. Durham

... motor cab, Don Luis returned to the Faubourg Saint-Germain; and it was then that an incident occurred which was to puzzle him greatly and throw a most extraordinary light on the article in ...
— The Teeth of the Tiger • Maurice Leblanc

... low-spoken and indistinct that the first two men he asked did not hear. The third man frowned and pointed to a policeman. The fourth snapped: "Take the elevated for Charlestown or the trolley-cars, either;" all of which served but to puzzle Hezekiah the more. ...
— Across the Years • Eleanor H. Porter

... stars! Some knot!" Leila flipped the undesired net from Marjorie. Rolling it up she tucked it under her arm. "Unmasking is at nine-thirty. Let us be there. We can just make it, and it will puzzle some persons to tell who interrupted them tonight. Our talk will wait until after unmasking. Then we can dodge into one of the side rooms and have ...
— Marjorie Dean, College Sophomore • Pauline Lester

... would make a great puzzle, truly an insoluble conundrum, to take back to bewilder his Martian friends. However, he was able to comprehend the remarks of Vigilantius, "who returned from a journey in Italy and the Holy Land disgusted with official Christianity. He protested vehemently against the idolatrous worship of ...
— The Necessity of Atheism • Dr. D.M. Brooks

... the upstanding wing of Friar's Park, actually the house and the park were some two miles distant. Where the park ended and the woods began it was impossible to determine, yet such was my curious mood that I lingered there endeavoring to puzzle out those details which were ...
— The Green Eyes of Bast • Sax Rohmer

... individual be chosen, results are analogous. If one takes the simplest traits, to eliminate the most chances for confusion, one finds the same conditions every time. Whether it be speed in marking off all the A's in a printed sheet of capitals, or in putting together the pieces of a puzzle, or in giving a reaction to some certain stimulus, or in making associations between ideas, or drawing figures, or memory for various things, or giving the opposites of words, or discrimination of lifted weights, or success in any one of hundreds ...
— Applied Eugenics • Paul Popenoe and Roswell Hill Johnson

... of his "apostolic succession"; and has not the slightest doubts that he can make out his spiritual genealogy, without a broken link, from the first Bishop of Rome, downwards!—though, poor fellow, it would puzzle him to say who was his great-grandfather. E——, you are aware, has long since joined the Church of Rome, and has disclosed such a bottomless abyss of "faith," that whole cart-loads of mediaeval fables, abandoned even by Romanists ...
— The Eclipse of Faith - Or, A Visit To A Religious Sceptic • Henry Rogers

... 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 operations, or permissions, or the means God makes use of in such cases, is often impenetrable ...
— The Antiquities of the Jews • Flavius Josephus

... mine, and yet—where had I seen him before? His gait, his stoop, the carriage of his head, all seemed familiar—but a short-sighted man is accustomed to this kind of puzzle: he is always recognising the wrong person, when he does not fail to ...
— Angling Sketches • Andrew Lang

... the mysterious miscarriage of his letters puzzle the ingenuous heart of poor Paul; though he had reason to suspect, from certain hints thrown out by Amanda, that she, somehow or other, was in possession of their contents. On a certain day, however, a circumstance convinced ...
— The Cross and the Shamrock • Hugh Quigley

... he'd lost something and was wondering where it was. Ha! But—dashed funny—I mentioned something about that appalling speech that chap made in that blasphemy case yesterday.... Eh? yes, absolutely frightful, wasn't it?—well, I'm dashed if old Sabre didn't puzzle up his nut in exactly the same old way and say, 'Yes, but I see what he means.' I reminded him and ragged him about it no end. Absolutely the same words and expression. Funny ...
— If Winter Comes • A.S.M. Hutchinson

... was not so well devised as Mary's Tea. It puzzled me for some time and left me wondering what special beverage was sold inside. I discovered at last that "Coffee" was a thoughtful translation of Cafe, a word which might have been supposed to puzzle an English soldier, though indeed very few French words puzzle ...
— A Padre in France • George A. Birmingham

... staggering to the powers of belief as a well-authenticated dream which strikes the bull's eye of facts not known to the dreamer nor capable of being guessed by him. If the events beheld in the dream are far away in space, or are remote in time past, the puzzle is difficult enough. But if the events are still in the future, perhaps no kind of explanation except a mere "fluke" can even be suggested. Say that I dream of an event occurring at a distance, and that I record or act on my dream before it is corroborated. Suppose, ...
— The Book of Dreams and Ghosts • Andrew Lang

... learned 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 body armour from ...
— A March on London • G. A. Henty

... read some of her books, then some of Dickens and Thackeray, then occasionally a book of poems; Longfellow and Whittier, or, if we want to study harder, there is Mrs. Browning, Tennyson, and Shakespeare. It would be excellent discipline to try and get at the exact meaning of the authors, and puzzle out all the obscurities, it would not be long before we should feel quite rich in a literary way. In reading such works together, and talking them over, of course we make them ours as we can ...
— Divers Women • Pansy and Mrs. C.M. Livingston

... around him, making strange, fantastic shapes in the air of the office. Malone puffed away, frowning slightly and trying to force the puzzle he was working on to make ...
— Occasion for Disaster • Gordon Randall Garrett

... his earliest work.[127] Armance, Beyle's first published novel,[128] though by no means the one which has received most attention, is certainly illuminating. Or rather, perhaps one should say that it poses the puzzle which Beyle himself put briefly in the words quoted by his editor and biographer: "Qu'ai-j'ete? que suis-je? En verite je serais bien embarrasse de le dire." To tell equal truth, it is but a dull book in itself, surcharged ...
— A History of the French Novel, Vol. 2 - To the Close of the 19th Century • George Saintsbury

... name presents an historical puzzle to us. His biography, as we have seen, lies hid in obscurity and his books present baffling problems. There are three translations of religious classics which bear his name on the title-page, and which are introduced to the reader in Prefaces written by him, but it is far from certain that he ...
— Spiritual Reformers in the 16th & 17th Centuries • Rufus M. Jones

... on arriving at maturity. When driven from their usual course, they must take SOME new course or die. There is nothing strange in the fact that similar beings puzzled similarly should take a similar line of action. I grant, however, that it is hard to see how change of food and treatment can puzzle an insect into such "complex growth" as that it should make a cavity in its thigh, grow an invaluable proboscis, and betray a practical knowledge of difficult ...
— Life and Habit • Samuel Butler

... selfish instincts, but without the usual cruel impulses. There was little if any sign of true refinement in the features, and yet, there was a strange strength of purpose that puzzled him. As her story progressed, he solved the puzzle. She had the strength to carry out a purpose that might further her own personal interests; but not the will to endure sacrifice for the sake of another. Her sister was larger and possessed a reserve that ...
— Jane Cable • George Barr McCutcheon

... sure, that's the puzzle! And they say women don't need to know. They can't be lawyers nor doctors nor ministers, nor officers in case of ...
— A Little Girl in Old Philadelphia • Amanda Minnie Douglas

... though by-and-by you intend to accept; or unless you mean that you do accept now, though you have no pleasure in doing so, but look forward to be more pleased by-and-by. In fact the sequence of the compound tenses puzzle experienced writers. The best plan is to go back in thought to the time in question and use the tense you would then naturally use. Now in the sentence "I should have liked to have gone to see the circus" the way to find out the proper sequence is to ask yourself the question—what is it ...
— How to Speak and Write Correctly • Joseph Devlin

... Mr. Douglass in writing, is to me an intellectual puzzle. The strength, affluence and terseness may easily be accounted for, because the style of a man is the man; but how are we to account for that rare polish in his style of writing, which, most critically examined, seems the result of careful ...
— My Bondage and My Freedom • Frederick Douglass

... we have them hewn out in the rough, so that we work the first with an intention of making them conform to a something which is to succeed; and we are so sure of our course that we have no dread of the something after,—nothing to puzzle the will, or make us think too precisely on the event. Such is the condition of mind in which we finally begin our labor. Some Wednesday afternoon in a holiday-week, when the theatres are closed, we find ourselves ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Volume 3, No. 20, June, 1859 • Various

... 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 ...
— Shining Ferry • Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch

... but what escape to civilisation would be easy, but anyhow his heroism should be preserved. He was the rescuer. His thoughts of Marjory were somewhat in a puzzle. The meeting had placed him in such a position that he had expected a lot of condescension on his own part. Instead she had exhibited about as much recognition of him as would a stone fountain on his grandfather's place in Connecticut. ...
— Active Service • Stephen Crane

... that Luther, was the creature of circumstances, that there was no self- moving originality in him, but that his age made him what he was. To some modern minds these concessions remove all difficulty and mystery: but not, I trust, to our minds. For does not the very puzzle de quo agitur remain equally real; namely, why the average of Augustine monks, the average of German men, did not, by being exposed to the same average circumstances as Luther, become what Luther was? But whether we allow Luther to have been a person with an originally different ...
— The Roman and the Teuton - A Series of Lectures delivered before the University of Cambridge • Charles Kingsley

... the literature or the art which a mailable periodical disseminates."[241] In Donaldson v. Read Magazine,[242] however, the Court sustained a Court order forbidding the delivery of mail and money orders to a magazine conducting a puzzle contest which the Postmaster-General had found to be fraudulent. Freedom of the press, said the Court, does not include the right to raise money ...
— The Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis and Interpretation • Edward Corwin

... though you were struck by lightning, or in the way of a 36-pounder! Ralph Waldo is death and an entire stud of pale horses on flowery expressions and japonica-domish flubdubs. He revels in all those knock-kneed, antique, or crooked and twisted words we used all of us to puzzle our brains over in the days of our youth, and grammar lessons and rhetoric exercises. He has a penchant as strong as cheap boarding-house butter, for mystification, and a free delivery of hard words, perfectly and unequivocally wonderful. ...
— The Humors of Falconbridge - A Collection of Humorous and Every Day Scenes • Jonathan F. Kelley

... quite a while, sickened. I thought about the crew of 231, and the other pieces of the puzzle. One of them had to be arrogance—the natural arrogance of picked people that leads to a belief in corporeal immortality: Nothing can happen to me; you, maybe, ...
— Attrition • Jim Wannamaker

... Why, if spirits like ours were not produced every now and then, the world would absolutely go fast asleep, but we rouse it by deranging the old order of things, force mankind to quicken their snail's pace, furnish a million of idlers with riddles which they puzzle their brains about without being able to comprehend, infuse some hundreds of new ideas into the heads of the great multitude, and, in short, are as useful to the world as tempests are, which dissipate ...
— The Bravo of Venice - A Romance • M. G. Lewis

... she murmured. "You seem to find quite a lot of time to read and do other things beside fish, Mr. Andrew," she remarked, as she looked over his bookcases. "You puzzle me very much sometimes. I had no idea," she added, looking at him hesitatingly, "that people who have to work, as you have to, for a living, understood and read books ...
— Jeanne of the Marshes • E. Phillips Oppenheim

... the coolest Cattleyas; upon the other, Odontoglossum Roezlii, a very hot species, and O. vexillarium, most decidedly warm, flourish up to the boundary. Why these should not step across, even if their mountain sisters refuse companionship with the Sophronitis, is a puzzle. Elsewhere, however, they abound. Collectors distinctly foresee the time when all the districts they have "worked" up to this will be exhausted. But South America contains a prodigious number of square miles, and a day's march from the track carries one into terra incognita. Still, the end will ...
— About Orchids - A Chat • Frederick Boyle

... with her numbers again! How strange it is that she should never forget a number or make a mistake in a sum! In taking away or adding together one can't puzzle her. I don't mean that I can't," she continued, apparently addressing no one in particular, "because I am a poor ignorant woman; but wiser people than I. Now, Perine, you shall have your lesson. See here, I shall ...
— Tales from Many Sources - Vol. V • Various

... of humility, Dennis asked leave to venture on a guess. The perforated paper looked, as he thought, like a Puzzle. "If we wait for a day or two," he suggested, "the Key to it ...
— Blind Love • Wilkie Collins

... the Aeneid immortalized the mythic voyage of the Trojan adventurer, who passed along this iron-bound coast on his way towards the mouth of Tiber. Their modern, or rather medieval name of I Galli is somewhat of a puzzle. Erudite scholars affect to derive it from Guallo, a fortress captured during a war between King Roger and the Republic of Amalfi, but this explanation, we confess, does not sound very reasonable. Others ...
— The Naples Riviera • Herbert M. Vaughan

... Philosophy enough: Let Divines puzzle themselves about these Things; let us discourse of those Matters that were first mentioned. If you would be a compleat Mother, take Care of the Body of your little Infant, so that after the little Fire of the Mind has disengaged itself from the Vapours, it may have sound and fit Organs to make ...
— Colloquies of Erasmus, Volume I. • Erasmus

... conundrum obtrudes itself upon me, and I ask, "Suppose Gen. TERRY had a daughter, why would she necessarily be a delightful puzzle? Obviously because she would be a ...
— Punchinello, Vol. II., No. 35, November 26, 1870 • Various

... as I said the other night, as soon as they have dammed up the river and made the lake, they then build their houses; and how they manage to work under water and fix the posts in the ground is a puzzle to me, but they do fix six posts in the ground, and very firmly, and then they build their house, which is very curious; it is in the form of a large oven, and made of clay and fat earth, mixed up with branches and herbs ...
— The Settlers in Canada • Frederick Marryat

... understand what they do want,—they are the same in all histories,—like little children, they get bewildered and frightened in any trouble, and the wisest heads are needed to think for them. It is, indeed, most cruel to make them puzzle out all difficulty ...
— Thelma • Marie Corelli

... the gossip of the king's embroilments with the Parliament—these things, it may again be said, occupied Law's mind far less than the question of gaining audience with his fair rescuer of the morn at Sadler's Wells. This was the puzzle which, revolve it as he might, not even his audacious wit was able to provide with plausible solution. He pondered the matter in a hundred different pleasing phases as he passed from the Bank of England through the ...
— The Mississippi Bubble • Emerson Hough

... The puzzle does not end nor begin with him. One can name a number of literary men of great rank who have written vainly for the stage, to say nothing of others who are authors of works in the form of drama, but nevertheless, like a Shelley, Swinburne ...
— Our Stage and Its Critics • "E.F.S." of "The Westminster Gazette"

... former gravity of his temper and gave way, in the contrary, to a very extraordinary spirit of obstinacy and unbelief. He puzzled himself continually, and if Mr. Deval, who was then under sentence, would have given leave, attempted to puzzle him too, as to the doctrines of a future state, and an identical resurrection of the body. He said he could not be persuaded of the truth thereof in a literal sense; that when the individual frame of flesh which he bore ...
— Lives Of The Most Remarkable Criminals Who have been Condemned and Executed for Murder, the Highway, Housebreaking, Street Robberies, Coining or other offences • Arthur L. Hayward

... 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 lingered inactively ...
— Successful Exploration Through the Interior of Australia • William John Wills

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

... they must be badly scared. The light of the lantern, striking among all these trunks and forked branches and twisted rope-ends of lianas, made the whole place, or all that you could see of it, a kind of a puzzle of turning shadows. They came to meet you, solid and quick like giants, and then span off and vanished; they hove up over your head like clubs, and flew away into the night like birds. The floor of the bush glimmered with dead wood, the way the match-box used ...
— Island Nights' Entertainments • Robert Louis Stevenson

... did not answer. After a moment's pause he asked again for his tea. The girl turned away impatiently. Here was a puzzle, neither the voyageurs, nor Wishkobun her nurse, nor her father would explain to her. The first had grinned stupidly; the second had drawn her shawl across her face, the ...
— Conjuror's House - A Romance of the Free Forest • Stewart Edward White

... that Christ hath a body that is now in glory, ascended from his disciples, according to the scripture (Acts 1:3 compared with verses 9-11). But thou dost only fling up a few words into the air, that thou mightest thereby puzzle thy simple reader. But I bless God, for my part I do see thee, that thou dost, like a beguiled man, seek by all means to beguile others. And whereas thou sayest, It is sufficient to salvation, to know Christ Jesus as head in us, and over us. To this ...
— The Works of John Bunyan • John Bunyan

... points in the missive which seemed of greater interest to him than others. For example, the place whence it had been addressed was an ever recurring puzzle; he also dwelt long upon the sentence which referred so delicately to a paternal relationship. The most exigent passages, however, were those relative to the time he might look for the man's coming. As specially directed, he had taken ...
— The Prince of India - Or - Why Constantinople Fell - Volume 1 • Lew. Wallace

... 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, ...
— Prince Zaleski • M.P. Shiel

... will never do, they have hoisted a flag and are waiting a reply. But let me see," added Willis, rummaging amongst some stores, "here is one of our Shark's Island signals—that, I think, will puzzle the Yankee considerably." ...
— Willis the Pilot • Paul Adrien

... big tree, and watched the old woman's antics. She kept on laughing for some time, and then she reached out for her stockings. She found the only one she had left, and put it on. Then she reached around for the other, but failed to find it, because I had it in my pocket. This seemed to puzzle her. She stood up and looked all around for her missing stocking, but it wasn't there. Then she sat down again, pulled off the stocking she had on, and put it on ...
— Little Mr. Thimblefinger and His Queer Country • Joel Chandler Harris

... alone in his room, he would think of the situation and try to puzzle it out. It seemed as if he and the Presence were there on a visit which neither of them enjoyed very much, and which they were enduring for the sake of his father, who seemed gratified to have his eldest son at home once more. But all the time Courtland ...
— The Witness • Grace Livingston Hill Lutz

... Moreover, a dexterous manipulation of the position improved matters. The portion allotted to Dave was removed, ostensibly to keep it warm for him, but reproduced to do duty as a second helping for Dolly. Of course, it had to be halved again for Dave's sake, and an ancient puzzle solved itself in practice. The third halving was not worth sending to the Hospital. Even so a step too small to take was left for Achilles when the tortoise had only just started. "Solvitur ambulando," said Philosophy, and a priori reasoning ...
— When Ghost Meets Ghost • William Frend De Morgan

... to show you the way, for all these mechanical matters are easy when you know how, but terribly difficult to puzzle out by yourself. ...
— Boy Scouts Handbook - The First Edition, 1911 • Boy Scouts of America

... stone 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 was feeling its way cautiously down the steep ...
— The Guests Of Hercules • C. N. Williamson and A. M. Williamson

... society, and a savage thrust at those quackeries which seem to reign in this world in spite of their falsity and shallowness. It is not, I grant, easy to read. It is full of conceits and affectations of style,—a puzzle to some, a rebuke to others. "Every page of this unique collection of confessions and meditations, of passionate invective and solemn reflection," is stamped with the seal of genius, and yet was the last of Carlyle's writings to be appreciated. I believe ...
— Beacon Lights of History, Volume XIII • John Lord

... themselves in trim, for it might be severe and taxing duty. The route taken by the party was a trail, which leads direct to Rayado, and on which, just before reaching the last-named place, there are many curious piles of stones, which are scattered over the side of a mountain, and have formed a puzzle to many an inquiring mind. By some they are supposed to be Indian graves; but, by others, they are thought to have been made as a sort of landmark by the older inhabitants of the plains, when they started into New Mexico ...
— The Life and Adventures of Kit Carson, the Nestor of the Rocky Mountains, from Facts Narrated by Himself • De Witt C. Peters

... him not to disgrace his name any longer by his stupidity. The appeal roused the little fellow's pride, and he set to work to show to his family that he was not the dunce they had thought him. He went at his studies manfully, mastering the tedious puzzle of the Latin verbs and nouns, and acquiring a respectable acquaintance with the grammar of that language. It was a terrible task to him, for he had no liking for the language, and did his work merely to please his father and escape ...
— Great Fortunes, and How They Were Made • James D. McCabe, Jr.

... he was lost, and well aware that at such times it is useless to puzzle one's brains about the point of the compass, he dashed in the direction which seemed to be the right one. Of course, as in his recent experience, it proved to be wrong, and he now spurred toward the top of the ridge ...
— The Great Cattle Trail • Edward S. Ellis

... building, it may interest the reader to know, my grandfather had himself cut out in the model; and the manner in which the courses were fitted, joggled, trenailed, wedged, and the bond broken, is intricate as a puzzle and beautiful ...
— The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson - Swanston Edition Vol. 16 (of 25) • Robert Louis Stevenson

... grand saturnalia is best when Mr. Smith goes from home for a day or two. Then I can deny myself to visitors—take full license—set the hydrant running, and puzzle the water commissioners with an extra consumption of Schuylkill. My last exploit in this way was rather disastrous; and I am patiently waiting for its memory to pass away, before I venture even to think of repeating it. Mr. Smith had business ...
— Trials and Confessions of a Housekeeper • T. S. Arthur

... perceived my state, and sometimes amused themselves by making me pass an examination, which consisted in ascertaining how many tunes I could recognise when they were played rather more quickly or slowly than usual. 'God save the King,' when thus played, was a sore puzzle. There was another man with almost as bad an ear as I had, and strange to say he played a little on the flute. Once I had the triumph of beating him in one ...
— The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, Volume I • Francis Darwin

... here,' said the military gentleman turning to Mrs Jarley—''pon my soul and honour I hardly know what I came here for. It would puzzle me to tell you, it would by Gad. I wanted a little inspiration, a little freshening up, a little change of ideas, and— 'Pon my soul and honour,' said the military gentleman, checking himself and looking round the room, 'what a devilish classical thing this ...
— The Old Curiosity Shop • Charles Dickens

... one and the same or not, the whole thing is a perplexing puzzle, and I would sacrifice a good deal to have it solved," said Mr. Palmer. "But," he added, with a sigh, "I am afraid that it never will be, for the thieves, in all probability, left New York immediately, and were sharp enough to remove the ...
— Mona • Mrs. Georgie Sheldon

... a big puzzle," thought Nic. "I shan't understand it all till I've made a globe. I wish I'd studied the big one at the Friary more. ...
— First in the Field - A Story of New South Wales • George Manville Fenn

... fox like—O'Meara, who never lets pass a flaw or a loophole for criticism; who never loses a chance to pick and torture and puzzle ...
— The Diamond Coterie • Lawrence L. Lynch

... this process of adding suitable things and rejecting discordant things which has raised those scenes of strange manners which in every part of the world puzzle the civilised men who come upon them first. Like the old head-dress of mountain villages, they make the traveller think not so much whether they are good or whether they are bad, as wonder how any one could have come to think of them; to regard them ...
— Physics and Politics, or, Thoughts on the application of the principles of "natural selection" and "inheritance" to political society • Walter Bagehot

... person as long as men are paid for emptying garbage-barrels—now, doesn't it? And yet it is not altogether for the pay's sake I do it," he added, haltingly. "There really is a fascination about the work. You are really working out a puzzle,—like a fellow solving a chess-problem. It isn't really work, it is amusement. And when you are establishing a royal descent, and tracing back to czars and Plantagenets and Merovingians, and making it all seem perfectly plausible, the thing is sheer impudent, ...
— The Rivet in Grandfather's Neck - A Comedy of Limitations • James Branch Cabell

... And however flimzey this title, and those of William Rufus and Stephen of Blois, may appear at this distance to us, after the law of descents hath now been settled for so many centuries, they were sufficient to puzzle the understandings of our brave, but unlettered, ancestors. Nor indeed can we wonder at the number of partizans, who espoused the pretensions of king John in particular; since even in the reign of his father, king Henry II, it was a point ...
— Commentaries on the Laws of England - Book the First • William Blackstone

... of the name Hungerford appeared to have been lost in obscurity. According to one gentleman, whose interesting record we afterwards saw, it "has been an etymological puzzle to the topographer and local antiquarian, who have left the matter in the same uncertainty in which they found it"; but if he had accompanied us in our walk that day across those desolate downs, and felt the pangs of hunger as we did, mile after mile in the dark, he would ...
— From John O'Groats to Land's End • Robert Naylor and John Naylor

... inside it I should find out from his own lips, at the point of my revolver if necessary, who he was and why he had dogged us so long. He might slip away from us in the crowd of Regent Street, but it would puzzle him to do so upon the lonely moor. On the other hand, if I should find the hut and its tenant should not be within it I must remain there, however long the vigil, until he returned. Holmes had missed him in London. It would indeed be a triumph ...
— The Hound of the Baskervilles • A. Conan Doyle

... you," I shouted, stepping forward so as to get Quatermain between me and the faint angry light of the dying day, for I wanted to see if he would "wipe my eye." I knew him to be a wonderful shot, but I thought that cock would puzzle him. ...
— Maiwa's Revenge - The War of the Little Hand • H. Rider Haggard

... is the Lord God Almighty."' To them the winds were brothers, and the streams were sisters—brethren in common dependence upon God their Father, brethren in common consecration to His service, brethren by blood, brethren by vows of holiness. Unquestioning faith rendered this world no puzzle; they overlooked the things of sense because the spiritual things were ever present, and as clear as day. Yet did they not forget that spiritual things are symbolised by things of sense; and so the smallest herb of grass was vital to their ...
— Sketches and Studies in Italy and Greece, Complete - Series I, II, and III • John Symonds

... writer, often plausible, sometimes in a measure sound, but it would defy the skill of the most synthetic genius to co-ordinate the results thus obtained, and combine them in one harmonious whole. They are like pieces of a puzzle, each of which has been symmetrically cut and trimmed, till they lie side ...
— From Ritual to Romance • Jessie L. Weston

... she enjoyed the lawn with its roses, and the beautiful river. Fresh from the poor little cabin on the hill-top, she nevertheless fell with the greatest ease into the ways and habits of her new life. It did not puzzle or disturb her in the least to live in large rooms, be waited on by servants, or have nice things about her; she took to all these naturally. For a few days Mr. and Mrs. Grant watched with some anxiety, fearing to discover a flaw in ...
— Nine Little Goslings • Susan Coolidge

... whether the usage of many clear-thinking men for long years past may not be protecting you from difficulties which you do not foresee. Instructors and writers of text books (impressive as is the evidence to the contrary) are human, and do not invent rules to puzzle you. They do not, in fact, invent rules at all, but only make convenient applications of principles which generations of writers have found to be ...
— The Century Handbook of Writing • Garland Greever

... 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 would have broken any jaw to remove in the lump; ...
— Lands of the Slave and the Free - Cuba, The United States, and Canada • Henry A. Murray

... time, thought, and money; and many times it was a puzzle to find the latter, though she had been drawing a slight advance in salary for several months, and Morton, by working in the college laboratory at odd hours, was now earning enough ...
— Sara, a Princess • Fannie E. Newberry

... ask through idle curiosity to know the number of the Angels; nor for the solution of a logical puzzle, nor for that of a question in metaphysics, or of a ...
— The Divine Comedy, Volume 3, Paradise [Paradiso] • Dante Alighieri

... puzzle and mystery—they surround our future and our past; and the present would be insipid, I think, without them. Now, I can't tell, Miss Lake, as you look on Tom Moore there, and I try to read your smile, whether you happen at this particular moment ...
— Wylder's Hand • J. Sheridan Le Fanu

... and the rule held good though the family consisted of only one boy. From his earliest days Gavin thought he had been fashioned for the ministry as certainly as a spade for digging, and Margaret rejoiced and marvelled thereat, though she had made her own puzzle. An enthusiastic mother may bend her son's mind as she chooses if she begins it once; nay, she may do stranger things. I know a mother in Thrums who loves "features," and had a child born with no chin to speak of. The neighbors expected this to bring her to ...
— The Little Minister • J.M. Barrie

... Alan were fully occupied in trying to discover why Thomas was making so much effort to get into the ruined summer-house. It seemed a delightful thing to be mixed up in a mystery, and each hoped to have a share in solving it. Such a puzzle made constant private talks necessary, in order to think out a clue. Estelle took an almost painful interest in their conjectures, but shrank from all part in their wanderings round the ruin, or down to the ...
— Chatterbox, 1906 • Various

... greatly at this, and I could think of no answer to the puzzle, save that Naomi must have won the servant's heart, as she won all hearts. Or, perhaps, he knew what it was to love, and ...
— The Birthright • Joseph Hocking

... am taking too much trouble in writing these lectures. This sentence, Sec. 44, has cost me, I suppose, first and last, about as many hours as there are lines in it;—and my choice of these two words, faith and death, as representatives of power, will perhaps, after all, only puzzle the reader. ...
— Ariadne Florentina - Six Lectures on Wood and Metal Engraving • John Ruskin

... Cortlandt might be told. He could not imagine Edith making him the confidant of her outraged feelings. Besides, would such a strangely impassive person resent any little indiscretion in which his wife might choose to indulge? Kirk did not know—the man was a puzzle ...
— The Ne'er-Do-Well • Rex Beach

... puzzle out the moral of this story—it was evidently meant to contain one somewhere—when a flood of golden lamplight mingled with the moon rays on the lawn, and Aunt Maria and the new curate strolled out on the grass below us, and took the direction of a garden seat that was backed ...
— The Golden Age • Kenneth Grahame

... message by the little hot-air balloon," Jack announced with a vein of pride in his voice, feeling delighted over having solved the puzzle that had baffled him ...
— Air Service Boys Over The Enemy's Lines - The German Spy's Secret • Charles Amory Beach

... 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 ...
— England Under the Tudors • Arthur D. Innes



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



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