Blog Archives

Are we there yet? Piece together rare & colourful travel illustrations.

Gaspe : all expense tours from Montreal. Montreal : Provincial Transport Co., [1934]. Rare Books and Special Collections. McGill University Library.

Although a staycation may be in the cards for many of us, it doesn’t mean that we can’t be transported to beautiful spaces and places! Enjoy images from these travel publications-turned-digital jigsaw puzzles from McGill Rare Books & Special Collections’ …

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The Literary Ritual of Conundrum Suppers

Shakespeare added thousands of words to the English language, wrote both drama and poetry, and even bought himself a noble title! But was he a riddler? Apparently, literature and riddles have always been related.[1] As The Riddle Project dove into …

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Dress the Part! The Costumes of Conundrum Suppers

Oswego Palladium. October 28 1919.

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Protestant Churches would often host fundraising events called Conundrum Suppers. At these events, guests would order from menus entirely composed of riddles! Yet riddling menus were not the only entertainment. Performances and …

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The Biblical Business of Riddling Repas

In many ways, the history of the riddle is the history of the Bible.[1] Riddles are scattered throughout both the Old and New Testaments, present in some of the most well-known stories, such as the riddle Samson told at his …

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Comical Conundrums: What’s So Funny?

Good dinners by William Heath Rare Books and Special Collections

Have you ever ordered food, just to be greeted with a dish of roaring laughter? At the fin de siècle of the 20th century, guests would gather at events called Conundrum Suppers, in which diners would order from menus written …

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Call Me By My Name: The Nomenclature of Riddling Dinners

When we first discovered Conundrum Suppers – events in which guests order from menus written entirely in riddles – the name seemed oddly fitting. It described a meal served forth as  unsolved puzzles. Funnily enough, it is because of the …

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Festive Fundraising with Conundrum Suppers

“All who attend will be assured of having a good social time, an excellent supper, and of becoming acquainted with the wonders and mysteries of a ‘Conundrum Supper’.”[1] Eager participants in Conundrum Socials, fashionable dining entertainments of late 19th and …

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What is this?!

Table setting riddle, Smithson Riddle Book. Photo: Kat Despain

Look closely at this page from an 1804 British manuscript and you might notice the diagram for a table setting. Do the labels reveal what diners might have enjoyed for dinner at a 19th-century mansion? Well, yes and no. While it …

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New SSHRC Funding for The Riddle Project

Riddle text

The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council has granted support to the project over the next two years to investigate this new genre from an interdisciplinary angle. The team, led by Nathalie Cooke, Associate Dean of ROAAr, includes an energetic …

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Loving in truth and fain in Riddle my love to show: Mother’s Day Acrostics with The Riddle Project

Acrostic poem

By Leehu Sigler “I’ve put in so many enigmas and puzzles that it will keep the professors busy for centuries arguing over what I meant, and that’s the only way of insuring one’s immortality”[1]– James Joyce Timeless Riddles is back …

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