I promised that if Hangman made it into the Dymocks 101 Club (a list of the 101 best books of all time as voted by Dymocks booklovers) I would reveal the answers to all the riddles in the book. You delivered, so now I have to do the same. Here are the answers (along with, in some cases, the clue within the chapter). Be warned—some spoilers follow.
The more of me you take, the more you leave behind. What am I?
What is so fragile that you can break it just by saying its name?
What belongs to you, but is used mostly by others?
Answer: Your name
I’m as big as you are, but I weigh nothing. I follow you around all day, but at night I am invisible. What am I?
Answer: Your shadow
What has many keys, but cannot open any door?
Answer: A piano (there’s one on Harry Crudup’s key ring)
Die without me, walk right through me, never see me, never feel me. What am I?
I always run but never walk, often murmur but never talk. I have a bed but never sleep, and have a mouth but never eat. What am I?
Answer: A river
When is a door not a door?
Answer: When it’s ajar
A perching barrel, filled with meat, takes hits from leaps and dives. Look inside, but do not eat – the meat in there is still alive! What is it?
Answer: A thimble
I’m a butcher. I’m six feet tall, with size nine shoes. What do I weigh?
I am brown. I have a head and a tail but no body. What am I?
Answer: A penny
The first is dead and slowly shrinks. The second is always eating and will never be full. Once the third is gone, it never returns. What are they?
Answer: Wood, fire and smoke
The first room is on fire, the second contains assassins with loaded guns, and the third is full of lions that haven’t eaten in three years. Which room is safest to enter?
Answer: The third one (the lions are dead)
(There’s a reference to lions in this chapter; the death row inmates are “softened like lions in cages”)
Why didn’t the vampire attack the snowman?
Answer: He was afraid of frostbite
If you have me, you want to share me. If you share me, you don’t have me. What am I?
Answer: A secret
I have six faces and twenty-one eyes, but I am blind. What am I?
Answer: A die
I weigh almost nothing and I’m not hot, but you can’t hold me for long. What am I?
A man takes his son to a doctor. The doctor says, ‘I cannot treat this boy — he is my son.’ How is this possible?
Answer: The doctor is the mother of the boy (this chapter is the first time Charlie Warner is revealed to be a woman, hence the riddle)
My maker has never used me. My buyer will not use me. When you use me, you will not see me, smell me or hear me. What am I?
Answer: A coffin
My life can be measured in hours. I serve by being devoured. Thin, I am quick. Fat, I am slow. The older I get, the shorter I grow. The dark is my friend, the wind is my foe. What am I?
Answer: A candle
Tracy died in Florida. Shortly after, Craig died at sea. Nobody mourned them – in fact, people rejoiced. Why?
Answer: They are hurricanes
Why do you always find me in the last place you look?
Answer: because you don’t need to keep looking once you’ve found me (this is relevant to the chapter because Blake finally finds the missing kids)
Is a clock which loses a minute per day better than one which has stopped?
Answer: no, because a stopped clock is right twice per day (this riddle is relevant to the chapter because after many theories, Blake is finally right about the identity of the kidnapper, but he found out only by chance)
What crime is punished if attempted, but not if committed?
Answer: suicide (relevant because Luzhin shoots himself)
What anniversary present did the hangman buy his wife?
Answer: a choker (which the lawyer is wearing)
Some people fear me. Others long for me. No-one has ever seen me—in fact, I never existed—but you speak my name every day. What am I?
Answer: Tomorrow (because the chapter is about Blake’s uncertain future)