Puzzle nuts

Advent calendars without chocolate

Riddle nuts

You are looking for a homemade advent calendar without chocolate? With these nuts filled with riddles, it’s not your belly that’s stressed, but your head that’s exercised. They’re a healthy alternative to the vast majority of Advent calendars, which are filled with sweet stuff.

Material for 24 puzzle nuts:

  • At least 24 walnuts (Californian walnuts are best)
  • Spray paint in metallic
  • Scissors, red string, red twine
  • Wood glue
  • Pocket knife
  • Rubber bands
  • 24 riddles (examples are at the bottom of this post)
  • Egg cartons for 24 eggs
  • Sticky numbers 1-24 (alternatively: a black fineliner)
  • 3 sheets of DIN A4 paper
  • An old newspaper

Illustration of the material needed

The material for the puzzle nuts

Instructions for the puzzle nuts:

Divide 24 walnuts into their two halves

With the pocket knife, the shell of the walnuts is divided into two equal halves. The best way to do this is to push the knife into the small opening on the round side of the nut. Move the knife carefully back and forth. Important: always work along the edge so that the nut can be pried open without breaking. This doesn’t always work out, so make sure you have plenty of spare nuts.

Cracking a walnut

Divide a walnut into two halves

Important: Mark the two halves of the nut immediately after you have divided them. When you have 48 half nuts in front of you, you know why.

Prepare the puzzles

Now select the puzzles. For my puzzle nuts, I chose short, medium-light tasks for the days of the week. At the weekend, a little more challenging brain games are on the agenda. At the bottom there are a few examples of all of them. There are more on the internet, or you can think up your own tasks. The previous day’s solution is noted under the puzzles. So think about a sensible sequence from the start.

Once 24 puzzles have been determined, they must be written down on paper. A size of 10,5 cm x 7,5 cm (one DIN A 4 page folded in half three times) is just right: the piece of paper is big enough to hold the necessary text and small enough to fit into a walnut. I made myself a DIN A4 template with 8 equal cells in Photoshop, in which I then entered the riddles.

Important: After printing, make a note of the order of the riddles on the pieces of paper, so that the riddles are later in the correct order in the nuts.

The slips of paper with the Rasteln

The printed riddles

Paint the nuts

Cover the work surface generously with the newspaper. Now lay out the walnut halves in pairs next to each other on the newspaper and spray on the spray paint according to the instructions.

The painted nuts

The painted nuts as they dry

Fill and glue the nuts

Cut 24 pieces of string of different lengths, but each piece should be at least 25 cm long. Knot one end of a string. Put the knot together with a folded piece of paper in one of the halves of the nut.

For gluing 3-4 drops of wood glue are enough, with one drop the string is fixed.

Filling the nuts

Filling the nuts

To fix the freshly glued nuts now the rubber bands are used. Once a nut is finished, it goes to dry in the appropriate compartment in the egg cartons.
Attention: As soon as the puzzle nuts are glued together, they all look the same! Therefore, number the compartments of the egg cartons beforehand. It’s the only way you’ll know later what’s in which nut.

The nuts glued together

The freshly glued nuts

Number the riddle nuts

Once the nuts are dry, they are numbered with the adhesive numbers.

Moor the strings

Then the strings are tied together. One of the strings is made into a loop and fixed together with the other strings by means of a clamp.

Connect the strings

Fix the cords

Make the hanger

Finally, the string is wrapped around the cut ends until they are tightly connected and the clamp can be released.

Make a loop

Tinker the suspension

With the scissors bring all ends to a uniform height, the loop remains untouched.

And this is what the puzzle nuts look like when hung up:

Complete view of the puzzle nuts

Riddle examples:

Simple to moderate puzzles:

It has two wings but can’t fly
It has a back and yet it cannot lie
It wears glasses and yet can not see
It has one leg and yet it cannot stand
While it can run, it can’t walk
Solution: The nose

Who lays eggs and builds no nest?
Solution: The cuckoo

It carries its master
It carries its master and is carried by its master.
Solution: The shoe

The more it gets
the hungrier it gets.
And has it eaten everything
so it dies.
Solution: the fire

When you need it
you throw it away!
If you don’t need it
get it back again
Solution: The anchor

Something that consumes everything and everyone
Helmet and armor, axe and sword
Animal, bird, flower, branch and foliage,
From hard stone it grinds dust
Overthrows kings, devastates the city
Makes degrees crooked, rolls mountains flat
Solution: The time

Enter on the shoe
On his shoe,
asked in the book.
Solution: The paragraph

Who takes it does not know it
He who does it, does not say it.
Who takes it, does not know it.
He who knows it does not want it.
Solution: The counterfeit money

Hole to hole
And still keeps?
Solution: The chain

It wears its master
It carries its master and is carried by its master.
Solution: The shoe

It has no color, yet you can see it.
It weighs nothing, but every object becomes lighter with it.
What is this?
A hole

What everyone wants to become, but no one wants to be?
Solution: old

It has two wings and cannot fly
It has a back and can not lie
It wears glasses and cannot see
It has a leg and yet it cannot stand
Although it can still run, but unfortunately not walk
Solution: The nose

More challenging puzzles:

One man says to another:
"I will ask you a question to which there is a clearly correct answer: either yes or no". But it will be impossible for you to answer my question.Possibly you will know the correct answer, but you will not give it to me. Anyone else might be able to provide the answer, but not you."
What question will he ask?
Solution: "Will you answer me with "no?"

A spy wants to enter a well-guarded city.
To get past the city guard, he must say the correct password, which he does not know. To find them out he hides at the entrance and eavesdrops on passersby.

First comes a shepherd. The guard says "eight",the shepherd answers "four" and is allowed in.
A little later a farmer comes. The guard says "twenty-eight", and the peasant answers "fourteen" and let in.
Then comes a beggar. The guard says "sixteen", and the beggar answers "eight" and draf pass.

The spy thinks he has figured out the password and runs to the gate.
The guard says "ten", the spy answers "five". Immediately he is arrested.

What would have been the correct answer?

Solution: "Four" would have been correct , because the word ten has exactly four letters.

Wilhelm is wandering and comes to a crossroads with two enchanted ravens. The one always says the truth, the other always lies. Wilhelm doesn’t know the way.

With a single question, he can find out which of the two paths leads to the city.

What question did he ask the ravens?

Solution: He only has to ask one of the ravens: "What would your colleague tell me if I asked him which way leads to the city??". As an answer he can only get a lie, because he included both ravens in his question. Therefore he just has to choose the other way.

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