I owe so much to Encyclopedia Brown. If ever someone tries to fool me by telling me he was on a boat for the last seven months and just shaved off his beard while rubbing his tanned chin, I will know not to fall for it (if he'd had a beard, his chin would be white)! When someone tells me he suspected something was amiss because a frightened squirrel backed down a tree, I will know he's lying (squirrels can't back down trees, they turn around and scurry down head first)! When I receive an oddly worded ransom note, I know to analyze it for what letters are absent from the out-of-place words, for that will tip me off to which keys may be broken on the kidnapper/thief's typewriter. And whenever some local bully tries to set me up in an elaborate scheme to embarrass my father, the chief of police, I will know how to foil his plans through clever homonyms.
Unfortunately, not everyone has read Encyclopedia Brown's many adventures, so in the interest of education, I am compiling every solution I can remember from the 15-20 Encyclopedia Brown books I read and Encyclopedia Brown author Donald J. Sobel's Two Minute Mysteries--many of which were repeated--to help you solve crimes in your own neighborhood and avoid get-rich-quick scams!
1. That much gold/cash would weigh thousands of pounds and couldn't be carried by a single person!
2. If the sun was in his eyes, he couldn't have seen the shadow of the attacker sneaking up behind him!
3. If he'd never been there before, why did he say to the police "when you brought me back..."?!
4. A balloon blown up with someone's mouth doesn't float!
5. The letter/check/contract/will is a fake because June/April/September/November doesn't have 31 days!
6. Penguins only live at the South Pole!
7. Polar bears only live at the North Pole!
8. The chocolate isn't melted, so he couldn't have been standing out in the heat for an hour!
9. If he'd been wearing his watch the whole time he was tanning, there would be a tanline on his wrist!
10. All the grass under the tarp would have been dead and brown if he truly hadn't touched it in two or three months!
11. If he'd really just gotten home after driving all day from an out-of-town visit, the hood of the car would be extremely hot, yet his infant son is walking on it barefoot!
12. You can't fire seven shots from a six-gun!
13. The one would write his messages in the steam on the bathroom mirror, then open the window to clear the glass. The other would then come in to take a shower, and read the message that appeared!
14. A violinist/cellist would never practice in a chair with arms on it!
15. Female fireflies hide in tall grass and bushes, but the grass on the baseball/soccer/football field is short, so he couldn't have gotten the fireflies there!
16. A square manhole cover could fall through the manhole if it fell at the wrong angle, so they have to be round!
17. No one is to blame! When the caller from California said it was 4:30, he meant Pacific time, which was 7:30, or two and a half hours after everyone in the office had already gone home!
18. He indicated they walked/rode their bikes/drove past him from left to right, so there's now way he could have seen the message/picture/scar/tattoo/marking on the left side as he'd only see their right!
19. Dogs love salt which is why that one is licking the guilty party's feet, proving he lied about not wading into the ocean.
20. He couldn't have been in the backyard watering the flowers! The delivery truck was parked on the hose for several minutes, yet he never came to check why the water flow stopped!
21. Someone breathing through a six foot long tube underwater would just keep rebreathing the same air and pass out!
22. By sucking on ice, the kid numbed his tastebuds so he couldn't taste the terrible concoction/hot sauce!
23. All the wax dripped down the side of the candle facing the door/window, but the breeze from the night before should have blown it the opposite direction!
24. If his right arm is in a cast, there's no way he could have dropped the stolen penknife/coin/pen/gold watch into his right pocket while running away!
25. If his left arm is in a cast, there's no way he could have dropped the stolen keys/ring/antique Indian arrowhead/tire pressure gauge into his left pocket while running away!
26. Bronze can't strike sparks!
27. People sleep on trains with their heads toward the front!
28. A silver candlestick/coin/silverware left in a sack/drawer/box for 15/20/30 years would be tarnished, not shining!
29. There can be no cave drawings of dinosaurs because they were extinct millions of years before cave men were around.
30. Only the thief would know she meant the flower can and not the flour can!
31. Only the thief would know he said "an arrow flight away" and not "a narrow flight (of stairs) away!"
32. A deaf man wouldn't have set himself an alarm clock!
33. Tennis players' arm are mismatched, with one being more muscular than the other! And a tennis instructor would know that!
34. A sailor/yachtsman/ship's captain would never call the bow/the stern/port/starboard/a chart the front/the back/left/right/a map or give speed in "knots per hour!"
35. The last year that was the same upside-down and rightside-up was 1961!
36. Zebras' stripes are vertical, not horizontal!
37. Pizzas are always cut with an even number of pieces!
38. He didn't break in and replace the ice cubes with ginger ale! The ice cubes were made of frozen ginger ale!
39. He couldn't have made that toast for his sandwich is the power was out!
40. The flash from the camera would have turned the window into a reflective surface!
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