On Friday I posted this puzzle…..

How quickly can you find out what is unusual about this paragraph? It looks so ordinary that you would think that nothing was wrong with it at all and, in fact, nothing is.  But it is unusual.  Why?  If you study it and think about it you may find out, but I am not going to assist you in any way.  You must do it without coaching.
If you have not tried to solve it, have a go now.  For everyone else, the answer is after the break.
The paragraph does not contain the letter ‘e’!  Did you solve it?
I have produced an ebook containing 101 of the previous Friday Puzzles! It is called PUZZLED and is available for the Kindle (UK here and USA here) and on the iBookstore (UK here in the USA here). You can try 101 of the puzzles for free here.


  1. This was a rare one for me because I got it as soon as I read it. In fact, years ago, when I used to teach English, I used to have puzzles like this in hand for the last few minutes of a lesson. Another favourite was: “Was it a car or a cat I saw?” Always fun for the students… Andrew mentions Perec’s A Void. The first amazing thing was that Perec wrote a novel (approx 400 pages) in French without a single letter E present. The second amazing thing was that Gilbert Adair translated it into English — again without a letter E. And it’s a good story as well! If memory serves, the lead character is c alled Anton Vowl.

  2. Nice one, but I was taught that the first word of a paragraph should be indented. So that was my answer. It would also help if the ‘paragraph’ itself had been highlighted or separated from the next sentence as that certainly did contain the letter ‘e’ several times.

  3. Happy to know that I had it right.
    This is a first, I have not got a right solution for you conundrums in the past at all.

  4. Reminds me of the unanswered “Why is a raven like a writing desk?” . Best suggested answer I saw was “Because neither begins with an ‘n'”

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