Long Puzzle
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The Long Version of the SSQQ Christmas Puzzle is only available during the Holiday Season from Thanksgiving through New Years.  However, the Short Version of the Puzzle is open year-round.   The Short Version is the one you want for a normal Christmas Party.  The Long Version would be more appropriate for three hours of afternoon of fun with 10 or so dedicated souls.


Written by Rick Archer
December 201

This Christmas Carol Puzzle traces its origin to 24 clues that were the work of some unknown artist from back in the Eighties. When I decided to post this puzzle on the Internet in 1999,  I added 16 more clues to round it out to 40. 

As you might imagine, the Internet worked the same magic for this Puzzle in the 2000s that the Fax machine did for Original Puzzle in the Eighties and Nineties, albeit on a much larger scale.   This puzzle began to reach people across the planet thanks to Google and other search engines when they began pointing people to my web site as early as 2000. 

The Internet isn't called the "World Wide Web" for nothing.  Today people across the world are able to enjoy the SSQQ Christmas Puzzle due to this incredible modern marvel known as the Internet.  So whatever part of Planet Earth you come from to visit this page, welcome!


How the Christmas Carol Puzzle Grew

I did not originate this puzzle.  I borrowed the work of Mississippi lady named Lahlete Pearson who drew up the Original Puzzle in 1985.   In 1996 I was given a Fax containing 24 riddles (see Original Puzzle) that were based on Ms. Pearson's work.  Although I didn't do very well on the puzzle thanks to my general ignorance of the names of Christmas Carols, I thought the puzzle was very cute.

Until my retirement in 2010, I ran SSQQ Dance Studio here in Houston, Texas.  During my 30 year career (1980-2010) SSQQ became the largest dance studio in the United States.  One of the major reasons for the success of my dance studio was my use of the Internet.  I created a web site for SSQQ long before it became the way of doing business.

As a way of attracting my dance studio to my web site in the early going, I published everything I could find that seemed interesting.  One day in 1999 I noticed the Fax copy of the Original Puzzle laying around.  I thought it would be a neat Christmas present for my friends at the dance studio.  However, the art work was so rudimentary, I upgraded it using commercial art work from an art service that is now out of business.

While I was at it, I added 16 more clues to the original 24 to make a nice round number of 40.  Then I published it on my web site.  Sure enough, everyone loved the new exciting version of the Christmas Carol Puzzle!  

The following year, a couple dance students asked if I was going to add any new riddles.  Sure, why not?  So I began to make my own contributions.  During the 2000s, each year I added ten more riddles if I had the time to invest.  As the Puzzle has expanded, I have worked hard to honor the spirit of the Original Puzzle.

As with any project that expands, there have been growing pains.  Once I went past the best known Carols, I realized that most people couldn't guess the new riddles because their knowledge of Carol Titles wasn't large enough.  So I created the Clue List.  Good idea!  Now the Puzzle became much more popular.  Even if you live in a foreign country with little knowledge of Christmas Carols, you had a fighting chance.  This innovation allowed the puzzle to become International.


The Puzzle Splits

At some point, I ran out of all the classic titles.  Now what?  I had to find new titles so I could create new riddles.  First I add Country-Western songs about Christmas like "Christmas Time in Texas" by George Strait.  Then I added humorous titles like "All I Want for Christmas are my Two Front Teeth".   Every time I expanded the puzzle, I got more compliments.  But I was running out of new titles.  I needed a new source!

I found a Christmas Carol list on the Internet that was 19 pages long!  Problem solved. However, since I had never heard of most of these songs nor had anyone else, I had no choice but to add the obscure titles to my Clue List.  The Clue List kept getting longer and longer.  Now the Christmas Puzzle began to require an entire evening to solve.

As the Puzzle expanded, I quickly learned many visitors aren't that interested in devoting an entire evening to solving the puzzle.  They wanted to use the puzzle as a challenge for their 8th grade math class in the week before school lets out.  Or a church group is having a party and this puzzle would be the perfect afternoon activity.  Or there is going to be a family reunion - which side of the family can solve the puzzle first?

Unfortunately, many of these people were in a hurry.  The party is TONIGHT!   They needed the answers immediately.  After a series of similar complaints, I decided they had a point.  The Puzzle had grown so large that it wasn't serving everyone's needs. 

So in
2007 I decided to divide the Christmas Carol Puzzle into two parts: Short and Long. 
The Short Version was first named the Top Forty.  In 2011 I added 10 more clues to the short version and renamed it the Short Puzzle.  The SSQQ Short Puzzle is published year-round.  In addition, the Answers to its 50 riddles are also published year-round. 


About the SSQQ Long Puzzle

Not everyone objects to the time involved in solving the Long Puzzle.  Over the years, I have received countless emails where people wrote to say how much they enjoyed the challenge... especially in Canada and other places where winter is very difficult.  Apparently the colder it is outside, the more popular my puzzle becomes!  I have gotten one note after another from some poor soul that is house-bound due to a huge snowfall.  They said working this puzzle was the only thing that kept them from going nuts until the roads were cleared again.

Once in a while I receive a complaint to say that my Christmas Puzzle is too hard.  My reply is that if you want an easy puzzle, the Short Puzzle is a piece of cake.  If you have a group of Third Graders, for example, why not let them work the puzzle that contains the most popular Carol Titles of all? 

The Long Puzzle, on the other hand, is hard and I admit it.  I love puzzles!  I love crossword puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, logic puzzles, Sudoku, chess problems, word jumbles, you name it.  So when it came time to the create my own version of the Original Puzzle, I had a ball.  I made some riddles easy and I made some riddles hard enough to make people think a little bit. 

With 150 Riddles and a Clue List of 320, solving this huge Puzzle is a daunting task.  But don't complain about it!  Embrace it!  If you like to solve Puzzles and you like Christmas, then you are in for a real treat.

Over the years, I have kept the ratio of Clues to Riddles about two to one.  Some people write to fuss about all the extra clues.  For example, Santa appears in dozens of riddles and his name appears in dozens of clues.  How are they supposed to know which Santa clue goes with which Santa riddle?  Well, my point of view is that does make the Puzzle tougher, but if everything was obvious, then it wouldn't be much of a challenge, now would it?   

On the other hand, I want the puzzle to be fair.  There are people who are serious about getting a perfect score!   So I will make everyone an offer.  If you spot a riddle that could be answered by more than one clue or you see a riddle that is too weird to figure out, write me and tell me about it.  The SSQQ Christmas Carol Puzzle now belongs to the world.  So if you see a way to make the Puzzle better, by all means speak up. 
Send your ideas to Rick Archer, dance@ssqq.com


150 Clues

Rick Archer's Note: The Long Version of the SSQQ Christmas Carol Puzzle is only
posted during the Christmas Holidays from Thanksgiving to Christmas Day)

Please note that all of these riddles are my original work.  It is my wish that you share the puzzle far and wide.  You are more than welcome to use these clues for church parties, school assignments, office parties, and parties at your home as well as for your own pleasure. 

However I would prefer you not use these clues for commercial purposes.  I give the Puzzle away for free.  It is therefore not right for someone to exploit the Puzzle for money - especially without my permission! 

In addition, if you copy my pictures for any reason, I would really appreciate it if you would add my name. 

Stop and think about it.  The person who originally created this puzzle is completely unknown.  I don't want that to happen to me.  Considering I have put ten years of effort into making this the best Christmas Puzzle on the Internet, I would appreciate at least being remembered for my contribution.  That would mean a lot to me.

So PLEASE add my name.
 Thanks,  Rick Archer.



The Answers to the Short Puzzle are provided on a year-round basis.

However, you need to do some work to get the Long Puzzle answers.

When you get 75 correct answers from LONG PUZZLE CLUES 001-150, email me the answers and I will happily send you the rest.  Santa will be so very proud of you!  So will I.

One more thing: please put "SSQQ Christmas Puzzle" in the email heading. That should get it past the spam blockers.  I am not kidding.  I get so much email, sometimes I accidentally delete legitimate mail. But if I see the magic words, then I am less likely to miss.  By the way, if three days pass and you don't get an answer, please try again.  I am very conscientious about responding.

Send your answers to Rick Archer at dance@ssqq.com

I will not respond to any email that does not include 75
or more correct answers.  You have my word on that.

"Can I please have the answers and be done with it??"

As the example on the left indicates, every year people email to say they want to use my puzzle for their big party, but they just don't have the time to solve it. 

These "exception requests" always come with some tug at the heart... boy scout troop, old folks home, family gathering, church get-together, whatever.

I understand "don't have time", but I don't have much sympathy.  After all, I give all the busy people a simple alternative... 

Just use the Short Puzzle for your Christmas Party! 

In my opinion, the Long Puzzle is not appropriate for the typical Christmas party.  It requires a marathon effort!! No one at a party has this kind of attention span unless the purpose of the party is specifically for a group of Puzzle lovers to tackle this massive task. 

On the other hand, the Short Puzzle was designed as a 30 to 60 minute challenge.  It doesn't require deep concentration since these clues to the best known Carols are easily solved. 

I repeat:  The Long Puzzle is much too difficult for most social gatherings.  The Long Puzzle takes HOURS to solve.  Unless the entire purpose of your party is a minimum of two hours (or more) specifically to solve the Long Puzzle, the Short Puzzle is far superior as a fun Christmas Party challenge.

Sent: Sunday, December 01, 2013 9:32 AM
To: dance@ssqq.com
Subject: Christmas quizz

 Hi Richard, my name is Clive Hobson and i work for Somerset Residential Care in Wellington and i have just seen your quizz which is just what i am looking for as a quizz for our residence this Christmas. Would it be possible for you to send me the answers, i would be most grateful. My manager is Jo and she can be reached at [ ]. Many thanks for your help.   Clive

Rick Archer's Note:  And did I respond?  No.  Give me 75 answers or don't bother. 



Rick Archer's Note: As of 2012, the Long Puzzle contains 15 pages of ten riddles each.  Some of these titles will be obscure.  If you prefer the famous titles, the SSQQ Short Puzzle uses all the famous Christmas Carol names.

After I created riddles for all the most famous Christmas Carols, I was forced to through my net far and wide to find new titles.  I added titles from Country-Western Christmas albums and humorous songs like
"All I Want for Christmas are my Two Front Teeth" that are not widely known.  When those sources ran out, I turned to a list of Christmas Carols nineteen pages long.  Many of those titles go all the way back to medieval Europe.  I have never heard of them so you probably haven't either. 

In addition, I will now confess that good pictures are harder to find than new titles.  If I came across an especially cute picture, I created a title to go with it.  There are 20 or so riddles in this category. 

If you wish to complain, be my guest.  Everyone else complains, so go right ahead.  Or you could simply smile and agree that it is fun to solve new riddles even if maybe they are not a legitimate Carol title.

Since there are so many titles that people have never heard of, before you start, I suggest that you first print out the Long Puzzle Clue List.  This list contains 320 Christmas Carol Names, many of which you have never heard of.  Don't let that stop you. Using the Clue List, you should be able to recognize many of the Picture Puzzle titles as you go through the puzzle.  No clue is used more than once, so whenever you get one, it is helpful to cross it off your list as you go along!  


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