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Written by Rick Archer
December 2011

In 2011, the SSQQ Christmas Puzzle divided into two distinct sections.  The Short Puzzle consists of 50 clues depicting the most popular Christmas songs of all.

The SSQQ Short Puzzle is published year-round.  In addition, the Short Puzzle Answers to these 50 riddles are also published year-round.  

My Christmas Carol Puzzle traces its origin to 24 clues that were the work of Lahlete Pearson, an elementary school teacher from Mississippi who drew up the pictures for her Sunday School class back in 1985 (see Original Puzzle).  Over the years, I have added 24 more clues to round it out to 50.

The SSQQ Short Puzzle has many advantages over the SSQQ Long Puzzle.  For one thing, you don't have to solve it in advance of an event because the answers are already given.  For people who are too busy to work the Long Puzzle with its 150 pictures, you can use the Short Puzzle as a much faster backup option.   In addition, you school teachers will be pleased to note the Short Puzzle version is much easier for kids.  The clues are extremely clever and should create much laughter.

Having two puzzles gives flexibility.  You can have a party where the kids solve the Short Puzzle and the adults can tackle the Long version.   That way, everyone is happy!

The Puzzle is Too Long!!

Once upon a time, the SSQQ Christmas Puzzle looked much different.  Back when we started in 1999, there was only one puzzle and it only consisted of 40 clues.  Most of these clues were drawn from the Original Puzzle that had reached thousands of people during the Eighties and Nineties thanks to fax machines.   In 1999, I took a copy of the Original Puzzle and scanned it into my computer.  Then I posted it on my web site. 

The puzzle was only meant to entertain people at my dance studio.  But then came Google.  The Internet worked the same magic for this Puzzle in the 2000s that the Fax machine did for the Original Puzzle in the Eighties and Nineties.  However the Internet serviced a much larger scale.  The Internet isn't called the "World Wide Web" for nothing.  Thanks to Google and other search engines, this puzzle began to reach people across the planet as early as year 2001. 

Today people across the world are able to enjoy the SSQQ Christmas Puzzle due to the incredible modern marvel known as the Internet. 

As people wrote to thank me, they also asked if I would consider expanding the puzzle.  So every other year or so I added ten more clues to the puzzle.  Most people were delighted to see this Puzzle deepen in complexity.  

Unfortunately, not everyone was happy to see the Puzzle grow.  It no longer took twenty minutes to solve, but closer to an hour.  Some people began to complain the puzzle was simply much too long.  They wanted to share the puzzle for their 6th graders, their church group, their family reunion, their office party, their annual neighborhood party, you name it, but didn't have the time to solve the puzzle. 

Unfortunately, this request rubbed me the wrong way.  I had spent countless hours creating this puzzle, I didn't charge a cent, but they wanted the answers without lifting a finger.  So I suggested a compromise: give me half the correct answers and I would forward the rest.  This compromise worked well enough until 2006. 

By 2006, the puzzle had grown to 225 clues and 100 riddles.  The puzzle was now two and a half times larger than it had once been.  I began to receive an endless series of emails from people asking if they could please have the answers without having to do the puzzle. 

One day in 2006 a woman wrote a passionate letter saying that even asking for half the correct answers was too much.   Now that the puzzle was this big, she estimated it took some people two hours, maybe even longer, to solve the puzzle. 

The woman who complained said she had Holiday shopping, wrapping, cooking, planning, phoning, inviting, and decorating to do in addition to raising three kids and going to see them in their Christmas plays at school plus a husband to please with dinner and attention at night. 

And now her Brownie group was meeting this afternoon.  She wanted this wonderful puzzle to entertain them, but who has two hours to do this puzzle with her kind of schedule?

I saw her point. The Christmas Puzzle was so long now, some people really were too busy to solve it.  My solution was to split the Puzzle in half - one shorter Puzzle and one Long Puzzle. 

For the shorter Puzzle, I decided the natural split was to go back to the first 40 riddles that had been inspired by the Original Puzzle.  In 2011, I added 10 more clues to round things out.  The Top Forty Puzzle was renamed the Short Puzzle

Since someone else had done most of the work, I decided to put these riddles in the Public Domain for all to share.  In addition, I provided the Answer Sheet as well.  Now people could enjoy doing the Short Version of the SSQQ Christmas Puzzle no matter what time of the year it was.  

The beauty of this split allowed people who were too busy to work the Long Puzzle to use the Short Puzzle with its answers provided as a "last-minute" backup option.

The Long Version of the SSQQ Christmas Puzzle is only available during the Christmas Season.  However, as a courtesy, I keep the Short Puzzle posted throughout the year.


About the Riddles

The Short Puzzle consists of fifty riddles that each represent a famous Christmas Carol.  The Short Puzzle contains practically all the most popular Christmas Carol titles.   If you can think of the name to a Christmas Carol, there is a 90% chance you will probably find it among the riddles in the Short Puzzle. 

You will find all the standards - Rudolph, White Christmas, Silent Night, and so on. 

Your job is to identify the name of each Christmas Carol.  Most of these Short Puzzle Riddles are pretty easy to guess.  So if you are really good at Christmas Carols, you are welcome to try solving the puzzle without using the Short Puzzle Clue List.  

About the Clue List and the Answer Page

Only about one person in ten knows Christmas Carol titles well enough to ace the entire Short Puzzle without any help. 
If you think you are one of the those people, then start now!

Most people prefer to solve the SSQQ Christmas Carol Puzzle using the Short Puzzle Clue List.   I highly recommend you print out a hard copy of the Short Puzzle Clue List.  Not only will printing the Clue List help jog your memory, you can cross the clues you have used off your list to narrow the possibilities for the remaining riddles.  

When you think you have all the Riddles solved, be sure to visit the Short Puzzle Answer Page.

And when you think you are ready for a bigger challenge, be sure to check out the SSQQ Long Puzzle

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