SparkNotes Blog


The Mindhut can’t pretend to know what happens after death. If we claimed as much it would be equal parts presumptuous, controversial, and depressing. However, we do like to imagine a post-mortal realm where the greatest minds of history are able to assemble and do what they do best… FIGHT! In our new series of weekly riddles, it is up to you to decipher the code and interpret their intellectual feuds. These are brainy battles.


Sherlock Holmes’s hamstrings burned nearly as intensely as the California sun beating down on his neck.

He regretted running a marathon through Death Valley on a cloudless summer day but needed to prove superiority over fellow geniuses. Holmes had done a grand job thus far. Ever since taking an early lead, no other competitor had passed him.

Now, as vast emptiness of sand gave way to rows of parked vehicles, the detective deduced spectators, and therefor victory, were near.

His sigh of relief became a shocked gasp, however, when seemingly from nowhere Benjamin Franklin emerged! Try as he may, Holmes couldn’t overtake the founding father. Franklin simply had more energy in reserve.

Holmes would cross the finish line moments later to receive a silver medal.

“I don’t want it!” The detective protested. “That man is a cheat!”

“Come now, Sherlock.” Ben Franklin countered. “Don’t be jealous AND a loser!”

Onlookers chuckled as Franklin’s paper-white head gleamed brighter than his new gold medal in the sun.

“I’m not jealous. I’m logical.” Holmes smiled. “I KNOW you didn’t run the whole way and I can prove it!”

How? If you think you’ve figured it out, post your theories below. Check back next week for a new riddle as well as this week’s answer and explanation.

Last week’s answer: First he should take Churchill. Then come back alone. Next he should take Gandhi. Then come back WITH Churchill! Finally, he would take Napoleon before returning to get Churchill one final time.

Congratulations to our reigning champion job rose-moon for answering correctly first. Your intelligence frightens us.