6.9 Side by Side by Side


A story before bed would usually keep Dorothy from having nightmares. Some of them were real winners.

In a suburb of Oz, five little housewives live in five little houses sitting side by side by side in a single row along a flower-bedecked lane.

The houses are numbered 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, in order from left to right as you face them. No other houses are relevant or mentioned. Each house has exactly one associated house color, vehicle, pet, drink, colorful jewelry item, food, book, health club activity, tool, and colorful lawn decoration, all of which are mentioned below, and none of which is associated with more than one house. Within any given house, the house color, jewelry item color, and lawn decoration color are all different.

Looking in one direction from her front yard, the limousine rider can see (at least) the motorcycle rider's house and the more distant unicycle rider's house, and thinks the blue color of one of them is very pretty. The rider of the penny-farthing lives next to the house with the blue gazing globe on its lawn. The Farmer's Almanac reader and the comic book reader are not next-door neighbors. The monkey (which does not live in the house with the white picket fence decorating its lawn) lives next to the Jazzercise fan (who has yellow roses decorating her lawn). The encyclopedia reader drinks iced tea. The yoga fan spends hundreds of dollars a month on new outfits. The orange house (which has the band saw) is not next to the yellow house (which has the lathe).

When the Pilates fan leaves for her weekly 6:00am session, she always rides past both the white house and the house with the pink flamingos (in some order), rather than risk making engine noise in front of the house with the tiger, whose sleeping habits she does not know. The reader of the religious tome does not live next to the house with orange pumpkins decorating the lawn. The woman who eats coq au vin does not live next door to either the woman who eats chocolate soufflés or the woman who eats graham crackers. Both the pink bracelet wearer and the pizza eater next door sleep uninterruptedly every day from midnight until noon.

The woman who drinks espresso wears an orange brooch. The swimming fan, who does not ride a unicycle, has seen the tiger next door swallow its owner's blue necklace. The pink house (which has the crowbar) is not next to the blue house (which has the wrench). The pets of both the encyclopedia reader and the penny-farthing rider run into their respective owners' bedrooms and wake them up in the early hours of most mornings. Neither the rider of the hot-air balloon (who does not eat pizza) nor the kickboxing fan next door wears the yellow earrings. The graham cracker eater drinks Perrier while wondering why the woman who drinks milkshakes never seems to gain weight. The drill press was purchased last month.

The pink house and the house with the woman who wears a white tiara are not next to each other or to the house with the iced tea drinker. The woman who wears a blue necklace drinks cocktails. The comic book reader smiles when her potbellied pig reads over her shoulder. The pot roast eater feeds table scraps to her guide dog.

The romance novel reader, who does not own the goldfish, lives in house #4.


Reading comprehension questions:

  1. In which numbered house is the favorite beverage a cocktail (which one should really never ingest with sleeping pills and Viagra)?
  2. In which numbered house is the pet a brand new guide dog (who particularly likes the bed)?
  3. In which numbered house is the favorite food a chocolate soufflé (even without an engagement ring inside)?
  4. In which numbered house is the favorite exercise a yoga class (which is easy to get into if you claim your child has cancer)?
  5. Which numbered house has a white picket fence (replacing the one that was blown apart by a twister, with lethal results)?
  6. The owner of which numbered house rides in a limousine (a nice place to have sex, as it turns out)?
  7. In which numbered house is the woman whose favorite jewelry item is a brooch (which she would dishonestly claim to have purchased at an antique store)?
  8. Which numbered house is blue (aptly enough, considering the blue movies filmed in the private film studio in its basement)?
  9. In which numbered house is the favorite tool a wrench (on which bloodstains would lead to the arrest of its owner)?
  10. In which numbered house is the favorite book a religious tome (a Presbyterian bible, in fact)?