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Dear Mitch,

I read the letter you responded to yesterday, and of course read your response too.  It was mildly interesting, but I would have to call it more of an "idea" than an "invention", because, well, just because.  But what I was wondering is if you ever thought of another way of doing the same kind of thing, but in some way that people could just do it at home or on a smaller scale for their friends or family like you said a lot of the ideas and inventions would be.  So have you?  Because it's not that bad but it requires the person to somehow get inside the milk carton and work up the whole thing the way you said.  Which isn't exactly easy!  So when you can, would you tell a simpler way to do it, some easier way to get the same effect for those of us who work with people who like brain twisters and puzzles, but of course without having to be some kind of plastics engineer!

Other than that, I am interested in this whole new direction you're taking, and I'm sure I'm not the only one, so keep at it!

Thank you,

Jacob B.


Dear Jacob B.,

Guess what?  Several people wrote in with the same comment, or at least with a very similar comment, and that tells me I might've missed the target on that one.

So here is what I believe is an answer you (and a lot of our other readers) would have preferred:

(First, of course, anyone reading this should probably at least skim yesterday's question and answer to know what this is all about, and, hopefully understand this version with enough clarity to be able to IMMEDIATELY put it to use:



Wrapping paper.  What?? Wrapping paper?  You must be wondering what that's supposed to mean.  Listen:  Get some paper that is heavy enough so that whatever you write on it with a marker (but not necessarily a permanent marker) won't show through.  Get whatever color paper you like, and you could even use plain brown wrapping paper like the kind that sometimes comes crumpled up in a box of fragile items being sent through the mail to protect them from shaking around and breaking. 

NEXT:  On one side of the paper, you (BIG AND LEGIBLY, or half the fun gets diluted in the recipient's efforts to decipher it) write or print brain twisters or math questions or whatever kind of trivia questions the person might like.

AGAIN, just to be clear:  One side of the sheet of paper has the unanswered questions written on it, and the 'questions' could even be just old-fashioned riddles.

THEN:  On the other side of the sheet of paper you write all the answers to the questions.  If you do a bunch, it helps to number the questions and give the answers coinciding numbers to make everything easy to follow.

THEN: You take whatever gift you are wrapping, and wrap it with the paper you've made, taking care to make sure the outside surface is the surface that has the questions on it and the inside surface is the side with the answers.

And so, after a moment of teasing the person's curiosity... the present is unwrapped and the answers revealed.

Try it.  I have, and if you do it right (really keeping the person's interests in mind -- like fishing jokes if he/she is a big fisherman, for example), it's an easy and worthwhile idea to carry out.  We had fun with it, and, hopefully, you will too!

Hope this helps,