Edit: this riddle is intended to be spoken, not read. There are no word clues.

"Wherefore came this plank?" asked Dr. Watson.
"We must first determine the exact whereabouts of it's origin." replied Sherlock Holmes.
"Well, just a moment ago I sat here, minding my manners staring out the window, when I felt drowsy and nearly fell asleep. I awoke quickly as my head began to topple over, feeling as if I was missing something and that is when I saw this flat piece of wood upon the floor where none was before." said Watson, scratching his head.
"What were you doing staring out the window?" inquired Holmes.
"Oh, I really don't recall. I had finished my tea and have no other duties this day therefore I was staring out the window."
"Hmm..." pondered Holmes. "Were you dreaming?"
"I don't recall..."
"Not sure..."
"Waiting for me!"
"Yes, yes, perhaps..." Watson said flustered. "I don't think I had a plan at all."
"What you have here is a fantastic case of an ineptitude to comprehend modern metaphors. Abire in animo." replied Holmes stoically pointing his pipe at the deceptive lumber. "We must get you a new hobby".

What is Holmes (and this riddle) referring to?

  • $\begingroup$ Watson is as thick as two short planks clearly $\endgroup$ May 9, 2017 at 15:16
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Note that "wherefore" doesn't mean "where", but actually means something closer to "why". $\endgroup$ May 9, 2017 at 15:41
  • $\begingroup$ @gentlepurplerain thanks for clarifying! I adjusted the wording. $\endgroup$
    – jmbmage
    May 9, 2017 at 15:50
  • 7
    $\begingroup$ Is the answer that he got board... bored*? I hope that's not the intended punswer... answer* $\endgroup$ May 9, 2017 at 15:52
  • $\begingroup$ As long as we're correcting words and whatnot, "it's" as in "it's origin" should be "its" because "it's" is short for "it is" or "it has" and is not a possessive form. $\endgroup$
    – user33097
    May 10, 2017 at 15:34

1 Answer 1


I deduce the answer comes from a combination of:

abire in animo - Latin roughly for out of the mind


"Wherefore came this plank?" and "...I saw this flat piece of wood on the floor where none was before." as well as the reference to deceptive lumber which points to a play on words for board / bored.

which would point to Dr. Watson having a case of:

being "Bored out of his mind".

  • $\begingroup$ rot13: Gur dhrfgvba "Jurersber pnzr guvf cynax?" naq gur urnq gbccyvat "srryvat nf vs V jnf zvffvat fbzrguvat" vf n qverpg nyyhfvba gb n "obneq bhg bs uvf zvaq". Guvf vf yrff chmmyr naq zber cha, naq gung'f abg n tbbq guvat. $\endgroup$
    – Rubio
    May 11, 2017 at 21:03
  • $\begingroup$ rot13: Fubhyq V abg unir tvira na nafjre gura? $\endgroup$ May 12, 2017 at 3:34
  • $\begingroup$ Why would you think that? Supplement yours if you like, but it seems fitting in its essentials $\endgroup$
    – Rubio
    May 12, 2017 at 4:00
  • $\begingroup$ I am sorry, I must have misunderstood your comment. I will edit my post to give more clarity on my answer. $\endgroup$ May 12, 2017 at 4:44

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