# A loving marriage?

A simple puzzle of my own creation:

The heartless man threw down his shovel and laughed as his wife fell into the hole.

There is a very simple explanation as to what is happening here, can you tell me what it is?

I think the answer should be obvious once figured out and solvable without hints, but to avoid any fear of it being too open-ended I'll add a few hints.

Hint 1:

This is a common situation that likely happens many times a day.

Hint 2:

The man loves his wife, but he is still heartless.

Hint 3:

He couldn't have thrown the shovel if he wasn't so heartless.

• Are the man and the wife both humans? Because my immediate thought is that this is one of those 4chan greentext ruses and the "wife" is actually a golf ball or something. – F1Krazy Feb 21 '18 at 22:19
• @F1Krazy their both human, and nothing as bizarre as that. – dsollen Feb 21 '18 at 22:22
• Is it just my marriage, or is the surface reading entirely plausible? – Rupert Morrish Feb 22 '18 at 1:14
• "I think the answer should be obvious once figured out" Most answers are. – Acccumulation Feb 23 '18 at 16:21

I think the man and his wife...

are playing a card game, specifically Hearts

Hint 3:

The wife led with hearts $\color{red}{\heartsuit}$. If the husband had hearts he would have been required to follow suit. However, since he is heartless, he can discard a shovel (spade ${\spadesuit}$ - even better if it is the Queen, as this will penalize her with 13 points)

Hint 2:

It's just a friendly card game. He is laughing because he knows he's going to win, but still loves her.

Hint 1:

I'm sure a decent number of couples play Hearts on any given day...

And the original riddle:

Mostly explained in Hint 3 above, but since she is leading with hearts, that is probably the only suit she has left, which means she'll be collecting a lot of penalty cards at the end of the game, and therefore "falling in the hole"

But...

The joke's on him, as she is about to shoot the moon!

• Yep you got it. Though It could apply to any number of other games. – dsollen Feb 21 '18 at 23:01
• Brilliant answer!! – ABcDexter Feb 22 '18 at 11:23
• I don't understand the "his wife fell into the hole". I've never heard this term before (even though familiar with the context explained in this answer). Is there another meaning I'm missing? – Steve Bennett Feb 23 '18 at 0:02
• @SteveBennett I think “dig yourself into a hole” is a more commonly used expression. A hole is just a metaphor for a bad situation that is getting progressively worse (dug deeper) and thus can be fallen into. english.stackexchange.com/a/380166 – ferret Feb 23 '18 at 2:28
• "Dig yourself into a hole" is an expression. "Fall into the hole" isn't. – Steve Bennett Feb 23 '18 at 3:17

Not sure about the shovel yet, but is the wife

falling into the toilet because her husband didn't put the seat down?

• Wait this is actually the best answer. – NL628 Feb 22 '18 at 5:21
• Without a doubt this answer is the funniest. Take your upvote! – humblerookie Feb 22 '18 at 13:28

I guess I have a partial answer:

They are playing cards. The man does not have any heart-cards and is therefore playing a shovel (spades) card. If he had harts he had to follow suit. He laughs because this situation puts him in front/his wife is losing. I guess it's a characteristic situation for some specific game.

• not just one. There is a whole genre it would apply to. – dsollen Feb 21 '18 at 23:01
• What does falling into the hole mean in this context? Does it just mean losing? – NashVio Feb 21 '18 at 23:04

They are a kind of "prank couple" and he made some booby trap against her...

• That wouldn't be much of a riddle :) – Ole Albers Feb 22 '18 at 12:06