A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeye's fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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“I’m considering becoming a mind reader. What do you think?” (10/30)
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Entry from December 13, 2008
“What’s black and white and read all over?” (newspaper riddle)

"What’s black and white and re(a)d all over?” The newspaper riddle has been cited in print from at least 1859.

Q: What is black and white and read all over?
In: Jokes and Riddles
the answer is: a newspaper
Another answer is: a zebra that is sunburnt

23 April 1859, Christian Inquirer, “A Word of Cheer From Meadville,” pg. 1:
YOUR weekly visit to our Reading-room is a welcome one, I assure you. You have a prominent place close by your good brother Register; and though you are black and white when you arrive, you are soon, as the riddle goes, red (read) all over.

Google Books
Chambers’s English Readers
Book III

Edited by J. M. D. Meiklejohn
London; W. & R. Chambers
Pg. 178:
Many of us may remember the riddles of our childish days. “Round the house, and round the house, and peeps through the keyhole,” was one of the first of them, and happy was the little urchin who was able to solve the knotty problem. Then came, ‘Black and white, and red (read) all over;” ...

21 May 1880, Marion (OH) Daily Star, pg. 4, col. 1:
THE STAR is black and white and read all over.

1974 (Vol. 87), Western Folklore, “The Newspaper Riddle Joke,” Pg. 254:
As a conundrum, the Newspaper Riddle Joke should be found often in nineteenth-century newspapers and jestbooks, but there is little evidence of it. C. G. Loomis in his searches through those sources apparently noted no new example of it. Its omission is obviously not the result of its being an old chestnut well known to everyone, because many jokes of that nature are included, but somehow it has been overlooked. The riddle does appear in Barbara Bee’s One Thousand Riddles (Hartford, Conn., 1882), where it is classified as an “enigma” rather than a conundrum, and in J. M. Robinson’s Book of Modern Conundrums (Baltimore, 1903). Earlier examples, and perhaps even the original authorship, of the conundrum may yet be discovered.

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New York CityMedia/Newspapers/Magazines/Internet • (0) Comments • Saturday, December 13, 2008 • Permalink