What Can Go Down the Chimney Up but Cannot Go Up the Chimney Down?

The answer to the riddle “What goes up the chimney down but cannot go down the chimney up?” is an umbrella, according to Riddle Spot. When folded, an umbrella is exceedingly thin and narrow, allowing it to pass through a chimney’s narrow aperture. However, an umbrella is too huge to fit through the same tight opening when it is up.

There are a few different versions of this puzzle. Some people imagine the umbrella going down or up the chimney but not up. This riddle’s roots are unknown, although it could be a reference to the storybook nanny Mary Poppins, who climbed up the chimney with her umbrella.

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Misha Khatri
Misha Khatri is an emeritus professor in the University of Notre Dame's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. He graduated from Northern Illinois University with a BSc in Chemistry and Mathematics and a PhD in Physical Analytical Chemistry from the University of Utah.


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