Ask Marilyn ® by Marilyn vos Savant is a column in Parade Magazine, published by PARADE, 711 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017, USA. According to Parade, Marilyn vos Savant is listed in the "Guinness Book of World Records Hall of Fame" for "Highest IQ."
In her Parade Magazine column of December 15, 1996, Marilyn claimed that hungry and angry are the only two common English words that end in "gry," and that the GRY riddle is a hoax. She published a followup column on March 9, 1997.
Because this is a trick question, it is important to ask the question correctly:
Think of three words ending in gry. Angry and hungry are two of them. There are only three words in "the English language." What is the third word? Everyone knows what the third word means, and everyone uses it every day. And if you have listened very carefully, I have already told you what the third word is. What is it?
The answer has nothing to do with words ending in gry. The third sentence tells us that the phrase "the English language" has three words in it. The third word in this phrase is "language." The fourth sentence asks us about this third word. Thus, the answer to the riddle is "language." Because of quotation marks in the printed version of the riddle, this riddle is only effective when spoken.
The reader wrote: "There are three words in the English language that end in 'gry.' One of them is 'hungry' and another is 'angry.' Everyone knows what the third word means, and everyone uses it every day. And if you have listened very carefully, I have already told you what the third word is. What is the third word?" You replied: "Although there are a very few obscure and archaic words that loosely fit the description, there are no more common words that end in 'gry.'"
But the riddle in the above form that swept the country was wrong. It was changed in the retelling. The riddle, in its correct form, must be spoken and heard; it does not work if written down. Here it is:
There are at least three words in the English language that end in g or y. One of them is "hungry" and another is "angry." There is a third word, a short one, which you probably say every day. If you are listening carefully to everything I say, you just heard me say it three times. What is it?
When the listener gives up, you explain: "You assumed I said 'g-r-y,' but in fact I said 'g' or 'y.' The word is 'say'!"
-- Charles Wiedemann, Hackettstown, N.J.
Puggry \Pug"gry\, Puggree \Pug"gree\, n. [Written also puggaree, puggeree, etc.] [Hind. pag[.r]i turban.] A light scarf wound around a hat or helmet to protect the head from the sun. [India] --Yule.
A blue-gray felt hat with a gold puggaree. --Kipling.
Gry \Gry\, n. [Gr ? syllable, bit.] 1. A measure equal to one tenth of a line. [Obs.] --Locke.
2. Anything very small, or of little value. [R.]
I'm the editor of The rec.puzzles Archive and the author of the book Wordplay, A Curious Dictionary of Language Oddities. I've been researching the "-gry" puzzle for decades, and everything I know about it I've put up on a Wikipedia article . This article includes everything in the pages you've linked to, plus a lot more recently discovered information.