Where am I!?

This is Puzzling Stack Exchange's Official Riddle Sandbox™!

Users who wish to post riddles can post them here first, and receive feedback, development advice and guidance before posting them on the main site. Writing good riddles the first time can be difficult, and this is intended to help us all discuss quality and ultimately improve the site.

Posting here is not required. You are free to do so anyway, though, if you would like the feedback before posting your riddle.

To post in the sandbox, post as you would normally. You may include a solution - if you decide to do so, it should be spoilered, at the bottom of the post. Include the tags you plan to use, too: they can be formatted using [tag:tagname].

The ultimate goal of the sandbox is to help you improve your puzzle before it's posted on the main site. Once puzzles are posted on the main site, and people are already coming up with answers, it becomes much harder to edit and fix them; here, though, they're freely editable.

Here are a few important guidelines and tips for people who wish to help with sandboxed posts:

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The sandbox works best if you sort posts by "active."

Also, feel free to ask questions in the riddle sandbox chat!

Thanks, and happy puzzling!

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    $\begingroup$ I have a question. For questions like this one (puzzling.stackexchange.com/questions/41088/…). that I came up with. It is an anageam question, but in riddle form, would this also come here? $\endgroup$ – Jason_ Aug 22 '16 at 20:50
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    $\begingroup$ @Jason_ Yeah! Anything that could reasonably be called a riddle, in form or function, can go here. $\endgroup$ – user20 Aug 22 '16 at 21:00
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    $\begingroup$ I believe answers should be deleted from this meta post once they "graduate" on to the main site. $\endgroup$ – CodeNewbie Aug 23 '16 at 12:53
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    $\begingroup$ The PPCG sandbox says: "When you post your question on the main site, edit the sandbox post to include a link to the challenge, removing everything but the title and the link. This is to keep the sandbox more compact and reduce the scrolling needed to view other proposals. Furthermore, delete the post. (You should edit it anyway, because high-reputation users can still see deleted posts.)". Should we add that? $\endgroup$ – axavio Aug 23 '16 at 19:42
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    $\begingroup$ agree with @axavio! Also, there's currently no info about the sandbox when you add a riddle tag to a post. It might help to add something about the sandbox in the excerpt so people (..if they read the tag wiki) will know to post here first. Or even better, a pop-up notification like I've seen on other sites. $\endgroup$ – user812786 Aug 23 '16 at 20:43
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    $\begingroup$ Hmmm..., when was +10 changed to +7? $\endgroup$ – mbjb Aug 27 '16 at 2:54
  • $\begingroup$ @mestackoverflow After I suggested it on chat. $\endgroup$ – Mithical Aug 27 '16 at 19:34
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    $\begingroup$ For posterity's sake, I own the Sandbox account. Used to moderate Puzzling. Since resigned. $\endgroup$ – user20 May 7 '18 at 10:44
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    $\begingroup$ Are there similar sandboxes for other puzzle types? For example I'm working on one that I'm confident about, I just want to check that the format of the answer makes sense, but it isn't a riddle. $\endgroup$ – Tonks Oct 17 '19 at 13:50

36 Answers 36


I know this isn't necessary, but I would like feedback on this word-puzzle (plus I am unsure what tag I should use).

Not a snail's word

A word of four letters make me,
Related to speed I may be.
Unlike a snail, I am not slow,
Use a magnifying glass and you'll know!

Take off my first and flip me around,
And what do you know, now I'm a sound!
Used to communicate for non-human ears,
Am I heard in a city? Afraid not, my dears!

Remove my first and replace with another,
And now I'm something the dead might utter.
Or perhaps I'm yelled during a play,
When actors are not at their best for that day.

Now take last removed and append at end,
And I become something that's difficult to mend.
Why, if around me exists an obstruction,
With little problem I bring its destruction.

What was the original word, and the ones following?

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    $\begingroup$ I really like that you posted here to get feedback even though it's no longer mandatory. This is exactly how the sandbox should work :-) $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Sep 1 '16 at 18:41
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    $\begingroup$ Tags: I would use riddle, word, and wordplay. Minor advice: in the first stanza, the fourth line is a bit too long and doesn't scan perfectly. Could you perhaps replace "magnifying glass" by, say, "magnifier"? Other than that, looks good! (I haven't looked at it deeply enough to work out the solution, only enough to give feedback, but I suspect it's probably quite easy and will be solved fast - which isn't necessarily a bad thing, of course.) $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Sep 1 '16 at 18:44
  • $\begingroup$ When I got to the third stanza, I was a little confused about whether I should be modifying the original word, or the one I got by following the instructions in the second stanza. I think you intended a series of changes, not multiple changes to the original word. Not sure if there's a good way to clarify that. $\endgroup$ – GentlePurpleRain Sep 1 '16 at 18:50
  • $\begingroup$ After solving the first three stanzas, it's obvious what the last one is, because you don't need any new letters. But if that weren't the case, I would find it difficult to come up with the word based on the clues provided. They don't quite seem to match the word itself, but rather a noun related to it. $\endgroup$ – GentlePurpleRain Sep 1 '16 at 18:53
  • $\begingroup$ In addition to the tags suggested by @rand al'thor, you could also use rhyme. $\endgroup$ – GentlePurpleRain Sep 1 '16 at 18:54
  • $\begingroup$ Did you post this one on the main site yet? $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Oct 20 '16 at 15:12
  • $\begingroup$ @randal'thor no, after hearing comments about it and that it was a bit easy and should be improved/modified, my life got a bit busy and I haven't had time to come back to it. $\endgroup$ – PartyHatPanda Oct 20 '16 at 15:15
  • $\begingroup$ Possibly could be tagged anagram, though I haven't tried to find the answer. $\endgroup$ – Jason_ Apr 29 '17 at 7:49

Yay, first riddle!

I have 256 slots,
of which 10 are wasted!
I can produce objects lots...
...with just 246 slots!!!

My name is long
My fame is undisputable
I can sing a song
with a graphic unconfusable!!

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  • $\begingroup$ Who downvoted, and why? If you're a mod, was it Community or someone else? If it's you who downvoted, why? $\endgroup$ – EKons Sep 3 '16 at 8:44
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    $\begingroup$ Even mods don't have the power to tell who downvoted a particular post. I agree it would be nice to leave feedback with a downvote, especially here in the Sandbox whose whole purpose is to gather feedback. $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Sep 3 '16 at 15:08
  • $\begingroup$ @randal'thor Mods can see flags, so they can determine if it was Community or someone else. If it was someone else, they can't see who though. $\endgroup$ – EKons Sep 3 '16 at 15:11

So I've read quite a few (although never been able to answer). Kind of had an idea for a riddle on my way home. Possibly rubbish, but worth a punt in here: what do you guys think?

Round and Round,

Driven by Man or Horse.

An enemy of Power,

Repeated Throughout History.

Enjoyed with Bacon and Tea,

When I arrive, I change everything.

What Am I?

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Sealed Tree Logs Make Five

My friend invited me to a club, however, he stipulated that I must first NAME the club before I could join. I asked how on earth I could possibly know the name, and he provided me this picture:

If I gave you a description, that would ruin the puzzle

What is the name I need to tell my friend to join the club? And what is the relevance of the name of this question?


I have added a non-sequitur name, but it should make sense when the solution is found. Also, part of the question is the relevance of the title. Exactly how important should that be to the solution, or should I remove it? (I have a feeling some people will be confused (and never learn what it means) if no-one solves it in their answer though)

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    $\begingroup$ The backstory's not necessary, but it may help reception of the puzzle. As for the title, I would embed a hint into there (and if you decide to extend the backstory, there too). Right now it seems to be underclued. $\endgroup$ – Deusovi Oct 28 '16 at 13:39

Haven't posted a proper riddle before, and figured I should probably let someone give it the ol' Sniff Test (TM) before letting it loose in the wild. Apologies to Riley...[xkcd comic]

What am I?

To start? I negate winter's chill
My heart? Its roots grow deep and sound
In the end? Surely that (if you will)
My code is my self until found.

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The following words have synonyms that build a famous phrase:

along huge skill appear big duty

What is the famous phrase?

Any tips on how to improve. Or if this is too easy how to make it more difficult
Also, what tags to use.

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  • $\begingroup$ tags: wordplay, english, word-property, etc. $\endgroup$ – NL628 Apr 20 '18 at 3:26
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    $\begingroup$ Too easy, yeah. Next time, try for something that isn't so well-known. But, be careful not to make it too obscure either $\endgroup$ – Sid Apr 21 '18 at 22:16

Not sure if this is still used at all, but I'm looking for feedback.

Amber, leather, fruit, or pine. Whiskey, crackers, never wine.

White and red across a sea. Or clad twice in sable, burgundy.

Hidden, swung, hooked, flown. Suited, bottled, jumping, thrown.

You'll never get me if you're slow. Who I am? Well, "You don't know..."

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    $\begingroup$ The surface reading (rhyme and rhythm etc, poetic style) is great. It's a bit hard to tell whether the riddle itself is good or not, but the key aspect of a good riddle is to have a single unique answer that fits all the clues. If every part of those commaed-off lists is a clue towards the solution, then that's a lot of clues and so it seems likely there is only one solution. Again, hard to tell without knowing the answer, but to me this looks like a very good riddle. $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor May 31 at 18:25

What is this place?

They brought me to this place last week.

It is a place of knives, wires and pincers. Throughout day and night, the silence is broken by screams of unbearable agony and unprecedented terror.

They put the wires on me and cut me with the knives when the pincers didn't work.

I have slept here more safe and happy than ever before in my life. I think I'd like to come back here.

Where am I?


The place is a maternity ward. The screams are from women in labor (unbearable agony) and newborn infants (unprecedented terror from all the new experiences). The narrator was connected to a life sign monitor (wires) and when delivery by forceps (pincers) didn't work, she had an emergency C-section (knives). She is safe (monitored by doctors) and happy (about her new baby) and thinks she wants to have more children.

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    $\begingroup$ If I may add my opinion - the last line of your riddle is not always the case. So, perhaps you could reword it somehow? $\endgroup$ – Maria Deleva Aug 27 '16 at 18:31
  • $\begingroup$ You don't need to specify the riddle tag, since this sandbox is about riddles anyway. $\endgroup$ – EKons Aug 29 '16 at 18:20
  • $\begingroup$ @MariaDeleva: if by that you mean the "I will come back", then the "I think" before makes it the narrator's intention. But I 've changed it to "I'd like to come back" which makes it clearer (and the contrast more jarring). $\endgroup$ – Michael Borgwardt Aug 29 '16 at 20:44
  • $\begingroup$ @MichaelBorgwardt, I mean the whole line. Sometimes, you do not feel safe or cared for at all. Sometimes, you do not even sleep - for multiple reasons. Sometimes, you wish you would never have to go through it again. Perhaps, it is just the ideal case you are describing. $\endgroup$ – Maria Deleva Aug 29 '16 at 20:50
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    $\begingroup$ @MichaelBorgwardt, perhaps you could just refer to a special gift you receive - not touching the experience part at all - it could have been pretty traumatic for some. $\endgroup$ – Maria Deleva Aug 29 '16 at 20:54
  • $\begingroup$ @MariaDeleva: the wording is intended to be the experience of a narrator, a single person. The "gift" idea is good thoug. $\endgroup$ – Michael Borgwardt Aug 31 '16 at 11:52

With all my faults that make me quake,
this state I’m in tends to shake.

Not quite brown and not quite red,
stuck on an island it could be said.

Esto hace muchos años pasado Y2K,
you can see me, in night and day.

Who am I?

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    $\begingroup$ What do you want to post it here for? Do you want us to help you improve? Do you have questions on its difficulty? $\endgroup$ – NL628 Apr 22 '18 at 6:29

I saw the Riley format going around and I like it, so I'm posting here first to get some feedback:

My prefix takes what it was not meant to have
My suffix shares what others have already shared
My infix wants to wander the world
But altogether, I'd rather just stay home


My prefix and suffix are both abbreviations, one in sports and one online.

Are there any tags I'm missing from a Riley Riddle like this? What's the difficulty level? Any improvements you can suggest, especially any idea for a title?

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    $\begingroup$ The original Riley Riddle (and many of its successful derivatives) rhyme quite nicely. Your riddle seems well put together, perhaps trying to make it rhyme would make it stand out? $\endgroup$ – Taco Aug 27 '18 at 20:40
  • $\begingroup$ I agree with @PerpetualJ. Your verses have very good contrast, and I honestly have no idea what the word could be as of this moment. An idea for the title would be tricky, because usually titles share clues to the answer, that of which I do not know (...yet). Tags might include knowledge, riddle and I assume wordplay (because affixes don't have actions). There is no Riley Riddle tag, though I wish there was, but that is off-topic now. Difficulty levels are quite subjective; I find this quite challenging, but other users might not. Apart from that, I really like this riddle. $(+1)$ :D $\endgroup$ – Mr Pie Sep 8 '18 at 12:28

This is a rather short one but should be obvious to most users of this site (or not):

What do you call a lot of pieces of paper from which a few have fallen down?

Please give me some advide whether this would be a good puzzle.

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  • $\begingroup$ The grammar of the riddle is a bit off... Are you trying to say: "What do you call a lot of pieces of paper from which a few have fallen down?"? $\endgroup$ – Alconja Jan 31 '18 at 23:34
  • $\begingroup$ @Alconja thank you, English is not my native language. I corrected it. $\endgroup$ – MEE Feb 1 '18 at 7:14

The Disdainful God

My name is held, in present time, with less regard than past. I work the seas, without your praise. It is I who’ll long out-last.


The Moon - I’m worried it’s too obvious, I intended the god part to be a red herring of sorts.

There is also a secret solution path hidden in the first line, hinted by the language tag. I’m still new to the etiquette of this site and am open to criticism. Hint:


Secret path:

Present tense of held is hold, hold in Hungarian is moon. I couldn’t think of a proper title or riddle hint for Hungarian (please suggest).

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This is my first riddle, so I'd appreciate any feedback / suggestions.

You come across a door, guarded by two mysterious men. As you start to figure out how to tell which one is lying and which one is telling the truth, they say in unison:


You quickly agree to hear the puzzle. You also notice that their voices are different. One is deep and strong, while the other is softer, and strangely emphatic about his words.

Our first AND second facilitate, that which you need to operate.

Each alone, is not correct, but read aloud make our subject.

Our third is imprecise at best, but gladly taken on a test.

Our fourth is five- IT IS TWO! We disagree. But it's also half of twenty-three.

Our fifth is fifth. All the clue you'll need, I reckon. But just in case, it's also our second.

Our sixth and last, core of our planet round, but don't go quite as far in underground.

Our riddle complete, answer if you dare. Six letters, and no more, WE SWEAR.

What word are the mysterious men looking for?

I have an alternate line for letter 4 - tell me if you think it's better / worse / easier / harder please and thank you.

Our fourth is five- It's two. His clues are the worst. It's also half of what is first.

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  • $\begingroup$ This is a great riddle! I think the alternate line for letter four is the better one, this way you're not giving away each letter. $\endgroup$ – Taco Aug 27 '18 at 21:03

I've written a riddle for the puzzling community and I fear I might have made it too difficult to solve. I would like some feedback on it if the community doesn't mind.

Enter the Vermillion

My suffix is my prefix, defined for both as well;

My infix as an anagram, is colored yellow, and smells.

I felt as though the riddle itself was too difficult as it didn't supply sufficient information for potential solvers; however, with this in mind, I created six hints that relate to the answer. I won't post them here, but you can see them on the post itself.

If the community wishes, I can supply the answer in a spoiler tag but I am afraid this will allow someone to give a correct answer to the original post without supplying credit.


I have added clarification to the original post in regards to the hints as it seemed like people may be thinking of them in the traditional sense that they refer to the full answer in all of its glory; however, this is not the case these hints. Some hints refer to a specific part of the answer, while others refer to things that are analogous to the answer, and others refer to things that are related to the answer.

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  • $\begingroup$ This was a great riddle (and still is) :D $\endgroup$ – Mr Pie Sep 19 '18 at 8:17

Title is still yet to be decided

I was playing a game and thought of this problem:


  1. There are 4 distinct tiles on a $6\times6$ grid.
  2. You can shift all the tiles in one of the four cardinal directions (north, south, west, east) until they hit a wall or a tile.
  3. After every move, a new tile appears on the grid.
  4. If three or more same tiles line up orthogonally (not diagonally), these blocks disappear.

This game is a mix of Match 3 and 2048. Here is an example screenshot. The player can shift the tiles down and the 3 green H-tiles will be removed from the game:

Fancade game

Question: Is it guaranteed to never lose in this game?

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  • $\begingroup$ I would suggest changing the question to "Is there a strategy to never lose the game?" $\endgroup$ – Skylar Aug 4 at 15:37

Can you figure out the next number in the sequence?


Hint 1

Interview Question or Pathbreaking puzzle

Hint 2

Think binary

Solution: The next two numbers in the sequence


Explanation of the sequence

It is the Look-and-say sequence for binary numbers converted to decimal. So:
Decimal Binary Explanation
1 1 one(1)
3 11 one(1) one(1)
5 101 two(10) one(1)
59 111011 one(1) one(1) one(1) zero(0) one(1) one(1)
245 11110101 three(11) one(1) one(1) zero(0) two(10) one(1)

I came up with this sequence. Would this make for a good question?

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    $\begingroup$ Pure number-sequence questions like this aren't generally well-received on this site. Part of the reason for this is that it is possible to generate a polynomial that will generate any given sequence of numbers, so unless there is something besides just the list of numbers, anyone with sufficient mathematical knowledge can generate a matching sequence. $\endgroup$ – GentlePurpleRain Sep 2 '16 at 15:33
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    $\begingroup$ Some tips to improve the question: Include a few more numbers in the sequence. Add some flavour text: Make up a little story about someone slipping you this list of numbers on the street and whispering something to you about a secret society. Your story can include hints to the intended solution, both to help people solve it, and to make your solution unique. If someone posts a generated polynomial as the solution, you can point out that it doesn't match the hints in your story. $\endgroup$ – GentlePurpleRain Sep 2 '16 at 15:35
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    $\begingroup$ I think your two hints as they are are too obvious. Anyone reading them will likely be able to find the solution almost immediately. If you somehow hide them within a story, though, they will still be available for those sharp enough to recognize them, but won't be immediately obvious. $\endgroup$ – GentlePurpleRain Sep 2 '16 at 15:37
  • $\begingroup$ I second everything GPR says above. As just a number sequence without hints, this puzzle a) doesn't look very interesting and b) is probably too broad, since many rules might generate that sequence. (Also: hints should be helpful but not necessary for finding a solution.) With the hints as you've stated, it would be solvable almost immediately. A good middle ground would involve un-spoilertagging the hints and obfuscating them somehow, e.g. in a story as GPR suggests. Cf. this or this. $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Sep 2 '16 at 21:54
  • $\begingroup$ This is way to easy anyways. OEIS sequence 049190 Fast thing $\endgroup$ – Christopher Jul 13 '17 at 23:09

Since I made first puzzle proly too hard, I try it here first. Only changed actual puzzle to A,B,C,..etc. Please write some comment what you think about it and how to change it. I wanted to do it like meta-puzzle, but it would end like my first puzzle

Part 1:
Find: YYyy-MM-dd (years-months-days)

YY = Current difference between A and B in days
yy = roman numbers In teXt
MM = Difference between D and E (some number, hard to see in given context)
dd = Only day in june, when something F

(if you find something like 20 months, add 1 year to yy and now you have 8 months)

Part 2:
After you find wiki-date, or you knew about it: Solve x and y, where G and F are given from that wiki-date-page:
19*G+2*F+0.00743331 = x^y-y
What is yx?

Sadly I could not find alternative for that 0.00743331. That is my main concern.

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  • $\begingroup$ Is 0.00743331 even precise? $\endgroup$ – boboquack Apr 29 '17 at 0:00
  • $\begingroup$ @boboquack that number is "real number"… but I will give good zero hint for verification and also for "an idea" $\endgroup$ – Jan Ivan Apr 29 '17 at 0:29

I am not new to puzzling. But a puzzle I posted and then deleted is of interest to me. I want your feedback on how I can make this better. It was commented that the puzzle was too broad. I feel it is an interesting and hard puzzle.

Can you give me an English Surname with at least 12 english names/nicknames appearing in its spelling sequencially. Cannot rearrange letters. The names must come from a reputable site like Wikipidia or Usefulenglish.ru. My solution has 13 (may be 14) names/nicknames in it. Example : JACKSON has Jack, Jason, Jon, Jan in it.

I did my research and there are not that many surnames with more than 12 names/nicknames within their spelling.

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  • $\begingroup$ The issue with the puzzle is exactly what counts as "reputable". You don't make that clear, so it's impossible to tell whether something counts as a solution. For any website, you can find people who disagree on its reputable-ness. $\endgroup$ – Deusovi Jan 7 '18 at 0:53
  • $\begingroup$ Also, there are several very long surnames that would work. What about this person's surname, which has over 500 letters? I'm sure you could find a ton of names or nicknames in there. Or this person, who had to get a new driver's license because her surname was so long? Both of these people lived in America, an English-speaking country. $\endgroup$ – Deusovi Jan 7 '18 at 0:55
  • $\begingroup$ So how do I word it? Make it specific saying it is a 15 letter UK surname? That will be so easy to solve. How about giving away say 5 out of the 13 names/nicknames? $\endgroup$ – DrD Jan 7 '18 at 13:56
  • $\begingroup$ It seems to me like giving away several of the embedded names would be far more informative than giving the length of the surname. $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Jan 7 '18 at 23:22

I'd like to post this to the main site, but am not sure of the difficulty level, or if it's interesting to solve. Any thoughts/suggestions?

I'm not a mammal, no flier-by-night,
(though I too have been known to give you a fright).

And you might just stutter when finding my name
(but I'll give you energy to try again).

My end is quite short - and it's part of a key.
(Just please use the right way to dispose of me!)

And I can't decide if this should be part of the riddle, or a hint:

Still stuck? Here, try this: you can buy me with money,
or sometimes with Na, if you're being funny.

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    $\begingroup$ Alright, it's going up on the main page - we'll see how it's received! Wish me luck :) $\endgroup$ – puzzledPig Jan 28 '18 at 22:22
  • $\begingroup$ @user477343 it's here $\endgroup$ – puzzledPig Nov 17 '18 at 21:40
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks! :D ${}$ $\endgroup$ – Mr Pie Dec 3 '18 at 10:19

quite new here and looking to post my first question/puzzle soon-ish. This is what I have so far:

I have seen this story unfold in a few different forms, but I think the general flow of it goes something like this:

Once upon a time on a small pes of land
Ruled by the rainy, devious, Irish and tin-clad
Was a community built on strange inquiries
And those that answered received strange currencies.

One day a citizen had one such request
And claimed it to be the true test
Of this people's resources and skills
So sure enough some doubt was instilled.

No course of action was made for this task.
The citizen thought 'Was this too much to ask?'
A day went by, then two, then three, then four
To the point that this citizen seemed ignored.

So he created an incentive with his powers
That would last one hundred and sixty-eight hours
In the hopes of garnering some attention
Lest his problem reach a form of ascension.

The hunters of this land took notice of the prize
But knew they had to be both skillful and wise
For such an incentive would only quench one hunter's thirst
In order to claim it they'd need to be correct, and first.

The hunters gathered and laid down their plans
Finishing with a race of the deftest hands
Credit was given where credit was due
But still the prize was for one and not two.

With the citizen's problem resolved by the answers he's seen
Fellow hunters were envious but the victor was green
This hunter finally took his prize home
One chocolate-covered coconut dome.

What is it about?

Looking for advice on accuracy or with cleaning up the vocabulary/grammar used to hopefully sound a little less awkward but keep a rhyming scheme. [Or if this is close enough to another puzzle already on the main site so as to make this a duplicate :( ]

Or any feedback in general, thanks in advance!

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    $\begingroup$ Here's some proofreading. Line 1 should probably be "... on a small piece of land". Line 8 should be "... was instilled". $\endgroup$ – Laurel Apr 30 '18 at 2:20
  • $\begingroup$ Hmm, for line 1 I spelled it pes in hopes that it would be a tip off to where it would be posted ->pse, would that be necessary/useful at all or just confusing and look un-proofread? Your other suggestions have made their way into an edit :) @Laurel $\endgroup$ – Einb Apr 30 '18 at 3:31
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    $\begingroup$ I was wondering if it was an enigmatic clue towards the solution (or just a strange typo: thus "probably"). I would probably not have made the connection between "pes" (which is an actual word meaning "foot") and "PSE". $\endgroup$ – Laurel Apr 30 '18 at 3:47
  • $\begingroup$ Okay I'll keep that in mind and will probably end up changing it to just piece. Hopefully after some more eyes get to take a look at it. Any comment on the puzzle in general? $\endgroup$ – Einb Apr 30 '18 at 3:59

A hopefully, about to be, entry in the Fortnightly Topic Challenge. This is my first riddle (and my first poem in a long while) so feedback to improve it would be appreciated.

Appropriate Term

The day was hard
and full of play
and after I went to sleep.
And when I woke
I had forgot
the place where I counted sheep.

I looked about
locale to find
in desperation I searched,
for striking things
were all about
and I knew not where I perched.

A cloud was first
that I observed,
fluffy and pleasantly firm.
'Twas where my head
had found its rest,
and gently slept for a term.

In top of tree,
floating, carefree,
I'd slept on a lily pad.
Upon a lake
took place my rest
that made of me a nomad.

Outside was cold,
no comfort there,
yet shivers did not connote,
for I did rest
in comfort warm,
under sheep's fine woolen coat.

Above my head
a dark sun rose,
hiding in fear behind shield.
By fragile shell,
its airy core,
and hardened center were sealed.

Behind the star
a dozen friends,
all radiant they did gleam.
All glowing green
with five points each --
mysterious, this daydream.

Beyond it yet,
and further still,
craters of thrilling beauty.
Behind the stars
floated the moon,
in place as was its duty.

Down at my feet
a dark cave lay,
its entrance greater than I.
I thought it might
if had the chance
give chase and cause me to fly.

Inside I saw
the outlines of
tapestries hung up on high.
Yet all were turned
toward the side
their faces left to mind's eye.

Across the floor
animals roamed
rabbits, a fox and a bear.
I looked away
and turned again --
only mock animals there.

Upon wood legs
a flat top rests
its features all knots and lines.
Quiet and still
it stands and waits
like all its ancestral pines.

And on this top
a tiny pond
water line over the shore.
The tallest for
its narrowness
I had ever seen before.

And there nearby
a flower danced
five blades about its center.
Inside its cage
it whirled (what fright!)
my fingers dared not enter.

Next to the pond,
some crystals grew,
all bright illuminated.
Dots and numbers,
letters they formed,
and stars they dominated.

Behind me then
a great space glowed,
got brighter by the minute.
Though light was blocked
by slats of wood
eyes hurt as luck would have it.

Where am I now?
Where have I gone?
I have great need to confirm.
I ask you now,
I need to know,
please: The appropriate term.


Each stanza except the first two and last one refers to a different thing. They are, in order: A pillow, a waterbed, blankets, a light bulb (behind its fixture), glow-in-the-dark star stickers, the roof (textured), a closet, clothes, stuffed animals, an end table, a cup of water, a fan, an alarm clock, and a window (with wooden blinds). The final solution is that I'm exactly where you'd expect me to be sleeping: My bedroom.

These tags seem appropriate:

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  • $\begingroup$ Overall I like this. A couple notes: metaphor is one thing, fibbing another: "colorful sheep who baaa'd" isn't exactly a fair description for this thing; similarly, "algae"? Also, the mosaic doesn't sound like a typical style for what it represents; it may be factually true of this specific place, but may be too unusual to ring any bells for solvers. Finally, the penultimate stanza, even knowing what it's meant to be, doesn't suggest that thing at all to me. I suspect if you ask a test-solver to look at this, they'll show you by where they get stuck which bits may need more accessible cluing. $\endgroup$ – Rubio Jun 4 '18 at 1:26
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the feedback. I'll give it some thought and see if I can improve on those. I think I've got a good idea for the sheep at least, it'll just take some working out the rhyme. By test-solver, do you mean a person who's trying to solve the puzzle? Or is that something different? $\endgroup$ – Everly Foxton Jun 4 '18 at 3:44
  • $\begingroup$ Nope, means exactly that - someone you give a puzzle to and let them try to solve it. Very useful, especially when you're either just starting out, or when you're trying something pretty new. $\endgroup$ – Rubio Jun 4 '18 at 4:22
  • $\begingroup$ I tried to make some improvements to the problem clues. The sheep who baaa'd are a sheep's wool coat now and algae became bright crystals. I think you're right that the "mosaic" I used is probably too unusual, so it's a flat pine top on legs instead now. Complete with knots. I just made the horizontal forest explicitly wooden slats too. Does that make it better? $\endgroup$ – Everly Foxton Jun 4 '18 at 4:58
  • $\begingroup$ Ah, I was thinking of someone who solves tests, not a solver who is the test(er). That makes more sense. I don't know anyone who could be a test-solver, unfortunately, but that sounds like it would help a lot if I did. $\endgroup$ – Everly Foxton Jun 4 '18 at 5:01
  • $\begingroup$ I think rhyme could also be a tag. $\endgroup$ – Mr Pie Jul 6 '18 at 23:57

what about this:

In a multiverse where arguably people are falling into "oblivion"....

This guy and his lot, always making things complicated.
Fortunately, I found that thing that makes rpg'ers feel heroic.
A distress, and its sibling bit
Time for Olympics! Go, go, go!
Let's admire the museum art.
Are you nuts?
Or religious?
It's hot in here.
HA! Now YOU need a psychologist.

And I'm not even mentioning the birds....

Note: I suppose it needs the knowledge tag

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  • $\begingroup$ This might also need to include the enigmatic-puzzle tag, because a question is not even stated. $\endgroup$ – Mr Pie Sep 9 '18 at 0:38

Here's my most recently created riddle:

Recently, a friend of mine went on a trip. He isn't generally active in any social media, and he didn't tell me where he was going to. When I asked him where he was, he sent me the following image:

Photo sent by my friend

He then said:

"People use this all the time here. Without it, I'm in trouble. I'm adding double trouble: it is not a recent edition. I am going out now. It's 5pm and my tour around the tourist points only ends at 10pm. Meanwhile, can you figure out where I am and from which year the thing in the photo is from?"

The only problem is: at the time he sent the message, it wasn't 5pm (wasn't the internet connection because I was talking to him at the moment).

Can you help me to find out?


The answer involves both lateral thinking and some specific knowledge about the location (which can be solved by Google):

First: because my friend said that it was 5pm when it clearly wasn't, that must be some kind of clue. I'd expect someone to start looking for patterns, like some wordplay with the number five and the number ten.

When the puzzler gets frustrated, he'd come back to the same sentence again: "It's 5pm and my tour around the tourist points only ends at 10pm". It's a rather big jump, but to cut things out, this is what I'd like the puzzler to think:

- That the answer is hidden in the message.
- That he must look for something that starts at 5 and ends at 10.
- Tourist points -> points -> point -> punctuation (Does this make any sense?)

The hidden answer starts from the beginning of the message at the 5th position and continues after every punctuation, each time adding 1 to the number of characters that you must jump (including apostrophes and white spaces), until it ends at 10. Look again:

PeopLe use this all the time here. WithOut it, I'm iN trouble. I'm aDding double trouble: it is nOt a recent edition. I am goiNg out now. It's 5pm and my tour around the tourist points only ends at 10pm. Meanwhile, can you figure out where I am and from which year the thing in the photo is from?

You now see that the answer for the location is London, but now you have to find out what is the thing being shown in the picture. From the description, I'd guess that it must be something like a guide or a map, but that may be because I'm too biased (I created the puzzle, after all). If you follow this line of thinking, you'd easily get to travel guides and eventually to the Tube or The London Underground network. You'd then find out that the photo is from the cover of the Tube map guide from the year 2011.

There you have it: the answer is London, 2011.

So... what about this puzzle?

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I'd like to get some feedback on whether this would be appropriate to post as a puzzle:

9     8 7 7     7  
H     H H D     CS

In case the formatting got messed up... There's a 9 displayed above an H, then a large gap, then an 8 above an H, then a small gap, then a 7 above an H, then a small gap, then a 7 above a D, then a large gap, then a 7 above CS.

The puzzle is to work out what it means.

The reason I'm asking here first is because it's not a puzzle per-se, but rather a note I made on my phone a while ago and then trashed. I recently came across it again and am trying to work out what it means! :-D

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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ If it likely doesn't have a "solution" that we can find (because it's dependent on knowledge only you have), it's probably not acceptable here. Our answers would only be speculation, and there's likely no clear answer that stands out as being correct. (That being said, HDCS are abbreviations for the four card suits - maybe something to do with a card game?) $\endgroup$ – Deusovi Aug 28 '19 at 6:33
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks @Deusovi, this sort of feedback is why I posted here first. It is indeed related to a card game! Thanks for pointing that out. I think I was trying to work out whether it's better to try for all Hearts or all 7s, given the 3 cards in the middle. Puzzle solved :-) $\endgroup$ – BWPanda Aug 28 '19 at 13:18

What comes next in this self-referential sequence?

5, 6, 5, 6, 5, 5, 7, 6, 5, 5, 8, 7, 10, 10, 9, 9, 11, 10, 9, 10, ...

It is not a polynomial sequence.

The question seems too short, and I don't know what tags would be good, or a title. Once it's known what the sequence is, people can keep extending it more or less indefinitely. I also don't know how I'd provide clues without giving away the answer. I've added the first 20 numbers now, which is probably too many. It would be good to know how many to include for the right difficulty level.

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  • 2
    $\begingroup$ This is probably not a good puzzle by itself - see puzzling.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/5712/…. (Number sequence puzzles are often ambiguous and arbitrary, and the solution process being "guess what the author is thinking" is generally not fun. (For example, right now it looks like the rule could be "count from 0 upwards, replacing each power of 3 with 6 and each non-power-of-3 with 5".) I'd at the very least recommend extending the sequence, and putting some sort of subtle hint in the title or text of the post. $\endgroup$ – Deusovi Sep 11 '19 at 15:52
  • $\begingroup$ @Deusovi It's not an OEIS sequence and the answer is unique. It's not a polynomial. It's actually very simple, maybe even too simple. I expect some people would get it in 15 minutes, but no-one would get it if it took longer. Each number refers to itself in some way. $\endgroup$ – CJ Dennis Sep 12 '19 at 1:40
  • $\begingroup$ Also, this isn't a riddle :-) Agreed with Deusovi: clearly there is no unique answer without adding extra clues. Perhaps your "each number refers to itself in some way" could be extended to include enough extra info in the puzzle for a unique solution? A more subtle hint somewhere might also be nice for a self-confirming answer (e.g. if the puzzle involves chemical elements, slip in the word "elementary" - that sort of thing). $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Sep 12 '19 at 8:15
  • $\begingroup$ Am I allowed to edit my post to incorporate feedback? $\endgroup$ – CJ Dennis Sep 13 '19 at 1:07
  • $\begingroup$ @CJDennis of course, but only here. in the main site making major edits after posting a question is highly encouraged $\endgroup$ – Omega Krypton Oct 8 '19 at 0:12
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    $\begingroup$ @OmegaKrypton I think you mean "in the main site [it's] highly discouraged". $\endgroup$ – CJ Dennis Oct 8 '19 at 0:15
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    $\begingroup$ @CJDennis yes my typo lol :P $\endgroup$ – Omega Krypton Oct 8 '19 at 9:49

I wasn't a proud man who pursued my wife before she was mine. I never thought I was better than the one she already had. I didn't sleep with every woman I knew. I didn't love a woman because I had to have her. I didn't hate her for not wanting to be mine. I didn't have to have them all. I didn't destroy the place where we would stay.

What am I?

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Everything after this point may contain a hint, so any edits will be reverted after this point, please take that into account when trying to edit.

Ohh errr I.... Say how about a challenge?

Here is is my story:

Iye went to a magic show the other day. It was a clever show about the human brain to pick up patterns in number sequences. The man was a Catalan person and often generalized. He was in the sixth order of magic and really like to do illusions with his eye. He handed me a paper with the following image. And asked what is next?

Oh yeah and we met at the Patalan club enter image description here

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  • $\begingroup$ I can't put many tags as that would actually give away part of the challenge $\endgroup$ – Christopher Jul 14 '17 at 0:29
  • $\begingroup$ Some feedback (using generalised terms to maintain some level of spoiler avoidance): I like the idea of a puzzle including the technique used in your image, but there's not much else to it unfortunately, which makes it simply a gimmick. Basically, I think it's a good start, but the second step needs something more puzzly/meaty (see here). $\endgroup$ – Alconja Jul 14 '17 at 0:38
  • $\begingroup$ @Alconja well after the image there is another step $\endgroup$ – Christopher Jul 14 '17 at 0:40
  • $\begingroup$ I am going to add another step $\endgroup$ – Christopher Jul 14 '17 at 0:40
  • $\begingroup$ @Alconja you think the technique is too obvious? $\endgroup$ – Christopher Jul 14 '17 at 0:41
  • $\begingroup$ I'm a child of that era, so it was fairly obvious to me, but I don't think that makes it bad. I've not seen it used before in a puzzle, so I think it's suitably interesting (plus the image gives the impression of other steganograpy, which acts as a red herring of sorts). My issues are purely with step two being fairly uninteresting (see the link I included in my other comment). $\endgroup$ – Alconja Jul 14 '17 at 0:43
  • $\begingroup$ I largely agree with Alconja. Also, I understand that for some people the technique used here simply doesn't work, making the puzzle inaccessible to them. $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Jul 14 '17 at 0:57
  • $\begingroup$ In this case, even without the image I think it would be possible for someone who's encountered something like the relevant ideas to get most of the way to the answer. But of course they wouldn't know which one was next. $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Jul 14 '17 at 0:58
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah I actually provided several large hints that take some looking. I am adding a few more things. Now some people may not be able to view them but there are other ways of doing it $\endgroup$ – Christopher Jul 14 '17 at 13:57

I wear many hats

Prelude (not a part of the puzzle)

I've always been a fan of puzzles and I've lurked Puzzling.SE for a while on the occasional break. Now I have what I think to be an interesting enough puzzle, though I'd like feedback on it since this is my first time writing one.

The puzzle

We all wear different hats in life,

I am no exception.

As every different hat I wear

gives me a new connection.

The hat I sport while sporting

is the hat I treasure most.

"Fore!" with glee, I shout aloud,

and swing my club with strength.

Too late, I stay, and long I play,

'til weary, I adjourn.

Eight o'clock, the next morn,

to the course I return.

(Thirty-three - unluckily -,

times I've woken too late)

The cap that rests atop my head

presently is brand new.

For it, I have just acquired

to match my thinking shoes.

007 and sleuths alike

might place it on their crown,

To better see the mystery

and to solve, as they are renowned.

And so, I've given you a sampling

of my headwear collection.

Now I ask, dear reader,

"What hats do you wear?"

Edited in: the desired answer

Explanation of the riddle

Each section of the riddle refers to a Stack Exchange site I'm a part of. The numbers referenced in each line form my user number in that particular site, e.g. the first section refers to PPCG and my user number there is 42833 (Fore, too, eight, thirty three).

The desired response

Is a description of what SE sites the users who get it like, in similar cryptic verse. I could obviously change the last line to ask something like "what are my hats?" but I think it would be interesting to have people who've solved the riddle generate more clues for a perspective viewer.


  1. Clues are not cryptic enough (I think that parts of this are perhaps too easy to spot).

  2. On the other end, I have concerns that there are parts that can't be inferred. Such as that you need to concatenate each number to make sense of it. I feel like this is common enough practice, but I'd like opinions.

  3. Not enough aha! moments (by my count there are 2 major aha!s to be had)

  4. The main aha! is too vague/cryptic

  5. I am not the best poet. Near the end, especially, my verse becomes suspiciously close to prose. This sort of just felt like it was better suited for a poem, though, any thoughts on the quality? Does its lack thereof detract from the puzzle?

Comments and criticisms

Any comments and criticisms are greatly appreciated, especially suggestions, specifically on

How I can more cleverly disguise the number part

Please do let me know if anything is extremely unclear or if you think I've made a mistake! Also let me know if this has been done before (I would be very embarrassed if it had been and I posted it!).

Thanks in advance.

(sort of)

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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I'm not sure what the answer is, so I can't be specific with my suggestions. When I look at it, I'm not sure what sort of an answer is expected. A number? A number series? A word? As far as rhymes go, I start with the rhyming words and then construct the lines behind them. If you want to hide the numbers, maybe stick with things that are associated with numbers. James Bond instead of 007. A man with an extra tooth = 33. Stop signs are octagons, and so on. $\endgroup$ – Hugh Meyers Aug 18 '17 at 11:25
  • $\begingroup$ So, a quick and not particularly good rhyme example for first and last verses (just as an idea of what you can do): "How many different hats we use! I have a large collection. And every different hat I choose gives me a new connection" for verse 1 and "So now I've given you a peek At how I hide my hair. I ask you now, my friend, to seek The headgear that you wear." $\endgroup$ – Hugh Meyers Aug 18 '17 at 11:30
  • $\begingroup$ @HughMeyers I appreciate the suggestions; I may utilize them. I'll update the post with what sort of desired answer I'm looking for if you want to take a look. I realize that it's a little left field as of reading your comments, so I'm going to try and think of how to make it clearer. $\endgroup$ – cole Aug 18 '17 at 15:36

I recognise that sequence puzzles are not popular but I think this one's somewhat different and I have a preamble.

  • Does that improve things?
  • Do I need to say more? I'm not sure what else to say without making it too obvious...
  • Is the six other values additional question worth asking?

This puzzle should brighten up your day although you might not have seen one in a while.

What's odd about the sequence below and how would you even it out?

There are six other related values we can have but why only six and what are they?






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  • $\begingroup$ Haven't worked out the solution, so can't comment on the overall quality, but to answer your questions: Yes, having a riddle-like preamble definitely improves things, since it means you've actually got something to work with (you could probably add the riddle tag). Similarly, the follow up question is good too because (presumably) if you understand the sequence, it's not a difficult question, but if you don't have the main sequence, then it provides additional clues (we now know about the existence of a related sequence). $\endgroup$ – Alconja Apr 8 '19 at 5:07
  • $\begingroup$ Only thing that you don't provide, is clarity around the constraints of the sequence. Presumably it's ordered(?), but is this the entirety of the sequence, or can it be continued? Are the "six other related values" also a sequence, or just individually related somehow? Not saying you have to provide the answers, but right now the binary numbers, questions and preamble don't appear very sequence-y (apart from the existence of the number-sequence tag). $\endgroup$ – Alconja Apr 8 '19 at 5:11

I will dress this puzzle up a bit if I end up posting it on the main site.

You are with 100 other people on an island. One of them tells the truth all the time, another tells the truth exactly once out of every two questions, another tells the truth one time out of every 3 questions, and so on down to the islander who tells the truth once out of every 100 times.

The cycle of lying and truth telling occurs in such a way that (for example) the last islander tells exactly 99 lies, then exactly 1 truth, then 99 lies, 1 truth, etc. However, the island has has previous visitors, and you don't know where in the cycle any given islander may be.

There are two boats on the shore - one is safe; the other isn't. The islanders know which is which. Accounting for worst-case scenarios, what is the minimum number of questions required to find without doubt the correct boat?

Each islander is aware of how all of the other islanders will answer future questions.

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  • $\begingroup$ I think you need to restrict what questions are allowed. $\endgroup$ – noedne May 6 '19 at 20:40
  • $\begingroup$ @noedne maybe yes or no questions? $\endgroup$ – Brandon_J May 6 '19 at 21:16
  • $\begingroup$ Can't you just ask "Jung jbhyq lbh fnl vs V nfxrq lbh 'Vf guvf obng fnsr?' naq lbh nafjrerq nf gehgushyyl nf lbh nafjre guvf dhrfgvba?" $\endgroup$ – noedne May 6 '19 at 21:25
  • $\begingroup$ @noedne heh, you're right. Maybe this one is a no-go. Thanks for the help! $\endgroup$ – Brandon_J May 7 '19 at 1:23
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    $\begingroup$ Well, the setup is interesting, and there might be promising ways to restrict the allowed questions, like only asking "Is this boat safe?" $\endgroup$ – noedne May 7 '19 at 1:58

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