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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.

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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

39 Answers 39

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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?

1111001

0110000

0010010

1111000

0011000

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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
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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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This is the first riddle I've written, and I'd love feedback on whether it's worth posting, and if yes if it would need the knowledge tag.

I defy or gall, By house or by wall. What am I? (5 letters)

Hint:

Wikipedia lists 23 examples of the type of house referred to. I have been in the one in Cambridge, MA and often pass by the one in the North End of Boston. The walls are rarer, there are supposedly only 4 remaining in the UK.

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How many possible lists of events may describe completely a Judo official match played with the old scoring system (yuko - waza-ari - ippon, 2 waza-ari = ippon, warnings cost points)? For example $W_1$ is the event of player $1$ scoring a waza-ari and $S_2$ is the event of player $2$ receiving a shido. $$Y_1Y_2W_1S_1I_2$$ is a valid score sheet.

Please refer MartialArts.se for more info on the exact scoring system in judo.

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    $\begingroup$ This isn't actually a riddle ... anyway I don't know anything about judo, but my advice would be to try to include some summarised info about what these things from the scoring system mean, to make the question more generally accessible. $\endgroup$ Aug 29 at 15:47
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It's easy to compose a riddle but without experience it's impossible to know if the riddle is worth thinking about. Is this any good at all?


Third of a hero

Part of a fly

Half of itself

But what am I?


I think if it has a weakness, it's in the lame answer, which is intended to be the three-letter sequence "tse". (Mao Tse Tung; Tse-Tse fly; and iTSElf)

The site code rejects it as low quality without even seeing the answer. I don't know why.

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  • $\begingroup$ Your 'hero' is very hard to guess. So is the fly. And for 'half of itself' I would assume either 'its' or 'elf'. $\endgroup$
    – Mithical
    Sep 10 '16 at 19:08
  • $\begingroup$ @Mithrandir: Thank you for your prompt attention. - I wonder if most people would find the fly hard to guess. When I hear "half a fly" I immediately think "tse-tse fly" because I have seen it in so may riddles and jokes. If that is no longer a popular meme then I agree, the rest of the puzzle is just too poorly connected. $\endgroup$ Sep 10 '16 at 19:14
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    $\begingroup$ Sorry, I agree with @Mithrandir. When I first saw this, I thought "third of a hero" = R and "part of a fly" must be one or two of the letters of "FLY". Getting from hero to Mao and fly to tsetse are two too-big leaps. (Also, Mao being a hero is ... subjective, to say the least.) $\endgroup$ Sep 10 '16 at 19:59
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    $\begingroup$ I like the last two clues, but I agree with rand al'thor's assessment of the first - that's really my only reservation, could you rework that part? FWIW I've heard of the fly before, I think using the inner "half" is sneaky in a good way, and the rhyme is cute.. but that's just my $0.02 :) $\endgroup$
    – user812786
    Oct 7 '16 at 18:03
  • $\begingroup$ Well I could say "Third of a leader/Half of a fly/Inside itself/..." but that is only a little bit better. $\endgroup$ Oct 7 '16 at 19:19
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I can make you wonder what is it.
I am not written like a sentence.
My endpoint is different
and it is not just a point.

I know this can be too difficult to deal with.

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    $\begingroup$ This is incredibly broad, fitting everything from 'It's a bird! It's a plane! It's Superman!' to a metaphor-rich haiku, to a damaged barcode, to certain types of encrypted messages. Consider adding some more clues to narrow down the possibility space. $\endgroup$
    – Sconibulus
    Sep 7 '16 at 13:29
  • $\begingroup$ @Sconibulus Actually, none of your answers explain 'I can make you wonder what is it'. Anyways, I edited it. $\endgroup$
    – EKons
    Sep 7 '16 at 13:34
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My first riddle! May not be great, but it's worth a shot! :)

I own a brilliant wooden twig.
Juices of hair make me sick.
I have to be careful when jumping into a fire-place.
But I don't get burned to a wick.

Hint:

I have been devised by a homogametic person.

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  • $\begingroup$ I'm 50/50 on this one. I think this one we'll need to know the answer to decide whether its a worthy riddle or not. You can post the answer then delete it quickly if you don't want it to be posted $\endgroup$ Aug 22 '16 at 19:57
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    $\begingroup$ I don't understand the fourth line. The others make sense, although there isn't really much metaphor, wordplay, or misdirection. It's mostly just a description of the solution. See the riddle tag wiki for more information on what makes a good riddle. $\endgroup$
    – GentlePurpleRain Mod
    Aug 22 '16 at 20:00
  • $\begingroup$ @GentlePurpleRain, I see. The hint is simply encoded with the Caesar cipher. Rot 7 and the string is reversed. Also, the third and fourth lines are talking about the Floo network! $\endgroup$ Aug 22 '16 at 20:02
  • $\begingroup$ Okay here's some feedback: @GentlePurpleRain is correct in saying the hint shouldn't be encrypted and shouldn't contain the answer, so that needs to be removed. I think that the clues are a little too hard to get as it isn't a straightforward riddle. Maybe adding more or making the others clearer will be better. While a riddle needs to be hard to get it also can't be too hard $\endgroup$ Aug 22 '16 at 20:03
  • $\begingroup$ Maybe you just need some more lines... $\endgroup$
    – Mithical
    Aug 22 '16 at 20:04
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    $\begingroup$ An example of a hint might be something like: I am a fictional person. $\endgroup$
    – GentlePurpleRain Mod
    Aug 22 '16 at 20:04
  • $\begingroup$ @BeastlyGerbil I personally don't think the difficulty is an issue. I suspect that if this were posted to Main, it would be solved within a couple of hours, at maximum. $\endgroup$
    – GentlePurpleRain Mod
    Aug 22 '16 at 20:05
  • $\begingroup$ Wow, these are amazing suggestions. Thank you very much! I have changed the hint, do let me know if that is sufficient, or if I really need more lines or perhaps better poetry! :D $\endgroup$ Aug 22 '16 at 20:11
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    $\begingroup$ I don't think a hint is necessary in this (or most) cases. If no one can answer the riddle within a day, then start adding hints. Giving it on day 1 detracts from the satisfaction of trying to answer it. $\endgroup$
    – APrough
    Aug 22 '16 at 21:00
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    $\begingroup$ Perhaps it's just me, but I like something that involves wordplay or metaphor as well as the "straight" clues given here. Something like "I dabble in ceramics, all covered in fuzz." Something that requires an imaginative leap. The first line does that a bit but my preference would be for more. Perhaps a clue involving headlines? $\endgroup$ Aug 23 '16 at 11:39
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    $\begingroup$ I don't think this has a definite answer. Specifically, there's a fairly obvious intended answer but it seems to me that lots of other characters from the same fictional world would fit just as well. I don't think it's too difficult or would require a hint to be solved. $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan Mod
    Aug 23 '16 at 12:23
  • $\begingroup$ Oh my... If even the OP says "May not be great" why should I even bother looking at it for more than 1 second? Seriously, don't annoy other people with your content if you think it's not great! $\endgroup$
    – Avigrail
    Aug 23 '16 at 18:07
  • $\begingroup$ You should add more lines to make it refer more definitely to the intended answer. $\endgroup$
    – Mithical
    Aug 24 '16 at 14:36
  • $\begingroup$ @BeastlyGerbil Why deleted? The answer can be in a spoiler! $\endgroup$
    – EKons
    Aug 29 '16 at 12:46
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    $\begingroup$ I immediately thought Santa Claus because of that fireplace line, hahah :P $\endgroup$
    – Mr Pie
    Sep 9 '18 at 0:40
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I recently posted the following short, sweet riddle with a title I found creative. I was surprised that it wasn't well received (1 upvote, 1 downvote, answered in 5 minutes). It's brevity could explain how quick it was answered. I'm looking for feedback on why this isn't a great riddle - too simple, too many varieties of the answer, or what?

Natural, Free Range, Not Raised Locally

Q:

What falls standing up and moves around laying down?

A:

Water

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    $\begingroup$ Hmm, personally I would not even agree with the answer after reading it. Not sure, if I'm missing something though. (And I'm not generally fond of / good at riddles). I don't think the title has anything to do with down/up votes in your case, though. I like the title. I do not like the riddle/answer. I did not down-vote, just abstained, ;c) $\endgroup$
    – BmyGuest
    Aug 24 '16 at 14:19
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    $\begingroup$ For a riddle to be short and good, it really has to be spectacular, because it's almost impossible to keep it from being too broad. For example, with a few seconds of thinking I can come up with many "satisfactory" solutions: baby, snake, pencil, etc, etc... $\endgroup$
    – Alconja
    Aug 26 '16 at 4:05
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Once upon a time there were kings three,

who were plucked up by the roots by

one detainee, one refugee, one free.

They were helped by a person with no title.

What is that person's name?

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to Puzzling! You may be getting downvotes because this seems to be pure trivia. Trivia questions are generally discouraged here, since riddles should have some form of metaphor, wordplay, or other misdirection - otherwise, it's not a puzzle. $\endgroup$
    – Deusovi Mod
    Aug 28 '16 at 23:51
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