As we all should know by now there's a lot going on with riddles lately. One major issue is that we can't really compare or measure quality. Regarding the so called quality issue I came up with the following idea:

I'd like some people who feel up to the task to write a short riddle about something very simple and basic. We should also define some loose borders to make the riddles somehow comparable. So I'd suggest the following:

  • Rhyming if possible with moderate effort
  • Any technique if not too obscure, keep it simple
  • Min 4 to max 8 lines
  • Be creative
  • Be nice Have fun
  • Try to avoid the need for outer resources

For the sake of those who only want to solve I've put the intended solution in the spoiler tag below.

The solution must be:


Don't think of it as a contest but more as a way to see how different people handle this task differently. We will without any doubt learn a lot from each other and hopefully every participant will get the chance to receive proper feedback.

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    $\begingroup$ I just had a horrifying flash of a future where the only riddle questions allowed on Puzzling are those with the answer you've listed here. $\endgroup$ – user20 Aug 24 '16 at 1:01
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    $\begingroup$ I love this kind of thing. Maybe it should become a regular fortnightly challenge or something. Anyway, let me know if there's a limit to how many answers one person can give, or I might just keep going... $\endgroup$ – GentlePurpleRain Mod Aug 24 '16 at 3:24
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    $\begingroup$ This is a fun question, we should migrate it to the main site (it is to do with creating puzzles!) $\endgroup$ – A E Aug 27 '16 at 20:18

10 Answers 10


Thought I'd get a bit creative and try something different. It's more than a little awkward in places because it was hard to hide what I needed whilst still maintaining the rhythm and rhyme. Suggestions for improvement welcomed...

Listen closely to this prose,
I'm not joking or kidding.
For in these fine and dandy lines,
Spans each, a hidden sibling.

I could go on (for days, even),
But I risk too much, I think.
This riddle may sound vile, yet
It is easy to lip-sync.

EDIT: Alternative version with much improved meter from @Hugh Meyers, that deserves more visibility than a comment at the bottom of an already buried thread:

I do not write in prose this time
Or joke or kid or preach
But scan each fine and dandy line:
A mystery spans each!

I risk offending with bad verse
I daze, even disgust.
You find it vile - yet try a while
To lip-sync if you must.

And in case it isn't obvious:

Each line hides what sounds like the name of a flower:

Listen closely to this prose, (rose)
I'm not joking or kidding. (orchid)
For in these fine and dandy lines, (dandelion)
Spans each, a hidden sibling. (pansy)

I could go on (for days, even), (daisy)
But I risk too much, I think. (iris)
This riddle may sound vile, yet (violet)
It is easy to lip-sync. (tulip)

  • $\begingroup$ I'd suggest to provide more hints towards flowers. Maybe include some sublte typos to make it easier to raise suspicion "...tu lip...". $\endgroup$ – Avigrail Aug 25 '16 at 6:06
  • $\begingroup$ Something with "Spans yet...hiding(for rhyme)" would work? "I'm not joking nor chiding"? $\endgroup$ – Avigrail Aug 25 '16 at 6:08
  • $\begingroup$ @Avigrail - re: your first comment, I wondered the same, but worried that a few were already pretty obvious (eg. "dandy lines"), and re: your second, I was aiming for pronunciation , over the spellings, but perhaps seeing the words visually makes it cleaner/easier. $\endgroup$ – Alconja Aug 25 '16 at 6:16
  • $\begingroup$ @Avigrail - and admittedly my original second line was (something like) "I do not joke or kid", which would have helped to make it a little more obvious. I couldn't force the rhyme though (was trying things like "Spans each, a sibling hid", but that sounds pretty terrible), so it ended up being more obtuse than intended. $\endgroup$ – Alconja Aug 25 '16 at 6:39
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    $\begingroup$ Spent my lunch break composing A Blooming Cheeky Response. Let me know if you think it's too much. $\endgroup$ – Hugh Meyers Sep 12 '16 at 13:06
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    $\begingroup$ I saw this again when I did a write up on Riddled and Dismembered. Since you asked for feedback and mentioned meter, some thoughts. Juggling the order of words, lines, and thoughts can help. Different ways of saying the same thing or maybe saying a slightly different thing. A try: "I do not write in prose this time/Or joke or kid or preach/But scan each fine and dandy line:/A mystery spans each!//I risk offending with bad verse/I daze, even disgust./You find it vile - yet try a while/To lip-sync if you must." Not great but it scans and rhymes. $\endgroup$ – Hugh Meyers Aug 31 '17 at 8:19
  • $\begingroup$ @HughMeyers - wow, that flows much better. Nice work (and thanks!). It turns out this random meta thread has been an amazing learning experience for me. Thanks to you (and a few others), I feel like I've got a much better sense for meter/rhythm. I'd love to get some more of your feedback when I post my next puzzle (in maybe a month or two -- still got 8 or 9 illustrations, a little more text and part of one puzzle to finish), as it's looking like it'll end up between 2000 & 2500 words of hopefully much better constructed verse. $\endgroup$ – Alconja Aug 31 '17 at 10:01
  • $\begingroup$ @Alconja I eagerly await! And I'm happy to give feedback any time you want it. $\endgroup$ – Hugh Meyers Sep 2 '17 at 16:40

Here I am, alive and well, swarmed by fans adoring.
Then in you stomp, your knives lash out. A senseless act of goring.
My days have been cut short it seems, t' facilitate your whoring?!
So, do I love you, murderer? No, I am deploring!

But what is this, it seems I'm wrong. An act of what? Lust? No...
Instead you are in mourning. Oh, how my face must glow.
And so, one death to soothe another, lay us down just so.
In the end, I can't begrudge. New life will, in dust, grow.

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    $\begingroup$ Jeez, this is a great pair of quatrains. Metrically this is fantastic. My only suggestion would be to switch "New life will, in dust, grow." to "New life, in dust, will grow." The pattern being, iamb, iamb, trochee, rather than starting on a spondaic. $\endgroup$ – user20 Aug 24 '16 at 5:44
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    $\begingroup$ @Emrakul - I won't pretend to understand what you just said (to wikipedia I go!), but yeah, that last line is a little awkward. I was trying to force the "lust no/must glow/just so/dust grow" double rhyme at the end, which the more natural sounding "dust, will grow" breaks. :) $\endgroup$ – Alconja Aug 24 '16 at 5:51
  • $\begingroup$ I actually think the internal rhyme is still preserved! But actually, rereading it, I can see why it works that way. Fielder's choice, honestly! $\endgroup$ – user20 Aug 24 '16 at 5:57
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    $\begingroup$ Good job. The "cut short" is perfect. But why does it always sound so sad in your riddles? I mean, I gave you an innocent flower and you give me murder and despair. I'm starting to get worried! $\endgroup$ – Avigrail Aug 24 '16 at 6:09
  • $\begingroup$ @Avigrail - I just like juxtaposition in my riddles. :) Misdirect from the happy answer with darkness and gloom. I assure you I would have come up with a perfectly happy and rose-tinted riddle if you'd chosen "murder" as the target solution. :P $\endgroup$ – Alconja Aug 24 '16 at 6:14
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    $\begingroup$ "juxtaposition" - I won't pretend to understand what you just said (to wikipedia I go!) $\endgroup$ – Avigrail Aug 24 '16 at 6:35
  • $\begingroup$ @Avigrail :P you too can be educated. Thanks to Emrakul (and Wikipedia/YouTube), I now understand metrical feet. You can expect my next riddle to be cringingly happy and written in dactylic metre. $\endgroup$ – Alconja Aug 24 '16 at 6:58
  • $\begingroup$ Wish I had multiple upvotes! I love both the rhyme itself, and the concept. $\endgroup$ – GentlePurpleRain Mod Aug 24 '16 at 12:26
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    $\begingroup$ @Alconja Maker of riddles and writer of verse, Flee from the dactyl: a meter I curse! Trotting in triplets from awful to worse. Save me from dactyls or bring me a hearse! $\endgroup$ – Hugh Meyers Aug 24 '16 at 14:11
  • $\begingroup$ This is very nice but there's a little bump in the otherwise regular metre in the third line of the first quatrain. Perhaps replace "it seems" with "just" or something? Also, I think "sooth" should be "soothe" (or is this some US English / British English divergence?). $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Mod Aug 24 '16 at 16:52
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    $\begingroup$ @HughMeyers, you make it sound terribly easy. / I tried and I tried, 'til I felt very queasy. / But try as I might, when success seems to teeter. / I've failed again finding it's amphibrach meter. $\endgroup$ – Alconja Aug 24 '16 at 22:59
  • $\begingroup$ @GarethMcCaughan - yeah, you have to blend the "to facilitate" a bit to squeeze it into the rhythm - I've just cheated and changed it to "t' facilitate". As for sooth/soothe, nope that's just Alconja English (fixed). $\endgroup$ – Alconja Aug 24 '16 at 23:03

Even if you already know what the answer to these riddles are supposed to be, this one still gives you something to figure out.

Please help me out! These new "smart" phones can make words hard to write!
"A man who's hunting ducks or geese" -- Oh, no, that's not quite right.
Autocorrect! I didn't mean "A staple of good baking".
Nor did I mean "Yet more uncouth". I'm so upset, I'm shaking!

Ah, nuts, I left a letter out; the word's not "bring it down."
I'm telling you, this * bleeping * phone's the dumbest thing around.
Ah, finally, we've got it right; those answers were tangential.
The word I wanted from the start: "To reach one's full potential"

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    $\begingroup$ Won't bother commenting on all of them, but these are all great. Excellent rhyme/meter, and this one in particular brings something clever/original to the table. $\endgroup$ – Alconja Aug 24 '16 at 5:20

I am the best of anything:
The fairest. I am gifted.
I rise in glory every spring
But note, I can't be sifted.
Two lips I have, a mouth I lack
I aid in Cupid's dealing.
As to the the carnivore, it's back!
I run to rooms of healing.


I am the best of anything:
The fairest. I am gifted.

The "flower" is the best or most beautiful of its type. By a stretch it could mean gifted but here I was thinking of the less common meaning of gifted: given as a gift.

I rise in glory every spring

Most flowers are annuals

But note, I can't be sifted.

Flower/flour pun

Two lips I have, a mouth I lack

Followed by a tulips/two lips pun

I aid in Cupid's dealing.

Flowers are often given to sweethearts.

As to the the carnivore, it's back!

"As to" is "re" and the carnivore is "wolf". Put them together and "take it back" by spelling them backwards. "re wolf" -> "flower"

I run to rooms of healing.

A synonym for run is flow. An ER (Emergency Room) is a room of healing. "Flow ER" -> "flower"

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    $\begingroup$ I really like the rise/sifted reference! I'm having trouble figuring out the "two lips" and "carnivore" clues, though (maybe I'm just being dense) - could you explain? You seem to have an extra "the" in the second to last line, btw. $\endgroup$ – user812786 Aug 25 '16 at 15:52
  • $\begingroup$ @whrrgarbl Updated with solution. $\endgroup$ – Hugh Meyers Aug 25 '16 at 17:14
  • $\begingroup$ ...yeah, "two lips" in particular should have been obvious after reading some of the other riddles here, haha. Thanks! $\endgroup$ – user812786 Aug 25 '16 at 17:35

I'm a little disappointed that nobody has yet come up with something along these lines:

I come in many different shapes,
But always I'm a fluid.
Sometimes running to the sea,
Sometimes through a dirty drain.

What do I do? You take a verb,
Extend it to a noun - that's me.
Traffic, powder, water pure,
Any could be me, it seems.

The rhythm is simple, alternating between iambic and trochaic non-rhyming couplets. The interesting twist here is

to use a very different interpretation of the word "flower".

  • $\begingroup$ Gah, I was almost done with something that used that interpretation. D: $\endgroup$ – Deusovi Mod Aug 31 '16 at 21:15
  • $\begingroup$ @Deusovi Great minds think alike? :-D $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Aug 31 '16 at 21:16
  • $\begingroup$ Took me a while to understand, even knowing the solution... Is that even a real word? Surely the noun form of flow is just flow? $\endgroup$ – Alconja Aug 31 '16 at 22:45
  • $\begingroup$ @Alconja What would you call "something that flows"? $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Aug 31 '16 at 22:47
  • $\begingroup$ @randal'thor - a flow? (as in an ice flow, traffic flow, go with the flow, etc) $\endgroup$ – Alconja Aug 31 '16 at 22:50
  • $\begingroup$ @Alconja OK, that might work as well. "Everything that flows is a flow; everything that flows is a flower." Maybe? Or would "flow" (as a noun) refer to the actual motion while "flower" would refer to the thing that moves? Anyway, lines 5-6 should eliminate the ambiguity: the verb extends to a noun to give the solution. $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Aug 31 '16 at 22:54
  • $\begingroup$ @randal'thor - yeah, I think even if you can't find it in any dictionary, the english language is suitably flexible to understand what is meant. $\endgroup$ – Alconja Aug 31 '16 at 22:56

I usually wake up at dawn; a very early hour.
With sun firmly in front of me, I'm often seen to tower.
I'm sometimes found bedazzling a dappled forest bower.
When nighttime falls, without my leave, my body starts to cower.


Here is another one that leaves you something to solve even if you already know the intended answer:

I have some friends that I'll describe; each one is quite unique.
If you can name them all, they'll help you find the word you seek.

The first's my friend who took a ride in a hot air balloon.
The second is my dear old ma; I'm sure I'll see her soon.
The third can sometimes fret about the colour of her eyes.
The fourth will always use a kiss to try to pick up guys.

If you can name the four of them, and find a trait they share,
You'll figure out the hidden word: something a bride might wear.

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    $\begingroup$ You slept with a muse lately it seems. You may go on at a later point but for now I'd suggest to leave some space for others? $\endgroup$ – Avigrail Aug 24 '16 at 6:15

I speak a language strange, abstruse,
Not fit for ordinary use.
With mourners I sit silently;
At wedding-feasts I soar with glee.
My life is short, but don't you cry:
If I find love, I'm glad to die.
I am a showy debutante;
A handsome match is all I want.


I've never met the cookie dough
It somehow sounds familiar though
I would fly high towards the light
If only my wings weren't so tight

Why cut me down right when I thrive
But later bring me back to life?
A coffin where I don't fit in?
Well, at least I can be with my kin

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    $\begingroup$ A number of problems with scanning. In the first line, why not use "I've" instead of "I have"? For line 4 consider "Alas, my wings are bound too tight". For the last two lines, perhaps "A cardboard coffin shuts me in/At least I lie among my kin." $\endgroup$ – Hugh Meyers Aug 24 '16 at 13:42
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, the first line could e changed. Not sure what you're on about with that cardboard though $\endgroup$ – Avigrail Aug 24 '16 at 14:04
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    $\begingroup$ Verse usually sounds better if each line has the same pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables. Most of the lines here go: "up DOWN up DOWN up DOWN up DOWN". So "it SOMEhow SOUNDS faMILiar THOUGH" scans perfectly. A little variation between lines is fine but the last two lines are quite far from following the pattern. It is jarring to the reader. $\endgroup$ – Hugh Meyers Aug 24 '16 at 14:20
  • $\begingroup$ That may be because of the "well" bringing in a little break. But that is actually intended and should appear like someone is thinking for a second before speaking. $\endgroup$ – Avigrail Aug 24 '16 at 16:04

I'm feeding the big colony
That then is feeding you.
But most of you just think of me
As pretty thing that grew.

I once crashed the economy,
Believe it, it is true.
Yet I am what you like to see.
Who am I? Tell me: Who?


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