Affix riddles are really versatile; they come in all forms.

I have an issue with the tag wiki of the tag. Here is the current description:

An affix riddle is a specific type of riddle that uses wordplay, specifically describing multiple affixes (usually prefix-infix-suffix), to clue a target word. They're also known as Riley riddles, after their creator.

Now, whenever a user creates a riddle that revolves around the fixes of a word, it's appropriate to tag it with the tag. According to the 's tag wiki: They're also known as Riley riddles, after their creator.

Is it just me, or does it feel not right to have your completely original puzzle be classified as a creation of Riley's, simply because it revolves around the fixes of a word?

I've suggested an edit (not the best, I admit) in order to slightly nudge the Riley Riddle title aside, to leave a tiny crack for original creations, but it got declined.


1 Answer 1


Two points in response...

Firstly, as one of the reviewers who rejected this edit, allow me to explain why...

It was not at all clear to me that this edit was an attempt to do what you say here in this post, i.e. a concern that credit was being removed from puzzle creators using this tag. The proposed changes included changing the word 'also' to 'commonly' and 'their' to 'its' - this bore all the hallmarks of "I just prefer this word to the other one" and didn't actually change the sense of the phrase all that much (if at all, really). Hence the edit was rejected because it offered no real improvement to the wiki page.

Secondly, now I understand your intentions more, I don't think this edit would have achieved what you wanted anyway.

This is a question of linguistics. The sentence that caused you concern does not imply that any riddles created under the tag are somehow the property of @Riley, the PSE user who created the first riddle to use this style on this site, instead of the user who actually creates it. It just says that riddles tagged like this are also known as 'Riley riddles' here on PSE, for the historical reason that Riley created the first. In fact, that is probably a better way to word it, so I have now changed the wiki page to read:

An affix riddle is a specific type of riddle that uses wordplay, specifically describing multiple affixes (usually prefix-infix-suffix), to clue a target word.

Here on PSE you might also see this type of riddle colloquially referred to as 'a Riley riddle', as the first riddle posted on the site to use this formulation was created by the user @Riley: My prefix is food, my suffix is rude.

This information should definitely be included in the wiki page, as it is of significant historical interest within the PSE community. Rarely does a single new puzzle type inspire so many other users to create one (or several) of their own (the other puzzle type that springs to mind immediately is the "What is a... Word™" format started by @JLee). In fact, as a user who was not around when the original 'Riley riddle' was created, when I first came across posts setting out 'Riley riddles' I thought this was actually the name for this type of riddle globally, rather than a PSE-specific moniker! It took a while for me to realise the truth - and gaining that insight helped me to understand this community a little better...

I think it's important that significant contributions to the history and progression of PSE are marked where appropriate, and that this is one of those occasions. I am sure the original tag wiki description was in no way intended to imply your creations are just syndications of Riley's 'riddle empire', but I am equally sure that there is no way you would even be creating them if Riley hadn't created the first and the community hadn't embraced this format with arms open wide!

Credit where credit is due: Riley for the initial spark, you for your puzzles. Hopefully this rewording puts your mind at rest. Now get creating again!

  • $\begingroup$ I agree that puzzles in that format should be credited to Riley, but what about something like: What is "H####, h#w ### ##u?"? Does this also count? $\endgroup$ Dec 3, 2020 at 22:33
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    $\begingroup$ @entioneveryone Ultimately it is your choice whether or not you use the affix-riddle tag for your puzzle. The tag has been set up to accommodate all of the vast number (literally, hundreds!) of prefix-infix-suffix riddles that have arisen on this site after Riley's first one. If you consider yours a 'variation on the theme', use the affix-riddle tag; if you don't, just leave it tagged as 'riddle'... $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Dec 4, 2020 at 8:24
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    $\begingroup$ ...Many tags (e.g. connect-wall) are set up at first to satisfy a very specific puzzle type but still end up being used for variants. The presence of Riley's historical note in the tag does not annul your ownership of your puzzle :) $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Dec 4, 2020 at 8:24

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