7
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Cached in secrecy,
Where none shall interfere
A man with wooden jaw
Waits patiently each year

Hands flung abroad,
As the masked man cries "unscathed!"
In an abode of luxury,
With reservations made

Combatants from a land
Found on distant shores
With an intruder well acquainted
With the sound of people's snores

A shape at the heart
Of an ages-old tale
Followed by what's great and blue,
But isn't a whale

What is it?

Hint 1:

Verses 1 and 2 are two ways of describing the same thing, and involve a bit of puns/wordplay. Verses 3 and 4 go together and describe something else, which is a clue to arriving at the correct answer.

Hint 2:

The ages-old tale referred to in the last verse happened about 2000 years ago, give or take 33 years. The "combatants from a land found on distant shores" were active about 40 years ago.

Hint 3:

The masked man is one of a couple masked men that show up in another common riddle, although surprisingly I couldn't find any version of that riddle on this site.

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6
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The answer is

SAFE-CRACKER

Cached in secrecy,
Where none shall interfere

This is a good description of safeness.

A man with wooden jaw
Waits patiently each year

As Nathan already realised, these lines refer to

a nutcracker.

Hands flung abroad,
As the masked man cries "unscathed!"

The OP's 3rd hint tells us that this is

a baseball reference.

Thanks to bubalou for telling me that more specifically,

it's a reference to an umpire calling a runner safe.

In an abode of luxury,
With reservations made

I think this is a Christmas cracker.

The OP's first hint tells us that verses 1 and 2 are two ways of describing the same thing. That thing is

a safe-cracker.

Combatants from a land
Found on distant shores

This is a reference to the nickname Charlie for Viet Cong fighters (thanks to Duncan for putting me onto the reason for this).

With an intruder well acquainted
With the sound of people's snores

This is Z, as in "zzz" snoring. The OP is American, so it's "zee" rather than "zed".

A shape at the heart
Of an ages-old tale

The letter T (as in the Christian cross).

Followed by what's great and blue,
But isn't a whale

A heron.

So the final two verses give

Charlize Theron, who played a safe-cracker in the 2003 film The Italian Job. Confirmation!

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  • $\begingroup$ You got some parts right! The intruder is the letter z, and you're on the right track with the shape but if it's not the letter x which letter could it be? $\endgroup$ – Ben Mar 16 '15 at 18:51
  • $\begingroup$ @Ben I've made some edits re the last verse. $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Mar 16 '15 at 22:19
  • $\begingroup$ T is right! Great blue may take some looking up, if you aren't already familiar with what it's referring to. $\endgroup$ – Ben Mar 17 '15 at 15:39
  • $\begingroup$ @Ben What sort of looking up? Googling "great blue" didn't bring any luck. Also, have I got the right idea with "abode" or is that bit way off? $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Mar 17 '15 at 22:49
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    $\begingroup$ @Ben If I can add a note, try not to write riddles containing references to a specific country or culture, e.g. the baseball reference or zee and slightly the Viet Cong nickname. I as italian could never ever get those parts, even with a clear and plain hint. Combatants from a land Found on distant shores can refer to pratically any sea war. This, of course, if you want a broad audience. $\endgroup$ – Narmer Apr 1 '15 at 15:17
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The solution:

The horse of Troy or Trojan Horse

Cached in secrecy,
Where none shall interfere
A man with wooden jaw
Waits patiently each year

The horse. It can be thought as a man with wooden jaw, containing the greeks in his mouth (belly). No clue on the last sentence, maybe because each year its taught to a different generation so "waits"?

Hands flung abroad,
As the masked man cries "unscathed!"
In an abode of luxury,
With reservations made

Hands of greeks over Troy. The others sentences can be explained, but are a bit stretched (luxury of greeks, golden mask of Agamemnon, the greeks pretend to return home after 10 years to be "unscathed"...)

Combatants from a land
Found on distant shores
With an intruder well acquainted
With the sound of people's snores

This is self explanatory. Combatants (the greeks) from a land found on distant shores (Greece) with an intruder well acquainted (the horse) with the sound of people's snores (the greeks attacked Troy during the night, when everyone was sleeping)

A shape at the heart
Of an ages-old tale
Followed by what's great and blue,
But isn't a whale

The tale is the Aeneid, followed by the Odyssey, where, after the concquer of Troy, Ulisses has to cross the great and blue sea to return home.

What is it?

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3
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Hmm. Not sure about this, and missing some of the clues, but...

A nutcracker - specifically, the decorative soldier type.

Cached in secrecy,
Where none shall interfere
A man with wooden jaw
Waits patiently each year

Stored every year in an out-of-the-way cupboard, until Christmas rolls around. (I would think the typical soldier nutcracker is just used as decoration.)

Hands flung abroad,
As the masked man cries "unscathed!"
In an abode of luxury,
With reservations made

Not a clue.

Combatants from a land
Found on distant shores

The soldier nutcracker originated in Germany, and typically wears a dress uniform of that area from an ancient period. If you're not on the European mainland, you could consider Germany to be "distant shores".

With an intruder well acquainted
With the sound of people's snores

Santa Claus is also associated with Christmas. In legend, he sneaks down people's chimneys while they are asleep to leave them presents.

A shape at the heart
Of an ages-old tale

A soldier nutcracker is a eponymous player in The Nutcracker by Tchaikovsky, a popular ballet first performed in 1892. That ballet in turn was based on an even older tale written in 1816 by E. T. A. Hoffman.

Followed by what's great and blue,
But isn't a whale

If a rambunctious child accidentally whacks you with a hard wooden nutcracker, you may wish to replace it with a large and soft blue teddy bear....Joking. :) Not a clue here either.

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  • $\begingroup$ You're on the right track! A nutcracker is indeed what I am referring to in lines 3 and 4 $\endgroup$ – Ben Mar 13 '15 at 16:47

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