Here is a puzzle for python programmers (python3+):

Find how a is defined (for example, a = 2 + True), with each underscore representing a character (there is no trail of whitespaces on the left and right)

a = _____


Edit for narrowing down the answer:

Here are the only characters you can work with: , ,, ", +

  • $\begingroup$ You should specify the version of Python. For example, in python 2.*, a = ur' ' would've worked. It doesn't in newer versions. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 14, 2020 at 16:04

2 Answers 2



" """


This is simply the concatenation of a single space " " and the empty string "". The three quotation marks on the right are not parsed as a triple quote because the first one is paired with the one before the space.


If I'm reading the puzzle correctly, easiest answer would be

a=' '*1


The output is two spaces, and there are 5 underscores for the value of a. Output is achieved by concatenating a to a, so we know a must be a single space, achieved using 5 characters. In Python a string can be duplicated using multiply, so we have the string of a single space (3 characters), multiplied by 1 (an additional two characters).

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ There are lots of ways to burn the two excess characters: " "## f" "; r' '; (' ') or even " ";\ I'm sure there are more. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 14, 2020 at 17:04
  • $\begingroup$ @PaulPanzer Yeah, there are a ton. I just figured my answer was the easiest to explain to a non-programmer while still looking "pythony" (I forget the term pythonistas use to describe python code) $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 14, 2020 at 18:48
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ I suspect OP had one very specific answer in mind and underestimated how many other ways there are, cf their edits. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 14, 2020 at 18:59

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