10
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A small puzzle to pass the time, because there's nothing else to do.
Find the password from the riddle, with your reasoning.

(A note to non-native speakers and really everyone, yes this puzzle requires an English dictionary.)

Riddle:

10 is the password,
the weapon of choice;
9 tracks your progress,
and 8 the sung voice.

7 tracks your speech;
then 6 will accuse.
5's bright and 4's hollow;
3's nearly sin if I lose.

2 is in 3 and
in this riddle thrice.
1 is the solver,
a char will suffice.

Hint:

This puzzle is not quite what it seems. Although it is possible to use the riddle to find the answer, if it were missing you would still have the answer.

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8
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The answer is:

DICTIONARY

Because the lines of this riddle represent:

definitions of words that can be made by removing 1 letter at a time, starting with DICTIONARY and ending with I. The numbers in each line indicate the word length.

10 is the password,
the weapon of choice;

DICTIONARY - The puzzle tells us that we require an English dictionary. The 10-letter word 'dictionary' is both our password and our weapon of choice for this puzzle, then...

9 tracks your progress,

INDICATOR - This part of a car displays to other drivers which way you are about to turn (i.e. tracks your progress).

and 8 the sung voice.

DIATONIC - A scale in music.

7 tracks your speech;
then 6 will accuse.

DICTION and INDICT.

5's bright and 4's hollow;

NITID (bright and glossy) and DINT (a dent or a hollow).

3's nearly sin if I lose.
2 is in 3 and
in this riddle thrice.

3 is either DIN or TIN. If 'if I lose' represents 'shifting a character down by 1' then TIN would become 'SIN' and fits best, but there's an argument for interpreting it in the context of a QWERTY computer keyboard, in which case moving 1 along from S gives you D, hence DIN...

Either way, 2 is IN - it's found within 3 and also in the riddle three times, twice by itself and once within 'sin'.

1 is the solver,
a char will suffice.

Remove the 'N' and I am the solver! 'A char will suffice' here, since the 'char' data type in various programming languages stores a single byte of memory, enough for a single character - in our case, the letter 'I'.

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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Excellent work! I was thinking Sn for tin ( lost I) but your explanation is just as good. $\endgroup$ – Amos Zoellner Oct 18 at 12:47

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