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I'm not generally romantic, but
Show me a couple and I'm broken.
Two couples and I'm gone completely.

You might think I'm very old:
Unlucky, like paper,
Or a little further on, like metal.

All right, you've had enough!
Push with two hands, I'm on the edge,
One more and you'll be rid of me.

If you give me hell, what am I?


Hint 1:

.

Hint 2:

numbered .

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    $\begingroup$ oooh! One year in and no answers. I love it! Thx for bountying this, @Jafe . Something for me to think on for a while. Letters tag...always interesting. $\endgroup$
    – JLee
    Feb 19 at 12:40
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    $\begingroup$ @JLee I'm surprised this one has lasted so long; it didn't seem like it'd be very hard. Actually I'd totally forgotten the answer myself and figured it out again pretty quickly from scratch (but then I do have the advantage of knowing how the OP's mind works) :-) $\endgroup$ Feb 19 at 13:56
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    $\begingroup$ @Randal'Thor since PSE is a community, you should share your knowledge of how the OP's mind works :-) $\endgroup$
    – Sny
    Feb 19 at 16:03
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    $\begingroup$ Just curious should the word tag be here? $\endgroup$
    – PDT
    Feb 19 at 16:47
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    $\begingroup$ @BlueHerring The answer is not just a letter, but letters are involved. $\endgroup$ Feb 21 at 15:58

2 Answers 2

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Shout out to Amoz’s comment as it triggered some insights and funnily enough the answer hit me as I dozed-off!

With hell you are

LUST

You are

_ust

General formula is:

The clues in their first half hint at a number, which one should convert into a letter using the A1Z26 cipher and place it in front of _ust to make a word which is hinted at in the second half of the clue.

I'm not generally romantic, but Show me a couple and I'm broken.

_ust isn’t generally romantic. ’Couple’ hints at 2 and letter 2=B and B+ust=BUST (I’m broken).

Two couples and I'm gone completely.

Two couples means 2+2=4 and letter 4=D so D+ust=DUST (‘I’m gone completely’).

You might think I'm very old:

Unlucky, like paper,

Unlucky hints at 13 and 13=M M+ust=MUST(in the sense of ‘Mustiness’ a quality often associated with paper (like paper) and with something that is old).

Or a little further on, like metal.

R is a little further on in terms of the alphabet position than M is and R+ust=RUST (like metal) since rust is Iron Oxide and it is also associated with something old.

All right, you've had enough!

Push with two hands, I'm on the edge,

2 hands = 10 fingers and letter 10=J J+ust=JUST(‘I’m on the edge’ or almost).

One more and you'll be rid of me.

3 hands= 15 fingers and letter 15=O and O+ust=OUST (you’ll be rid of me).

If you give me hell, what am I?

Thanks to Oehm’s suggestion in the comments:

‘Hell’ points to its soundalike: the letter L so L+ust=LUST!

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    $\begingroup$ You know what, I think you might pretty much have it here :) However, the last word you've chosen is pretty much a synonym of one of the others in the puzzle already (paper...) and I don't think Rand would do that. Have you considered that there are seven circles of hell in Dante's Inferno? You get a different word then... (EDIT: Wait, scratch that - there are 9 in Inferno...) $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Feb 22 at 8:17
  • $\begingroup$ Also, the 'not generally romantic' part might be suggesting you should actually start with rot13(YHFG) and just keep changing rather than adding... After all, that's another common word that fits the pattern here. $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Feb 22 at 8:22
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    $\begingroup$ metal-archives.com/bands/Helllust/3540523800 :D $\endgroup$
    – hexomino
    Feb 22 at 8:25
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    $\begingroup$ Perhaps we're supposed to give 'im (an) 'ell. $\endgroup$
    – M Oehm
    Feb 22 at 8:50
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    $\begingroup$ This is right! And @MOehm's interpretation is right for how to get LUST as the final answer - nothing so advanced as Dante's circles :-) $\endgroup$ Feb 22 at 9:30
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Is the answer

Fire

  • I'm not generally romantic

Fire can be considered romantic in some situations (Candlelit dinners, etc.), but it is mostly considered dangerous.

  • Show me a couple and I'm broken. Two couples and I'm gone completely.

Couple can also be written as 'few', which can be read as 'phew'. 'phew' can be represented by a person blowing out air. A small amount of Blowing/Moving air (wind) can shrink a fire or reduce its intensity (broken). A larger amount can put it out completely, thus making it disappear.

  • You might think I'm very old

The oldest recorded fire on Earth dates back to around 420 million years ago. This makes it very old.

  • Unlucky, like paper, Or a little further on, like metal.

Paper can be considered unlucky because it burns very easily. If you increase the fire's temperature (a little further on), it can melt metal.

  • If you give me hell

Hell is often depicted as fiery, painful, and harsh.

I haven't figured out the answer to the third part of the riddle yet

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    $\begingroup$ Hey welcome to PSE, just curious how does your answer address the ‘numbered letters’ hint?? $\endgroup$
    – PDT
    Feb 21 at 14:06
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    $\begingroup$ rot13(Guvf vf gur cngu V'ir orra urnqvat nf jryy, gubhtu vg zvtug or n qrnq raq. Pbhcyr=2=O. Nqq O gb SVER naq erneenatr tvirf OEVRS, n flabalz sbe OEBXRA HC (phg fubeg). Cbffvoyr nethzrag sbe SVORE/SVOER nf jryy. 2 pbhcyrf=4=Q. SVERQ = YBFG WBO (tbar pbzcyrgryl). Ohg gur "unaqf" cneg vf fgvyy hanafjrerq. Gur orfg V sbhaq jnf 5=I naq 10=K tvivat SVIRE naq SVKRE, ohg gubfr qba'g frrz gb qrsvar 'ba gur rqtr' be 'evq bs zr'.) $\endgroup$
    – Amoz
    Feb 21 at 14:58
  • $\begingroup$ @ Amoz V qba’g guvax gur nafjre vf jbeq orpnhfr bs gur nofrapr bs n gnt. $\endgroup$
    – PDT
    Feb 21 at 15:14
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    $\begingroup$ This isn't it: your explanation for "couple" is very tenuous, and as PDT pointed out, this doesn't fit the added hints either. Hopefully, when the correct answer is found, everything should fit together in a much more self-confirming way. $\endgroup$ Feb 21 at 15:33
  • $\begingroup$ Ok, I'll try to find a better answer! $\endgroup$ Feb 21 at 16:15

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