# Me and My Gang!

Can you guess what we are?

At first I was all alone.

Then a friend showed up, and the place started showing signs of life.

But then another friend came, and the three of us started fighting.

Another friend came, and calmed us down by helping us communicate.

Yet another friend came along -- by now, we ruled the area!

By the time a sixth friend joined us, the game had changed a little, and we were looking weak next to the competition.

Our seventh friend came and helped us win some resounding successes.

Finally our last member arrived, and we were just riding free.

By the time all my friends had assembled, what had we become?

Hint:

As some have guessed, the friends are alphabet letters.

Hint 2:

My friends and I are a pretty close-knit bunch. If you distributed our homes evenly on our stretch of street, there would only be one gap of more than one house! However, despite our close bond, we're all unique individuals. If you subtracted the distance from me to my second farthest friend from the distance from me to my farthest friend, you'd have a difference of 1.

Hint 3:

I should tell you a bit more about my friends. Some of them are very well-mannered, making our group quite proper when they joined. Each one also has a hobby, and when each one joins the club, they turned us into something related to their hobby. Their hobbies, in random order, are: Sports, American Politics, Musical Instruments, Computer Science, Historical Languages, Avoiding the Sun, and Exercise.

Hint 4:

My friends want me to tell you more about their contributions to our group. Our first member (not counting me) made us an acronym. Our second member made us a last name. Our third member made us a proper noun. Our fourth member made us a last name. Our fifth through final members all made us gerunds!

Postmortem Hint:

The puzzle title is a reference to the Rascal Flatts song of the same name -- the lyrics don't help with solving the puzzle but the subject matter of the song could be used for answer validation.

• I haven't been able to find the answer, yet, but I suspect this might be a situation where the "friends" are letters, and they are forming a word, one letter at a time. If that's true, I suspect the first letter (which may not be first in order) is I. – Glen O May 3 '15 at 13:39
• @GlenO That's exactly what I thought, but unable to find any matching words. Also the last member could refer to the letter Z. – Hubble07 May 3 '15 at 14:10
• @Hubble07 - I considered I, IV (in vitro, where you find the signs of life), VIE (as in "to vie for her affection")... but couldn't find anything for 4 or 5. – Glen O May 3 '15 at 14:17
• @GlenO - offering a point of "VIEW" at a stretch for communicating, then "WIVES" rule the area. ;) – Alconja May 4 '15 at 0:54
• another possibility that I can't get past step 3 on is I / IF / FIG, taking the first three clues in a rather literal fashion. – Hellion May 4 '15 at 15:08

At first I was all alone.

I

Then a friend showed up, and the place started showing signs of life.

AI (artificial intelligence)

But then another friend came, and the three of us started fighting.

ALI (a boxer)

Another friend came, and calmed us down by helping us communicate.

PALI (an extinct language)

Yet another friend came along -- by now, we ruled the area!

By the time a sixth friend joined us, the game had changed a little, and we were looking weak next to the competition.

PALING

Our seventh friend came and helped us win some resounding successes.

PEALING

Finally our last member arrived, and we were just riding free.

PEDALING

• Congratulations! Glad you figured out Pali, that one wasn't easy. Did you have to jump over it to Palin or did you get it straightforwardly? – Caleb May 6 '15 at 19:46
• I regret the time I spent on this before the last few hints were posted. Even with the hints, some of these are a stretch. – Quark May 6 '15 at 19:48
• Pali is the first one I got. I checked a list of historical languages for ones that were four letters long. – user12203 May 6 '15 at 19:51
• Ooh, nice. @Quark I apologize (looks like the retracted upvotes are starting to pour in), I really thought it would be as easy as starting with I (with the I was alone clue) and then tacking A (the first letter) on and seeing A.I., then going from there. I really didn't expect it to take this long! – Caleb May 6 '15 at 19:52
• Still doesn't fit hint 2 though: ' there would only be one gap of more than one house' A(BC)DE(F)G(H)I(JK)L(M)N(O)P nor do I get was Pealing has to do with success. But good find either way :) – Spacemonkey May 6 '15 at 20:01

Since this puzzle appears somewhat difficult, I might as well post my partial answer too. Feel free to take my ideas and finish it off if you can.

At first I was all alone.

The letter O by itself.

Then a friend showed up, and the place started showing signs of life.

W showed up to form OW. Only living beings can feel pain and say "OW".

But then another friend came, and the three of us started fighting.

R came to form ROW. A row is an argument.

Another friend came, and calmed us down by helping us communicate.

D came to form WORD. You use words to communicate.

Yet another friend came along -- by now, we ruled the area!

C came to form CROWD. You could say a crowd of people rule an area.

By the time a sixth friend joined us, the game had changed a little, and we were looking weak next to the competition.

A joined them to form COWARD. They were weak and cowardly.

That's all I have.

• maybe it breaks into 2 or 3 words at different points, and so, dictionary searches won't work well. maybe at the point where it says " the game had changed a little" – JLee May 5 '15 at 17:00
• The 'w' won't work with hint #2 though. I'm having the same problems with that stupid hint lol – Spacemonkey May 5 '15 at 17:02
• @Spacemonkey Yeah, that hint is as frustrating as the original puzzle. lol maybe the letters live in a large cul-de-sac, and Z lives beside A – JLee May 5 '15 at 17:08
• @Spacemonkey lol, that stupid hint cuts down your search space! Also, it does not break into multiple words. – Caleb May 5 '15 at 17:09
• no offense meant!! The use of the word 'stupid' reflects my frustration that's all lol! – Spacemonkey May 5 '15 at 17:11

So here's a start:
Hints have turned brain to mush. Zombies have rejected me. I'm just winging it. Fits hint 1. Half fits hint 3 and 4, does not fit hint 2 because no one likes hint 2.

At first I was all alone.


I

Then a friend showed up, and the place started showing signs of life.


Is

But then another friend came, and the three of us started fighting.


Sin

Another friend came, and calmed us down by helping us communicate.


Sing/Sign

Yet another friend came along -- by now, we ruled the area!


Kings

By the time a sixth friend joined us, the game had changed a little, and we were looking weak next to the competition.


Asking (found asking) //but A doesn't fit the second clue. The letter would have to be somewhere between E and U

Our seventh friend came and helped us win some resounding successes.


Sacking (the quarterback in football)

Finally our last member arrived, and we were just riding free.


Packings(?) (Packing could have made sense but the S needs to be somewhere.)

• I've ruled out A to H as starting letters, can't manage to get I to fit as seen in my answer above. – Spacemonkey May 5 '15 at 17:48
• If I didnt mess anything up I have N-S left to check as starting letters. (But I think I messed something up) – Spacemonkey May 5 '15 at 18:01
• Ok so I either messed something up for letters L, K, J, I, or H :: or the tool I was using to find words from letters is crappy. – Spacemonkey May 5 '15 at 18:17
• So I still think starting letter is 'I' but it just doesn't work. That leaves these possibilities of letters: BEGIKMOQ, BDGIKMOQ, BDFIKMOQ // ACEGIKMP, ACEGIKNP, ACEGILNP – Spacemonkey May 5 '15 at 18:24
• None of these groups of letters is correct, but one is very close. How did you get them? – Caleb May 5 '15 at 19:26

I reckon you are

Protons

By the time you had assembled you were

Oxygen

At first I was all alone.

Well, Hydrogen consists of a single proton and one electron.

Then a friend showed up, and the place started showing signs of life.

Helium consists of two atoms that are flying around each other and there are two positive forces.

But then another friend came, and the three of us started fighting.

There are only two atoms in the inner electron shell, but there are 3 of them in Lithium which means the third will be constantly agitated and will constantly want to jump into the first electron shell.

Another friend came, and calmed us down by helping us communicate.

As Beryllium is in the 2nd group it is less reactive than Lithium in the 1st group.

Yet another friend came along -- by now, we ruled the area!

Boron is the first atom in the periodic table that is a metalloid.

By the time a sixth friend joined us, the game had changed a little, and we were looking weak next to the competition.

In a reaction to become stable, carbon could either get an additional 4 electrons or give away 4 of them, thus it is "weak"

Our seventh friend came and helped us win some resounding successes.

Our knowledge ends here, we are limited to high school chemistry, but this theory is just too good to throw it down the drain.

• Certainly an interesting idea, but I think it's a bit of a stretch, especially since you'd think the one that would "calm down" would make it a noble gas, rather than an alkaline earth metal. – Glen O May 3 '15 at 14:20