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For the previous Word of the Day challenges, check out Word of the Day #1 and Word of the Day #2.

Add to me one and I'll become a mess;
Add to me six and I'll buy you a dress.
Add thirty-five, I'll get bolder and louder;
Add to me none, and I'm left as a powder.

What am I?

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  • 8
    $\begingroup$ 1+6+35 = 42! The Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life! $\endgroup$ – Mark N May 6 '15 at 20:45
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As has been pointed out, this is referencing the Periodic table... but the other answers got the references backwards.

The answer is

Ash

Add to me one and I'll become a mess;

1 on the periodic table is Hydrogen, H. H+ash = Hash, a synonym for mess.

Add to me six and I'll buy you a dress.

6 on the periodic table is Carbon, C. C+ash = Cash, something you buy a dress with.

Add thirty-five, I'll get bolder and louder;

35 on the periodic table is Bromine, Br. Br+ash = Brash, a synonym for "bold" and "loud".

Add to me none, and I'm left as a powder.

This one is more literal, as Ash is a powder.

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  • $\begingroup$ Exactly what I was going for, congrats. :) $\endgroup$ – Bailey M May 7 '15 at 14:40
  • $\begingroup$ Nice! I was trying "dust" from the last line, but didn't think of "ash" or of adding letters in the way you did. +1 $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor May 8 '15 at 8:52
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Are you

Carbon?

Add to me one and I'll become a mess;

add Hydrogen to carbon and you get hydrocarbons like oil, which is very messy

Add to me six and I'll buy you a dress.

Carbon bonded with itself can be a diamond

Add thirty-five, I'll get bolder and louder;

Carbon and bromine make a purple color, which is bold.

Add to me none, and I'm left as a powder.

I'm guessing this is graphite powder

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  • $\begingroup$ We both came up with the idea of using the periodic table almost simultaneously! I was in the middle of writing my answer when yours went up. $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor May 6 '15 at 22:39
  • $\begingroup$ Good instinct to go with the periodic table, but my answer is much more wordplay and much less science. Your fits perfectly, though! :) $\endgroup$ – Bailey M May 7 '15 at 12:57
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You are

tantalum, number 73 in the periodic table.

Add to me one and I'll become a mess;

Tungsten, number 74, is somewhat toxic.

Add to me six and I'll buy you a dress.

Gold, number 79, is valuable.

Add thirty-five, I'll get bolder and louder;

Hassium, number 108, is radioactive.

Add to me none, and I'm left as a powder.

The major use of tantalum is as a metal powder in electronic components such as capacitors.

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  • $\begingroup$ Good instinct to go with the periodic table as well! Again, my answer is much more wordplay and much less science - which is probably a good thing, because I didn't even know tantalum was used as a metal powder in capacitors until I read this. I guess you learn something new every day! $\endgroup$ – Bailey M May 7 '15 at 12:58
  • $\begingroup$ @BaileyM I didn't know that either - I had to do a lot of Wikipedia searching to write this answer! $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor May 8 '15 at 8:51

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