-- Side Story: Please skip ahead if you want the riddle --

Intro: Everyone knows of The Oracle: After months of dodging dragons and trolls and sneaky gods and the wrath of the entire world, you are allowed to ask one question, and the Oracle will give you the answer.

Of course, as everyone soon finds out, the Oracle's like a genie: They give you what you ask for, not what you want. Their words twist and wind like an Egyptian asp, clouding your mind and making you lose hope.

One day, seeking an answer, a young boy asked the Oracle, "Where do you get your answers?" The Oracle sighed and started to cry, slapping the boy on the back. "Son, I've been doing this since Jesus was a little tyke you're age, and I still can't figure it out."

Suddenly, a rolling, chortling bail of laughter filled the air and ravens leapt for the sky.
"Why little boy, it is I,
the Riddler of Life, you see.
When the Oracles are lost, or all in a fuss,
advice from me they seek."
"Now, the Cheshire's mad, The Joker glad,
they all try to lead you astray.
But stay with me,
and then you'll see,
a world you've never imagined."

The Riddler of Life was a weary old grandfatherly figure, but the wicked glint in his eye caused the little boy to shiver and quiver.

"What, don't believe what you see? Well then, here's the question:"

Puzzle 1

Of Sugar sweet, and frogs astray, of rocks and things, and everything nice, what in the world is my advice?

The Young man thought for a moment, and then grinned as he gave the answer:
"Easy; what's the _____ of Life?"

Act 2
The Riddler of Life grinned and wrought the boy's hand,
"Ah, I think you'll do nicely.
I'm the Wandering Jew,
over a thousand and two,
and my life is slowly ending.
But before I leave,
my wisdom to seed,
I need someone young and understanding.
Will you take from me, the powers that be,
a sharp wit and a mind of stone?"

"Why, certainly!"
He said with glee,
and the Riddler beamed delightfully. "Well, there, don't you see?
That beaten tree?
Well, there's the clue for your answer."

"The answer to what?"
The boy said in fraught.
"Why, to the question I asked you to seek!"

The boy heaved a sigh,
and scratched his behin',
and went to find the answer.

Puzzle 2

First a bird, nearby plane,
no, a shattered sky!
puzzle the letters and find out why.

A screen, not reflecting,
a deep brown hue,
a reference makes me feel real blue.

A joint most fitting,
D'el('s) bow string never fitting.
the valley splits between.

mesh the words, you will find your answer:
the answer that you seek.

Act 3
The boy scratched his head,
his brain worse than dead:
"The answer, it's not,
just a clue, you clot!!"
So with a sigh,
and a tear in his eye,
he went to make sense of it all.

The Riddler dozed peacefully, propped on the wall, a scroll lying down beside him.
"Congratulations," it read,
"You're building your head,
with the logic that we cherish greatly.
Now, you're almost done,
but the sun's stretching lon',
and I fear I am quickly dying.
My last gift to you
is my blessing, it's true,
and the final answer that's ringing."

"Ringing where? In my hair?" Ask the boy all befuddled, as he read the old tattered scroll aloud.

The Answer:

With tips of three,
what could I be?
A book, a crook, a surly cook,
use me segmentedly!!!

Gassy Silena garnished me,
though of a form, a rose I be.

And once you've solved me, you may see:
I'm a piece of pie,
a rude, crude man,
a real clean freak.

Now tell me my friends, what was in his head, the mind of this Riddler so deep? For truly, it's bold, that story of old, that I inherited just this week. My great-great-grandfather told his son, who told his son, and know I have the Knowledge.

But, ever willingly, it's true,
and thus I give to you,
the advice of the Riddler of Life.

May its wisdom guide you,
nurture, never bind you,
and keep you always from strife!!!
What did it say,
that's still true today,
it's truth putting all in perspective?

-- The Riddler of Life

Note: Partial answers highly encouraged. Good riddle hunting, my friends. ;}

P.S. Congrats to @knave for finding the answer to Part 1! But, as most of you have realized, that was only a warm-up!! Who will be worthy of leading the Oracles for the next millennia?

P.P.S. Congrats to @McMagister for solving puzzle #2. Now, who will put the various clues together and find the final answer?

P.P.S. alright. I'm running out of steam here: You can see the process used to solve Riddles 1 and 2 here: http://chat.stackexchange.com/rooms/26670/the-riddle-of-life-to-ease-all-your-strife or, you can start a new conversation here: http://chat.stackexchange.com/rooms/35932/riddle-of-life-part-2, which I strongly recommend. I will try and be more active on the chat this time around, so feel free to drop me a line if there's something you're unsure of. I realize this is a complicated puzzle, but truly think everyone will be satisfied once it is finished.

Hint for Riddle's 3:

the last answer is a portmanteau. If you look at lines 4 and 8-10, they define all three words needed to get the right portmanteau. The other lines provide other ways to find the answer, by looking into its form and description. Well, That's all, Folks!

  • $\begingroup$ can you add some more lines to it? $\endgroup$
    – JLee
    Jul 1, 2015 at 1:20
  • $\begingroup$ well, the hint surely helps a lot. thx :) $\endgroup$
    – JLee
    Jul 1, 2015 at 1:47
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Oh no, The Riddler of Life is much more than that - he is the Oracles' Oracle. (notice the plural - they get together every 5000 years or so and have debates that last 549 years or so, then go to the Riddler of Life for some meaningless jumbo that puts everything in perspective, and walk off back to their posts, furious at the world and taking it out on poor weary travelers). $\endgroup$
    – Nyk 232
    Jul 8, 2015 at 14:01
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Pete I'm not even worried about the second puzzle at this point, I just want to figure out this dang third puzzle! The 'surly cook' is tripping me up. What's 'surly' got to do with it, if anything at all? I assumed someone famous named Peter used it or something, though it certainly could involve the letters of the name. I thought the 'rose' line might help me figure out the final answer and I could work backwards, but that's proved fruitless as well... $\endgroup$
    – Bailey M
    Aug 6, 2015 at 14:19
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Pete and anyone else still attempting to solve this, I've made a chat room where we can discuss the question thoroughly: chat.stackexchange.com/rooms/26670/… $\endgroup$
    – Bailey M
    Aug 6, 2015 at 19:48

5 Answers 5


The answer to Puzzle 2 is


(please see the chatroom for more details, I can only claim to have discovered the last clue and overall answer: http://chat.stackexchange.com/rooms/26670/the-riddle-of-life-to-ease-all-your-strife )

First a bird, nearby plane,
no, a shattered sky!
puzzle the letters and find out why.

We are supposed to form letters here, according to the third line.
B, the first letter of bird;
O, which is nearby P(lane);
T, which looks like a sky broken by a pillar. (this is according to @Nyk232 himself).

Thus, BOT

A screen, not reflecting,
a deep brown hue,
a reference makes me feel real blue.

Sunscreen is a screen, that when applied on your skin, it will not become a deep brown hue, because it is not tanned.
The reference is to "tanning beds", which emit blue light.

Thus, TAN

A joint most fitting,
D'el('s) bow string never fitting.
the valley splits between.

The answer is a joint, but not elbow ("Del's bow" with a few letters removed). "The valley splits between" could refer to the characters that separate "el" and "bow".

The equivalent of the elbow is the KNEE.

  • $\begingroup$ The wizard strikes again! :-D $\endgroup$ Aug 26, 2015 at 15:51
  • $\begingroup$ Correct! Actually, I meant tan as what your skin would look like if you used tanning spray, but you're version works better! $\endgroup$
    – Nyk 232
    Aug 28, 2015 at 23:45
  • $\begingroup$ And, we have a winner! This was the hardest of all the riddles, and utilized strategies that would be needed in both of the other puzzles, so I vote this as the answer that best contributed to the riddle. $\endgroup$
    – Nyk 232
    Feb 18, 2016 at 20:39

Puzzle 1:


The puzzle mentions "sugar" then "everything nice", spice goes between them, or in front of "of life".

Puzzle 2:

The first stanza is a reference to Superman ("It's a bird! It's a plane! No, it's Superman!"). "Shattered sky" could be a reference to flying with a sonic boom. Scramble the letters to make... manpurse?


From Hint 2, we know that there is a similarity between a book and a real clean freak; a crook and a rude, crude man; and a surly cook and a piece of pie. The last two pairs are almost too similar; I think the first one is key.

A different guess:


From the Peter Piper nursery rhyme hinted at in the second stanza, if pickling counts as garnish. Also, a cook might used chopped ("segmented") peppers. Not sure how the rest would fit.

  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Puzzling.SE, and nice answer! Could "the question I asked you to seek" be "what is the spice of life", with the answer "variety"? $\endgroup$ Jul 8, 2015 at 10:11
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Possibly, I was thinking an actual spice though, one which comes from a tree, and the other words make up the name of the spice, probably with the letters scrambled. $\endgroup$
    – evankh
    Jul 8, 2015 at 10:14
  • $\begingroup$ @knave - great! you've found the first answer-however, anything between the actual puzzles is merely flavor text, such as "beaten tree". $\endgroup$
    – Nyk 232
    Jul 8, 2015 at 12:57
  • $\begingroup$ @knave - I was hoping someone would recognize that rhyme, girls are made of "sugar and spice and everything nice", but can't remember what boys were made of, so I just added my own version there. Was it obvious that's what I was referring to, or could I have made it clearer? $\endgroup$
    – Nyk 232
    Jul 8, 2015 at 14:28
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Nyk232: Boys are made of snips and snails, and puppy-dog tails. Whereas tigers are made of dragonflies and katydids, but mostly chewed-up little kids ;) $\endgroup$
    – Curmudgeon
    Jul 8, 2015 at 18:22

Here's a crude guess

Is it a confectioner? (a person whose occupation is making or selling candy and other sweets)

With tips of three,
what could I be?
A book, a crook, a surly cook,
use me segmentedly!!!

In your hint, you explained the meaning of segmentedly. Splitting it, I get
'con', a crook
'fection' (play on fiction, a popular genre of books)
'confectioner' who sometimes cooks and prepares sweets and pastries too

Silly peter garnished me,
though I form a rose, you see.

Confectioners often garnish their pastries with flowery shapes of chocolate or frosting.

And once you've solved me, you may see:
I'm a piece of pie,
a rude, crude man,
a real clean freak.

You can often get pie from a confectioner and usually confectioneries are kept very neat and clean to entice potential customers. (Can't make sense of 'rude, crude man' yet.)

  • $\begingroup$ Close, but not quite: Look more closely at the second part of your answer, and keep in mind that almost every line is a clue. $\endgroup$
    – Nyk 232
    Jul 1, 2015 at 13:32
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I'll re-edit the riddle, because I realize now it may cause some confusion. Please bear with me, as this is my first time at trying to make a riddle. $\endgroup$
    – Nyk 232
    Jul 1, 2015 at 13:33
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Nyk232: That's totally fine. Even seasoned puzzlers end up making their questions broad once in a while. I'd say this is quite a great start in any case. $\endgroup$
    – CodeNewbie
    Jul 1, 2015 at 13:35
  • $\begingroup$ Alright, let me get back to ya: you're answer is VERY CLOSE, and you have the right approach, just not the right words. $\endgroup$
    – Nyk 232
    Jul 7, 2015 at 23:44
  • $\begingroup$ this new version is all for you, from your twisty Riddler of Life ;} $\endgroup$
    – Nyk 232
    Jul 8, 2015 at 1:39

The answer (Puzzle 3):

parsley a.k.a Petroselinum crispum


I can't explain everything yet but I can give some information about hints. From Wikipedia:
- cultivated as a herb, a spice, and a vegetable.
- it grows as a biennial, in the first year, it forms a rosette of tripinnate leaves
- Curly leaf parsley is often used as a garnish
Explanation for wordplays and portmanteaus:
- Piece of Pie could be "P" and books can tell "Lies" and an obnoxious person is an "arse".
- a neat freak would need lots of soap. soap is made of "lye"
- If a crook was to be caught, you might say he's fallen on his "ass"

  • $\begingroup$ Great! I figured someone would figure it out a lot sooner, but I guess I lost everyone somewhere along the lines. $\endgroup$
    – Nyk 232
    Feb 18, 2016 at 20:21
  • $\begingroup$ Perfect! Now, let's get you that bounty, although I think everyone deserves it! $\endgroup$
    – Nyk 232
    Feb 18, 2016 at 20:36
  • $\begingroup$ oops, have to wait 19 hours first...well, you'll have your bounty by tomorrow. $\endgroup$
    – Nyk 232
    Feb 18, 2016 at 20:37
  • $\begingroup$ Unfortunately, the second riddle was the hardest, so I'll give the final answer to them, but you'll at least get the bounty!! $\endgroup$
    – Nyk 232
    Feb 18, 2016 at 20:38
  • $\begingroup$ geh. yeah, sorry. My bad. $\endgroup$
    – Nyk 232
    Feb 26, 2016 at 0:56

Part 3 joke answer

Apple or Spiced Apple (to go with the spice theme)

A book, a crook, a surly cook,

Apples feature prominently in alphabet books, and the fruit of the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Bible is often depicted as an apple.

The apple's botanical name is Malus Domestica. Malus is Latin for something bad or evil, which accurately describes a crook, while Domestica describes a domestic helper, of which cooking for the household is one of their duties.

Gassy Silena garnished me, though of a form, a rose I be.

Gassy Silena -> Granny Smith (a stretch, I know)

Apples are part of the Rosaceae (rose) family of plants.

I'm a piece of pie, a rude, crude man, a real clean freak.

1. Apple Pie
2. Malus again
3. The clean interface of Apple products?

This is a joke answer because the hints clearly indicate the answer is a compound word, of sorts.

  • $\begingroup$ nope! But it may go well with an apple salad >.> $\endgroup$
    – Nyk 232
    Sep 12, 2015 at 0:28

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