Here are the clues;

  1. I'm a riddle inside an enigma wrapped up in a mystery.
  2. Some respected scholars won't even agree I'm the right answer when you've found me.
  3. You don't have to be a mathematician to find me. Just be able to read and count.

  4. Mr Smith was certainly no mathematician, and he thought I was 34. In his own way, he was right.
  5. If you can't solve me, come back to this clue again and again.
  6. You can find me on a roulette wheel but there's no point in betting on me.
  7. I have only one owner even if he does sound uncouth.
  8. Don't upset me. There might be a swift reaction depending on our location. Someone's got me in mind, and you know where he stands.
  9. Some people think I'm so unlucky that they even have a phobia about me. It's all Greek to me.
  10. 2, 3, 37
  11. You've got plenty of this and it's made up of me.
  12. 17, 18 ... Look at those numbers. If you can decipher them, the answer will easily be revealed.

Bonus clues


Don't ignore the title. It tells you what you are looking for. (I suppose mathematicians might quibble about the precise terminology used in the title.)


Many people have me as a tattoo.

What am I?

Note: All the clues refer to the same answer. Only a thorough and well-supported explanation of each and every clue will lead to a green tick. If you're not convinced by your own answer to a particular clue then you haven't understood it ;-)



All the clues are numbered. Sometimes the number of the clue is part of the clue and sometimes it isn't.


Note that clues vary in type. A simple clue can have a very simple meaning. A wordy clue may perhaps be taken as a hint as how to proceed. A numerical clue could have a mathematical meaning - or not.


Clues may only give part of the information needed - they back up other clues and reduce the possibilities of false answers. It is possible to get the answer from a single clue but a clue on its own cannot be conclusive without the others. Not all clues have sufficient information to stand alone. They are there merely to provide confirmation or a hint.

  • $\begingroup$ Is #3 meant to be empty, or has the mobile app messed up formatting again? $\endgroup$
    – 2xedo
    Commented Aug 10, 2015 at 7:00
  • $\begingroup$ It's deliberately empty. I've added another hint. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 10, 2015 at 9:01

3 Answers 3


Ok, I solved Clue 9 in its entirety, which no one else seems to have done so I will post my answer now. Massive thanks to supinf for his own clue, which put me on the right track.

First, the answer:


Next, the clues:

  1. 666 is the number of the beast, which is itself a riddle (possibly referring to Nero Caesar), found in the Book of Revelations, a book containing many mysteries.

  2. There is debate whether 666 or 616 is the actual number of the beast.

  3. Three sixes make up the number of the beast.

  4. The number 666 does not require any special math or measurement to deduce, like pi. You just need to read the Bible.

  5. 666 is the 34th Smith number.

  6. 666 is 6 repeated.

  7. The numbers on a roulette wheel add up to 666.

  8. 666 is the number of the beast, and "The Beast" certainly sounds uncouth.

  9. "Upset" 666 means to turn it upside down, into 999. 999 is the emergency number in UK. The second sentence refers to Chasly, from UK.

  10. Some people have fear of 666, called Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia.

  11. These are the prime factors of 666. 666 = 2 x 3 x 3 x 37

  12. Our bodies contain large amounts of Carbon-12, which consists of 6 protons, 6 neutrons and 6 electrons.

  13. Revelations 13:17-18.

Bonus - supinf's clue:

Refers to the London fire of 1666.

  • $\begingroup$ I had a completely different answer for number 5 $\endgroup$
    – germcd
    Commented Aug 13, 2015 at 8:59
  • $\begingroup$ @germcd that is interesting, what is the explanation that you found? $\endgroup$
    – supinf
    Commented Aug 13, 2015 at 21:44
  • $\begingroup$ @supinf I thought it referred to Adrian Smith and an Iron Maiden album, but I couldn't explain 34 $\endgroup$
    – germcd
    Commented Aug 14, 2015 at 8:10
  • $\begingroup$ Okay - Everything seems to have settled down so I shall accept this answer on the grounds that it has the most up-votes. I shall submit my own original answer shortly. It does not differ substantially in the individual answers to the clues, I'll just add my extra reasoning. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 24, 2015 at 11:16

EDIT: McMallister was faster than me, well done! (there is not a huge difference in our explanation for the clues, but because i started writing them down, i wanted to finish them)

I think i got it. I will most likely complete this post in the next 15 hours, i need to sleep soon :) -- if somebdy is faster than me, i won't complain



clue 1:

The "mystery" refers to the Book of Revelations (or maybe the Bible as a whole). In cryptic language, the number 666 comes up, which is itself a riddle since it is unclear what it actually means.

clue 2:

there is a discussion, wether 616 is actually the number of the beast

clue 3:

there are 3 "numbers" (or digits, as i would prefer to call them). this works together with the title.

clue 4:

I thinkt "able to read" refers to reading the bible passage, and "to count" refers to the quote there "Here is Wisdom, Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast"

clue 5:

this relates to the Smiths number - the 34th smith number is our solution. check out the wiki article to understand more about. In this article it can be seen, that the Mr Smith these numbers are named by was most likely no mathematician, but a mathematician who knew Mr Smith "invented" the numbers.

clue 6:

for this clue you have to take the number into account: "6". If you come back again to this clue you get "66", if you come back again to this clue again you get "666", hencethe two "agains".

clue 7:

the sum of all numbers on a roulette table is 666

clue 8:

it is the number of the beast, so the "beast" is the owner

clue 9:

here, "upset" is to be understood as "turn upside down", so 666 becomes 999, which is a emergency number in the UK, hence the "swift reaction". The author of this riddle has got the number in mind, and due to his username, we know where he stands (UK).

clue 10:

this refers to hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia

clue 11:

This is the clue which gave me the solution initially, because 2,3,37 are the prime factors of 666

Clue 12:

this refers to carbon, which is (iirc) the second most common atom in a human body. carbon is made of 6 protons, 6 neutrons, 6 electrons.

clue 13:

again, you have to take the number of the clue into account, then you get 13:17-18 , which refers to the passage in the book of Revelations

Clue 14:

yes, as a mathematician i can confirm, that i am not too comfortable when "digits" and "numbers" get mixed up

Clue 15:

selfexplanatory if you know the solution

Clues arranged by certainty, that i am correct:

(uncertain) 8 4 1 9 3 2 13 10 11 12 6 5 7 (certain)

Clues arranged by (my subjective) difficulty:

(hardest) 5 9 12 13 4 8 1 2 10 3 7 6 11(easiest)

Thanks for the hints in the comments for solving clue #9

All in all: a very good puzzle/riddle! well done! an additional remark (idea for another clue):

1. there was once a fire in a city... (lets see if you get that :D) - i think that would fit in really well!

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I think I understand the answer now, thanks to your clue, although I am not sure about all the clues. $\endgroup$
    – McMagister
    Commented Aug 13, 2015 at 2:24
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Yes, +1 to supinf for your own clue. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 13, 2015 at 2:44
  • $\begingroup$ @chaslyfromUK ok i will try with a better explanation/web evidence tomorrow (too tired right now). if i don't answer anything, i am fine if you give the green tick to McMagister, as he posted a solution first $\endgroup$
    – supinf
    Commented Aug 13, 2015 at 21:47

I have what I think is the correct answer, but I can't explain all the clues.

My initial 'aha!' came from clue 9, where I guessed that the 'he' might be referring to

Archimedes ("give me a lever and a place to stand and I will move the world")

which would make the answer

pi, as its sometimes known as Archimedes' Constant after his early derivation.

Based on the bonus clue 14, I imagine that the actual answer is

an approximation of pi, like 3.14, and the proper terminology would be "just a few digits"

Now, the justifications that I have (some shaky, some firm).


Pi is an irrational number (har har) and it is not known whether it ever repeats itself.


This probably refers to tau, which for those who don't know is a constant equal to 2*pi, which makes more sense for most applications (radius/circumference ratio instead of diameter, tau radians instead of 2*pi radians, etc.) Many scholars would argue that if you derive pi, you only have half the correct answer.


Instead of giving a hint, this refers to the fact that pi begins with a 3 and a decimal place- '3.'


Sine waves return to the origin at intervals of pi


The most straightforward. The ratio of the diameter to the circumference of the wheel is ~pi, but pi is not a number you can bet on.


The first part of this may refer to Archimedes' death and his attributed last words, "Do not disturb my circles!"


I don't know if people have phobias about pi, but its symbol is a Greek letter.


Tattoos of pi are not uncommon.

For all the other clues, I've got nothing.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ It's not pi but you have the right idea (+1). Maybe now start to focus on those answers for which pi doesn't make any sense. That will get you onto a new track. Hint: Some of the side-clues have a little bit of basic mathematics that an older school-child could understand but the main ones don't involve calculations at all. Definitely making progress! $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 12, 2015 at 17:17

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