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She is the feast, and I am the famine. Two of a kind, remarkably similar we are. When you look at her, you might see me, but that's your fault, I'm not there. one little straight line, you glazed right over.

If you replaced her with me, all would be gone, and many would be very unhappy.

Hint:

Persons from "across the pond" (as THEY say) would have an easier time finding the pair of words.

Hint #2:

The little line that's missing isn't a letter of the alphabet. (it might be part of one though...)

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  • $\begingroup$ Which side of the pond are you on? $\endgroup$ – Dr Xorile Sep 28 '15 at 23:52
  • $\begingroup$ America. Specifically Texas. $\endgroup$ – Kingrames Oct 2 '15 at 1:58
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Worth a try:

Draught (British) vs Drought

She is the feast, and I am the famine

Draught in British is equivalent to Draft in American, which has a meaning of: a serving of drink (usually alcoholic) drawn from a keg. In most feasts, alcoholic drinks are commonly served. Drought, basically shortage of water which can cause Famine.

One little straight line,

The difference would be the line in the letter $a$, which would be removed to form the letter $o$.

Glazed right over

There are cooking techniques which uses beer/alcoholic drinks as glaze over ham, etc.

If you replaced her with me, all would be gone, and many would be very unhappy.

Change draught (drinks/beverages) to drought (shortage) would definitely cause everyone unhappiness.

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  • $\begingroup$ I apologize if everyone read too much into the word glazed. Where I come from it's almost exclusively used to mean overlooked. I am, however, lucky that there turned out to be a valid excuse for the word, but alas, it was not intended. Thanks for solving the puzzle! $\endgroup$ – Kingrames Oct 2 '15 at 1:56
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Is it:

dessert (she) vs desert (you)?

Feast / famine:

dessert is a type of food, deserts produce very little food.

Two of a kind:

similar spelling.

When you look at her, you might see me ...

it is a common spelling mistake to confuse the two.

One little line:

the extra 's' is a single line.

Glazed:

common to certain types of desserts.

If you replaced her with me ...

there won't be much left on earth if each dessert is replaced with a desert of any reasonable size. The sweet-toothed would be very unhappy, though exchanging almost any climate for a desert would be unpleasant for many.

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  • $\begingroup$ That's even better than what I originally thought of! I'll make a slight correction to the riddle, to fix it. $\endgroup$ – Kingrames Sep 27 '15 at 16:56
  • $\begingroup$ I think we might have a bit of a problem with exploding insect populations if every desert was replaced with a dessert! $\endgroup$ – Gordon K Sep 27 '15 at 17:21
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F(L)OOD. The extra line is the letter l, leading to famine. Being American or British doesn't make much difference, unless you look down at all the water, as you cross the pind.

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I see that @Dr_Xorile has drawn the same conclusion,

it seemed to me that T and L were source of this confusion.

And yet while pondering about this antonym conundrum,

I find that 'cross the pond is used in DC and in London.

But if you read too rapidly across the word here:

feast

You might happen to miss a stroke and instead, read the:

least

They represent a dearth and glut, the difference is clear,

Yet rhyme and look alike to the (too) hasty eye or ear.

Now, British or American, I'll yield I do not 'get';

But the answer to the last line seems to make it a sure bet.

If I would take the first of yours, replace it with the latter,

The least, that's absolutely none! and surely that would matter

To those who gathered to partake in this replete repast.

So that's my guess, no more, no less, and this line is my last.


As requested, an explanation in plaintext:

feast/least. "Two of a kind, remarkably similar": the words both look and sound alike. When you skim-read ("glazed over") the word 'feast', you might miss the cross-stroke ("one little straight line") on the f and instead read an l, resulting in least. And if you replace a feast with the least - the least being nothing at all - then "all would be gone, and many would be very unhappy".

Hints:

Hint 1: the sound of the word should be more distinguishable in the UK/US than in the US/UK. I learnt British English and feast/least rhyme for me; I don't know how they're pronounced in the US, but have learned in the past that pronounciations can vary wildly. Hint 2: the little line that's missing isn't a letter of the alphabet on its own, but is strongly hinted to be part of the letter; in this case the cross-stroke on the f.

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  • $\begingroup$ +1 for a rhyming answer but I would add a more plain explanation as well for people who just want the clear explanation of the answer. $\endgroup$ – Engineer Toast Sep 29 '15 at 14:58
  • $\begingroup$ I applaud you, good sir and/or madam, for this rhyme of yours. You have quite a talent and it is quite well applied here. Thanks for making this puzzle just a bit more respectable. I can see clearly that my rhyme was far too short and I could have done better. $\endgroup$ – Kingrames Oct 2 '15 at 1:53
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Is it:

She is fat and you are flat. One little line - the letter l - is the difference between you.

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  • $\begingroup$ It works, in a way, but "flat" doesn't really convey the sense of unhappiness. That to me seems like more of a "meh" feeling. Good try though. $\endgroup$ – Kingrames Sep 27 '15 at 17:00
  • $\begingroup$ Also, the straight line is in the feast, and omitted from the famine $\endgroup$ – Dr Xorile Sep 27 '15 at 17:15
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I don't think the answer is: Friend/Fiend

Here's are more serious attempts:

glut/gut
glory/gory
health/heath
triple/tripe

None of these is really great though. Maybe someone else can have more success with this pastebin of words which are still words when the L is removed: http://pastebin.com/Rjcc98QU

I avoided words with more than one L, so I guess that's the next search...which can be found here: http://pastebin.com/vRu7QE1p

which yields such attempts as:

bellies/belies
filling/filing
lawful/awful
slick/sick

sigh. It seems my computer can't save my brain - I'll have to think about it...

[edit] So apparently it's not a letter that's missing. Which makes me think that it's a T going to an L.

Spoiler:

coat/coal
fatter/falter
malt/mall
stew/slew
stash/slash
meat/meal
stacks/slacks
teacher/leacher (my favourite so far)

Okay, none of these is really a spoiler, because that would imply that they might be right. I guess I could have missed the word pair in my quick look through the pastebin, but perhaps it's not a T->L. It could be T->I, or even I->T (depending on your font). Or M -> N or A->H.

But the feast should be the one with an extra line...

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  • $\begingroup$ May I know how you generated those lists? (how do you access a dictionary through whatever language you're using) $\endgroup$ – Ben Frankel Sep 28 '15 at 1:19
  • $\begingroup$ @BenFrankel, I googled for a dictionary and found one here. Then used some simple python code $\endgroup$ – Dr Xorile Sep 28 '15 at 2:30
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ That's some nice effort on compiling a list. Buuuut... The little straight line that's missing isn't a letter. $\endgroup$ – Kingrames Sep 28 '15 at 21:58
  • $\begingroup$ I probably should have bothered to look at the font we use here, and noted that the font would matter. my lowercase a's don't have a little hangover thingy when I write by hand (who even does that nowadays lol). $\endgroup$ – Kingrames Oct 2 '15 at 2:02

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