The short version: what are five riddles whose answer is "the moon"?


I'm preparing to run the D&D module "White Plume Mountain". At one point in that Adventure there's an encounter with a sphinx who asks each character a riddle. Unbeknownst to the party, the answer ("moon") is also the password to disarm a nearby magical trap, so that the trap does not attack that character. So the sphinx needs to get each character to say the word "moon" before they continue.

Using the scenario as written, the sphinx would ask this riddle to each character in turn:

Round she is, yet flat as a board, 
Altar of the Lupine Lords, 
Jewel on black velvet, pearl in the sea, 
Unchanged but e'erchanging, eternally.

But this is silly. What self-respecting sphinx would ask the same riddle five times in a row?

So: what are five riddles (counting the above riddle) whose answer is "moon"? It's okay if some of the riddles are a bit lame or awkward. It's better if the riddles avoid anachronisms since this is a fantasy setting.

  • $\begingroup$ The scenario also contains riddles with answers "river" and "coffin". If this question is well-received, I will post questions for those riddles separately. $\endgroup$
    – Dan B
    Apr 7, 2016 at 23:14
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    $\begingroup$ Most D&D modules or not set on Earth. It might be useful to specify that the story is either set on Earth, or on a very similar planet with a single, large, tidally locked moon. Otherwise, the moon might not be unique, or it might not have a dark side, or it might not be that useful in creating a calendar based on it, etc. $\endgroup$
    – vsz
    Apr 8, 2016 at 6:34
  • $\begingroup$ Related: puzzling.stackexchange.com/q/13041/17947 $\endgroup$
    – user17947
    Apr 8, 2016 at 7:24
  • $\begingroup$ From a game design perspective - will the players be able to hear eachother's riddles (and answer)? Every player after the second will have a ridiculously easy time of it then. Might as well just ask "What is your favorite color?" $\endgroup$ Apr 8, 2016 at 14:18
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    $\begingroup$ Hopefully none of your players reads puzzling. $\endgroup$
    – adamdc78
    Apr 8, 2016 at 22:32

10 Answers 10


Always old, sometimes new.

Never sad, sometimes blue.

Never empty, sometimes full.

Never pushes, always pulls.


These are possibly too easy(?), but you probably don't want it to be too hard if a single person is supposed to get it fairly quickly...

When new, he can't be seen at all
But he grows with each night fall
And as he looms over the wall
Hark and hear the lone wolf's call

Bright and dark. Black and white.
I am the shepherd of the night.
Fast and slow. Rise and sink.
Blind, yet every month, I blink.

Or a bit of a silly one:

First a bovine's song, and then,
Take the third of nine or ten.
Join them up, there is no time,
Too soon, it is, to make a rhyme.

  • 7
    $\begingroup$ i like that moo+n, nice! $\endgroup$
    – JMP
    Apr 8, 2016 at 1:11
  • $\begingroup$ These are excellent! Difficulty is not too important after the first one since I expect them to be saying: "hm, I wonder if the answer to this one is 'moon' as well?" $\endgroup$
    – Dan B
    Apr 8, 2016 at 1:15
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    $\begingroup$ I would change out "each night fall" in the first riddle with "each passing day," at least that doesn't automatically call to "night" $\endgroup$
    – O'Mutt
    Apr 8, 2016 at 1:18
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    $\begingroup$ I thought the moon was supposed to be female. Isn't her name Luna? $\endgroup$
    – Mr Lister
    Apr 8, 2016 at 11:21
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    $\begingroup$ @MrLister: The moon is female in Italian (la Luna) but male in German (der Mond), the sun is the other way round (Il Sole <> die Sonne). Which should give you leeway to use whatever gender you want. $\endgroup$ Apr 9, 2016 at 7:21

My language won't be nearly as pretty, but here goes...

In reference to the "dark side" of the moon

I am humbled by your flattery,
As you gaze only upon my best side.
I shall return your gaze and follow you
As you venture forth into the dark.


I grow and shrink and grow again
My kingdom is the night
Beware my spawn unleashed on you
As they hunt you at my height

A silly one to throw them off if they start detecting a theme...

\_3( Y )Ɛ_/

I know two boys who are always together,
Who hide away and are seldom seen.
Some folks have seen them peeking out,
But they duck right back once they know.

Once they played a prank and jumped right out,
Which gave me quite a scare.
I told their father I'd not come 'round
Until they learn not to embarrass me.

Another definition to consider.

How could you know?
My infatuation with you.
I just can't get over you,
As long as you are over with me.

-- To moon over someone.


A slave I have been and shall remain
To a cruel mistress I'm tied with invisible chains
Yet always I put on the same brave face
She keeps me her prisoner, but leaves me some space

And a possible second verse (edit - improved from earlier versions):

My sorrow moves oceans, tugs at her heart
Though we're bound to each other, we remain worlds apart
Round and round my cell I walk, but never complain
A slave I have been, and shall remain


There once was a wizard from Glantri

Who left his trousers on the floor of the pantry

When I the scullion surprised him

He cowered away due to rolling poor wisdom

Leaving two bright shiny globes pointing at me

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    $\begingroup$ Have an upvote for managing to get it into limerick form. Also for contributing to the crass history of the limerick. $\endgroup$ Apr 8, 2016 at 2:45
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    $\begingroup$ This needs some work to make the rhythm right. Most lines have too many syllables. I can't help with the 3rd and 4th lines, but I have the following suggestions: An Americanization trousers -> pants would be a massive improvement to the second line, and you should lose the word bright from the 5th. . $\endgroup$ Apr 9, 2016 at 10:42
  • $\begingroup$ Actually 3rd and 4th lines: As I walked in, He picked up a tin. It does need to be that much shorter. to be a limerick (4-6 syllables for each of these lines.) $\endgroup$ Apr 9, 2016 at 10:50

I am round but not always around,

Sometimes I'm light, sometimes I'm dark, sometimes I'm both,

Sometimes I'm whole, sometimes I'm not, sometimes a glimpse of me is all you'll get,

Everyone wants to step on me but few got chance

  • $\begingroup$ -1 for plagiarism. Don't ask me how I know. $\endgroup$
    – cst1992
    Apr 9, 2016 at 5:31
  • $\begingroup$ @cst1992: You mean because the only phrase that isn't copied from the original source has terrible grammar? $\endgroup$
    – Ben Voigt
    Apr 9, 2016 at 23:47
  • $\begingroup$ @BenVoigt Because the only phrase that isn't copied is the one the OP didn't remember. $\endgroup$
    – cst1992
    Apr 10, 2016 at 8:16

My face is covered in dimples
On my body lies my face
I spin around you all the time
You think I'm near, but I'm far


Wolf, Snow, Worm,

Pink, Flower, Strawberry,

Buck, Sturgeon, Harvest,

Hunter, Beaver, Cold.

But what's my real name?

URL for answer:



Another one, make your choice.

I'm bright in the sky.
Not the day, I'm too shy.
But sometimes I can't resist
To hide the day without a mist.


Thought I'd add to the collection:

I bare my face yet cannot see
And one may find a man in me
I'll vanish oft, though not for long
and only sing my brother's song


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