This morning, I woke up and found this strange note that someone must have slid under my door. It's all very confusing to me... Do you know what any of it means?

How to ruin the environment!
Start with a rock and add a dash of citrus.
Combine it with water to have a retaliation against burning liquid skies.
Because of this property it has, you can finally win at musical limbo!
Just make the sound of a beverage (which can also be worn) between me and the snake,
And you've got your first ingredient!

The second ingredient is quite easy for you to find,
Just steal without asking, and claim it as your own.
You don't need all of it, only 3 bits at the start,
Though it might seem like you need an entire century!

Once you've done all that, you're almost done!
Just put the two next to each other, and hit them with a spoon!

Hint:Added for clarification

I found some fine print at the bottom of the note that said both ingredients are found totally separate from each other, but are totally meaningless on their own. Maybe that can help you!

Hint 2:

Some things are more literal than others.

Hint 3:

Not all burns are caused by flames.

Hint 4:

The first ingredient is 6 letters long.

  • $\begingroup$ beverage (which can also be worn) -> cappuccino -> coffee $\endgroup$
    – CinCout
    Commented May 12, 2016 at 11:58
  • $\begingroup$ For the first three lines, 'whiskey' comes to my mind! $\endgroup$
    – CinCout
    Commented May 12, 2016 at 12:02
  • $\begingroup$ sounds like mojito to me, but it could be any cocktail $\endgroup$
    – Andrei C
    Commented May 12, 2016 at 12:24
  • $\begingroup$ I'd guess the sound of the beverage is a hiss, which would imply that the beverage itself is a soda of some sort. Could be Tab, like shirt collar tabs. $\endgroup$
    – Bobson
    Commented May 13, 2016 at 0:40
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ If I had to guess, the first line means "limestone", since "rock" -> stone and "citrus" -> lime. That's all I have. $\endgroup$
    – Pat G
    Commented May 13, 2016 at 7:02

3 Answers 3


OK, here goes. To begin, I agree with Bulldogg6404 that

Rock + citrus = limestone

is surely correct. But then I think the "burning liquid skies" must be referring to

acid rain

(I guess this is what hint 3 is about, but in any case it seems far the most obvious interpretation of those words) and then

there is an obvious connection between musical limbo and acid rain mitigation, via a pun between "base" (opposite of acid) and "bass" (low musical notes/instruments). And you can turn limestone into lime (calcium hydroxide), which is a base and is sometimes added to water as an anti-acid-rain measure.

There is the small difficulty that

it's not the limestone that's being added to water; you can make lime from limestone but they aren't the same thing. (And it feels a bit weird to explicitly turn "lime" into "limestone" at the start and then turn it back again a line or two later :-).)

but KoA has confirmed in comments that this is what he meant anyway. OK, so the property we're looking for is, then, that of being


and now we take that word and

tnsert "the sound of a beverage" into the word "basic", perhaps between "S" (snake) and "I" (me). That makes "bastic", which isn't exactly a word (it seems to have a slang usage that must be derived from the thankfully-mostly-defunct use of "spastic" as a term of abuse, and it was a bit of technobabble in Doctor Who once) -- but maybe that's OK since the two ingredients are meant to be meaningless on their own.

If so, then

presumably the second ingredient will also be a non-word, and we'll have to combine them somehow, and surely "hit them with a spoon" means "spoonerize". So it'll be BASTIC PL---- giving PLASTIC B---- or something of the kind.

OK, on to the second ingredient. We need something that means "steal without asking" and

begins with PL. I wondered about PLUNDER but actually more likely, I think, is PLAGIARIZE or PLAGIARISE (which also emcompasses "claim it as your own"), and if we can reduce this to its first four letters then we get BASTIC PLAG, hence PLASTIC BAG, which seems like a pretty reasonable answer.

So, why that many letters? Well,

if you take the number 100 ("a century") and then pretend it's a 3-bit binary number, that number is four. So that's the number of letters you take from the start of PLAGIARIZE.

So, in case you missed it above, the answer is


whose impact on the environment is pretty familiar to us all.

  • $\begingroup$ Oh boy, I definitely didn't think some part through well enough. Assume an unfavourable reaction occurs between the limestone and water :p $\endgroup$
    – KoA
    Commented May 16, 2016 at 22:18
  • $\begingroup$ Also note that acid rain isn't partaking in the reaction, it's just the components of water + limestone that can be used "in retaliation" to acid rain $\endgroup$
    – KoA
    Commented May 16, 2016 at 22:21
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I'm thinking about it... $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Commented May 17, 2016 at 10:48
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ 100 = 4 in binary. I don't know how much that actually helps.... $\endgroup$
    – Neon612
    Commented May 18, 2016 at 17:52
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ As someone who has been hanging out in chat lately, this answer also seems quite appropriate as the subject happens to be a bit of a meme in the PSE community. $\endgroup$ Commented May 19, 2016 at 0:40

PARTIAL ANSWER for second paragraph


The second ingredient is quite easy for you to find,

It's everywhere

Just steal it without asking, and claim it as your own.

You take it in and out of your body.

You don't need all of it, only 3 bits at the start,

Maybe it refers to the 3 isotopes of it.

Though it might seem like you need an entire century!

Century -> 100 -> C (in roman numerals)

  • $\begingroup$ Good answer, but that's not it. We don't steal carbon ;) $\endgroup$
    – KoA
    Commented May 12, 2016 at 12:43

I feel like I made some significant headway, but I have hit a wall. I encourage other solvers to try to expand on my answer and see where it takes them.

Limestone -> Calcium -> Ca
Ca + H2O = CAHOO [sic] anagram -> ACHOO -> Sneeze (retaliation against smoke/smog = burning liquid [oil] skies)
Sneeze = S + neeze -> S (snake) + Knees (property for winning at Limbo)

Beyond that much, it is pure guessing, because these next ideas don't match up with the previous analysis as far as I can tell.

Beverage = Tea -> T (sound of tea, T-shirt can be worn)
"Between me and the snake" = S + T + Knees = ???

Please, feel free to look at my analysis and add your own reasoning.
I also considered

Knee_s -> Knee + T + S = Neets, which is a real slang term, but doesn't really apply anywhere to the rest of the puzzle.

  • $\begingroup$ H2O is HHO rather than HOO. $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Commented May 13, 2016 at 11:29
  • $\begingroup$ I am aware. That's what the [sic] stands for. $\endgroup$ Commented May 13, 2016 at 11:29
  • $\begingroup$ After all, it could be H20 means H and 2 O $\endgroup$ Commented May 13, 2016 at 11:30
  • $\begingroup$ Fair enough. It seems pretty far-fetched to me. $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Commented May 13, 2016 at 11:30
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Science is definitely relevant ;) $\endgroup$
    – KoA
    Commented May 13, 2016 at 11:38

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