15
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I'm fairly common, I'm around.
Don't look too far and I am found.
I can't do tricks, nor act, nor sing,
In fact, I can't do much of anything.
I'm also not known for my stunning looks,
Still, I'm found in many scripts and books.
Not Man, not woman, nor child can go
too long in this world without coming to know
who I am and what I'm about.
This isn't difficult, you shouldn't pout.
So do you know why I hint and wink?
For it is obvious, as you may think.
Sit and rack your brain for a bit,
My solution is missing, but you can find it.
You may think my hints don't fully apply,
but all do, and by now you may know why.
In conclusion, I aid your work in many ways,
But not right now, no not today.

Who am I?

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  • $\begingroup$ Hmm. It is tagged world play; so that must be important. $\endgroup$ – haykam May 16 '16 at 20:12
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    $\begingroup$ "I can't do much of anything' is too modest. The mathematical constant denoted by the letter 'e' is one of the most important numbers in our universe, arguably more fundamental than pi. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E_(mathematical_constant) $\endgroup$ – Benito Ciaro May 17 '16 at 7:18
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    $\begingroup$ Got here via the "Hot Network Questions" section and only noticed after reading the answers of others that all the hints lack the letter 'E'. Nice puzzle/riddle! I think I'm gonna like puzzling section, if I have the time... $\endgroup$ – ar34z May 17 '16 at 9:55
  • $\begingroup$ @BenitoCiaro true, I had debated changing that line, but the constant e doesn't do much without human interaction, it just exists and can be found in certain patterns. $\endgroup$ – gannolloy May 17 '16 at 15:41
13
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Everyone seems to be putting long steps as to how they got their answer and comparing all the clues and such but, I think I got it. Is it;

The letter 'E'? I was thinking 'The', but it's probably just the letter.

OK, let's see:

I'm fairly common, I'm around:

It's the most common letter.

Don't look too far and I am found.

A lot of words have an 'E'

I can't do tricks, nor act, nor sing, In fact, I can't do much of anything:

It's only a letter.

I'm also not known for my stunning looks, Still, I'm found in many scripts and books.

Actually, scripts here could also refer to fonts.

Not Man, not woman, nor child can go too long in this world without coming to know who I am and what I'm about.

Several words contain an 'E', including important ones such as 'the', 'be', and 'have'.

This isn't difficult, you shouldn't pout. So do you know why I hint and wink? For it is obvious, as you may think. Sit and rack your brain for a bit, My solution is missing, but you can find it:

The letter 'E' doesn't appear in the riddle.

You may think my hints don't fully apply, but all do, and by now you may know why. In conclusion, I aid your work in many ways, But not right now, no not today:

Again 'E' is not found.

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  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Answers on this site are expected to include explanations. $\endgroup$ – f'' May 17 '16 at 1:40
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ 1. Title: "My hints won't show you who I am" and they don't, quite literally. $\endgroup$ – Jonathan Allan May 17 '16 at 1:47
  • $\begingroup$ @f Sorry about that, I added some. $\endgroup$ – Emergency Temporal Shift May 17 '16 at 1:58
  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to puzzling, good job! $\endgroup$ – Jonathan Allan May 17 '16 at 2:08
  • $\begingroup$ Good job! I've been trying to keep the letter e out of my comments as well but I give up. The man woman and child hint just means that we all learn it and see it often. $\endgroup$ – gannolloy May 17 '16 at 2:13
2
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Is it:

Letters? (like a,e,i,o,u; not letters you send in the mail)

Explanation:

Letters are very common. Some are round (O). Didn't have to look too far to find letters in what I was reading! Found in many scripts and books (most kind of have to have letters to be this anyway). People learn them early in life. It seems obvious. Letters help with work, but right now they are distracting (I'm at work, should be working, but I'm reading puzzles on SE).

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  • $\begingroup$ This is a good try, but your missing a big part of it. This is not what I am looking for. $\endgroup$ – gannolloy May 16 '16 at 21:16
2
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Is it:

a table of contents (outline)?

My hints won't show you who I am

a ToC is rarely listed in a ToC, but it has hints where to find something.

I'm fairly common, I'm around. Don't look too far and I am found.

many longer books and papers have on and it's easily found since it's at the beginning (or, rarely, the end)

I can't do tricks, nor act, nor sing, In fact, I can't do much of anything. I'm also not known for my stunning looks, Still, I'm found in many scripts and books.

An outline is usually designed with usage in mind, not being beautiful. Still, any bigger book usually has one, even belletristic.

Not Man, not woman, nor child can go too long in this world without coming to know who I am and what I'm about.

Not too sure about this one, but anyone needs to find something in a book at some point in there lives. Webpages like Wikipedia have ToCs for long pages, too, so this also applies to the "digital generation".

This isn't difficult, you shouldn't pout. So do you know why I hint and wink? For it is obvious, as you may think.

All a ToC does is hint you where to find something. Also, you take it for granted in any scientific or otherwise serious book/paper/webpage.

Sit and rack your brain for a bit, My solution is missing, but you can find it. You may think my hints don't fully apply, but all do, and by now you may know why.

Further word plays with finding something with a ToC. I'm not sure what is meant with 'not fully apply', though.

In conclusion, I aid your work in many ways, But not right now, no not today.

It really helps me to find something, but for this riddle its pretty useless.

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  • $\begingroup$ Good try, and good points, but not what I am looking for $\endgroup$ – gannolloy May 17 '16 at 0:22
  • $\begingroup$ @gannolloy Looking for isn't another word play, is it? ;) However I must say that one line isn't true, it's not that easy. $\endgroup$ – Sebb May 17 '16 at 0:38
  • $\begingroup$ If my solution is found, it will look obvious in hindsight. Also, not totally off point with your inquiry. $\endgroup$ – gannolloy May 17 '16 at 0:49
1
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It's

the letter E

which is notably

absent from the text of the question, despite being extremely common and useful.

... Er, I notice that someone else has given the same answer, but with no explanation at all (perhaps on the grounds that it's too obvious to need explaining).

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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Two of us have prompted for an explanation, once it was said without explanation it does seem to fit everything though! $\endgroup$ – Jonathan Allan May 17 '16 at 1:56
  • $\begingroup$ Nicely done! I gave the other answer the check because it appears they got it first $\endgroup$ – gannolloy May 17 '16 at 2:14
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    $\begingroup$ Yup, they did, and they deserve the checkmark. And I see they've added plenty of explanation now. $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan May 17 '16 at 8:39
-2
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You are:

Air

I'm fairly common, I'm around.
Don't look too far and I am found.

Air is everywhair

I can't do tricks, nor act, nor sing,
In fact, I can't do much of anything.

Air is intangible and thus can't do anything

I'm also not known for my stunning looks,

Air is invisible

Still, I'm found in many scripts and books.

???

Not Man, not woman, nor child can go
too long in this world without coming to know
who I am and what I'm about.

Everyone knows what air is

This isn't difficult, you shouldn't pout.
So do you know why I hint and wink? For it is obvious, as you may think.
Sit and rack your brain for a bit,

???

My solution is missing, but you can find it.

Air does not have a chemical formula but it can still be made and found (by plants)

You may think my hints don't fully apply,
but all do, and by now you may know why.

???

In conclusion, I aid your work in many ways,
But not right now, no not today.

First part: oxygen is required for life. Second: ???

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  • $\begingroup$ This doesn't really fit all the clues, could you elaborate your reasoning to explain how it fits? $\endgroup$ – Gordon Allocman May 16 '16 at 20:05
  • $\begingroup$ @GordonAllocman I'm on mobile; hard to type $\endgroup$ – haykam May 16 '16 at 20:07
  • $\begingroup$ @GordonAllocman I have added reasoning to it. $\endgroup$ – haykam May 16 '16 at 20:11
  • $\begingroup$ This is not what I am looking for, but thanks for improving your solution. $\endgroup$ – gannolloy May 16 '16 at 21:17

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