Identify the two brothers, as they describe themselves:

First brother:

I am:

  1. a hybrid,
  2. Lord of Horse after an account,
  3. a cue running only sideways, same as you do,
  4. "One one, one see, / Are zero two many?"
  5. beyond past.

Second brother:

I am:

  1. normal to my brother,
  2. descending,
  3. on the bird,
  4. with a tail belonging to myself,
  5. not so happy.

Both of them:

Need a clue? We are!


  1. This may turn out to be easier than I think, simply because there are too many hints.
  2. Please try to explain all (or most of ) the hints.
  • $\begingroup$ My first thought is that they are types of lines, simply based on normal to my brother being at 90 degrees. $\endgroup$ – SGR Jun 21 '16 at 9:57
  • $\begingroup$ @sgr a tree is normal to the plains, but neiter are lines $\endgroup$ – Jasen Jun 21 '16 at 10:17
  • $\begingroup$ @Jasen well my argument to that would be just having something be 'normal' in your sense would be so broad a hint you may as well not have it there at all and it wouldn't make solving the question any harder. Therefore, 'normal' being a special case of the word normal makes more sense. $\endgroup$ – SGR Jun 21 '16 at 10:18
  • $\begingroup$ I was using the term gemetrically, the plains are level and the tree grows perpendicular. $\endgroup$ – Jasen Jun 21 '16 at 10:28
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Is it an undead, disabled, half-elf, stable master and a hobbit riding a tired eagle? If not then this may just be tricky enough. $\endgroup$ – Brent Hackers Jun 21 '16 at 11:04

I think you are


a hybrid

a cross

Lord of Horse after an account

A/C + Ross, I assume, though I have no idea why Ross = Lord of Horse.

a cue running only sideways, same as you do,

initial letters: a cue running only sideways (and also describes how an "across" clue in a crossword functions)

"One one, one see, / Are zero two many?"

one one = "a", one see = "c", are = "r", zero = "o", two many = "ss" (two plurality markers)

beyond past.

Not sure how this one works. -- Hugh Meyers quite rightly points out in comments that in some contexts "across" can mean "beyond" and "past": "your destination is across that bridge".

normal to my brother

"Normal" meaning "perpendicular", as ACROSS and DOWN are.



on the bird

"I say, I say, I say, how do you get down from an elephant?" "You don't, you get down off a duck."

with a tail belonging to myself,


not so happy

"Help me if you can, I'm feeling dow-ow-own."

Need a clue? We are!

A crossword's clues are divided into "across" and "down" clues.

  • $\begingroup$ I think on the bird refers to down feathers $\endgroup$ – Bishop Jun 21 '16 at 12:48
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ So do I. That's the point of the (admittedly not very funny) joke I quoted in my answer. $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Jun 21 '16 at 13:02
  • $\begingroup$ "beyond" and "past" are synonyms for the word in its positional meaning. $\endgroup$ – Hugh Meyers Jun 21 '16 at 13:03
  • $\begingroup$ You're right. I'll adjust my answer accordingly. [... done.] $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Jun 21 '16 at 13:03
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ It seems obviously too short to mean something so complicated, and the history of that bit of the WP page doesn't inspire confidence. [tappity tap google google tap tap tap] OK, so German "Ross" just means "horse" and it looks as if some people have been called "de Ross", "de Ros", "de Rose" because they bred or kept horses; I think the "Lord" bit was made up by the person who wrote that part of the Wikipedia page :-). (Usually the surname "Ross" means "from a place called "Ross", and the place name "Ross" means "headland".) $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Jun 21 '16 at 13:19

First Brother :

. (dot)

  • a hybrid :

    A dot, in geometry, is an intersection of a plane and a line.

  • Lord of Horse after an account,

    No idea.

  • a cue running only sideways, same as you do

    When you are writing, you move from left to right (sideways). On completing the sentence you put a full stop. (cue = sign = punctuation sign)

  • "One one, one see, / Are zero two many?"

    1 1, 1 c = 11, 1c = 17, 28 (on converting from hexadecimal to decimal).
    17 + 28 = 45
    0 2 = 02.
    45 + 02 = 47
    02 are many. So the number between 45 and 47 is 46, which is the ASCII value of .

  • beyond past.

    A full stop can be used to indicate things that are past. When you "put a full stop" to something, you mean that it is over.

Second Brother:

| (Vertical line)

  • normal to my brother

    The line is above . in !.

  • descending

    The line is drawn from up to down. Also, in some fonts, it is thick at the top, and narrows as it comes down.

  • on the bird

    Probably means on the dot?

  • with a tail belonging to myself

    The . is a tail to | in the !

  • not so happy.

    It is not happy because it has to keep standing!

Both of them:

Need a clue? We are!

They are !

  • $\begingroup$ Nice try, unfortunately not the intended answer. $\endgroup$ – Ankoganit Jun 21 '16 at 13:11

Obviously not the answer, but here's what I immediately thought of

First Brother:


a hybrid

A hybrid of negative and positive numbers

Lord of Horse after an account

No idea

a cue running only sideways, same as you do

Numberlines that include all integers run sideways infinitely

"One one, one see, / Are zero two many?"

Not entirely sure. Zero is not too many for an integer, but it is for negative numbers.

beyond past.

This can either mean so far in the past that it is beyond "the past" (negative infinity), or it can mean the present (0) and the future (positive infinity)

Second Brother:

Negative numbers

normal to my brother

The set of all negative numbers is a subset of all integers


Should be obvious

on the bird

No idea

with a tail belonging to myself

The negative sign can appear like a tail, and only negative numbers have this

not so happy

Have a "negative" outlook on life


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