What's longer than an hour and shorter than a minute?

The puzzle is NOT about counting letters in a word (h/t @Carl)

To verify your answer, or to help to answer, you can use the following hints:

Hint 1: The subject of the puzzle is atypical of its kind.
Hint 2: It may have been valued at 800.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I'd recommend turning those hints into part of the puzzle ( as to constrain the answer ). Right now, it's too broad because any five letter word fits. $\endgroup$
    – Carl
    Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 2:54
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ okay, but such is the nature of the site. People would rather have something "too easy" than play a guessing game. I actually don't know the answer with the hints, so I guess I'm not that bright. $\endgroup$
    – Carl
    Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 3:14
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ @smriti - 800. SE isn't Microsoft Excel, to eat leading zeros :) $\endgroup$
    – user26771
    Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 4:27
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @RadoslavHristov Another example why restrictions/hints are so necessary in this type of puzzles. Without:too broad and bad puzzle. With (enough and good) conditions: interesting challenge $\endgroup$
    – BmyGuest
    Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 7:32
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Talking for 59 seconds with someone that REALLY likes underground music and fashion design $\endgroup$
    – Narmer
    Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 8:15

3 Answers 3


Is it...

Hands on a clock face
The minute hand is longer than the hour hand and the hour hand is 'less longer' than a minute hand

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ sounds possible, but how does your answer fit the hints? $\endgroup$
    – rhsquared
    Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 10:01
  • $\begingroup$ I can't provide a solid justification when it comes to explaining the hints $\endgroup$
    – hypern
    Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 10:07
  • $\begingroup$ Close but not quite right $\endgroup$
    – user26771
    Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 12:14
  • $\begingroup$ So second hand, in most cases longer than hour hand and slightly shorter than minute one. $\endgroup$
    – z100
    Commented Jun 14, 2021 at 23:34

Before I read the hints, I was sure the answer was:

a tachyon - because as a particle that travels faster than the speed of light, it effectively travels backwards in time, and so would view an hour as less than a minute.


My first thought was a

a 30 sencond Hourglass timer.

Because the

word itself is more than an hour


it measures less than a minute.

But hints make me unsure :(

anyway 8 may refer to the shape of an hourglass.

  • $\begingroup$ 1. I explicitly said that it wasn't about character counting. 2. Even absent that, hourglass is longer than a minute by character count. $\endgroup$
    – user26771
    Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 7:35

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