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I made this up myself a while back, just thought I'd share:

The key to this riddle is only for you
Below are instructions, above this the clue
First strike the one near the head of a year
Then remove he who begins a cheer
Next take away the end of a tunnel
Then let us go to solve this puzzle
What you first took you must now take again
With three you are left, but fret not dear friend
Fattest to front and thinnest to rear
Add in two "eyes" and all becomes clear

Like the title says (I'm not very good with titles), you're looking for a number here.

Edited to add a hint:

As you can tell from the title, I tend to be very literal with my words.

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  • $\begingroup$ Could we have a hint? :) $\endgroup$ – Keyur PATEL Sep 21 '16 at 2:44
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    $\begingroup$ @KeyurPATEL, this was only asked an hour ago. Give people some time to try to solve it! :) $\endgroup$ – GentlePurpleRain Sep 21 '16 at 2:47
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    $\begingroup$ Alright, pulling my hair, but alright. $\endgroup$ – Keyur PATEL Sep 21 '16 at 2:47
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    $\begingroup$ I think I know the answer, but not where to start in order to get there... $\endgroup$ – Alconja Sep 21 '16 at 4:14
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    $\begingroup$ @Alconja: I'd love to know how you got to the answer you think you know then! $\endgroup$ – Xenocacia Sep 21 '16 at 6:16
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Answer:

18, or XVIII in Roman Numerals

Rationale:

The key to this riddle is only for you

Exclusive

Below are instructions, above this the clue

First strike the one near the head of a year

Take away an "e"

Then remove he who begins a cheer

Take away a "c"

Next take away the end of a tunnel

Take away an "l"

Then let us go to solve this puzzle

Take away a "u" and an "s"

What you first took you must now take again

Take away another "e"

With three you are left, but fret not dear friend Fattest to front and thinnest to rear

Arrange the remaining letters, XIV, in order of size - XVI

Add in two "eyes" and all becomes clear

Add two further "I"s to get XVIII

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    $\begingroup$ Oh, very nice! Well done, I think you've got it :-) $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Sep 21 '16 at 15:25
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    $\begingroup$ Excellent first answer, could be correct as well... $\endgroup$ – Sid Sep 21 '16 at 15:27
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    $\begingroup$ And welcome to Puzzling, of course :-) $\endgroup$ – IAmInPLS Sep 21 '16 at 15:29
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    $\begingroup$ Cool! If it's of interest to you, I worked backwards from the Roman Numerals idea, and wrote down the set of {M, C, L, X, V, I} along with all the letters that got subtracted out. "Exclusive" was the very last thing I figured out. $\endgroup$ – Steven Eccles Sep 21 '16 at 15:53
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    $\begingroup$ @StevenEccles aah yeah, now eye got it :D Thanks $\endgroup$ – Mario Garcia Sep 23 '16 at 8:17
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Ok, since others are posting partial answers, I'll throw my theory into the ring...

If the thing that is "only for you" is:

Delegate (because a delegate is my representative??)

Then we follow the instructions thusly:

First strike the one near the head of a year

Remove the "e" from the end (if the "y" is the head of "year", the "e" is near the head), to give delegat

Then remove he who begins a cheer

Remove the "a", since it begins "a cheer", to give delegt

Next take away the end of a tunnel

Remove "el" (end of "a tunnel"), to get degt

What you first took you must now take again

Remove another "e" to get dgt

With three you are left, but fret not dear friend / Fattest to front and thinnest to rear

We now have three letters left, as it says. D is a fat looking letter, so it goes at the front, and T goes at the end since it's the thinnest (but the fact that they already are in that position, and that "delegate" is a bit if a stretch for "only for you" makes me think this answer is at least partially wrong...)

Add in two "eyes" and all becomes clear

Add two "i"s, and we get a final solution of DIGIT. Given that a digit is indeed a number, we satisfy the title/hint nicely.

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    $\begingroup$ Very interesting take! Alphabetical order is also respected in your Fattest to Thinnest part, don't know what it means though. $\endgroup$ – Keyur PATEL Sep 21 '16 at 9:08
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Based on the existing answers :

i guess 42

Because

Beastly Gerbil's 'for ou o' means we should replace o by ou in 'for' making 'four', then the two eyes would be 1 and 1 (shaped like the letter i). so four and 2 = 42. It seems to be the answer to a lot of questions anyway !

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  • $\begingroup$ That is my guess as well! Sadly it is unexplainable, we have to skip clues/jump to answers to get there. $\endgroup$ – Keyur PATEL Sep 21 '16 at 9:17
  • $\begingroup$ @Joe Derksen: I, too, am a great fan of Douglas Adams, but that would be too much of a leap. :) $\endgroup$ – Xenocacia Sep 21 '16 at 9:54
5
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Well I'm getting somewhere but can't put it all together

Okay so far I have found

The key to this puzzle is only for you, the fact that it says he is very literal with his words means that the key is 'Only for you'

Then the riddle tells us we have some instructions:

First strike the one near the head of a year

We have to take away 'y'

Then remove he who begins a cheer

Remove 'c' or 'ch'?

Next take away the end of a tunnel

Remove 'nel'

Then let us go to solve this puzzle

So we have all we need

What you first took you must now take again

Take another 'y'

With three you are left, but fret not dear

Fattest to front and thinnest to rear

Move word with most letters to front, least to back

Add in two "eyes" and all becomes clear

Add in two 'i's somewhere



So

We apply the instructions on the key

So

'only for you' --> 'onl for you'

'onl for you' --> ???? (No c on this?)

???! --> 'o for you' (No 'nel' only 'nl')

'o for you' --> 'o for ou'

'o for ou' --> 'for ou o'

'for ou o' --> ???? (Have to add two 'i's)

My best guess is

Four

Because

The furthest I got 'for ou o' suggests 'ou' needs to replace 'o' so we have 'four'

Another possible answer:

a number

May be other clues but

The answer to this riddle is 'a number'

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I am unsure if I am on the right track, but so far I understand this much:

The key to this riddle is only for you

The key is the phrase "only for you"

Below are instructions, above this the clue

Telling us the important phrase to start with

First strike the one near the head of a year

Remove a 'y' from the phrase, results in "onl for you"

Then remove he who begins a cheer

This is where I am stuck, logically I would remove 'c' since 'c' begins a "cheer" but there is no 'c' in the phrase

Next take away the end of a tunnel

End of a tunnel is 'l'. Removing that leaves us with "on for you"

Then let us go to solve this puzzle

Not sure if this line is important or just to rhyme with tunnel

What you first took you must now take again

The first character we removed was 'y', removing it again leaves "on for ou"

With three you are left, but fret not dear friend

We're left with 3 words

Fattest to front and thinnest to rear

Again, I am unsure at this line, possibly sort according to number of letters? But "on" and "ou" contain 2 letters each.

Add in two "eyes" and all becomes clear

Adding 'i' to 2 positions should spell out a number.

This is my reasoning so far, trying to figure out the rest.

Edit, interesting observation by M Oehm

"Striking" the one near the head of a year could refer to the 'l' in "only" as it is 'near' the 'y' (head of a year). Turning it into "onty". However, that makes the "tunnel" hint harder as there is no more 'l' to remove.

About the hint:

Seeing as how he focuses on the title and his literal word meaning so much, imagine the answer turns out to be "a number". The answer is in the title! Fits the hint.

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  • $\begingroup$ I'm in the same place you are here $\endgroup$ – Beastly Gerbil Sep 21 '16 at 8:01
  • $\begingroup$ Nice tries all round, I don't know how to (or if) I should help shed light at this early stage so I'm going to just hang back and see how it goes. :) $\endgroup$ – Xenocacia Sep 21 '16 at 8:11
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    $\begingroup$ @humn Interesting thinking, but then I can't remove those from our main phrase. Also check out my final hint. What a thought! $\endgroup$ – Keyur PATEL Sep 21 '16 at 8:11
  • $\begingroup$ @humn A very interesting question there, had me laughing :) $\endgroup$ – Keyur PATEL Sep 21 '16 at 8:25
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My best guess is:

Zero.

The key to this riddle is only for you

The key is said to be "only".

Below are instructions, above this the clue

Quite literal.

First strike the one near the head of a year

Take away the one near "y": Only.

Then remove he who begins a cheer

I think it refers to the letter "h": Cheer.

Next take away the end of a tunnel

Tunnel

Then let us go to solve this puzzle

Again, I believe this is a very literal clue: you need to "let go" of your previous findings, leaving you with: l, h, nel.

What you first took you must now take again

Remove the "el" from nel.

With three you are left, but fret not dear friend

Now we have three letters: l, h, n.

Fattest to front and thinnest to rear

Line them up by width to height ratio: n, h, l.

Add in two "eyes" and all becomes clear

Nihil. It means zero in latin. It could also mean "nothing", so the "all becomes clear" part might be an intended pun.

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    $\begingroup$ "all becomes clear" -> love it $\endgroup$ – Tomasz Pluskiewicz Sep 21 '16 at 12:55
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I'm pretty sure the answer to this riddle is

"a number"
On the principle that it says the answer in the title and again in the body of the question.

"Like the title says (I'm not very good with titles), you're looking for a number here."
and
"As you can tell from the title, I tend to be very literal with my words."

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