10
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This short hidden phrase tells you just where it's found
Left right the first phase and it then turns around.
Each character's vital, the order is too.
Don't skip past the title: it's also a clue.
If you've gone to great lengths and it still seems unfair,
It's simply the _ that you find in a _.

Oppose when life flows go on forward and woes act as tos or fros

Hint:

Well, I'm not an exponent of hinting too much
But there is a component of wordplay and such
So with "strengths" and with "pair" fill the blanks and you'll see
(If you're clever) just where the solution must be.

The answer's a phrase that's just three words long. I thought it was simple, I guess I was wrong. The pattern goes right and then it goes left. The two fit together, I thought that was deft. All blanks count as letters in my little rhyme. I'm sure you'll discover the message in time.

Addendum:
Where is the sandbox when you need it? So, when I looked at this with fresh eyes I figured my attitude toward punctuation was not reasonable. Also, there was an out-and-out error. I've rewritten for the same phrase with the same scheme but without punctuation. Feel free to down vote. I would but I'm not allowed. As always, happy puzzling.

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  • $\begingroup$ How relevant was the "alight" -> "arrive" change? Was it mainly stylistic, or would the puzzle not have worked with "alight"? $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Oct 11 '16 at 22:20
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    $\begingroup$ @randal'thor Actually, it has to be "alight". Stylistically, I like "arrive" but I see now it doesn't work. Oops. $\endgroup$ – Hugh Meyers Oct 11 '16 at 22:25
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    $\begingroup$ might be time for a hint. $\endgroup$ – Rubio Oct 18 '16 at 3:23
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    $\begingroup$ I occasionally come back to mull on this one, but still I get nowhere (and had already assumed what was hinted at)... I see superficial things like 4 pairs of words that are divisions of 10 characters (pattern broken by "as tos and fros"), a pair of 6 word sentences, etc. But the more I stare, the more I see things like "so sly, life too st. frozen", and "one fills .. two as .." ...I think I may be losing it a little, so congratulations on that. :) $\endgroup$ – Alconja Nov 2 '16 at 1:03
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Hugh has kindly given the game away: the

strengths that you find in a pair

are, in other words, the

powers of two.

If we

start at the beginning of the "Oppose ..." string

and then

repeatedly move 1, 2, 4, 8, ... steps, stopping when we reach the end of the string,

the result is

that after successive steps we get: p,o,w,e,r,s

whereas if we

do the same but start at the end

the result is

o,f, ,t,w,o

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  • $\begingroup$ Well done! I was starting to despair of this one. $\endgroup$ – Hugh Meyers Nov 6 '16 at 14:50
  • $\begingroup$ It really isn't that hard, just somehow intimidating. I swear I thought of more or less the right thing days ago, but for some reason couldn't summon up the will to try :-). $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Nov 6 '16 at 14:51
  • $\begingroup$ But it really should have been cracked more quickly after you told us what the "___ that you find in a ___" was. $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Nov 6 '16 at 14:51
1
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May be...

It goes straight ahead and it then turns around.

Hot air goes up and turns around as rain

If you've gone to great lengths and it still seems unfair,

You thought of everything possible but

It's simply the _ that you find in a _.

It's simply the air that you find in a balloon.

Each character's vital, the order is too.

Air & Balloon - Order is important

Don't skip past the title: it's also a clue.

Double Talk can also referred as nonsensical talk in hot air

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0
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random thought

It's simply the WOLF that you find in a PAIR.

flimsy explanation:

when written out backwards, the text contains (among gibberish) the words: WOLF DRAW AT DNA ("at" might just be a coincidence, but it's actually at the end of alight) Pair (it's a rhyme, after all) is a reference to the double helix of DNA.

Alternatives

one syllable words, starting with a consonant, that rhyme with unfair: fair and fare (duh,) bear (wolf connection!) chair, hair, heir and hare, glare, square, scare, stair and stare, and finally tear.

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  • $\begingroup$ The rhyme is indeed a clue. The answer, when you find it, will be clear and unambiguous. $\endgroup$ – Hugh Meyers Oct 14 '16 at 11:20
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My initial thought on the two blanks (Note: My old solution was based on an incorrect assumption about the blanks not being provided)

"Trait" and "Pear" Actually "Strength" and "Pair", provided. Because they rhyme with "great" and "unfair" in the previous line. The updated poem likes its rhyming lines. Also, the hint suggesting to use "strengths" and "pair", for which these are a synonym and homonym respectively, tying into the theme of double talk.

For the final phrase

The clues about left to right and back suggest a palindrome to me. We want the words as letters, which could suggest some words start with "S" and "P", or that we want an anagram of "strengths pair". We also seem to want a location.

Old guess

Atop of OPOTA. This is a palindrome using mostly "T" and "P", and OPOTA is the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy. This of course does not relate to the strength of pears unless that is a euphemism for large officers which I am not aware of.

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  • $\begingroup$ -1: the answer to the blanks has already been given. $\endgroup$ – Deusovi Nov 2 '16 at 15:29
  • $\begingroup$ @Deusovi, I must have misunderstood. As the rhyme still had blanks, I thought the author's reference to them was a clue/hint, not a literal answer $\endgroup$ – Angzuril Nov 2 '16 at 15:32
  • $\begingroup$ @Angzuril I'm afraid that Deusovi is correct. The reference is indeed the answer. $\endgroup$ – Hugh Meyers Nov 2 '16 at 16:29
  • $\begingroup$ @HughMeyers Alright, I'll update my answer, but I guess its back to square one. $\endgroup$ – Angzuril Nov 2 '16 at 16:34

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