Greatly inspired from Alconja's puzzle - An overheard gang meeting, a double agent, and a murder, though the answer is completely different to it...

I was going to work when I heard some raised voices the other side of a wall. I stopped to listen...

[The conversation had just started when I began listening]

Workman 4: What if the bosses hear us?
Leader: You worry too much! They’re flat out...
Workman 4: Okaayy, no need to make me feel small…
Workman 3: You are small!
Leader: Stop being big-headed! Who’s up for a race to the bar?
Workman 7: Only if I have a head start
Leader: You're supposed to be lion-hearted! No, we’ve all kept our heads, we’re all the same when it comes to that. We race together.
Workman 3: I’m seriously going to flip soon
Workman 6: You’ll need a helping hand

[They raced off. By the time I’d caught up the conversation had moved on a bit]

Workman 6: ...has really dropped recently
Workman 3: [muttering] Not the only thing that’s dropped…
Workman 5: Please! You know I hate that joke about me
Leader: How about some stories? We all have a tale to tell...
Workman 7: I have a real tail!
Workman 4: I played a game with someone
Workman 8: Who won?
Workman 5: Hmm? What about me? Sorry I wasn't listening...
Workman 3: You’re such an idiot
Workman 5: You are too!
Workman 2: No, I am!
Leader: What?

[The conversation was interrupted when a helicopter flew noisily overhead]

Workman 5: You can’t call me an idiot, when you are so disfigured you don’t even look like most of us!
Workman 3: I’m not the only one! And it’s not my fault
Leader: Alright guys, keep your heads!
Workman 3: Stop pretending at being the peacemaker, you’re an impure old imbecile
Leader: ‘Hey! I’m not impure, I've just received more colours than you!
Workman 5: It’s your fault! I’m tired of being bottom, I want to be leader!
Workman 6: I’m second in command here, you’re worth practically nothing!
Leader: No! I’m more than all of you put together! I lead!
Workman 8: I already wear one crown! I should lead!

[From here a fight broke out and I hastily ran from the scene]

I was going to report them to their bosses but realised I had no idea about who the workmen were. I'd need to work that out first...

Who were the workmen?
Who are the bosses?
Who was the leader?

It would help if you worked out who each individual 'workman' was as well...

  • $\begingroup$ Saw this in the HNQ and thought it was a The Workplace question (the logos are kind of similar especially in the small versions used for HNQ). I made it all the way through the question without realizing which site I was on. Good thing there were already some answers, which could make me realize where I was. $\endgroup$
    – kasperd
    Commented Oct 17, 2016 at 22:03

3 Answers 3


The workers are:

The various coins of Britain

With the bosses being:

The notes, who are also currency, but are also "flat" out


Leader: £2 coin - is "impure" and has "more colours" because it is a two tone coin, which is worth "more than all of [the rest] put together"
Workman 2: 2p coin - responds with "No, I am!", when 5 says "You are too!"
Workman 3: 50p coin - is "so disfigured [it doesn't] even look like [the rest]" (i.e. not circular), and is "big-headed"
Workman 4: 5p coin - is teased for being the smallest coin
Workman 5: 1p coin - reacts to 8 asking "Who won?" and is "worth practically nothing" (plus the gag about the penny dropping)
Workman 6: £1 coin - is "second in command"
Workman 7: 10p coin - the older design of the 10p depicts a lion (and is thus "lion-hearted") and has a "real tail"
Workman 8: 20p coin - old design "wear[s] one crown"

Also, some other general clues:

- All the "heads" and "tails" talk
- 3 & 6 talking about needing a hand in order to "flip"
- Allusion to the pound dropping against other currencies

  • $\begingroup$ This is correct! Very fast. Can you explain which is which coin? $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 17, 2016 at 7:50
  • $\begingroup$ @BeastlyGerbil - Updated. Though I don't get workman 4 (except via elimination). $\endgroup$
    – Alconja
    Commented Oct 17, 2016 at 10:54
  • $\begingroup$ that will be because I made a mistake see update $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 17, 2016 at 11:11
  • $\begingroup$ He is called small and is the smallest $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 17, 2016 at 11:14
  • $\begingroup$ Also 50p is big headed $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 17, 2016 at 11:16

I know this is not the expected solution, but it seems quite convicing to me:

The talking "people" are actually

Planets in Solar System

Leader is

Jupiter - it contains about 2.5 times the mass of all other planets together, is colorful (the horizontal stripes)

Workman 2:

Mercury - smallest of all the planets, is an idiot because it is so close to the Sun it has no opportunity to "live" on its own

Workman 3:

Earth - is big-headed (humans is the most intelligent species in the Solar System), doesn't look like most of them (distinct earth and water areas can be seen from space), is going to flip soon (reference to the Earth's geomagnetic reversal taking place about once every 450000 years, so it is "soon" considering time measuring in space)

Workman 4:

Venus - "Played a game" is a reference to the collision with its own moon after change in rotational direction.

Workman 5:

Pluto - as not considered a planet anymore it "hates that joke about being dropped" out of planets, "wasn't listening" because it was so far away (the most outer "planet" there), and it is worth practically nothing as its mass is very little.

Workman 6:

Saturn - is 2nd in command (2nd most massive planet)

Workman 7:

Uranus - Needs a headstart (has a very large orbit), "has a real tail" (reference to the bow shock - a fully developed magnetotail)

Workman 8:

Neptune - "it wears one crown" - has one asteroid ring

Bosses are

the planets' orbits. They are "flat out" - orbits are flat.

Additional one (thanks to @boboquack)

the riddle did not mention Mars at all, because Mars was the one listening to teh whole conversation. Why Mars? Because it had Curiosity as the listener usually does :)

  • $\begingroup$ Very nice idea, shame it wasn't the intended answer $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 17, 2016 at 9:13

Building on @oleslaw's solution, a possible explanation is that:

Mars was omitted because the listener was Mars. The listener certainly had Curiosity.


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