5
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I'm one of a duo and useless alone
You might think I'm crazy but I hold it together
I'm harmful to strangers but harmed by acquaintances
I'm found in tall things, both natural and manmade

What am I?

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  • $\begingroup$ I feel like this is something to do with an atom. $\endgroup$ – Ian MacDonald Nov 21 '16 at 20:03
8
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Are you

a nut or nuts?

I'm one of a duo and useless alone

Nuts go together with bolts and are pretty useless on their own.

You might think I'm crazy but I hold it together

Somebody may be called nuts (crazy), but the nuts (and bolts) hold stuff together.

I'm harmful to strangers but harmed by acquaintances

Thanks to greenturtle3141: one who is not exposed to nuts is allergic, and those who have been eat them.

I'm found in tall things, both natural and manmade

Nuts grow on trees, but nuts and bolts are also found in large buildings and structures.

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  • $\begingroup$ Yep... just gotta get that third hint! $\endgroup$ – Devsman Nov 22 '16 at 13:53
  • $\begingroup$ Hmmm, maybe the "harmed by acquaintances" could point to one of those nutcrackers in the shape of a nut? $\endgroup$ – Levieux Nov 22 '16 at 13:58
  • $\begingroup$ @Levieux I'd be more inclined to think that acquaintances are the ones most likely to apply a knee to them. $\endgroup$ – Rubio Nov 22 '16 at 16:44
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    $\begingroup$ Perhaps one who is not exposed to nuts is allergic, and those who have been would eat them? $\endgroup$ – greenturtle3141 Nov 22 '16 at 17:18
  • $\begingroup$ @greenturtle3141 You got it! $\endgroup$ – Devsman Nov 22 '16 at 20:52
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Are you a

(magnetic) POLE?

I'm one of a duo and useless alone

As far as we know, magnets always have two poles - magnetic monopoles are only hypothetical objects at this point.

You might think I'm crazy but I hold it together

Magnets hold things together. In particular, opposite magnetic poles (north and south) are attracted to one another.

I'm harmful to strangers but harmed by acquaintances

Magnetic poles attract their opposites but are repelled by poles of the same type.

I'm found in tall things, both natural and manmade

Tall things might be POLES of a different kind - either the pole of a tree trunk (natural) or for example a telephone pole (manmade).

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  • $\begingroup$ No, but looking at words with multiple meanings, as in your last line there, is heading down the right track. +1 $\endgroup$ – Devsman Nov 21 '16 at 21:39
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    $\begingroup$ @Devsman So is the answer a single word (or set of words), possibly with multiple meanings? $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Nov 21 '16 at 21:42
  • $\begingroup$ I am harmful to strangers but harmed by acquintances may well refer to the fact that magnets can hurt you or mess with a box TV (strangers), but due to the impact force of another magnet (an acquaintance), could scratch it, dent it, or even break it. $\endgroup$ – garr890354839 Nov 22 '16 at 14:35
  • $\begingroup$ @Garrison Alternatively, something to do with the fact that opposite magneta attract and like ones repel (see latest edit). But in any case, the OP has said this isn't the solution :-( $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Nov 22 '16 at 15:15
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I think you are an

Hinge

First two clues will make sense now. I still don't get the last two!

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  • $\begingroup$ No but +1 for interpretation of "holding it together." $\endgroup$ – Devsman Nov 21 '16 at 20:48
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    $\begingroup$ Please can you add some explanation of how your solution fits the riddle? Answers without explanation here are often deleted. $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Nov 21 '16 at 21:20
0
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Are you:

Society

I'm one of a duo but useless alone

Society is useless without people

You might think I'm crazy but I hold it together

From an evolutionary point of view society contradicts survival of the fittest, yet it holds a community together so that it can grow and expand

I'm harmful to strangers but harmed by acquaintances

Society harms strangers by isolating them and allows organised groups to attack aliens to the society, yet it only takes one person in a society to bring it down in a cause-effect or supply-demand chain reaction

I'm found in tall things both natural and man-made

People weren't able to ascend the highest peaks until organised society enable cooperation between people to reach a common goal, indeed the idea of climbing to the top of a mountain is useless without someone to share news with, and to make tall man-made structures requires cooperation and coordination of many people, only possible in a society

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  • $\begingroup$ Why one of a "duo" specifically though? $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Nov 22 '16 at 12:14
  • $\begingroup$ @randalthor it was more of an idea to put something more abstract out there as a suggestion for more thinking. It would fit more if it was a trio (politics-society-people). Anyway looks like nuts is the answer but the third line needs to be unravelled. $\endgroup$ – boboquack Nov 22 '16 at 20:04

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