12
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I can be 5, but I am 20

Forward or backward, just ask where I am

A high jumping champion

I'm nearly sleeping, but suddenly seem to stop

What am I?

HINT:

What kind of person am I?

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  • $\begingroup$ too abstract... $\endgroup$ – firephil Dec 21 '16 at 17:41
  • $\begingroup$ @firephil I would disagree, it's all there quite plainly, though I'll add a hint just for fun :P $\endgroup$ – Alfie Goodacre Dec 21 '16 at 19:12
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    $\begingroup$ Does the first line have something to do with this (hover)? $\endgroup$ – Peregrine Rook Dec 22 '16 at 1:50
  • $\begingroup$ @PeregrineRook looks like we're getting somewhere ;) $\endgroup$ – Alfie Goodacre Dec 22 '16 at 2:24
11
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You are

a "leapling" (person born on Feb 29) named after "leap" year

I can be 5, but I am 20

As in original post's comment by @Peregrin Rook- you live for 20 years, but had only 5

Forward or backward, just ask where I am

This may refer to the fact that in some countries if the person was born on Feb 29th their parents are obliged to choose Feb 28th (1 day backward) or March 1st (1 day forward) as their birthday for legal purposes (as commented by @Peregrine Rook).

A high jumping champion

"leap" means to hop/jump so a leapling would be a good jumper

I'm nearly sleeping, but suddenly seem to stop

"leapling" sounds nearly like "sleeping"

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  • $\begingroup$ If this is the case then I don't know why @PeregrineRook haven't answered yet.. $\endgroup$ – Bungicasse Dec 22 '16 at 7:18
  • $\begingroup$ @Bungicasse- Probably because his answer was a well received one and obviously brilliant :) $\endgroup$ – Techidiot Dec 22 '16 at 7:36
  • $\begingroup$ This seems right but partial; I couldnt make out stanza 2 and 4 either. :( Still upvoted though, this seems to be the most on-track answer. $\endgroup$ – Spacemonkey Dec 22 '16 at 15:32
  • $\begingroup$ @Bungicasse: The main reason why I didn't post this as an answer is that I couldn't come close enough to explaining all four parts. #2 is a challenge. I wonder whether it has something to do with the fact that the month of January was named after the god Janus, who had two faces and looked forward and back simultaneously. (But ... January?) $\endgroup$ – Peregrine Rook Dec 22 '16 at 20:05
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    $\begingroup$ Leaper fits better for a person which also gives sleeper and its a synonym for jumper $\endgroup$ – Techidiot Dec 24 '16 at 8:02
20
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You are

the letter V.

I can be 5, but I am 20

“V” is the Roman numeral for 5, but vingt is French for 20, venti is Italian for 20 (thank you, Starbucks), vinte is Portuguese for 20, and de veinte is Spanish for 20.

Forward or backward, just ask where I am

“V” looks the same forward or backward (so you would have to ask it to find out which way it was facing?).

A high jumping champion

The sport that allows the highest jumping is the pole vault.  (Thank you, @jmb.mage, for suggesting the word “vault”.

I'm nearly sleeping, but suddenly seem to stop

A rotated, distorted “V”:
rotated, distorted “V”
looks like part of a “Z”, which is commonly used to represent sleep.

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  • $\begingroup$ Again, very impressive analysis, and I wish it was the actual answer because it's really clever xD. Unfortunately this is not correct. Sorry for getting back to you so late, I was commuting home from work $\endgroup$ – Alfie Goodacre Dec 21 '16 at 19:11
4
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I can be 5, but I am 20

This suggests a quarter

Forward or backward, just ask where I am

This suggests symmetry, but also the ability to communicate or input with you.

A high jumping champion

This suggest a "vault"

I'm nearly sleeping, but suddenly seem to stop

This suggests something that is moving slowly, but then stops.

Putting these clues together, I guess, are you a

A safe vault door with a combination lock. The door can be opened forward or backward, depending on where you are. It has a combination lock that moves slowly then suddenly stops and it has a sequence of numbers on it (fuzzy on this last part).

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  • $\begingroup$ Sadly this is not correct, good job analysing the words, but in the wrong way :P $\endgroup$ – Alfie Goodacre Dec 21 '16 at 16:55
2
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I'll give it a try;

I can be 5, but I am 20
Forward or backward, just ask where I am
A high jumping champion
I'm nearly sleeping, but suddenly seem to stop

I am the hands of an ol' timey clock!

Explanation:

1) Hands on a clock at 5:20(ish) are in the same spot
2) Whether the hands are forward or backwards of one another does not matter, what is important is their position (number)
3) All I can think of here, is that whether grandfather clocks or usual ones, they are general placed in high areas. (Top of a Wall, of as an extreme example, the Big Ben)
4) Older clocks move their hands thanks to a pendulum mechanism, breaking up the movement and making the hands 'stop' after every move.

**Concerning the added hint

It seems to clearly point to people born on Leap Day. (So on their 5th bday theyd be 20). Also Leap for jumping high and rhymes with sleep . But I cant put it all together. Best of luck to others :P

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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The hands on a clock at 5:20 are not at the same spot. Also the 5 hour marker is also the 25 minute marker. $\endgroup$ – Zachstein Dec 21 '16 at 17:57
  • $\begingroup$ thus the 'ish', the hands overlap precisely at 5:27:16; to the naked eye it can look a lot like 5:25; thus playing phonetically with the numbers 5 and 20. Even without the exact overlap, you can still have the hands both be at 5h and 20m respectively. But all that is moot. I'm much more interested in seeing more answer attempts, so if you have your own idea, by all means, post it. $\endgroup$ – Spacemonkey Dec 21 '16 at 18:01
  • $\begingroup$ @Spacemonkey that's not it, good thought though :D $\endgroup$ – Alfie Goodacre Dec 21 '16 at 19:18

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