12-year-old Andy's mum has been bugging him (as mums are wont to do) after having found his notebook doodled over with little hearts and flowers, and his pocket money being spent on a lot of cologne...

'But when your little sister got a crush, she told us who it was...'

Yes, repeatedly. If he heard about the amazing Matt one more time, he would go nuts.

'Fine. I won't tell you, but if you can work out who it is, I'll tell you if you're right. This is all you're getting.'

Why I love my crush...
She's younger than me, and she's special-she's one of a kind. She's American, but you won't find her name in the United States. She's beautiful, but she doesn't look the same from the front and the back.
She makes me feel like a million dollars,but there's no silver or gold in her name. I don't know her bra size, but I know she's not an AA or a DD.
She's a proper girl, with a proper girl's name. She looks beautiful in green, but her name isn't Irish. She'd be a wonderful present, but her name isn't Christmassy. And I'd love to have a kiss from her, but there's none in her name either.

And at least he'd get some peace whilst it was being worked out... That lasted five minutes before there was a banging on the door...

'Who are these talking about? At least give some idea of who they might be..'

'You have to find them out yourself.'

Fortunately, the class list was still posted on the front of the fridge. And so Mum (and pesky little sister, who was only too happy to help) got down to some sleuthing. Can you help them work out the love of Andy's life?

  • $\begingroup$ ...and of course Andy is in the class even though his name didn't appear. He doesn't have a crush on himself.... $\endgroup$ Dec 31 '16 at 3:23
  • $\begingroup$ Is it Ashley Makepiece, because there's no making piece (peace) in America, especially with The Donald? $\endgroup$
    – owlswipe
    Jan 1 '17 at 2:35
  • $\begingroup$ Afraid that it isn't... $\endgroup$ Jan 1 '17 at 15:06
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ It appears every name actually on the list is ruled out by one (or more) of Andy's hints. The only ones not pretty clearly ruled out, you've indicated are not the right girl either. Since Andy's name isn't on the list, is there some other girl also not on the list who is his crush? (Maybe Andy and li'l sis started late, so didn't get on the list. Maybe Sis is his crush! Eww!) Anyway, seems like with everyone apparently ruled out, a hint may now be needed to explain why some girl(s) shouldn't have been ruled out the way they were. $\endgroup$
    – Rubio
    Jan 3 '17 at 18:21
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Kit-Ginevra yes, every name has been ruled out. And I think you are perhaps missing the lateral thinking tag. $\endgroup$
    – Sid
    Jan 7 '17 at 9:09

Andy's crush is...

...his sister. I'm not commenting on how appropriate it is, I just think that's the answer.

After Rubio managed to deduce that

none of the names of the classmates can be the correct answer

we need to start thinking laterally. We can see that there are

2 other names on the sheet - Brother Xavier and Sister Nicola. Xavier is a man (can't be him) and Nicola ought to be older than the 12-year-old she's teaching. This leaves the words Brother and Sister; he doesn't have a brother that we know of, but he does have a "little sister".

We also know that "she's special - one of a kind"; he only has one sister.

As a result, that's the only other possible person on the sheet that could be Andy's crush.

As an amusing side note...

Rubio himself mentioned in a comment on the original question that Andy's sister could be his crush.

  • $\begingroup$ Neither Andy nor your guess are actually on the list, though. (Which, again, makes the whole list a red herring.) And yes, I commented that this possibility exists. And it's covered (though not explicitly, as I wanted to keep it generalized) by the 3rd possibility of my latest answer. I find that answer unsatisfying (for multiple reasons) and actually hope your answer is wrong. $\endgroup$
    – Rubio
    Jan 10 '17 at 14:07
  • $\begingroup$ @Rubio it's entirely possible that I'm wrong, since my answer relies on a word describing his crush rather than a name (and that word is used as part of someone else's name). Your answer feels more likely, I just figured this was worth putting here as with the lateral-thinking tag, who knows. There doesn't appear to be an obvious correct answer which is verified by some other element of the puzzle $\endgroup$
    – Joe
    Jan 10 '17 at 14:23
  • $\begingroup$ Well. I've actually changed my answer to this one, because OP has (presumably) seen my prior answer and not accepted it as correct. For reasons stated earlier, here, and in my final stab at my own answer / explanation, I thoroughly dislike this answer but there's pretty much no other person we can identify, well-justified or not, who it might be. We'll see if this is it; if not, I'm giving up on it :) $\endgroup$
    – Rubio
    Jan 10 '17 at 14:41
  • $\begingroup$ I think it's his sister too. All the other people on the list have been eliminated with the clues. After that we're just left with Sister Nicola and it's mentioned that he has a sister. And some people have said it's her age, but it says she's his little sister, so she would be younger than him so that agrees with that clue. $\endgroup$ Jan 10 '17 at 16:32
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ But how is his sister American if Andy has a 'mum' not a 'mom'? $\endgroup$
    – Neil W
    Jan 11 '17 at 1:24

My best guess is

Kim Bayley

People were eliminated from consideration for

Being Male, Having AU or Ag in their names, having their first and last names both starting AA or DD, being named Holly, Sinead, Utah, Austria, Georgia, Kiss or any palindrome, Being 13, or being twins.

This left me with

Kim Bayley: 11, Ashley Makepiece: 12, and Alexandra Martin: 12.

So I assumed

My mother knows that my birthday was last week, so other twelve year olds are likely older than me.

Little did I know

I'm super busted, my name isn't even on the list, I haven't actually been to school in months... soon she'll know how I actually spend my time.


(A final stab at this)
By process of elimination, I think Andy's crush is:

Nobody on the list - so it could be anyone.

His sister is one possibility. We don't know her name, so can't rule her in or out, except to note she is indeed younger and so the only information we do have about her does not exclude her. But by the same token, we have no reason to preferentially believe it is his sister. (If anything, she's called "his pesky little sister" in the text, which would tend to argue against it being her.)
So it could be just about any younger girl Andy knows, including potentially a young Inspector Kitty when she was still a child.

However, as there are literally no other persons identified in the story or the student list that we cannot rule out, I'm somewhat forced to say she's the only one we have left to guess, despite there being no in-story basis for making it.

So I'll repeat a guess from my earlier comment, and guess -
His sister.


Georgia Miller --XX not in US
Claire Mahon --XX one of a kind; name isn't Irish
Jenna Mahon --XX one of a kind; name isn't Irish
Autumn Wilson --XX no gold in name
Hannah Shuttlesmith --XX doesn't look same front/back
Page Carlin --XX no silver in name
Danielle Downing --XX not a DD
Austria Denning --XX no gold in name
Caroline Quinn --XX younger
Kim Bayley --XX not strictly girl's name? / confirmed wrong by OP
Holly Fitzmartin --XX name isn't Christmassy
Bryony Spierling --XX younger
Utah Hayling --XX not in US
Alison Adams --XX not an AA
Ashley Makepiece --XX not strictly girl's name? / confirmed wrong by OP
Sinead O'Brocanaigh --XX name isn't Irish
Eve Mellett --XX doesn't look same front/back
Erin Kiss --XX no kiss in her name; name isn't Irish
Alexandra Martin --XX no kiss in name? / confirmed wrong by OP
    boys not listed, as 'She's a proper girl".

We can apparently easily rule out all but 3 of the students with the hints Andy has given. Two of the last three girls are aged 12 but cannot safely be eliminated by "She's younger than me", since we don't know if Andy is aged 12+364 days and all the 12yo girls are thus (very likely) younger.
But two of them can be ruled out by taking the hint "with a proper girl's name" to exclude names that are not strictly feminine; the last can be ruled out by taking "[no kiss] in her name" to exclude names containing an X. These don't feel as strong, so are marked in my list with a "?"—but this is largely academic anyway, as OP has explicitly rejected all three, in various comments.

That leaves us with every student on the list ruled out.

I'm left with three possibilities now.

1. One of the rule-outs is invalid.
  This seems unlikely; most of the hints are clearly applicable.
  Some girls are ruled out by multiple hints, too.
  a) The Mahons may be born close together but not twins, or one/both adopted or
    otherwise from different birth mothers, or in different families altogether. That'd make
    the "one of a kind" hint a gratuitous red herring, and Mahon is an Irish name anyway.
  b) Erin Kiss doesn't have a kiss in her name—because it is her name. But Erin is way Irish.
  c) Autumn, Page and Austria are ruled out by the assumption that "there's no silver or gold
    in her name" means no names containing Ag or Au. I'd argue these names all fail the
    "proper girl's name" test anyway (Autumn somewhat tenuously, but Austria doesn't
    seem much of a proper girl's name, and Page[sic] is masculine!). If the assumption
    is false it also leaves that hint as a red herring, which doesn't sit well.
  d) The same red herring issue affirms the bra-size hint excluding girls with initials AA/DD.
2. It's Sister Nicola.
  This requires Sister Nicola, a teacher, to be younger than Andy. Not buying it, at all.
3. It's nobody on the list.
  Unless it's 1) or 2), this is all that's left. And we already know Andy isn't on the list, so it's
  possible the crush is also not on it. Of course that makes the whole list a red herring ....

One of these three possibilities must be the case. None of them feel justified, and all of them run counter to the expectations set by the design of the puzzle itself. I'm left to conclude:

The whole point of the hints is to show nobody on the list qualifies.
The possibility that Andy actually has no crush at all was attempted as an answer, and not accepted; I assume therefore this isn't the solution.
So if he has a crush, it's not someone on the list.
  We don't know who it is.
  It may be his sister, but there's nothing precluding it being someone else.
  Andy's possible jealousy of Matt is unconvincing as an indicator.

Even with some lateral thinking, Andy's mom and sister—and us—are basically left to guess and see if he confirms the answer. That doesn't feel satisfying at all.

I've already noted much earlier, in comments, that his sister is a possibility. If I have to choose someone, she's the only person mentioned in the entire story+list that we haven't already ruled out, so I'd have to again go with her as my guess.

  • $\begingroup$ Ashley and Kim are also, and originally, boys' names. So Alexandra? $\endgroup$
    – Neil W
    Dec 31 '16 at 6:03
  • $\begingroup$ OP has been here since Sconibulus' and my answers were posted, and has neither accepted nor commented - I'll take that silence as lack of confirmation that we're correct, and go with @NeilW's reasoning here on why a different girl is perhaps the correct one. (Thanks Neil W!) $\endgroup$
    – Rubio
    Dec 31 '16 at 6:18
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The OP has actually been asleep for several hours.Now I am awake...I will tell you-no you're not correct.... $\endgroup$ Dec 31 '16 at 11:15
  • $\begingroup$ I meant you'd been on at some point between our answers being posted and my comment above, as you commented on Andy not being on the class list; not that you were on continuously since we posted :) So neither of our current answers is correct? $\endgroup$
    – Rubio
    Dec 31 '16 at 11:18
  • $\begingroup$ Neither of the current answers is correct... :) $\endgroup$ Dec 31 '16 at 11:27

EDIT Every girl in his class has been ruled out by the other answers and OP. But what if:

His crush is indeed Sister Nicola!

She has been ruled out by others because of her age.

However, maybe Andy has told a white lie and by saying "She's younger than me, and she's special-she's one of a kind" he meant that her birthday is on the 29th of February, (very special indeed), which could mean that she has had less birthdays than him, which would make her "younger", by birthday-count.

Explanation suggested by user TwoBitOperation - I prefer this one over mine, it's less of a stretch

This is apparently a religious school, with the teachers Brother Xavier and Sister Nicola, so perhaps Andy is referring to Nicola being 'born again', and that she's been a Sister for less than 12 years, so she's "younger" than Andy.

Just to clarify that we shouldn't rule her out:

you won't find her name in the United States

nope, Nicola isn't in the States.

doesn't look the same from the front and the back

Nicola isn't a palindrome

feel like a million dollars,but there's no silver or gold in her name

Nicola - Nickle, maybe not a million dollars, but nickle is far from silver and gold, also no Au / Ag in Nicola

she's not an AA or a DD

Nicola starts with an N, so definitely can't be AA or DD

proper girl's name

I'd say Nicola is a proper girl's name

name isn't Irish

to be confirmed (I don't know) but it seems alright

her name isn't Christmassy

Here is where I'm slightly torn, because Nicola could be a tiny bit Christmassy (St. Nicholas...) but I'm opting for it not being Christmassy for my answer's sake.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Alternatively, maybe since this is apparently a religious school, Nicola was 'born again' less than 12 years ago? $\endgroup$ Jan 10 '17 at 16:19
  • $\begingroup$ That is a much better explanation than mine :) Btw spoilers! $\endgroup$ Jan 10 '17 at 16:22
  • $\begingroup$ If we expand "lateral thinking" to cover "A hint that doesn't mean the plain meaning of what it's saying", then we have to allow that e.g. "her name isn't Christmassy" means literally that her name isn't "Christmassy", so it must be Holly. Or, that "you won't find her name in the United States" doesn't exclude anyone, as none of their names are in the words the United States. Lateral thinking means lateral, not 3 miles down the road, over the bridge, down the ravine, and 40 feet down into the quarry. There's got to be some sanity :) $\endgroup$
    – Rubio
    Jan 10 '17 at 17:03
  • $\begingroup$ This was, in fact, my first guess...Till I read the "younger" part. But after eliminating all the girls on the list, this was my conclusion. Still couldn't figure the age part though. Nice work $\endgroup$
    – shalvah
    Jan 10 '17 at 20:44

We seem to have got there in the end-it was very difficult choosing a 'right' answer as some of them had the right person,but for the wrong reasons or mentioned the right answer in passing.

By a process of elimination...

1.It's a girl. That removes George, Matt, Tim della Castro, John, Steve, Daniel and Tim Hough

2.She's younger than him. That removes Caroline and Bryony.

3.She's one of a kind. That removes Claire and Jenna Mahon.

4.She's not to be found in the United States. That removes Georgia and Utah.

5.She's not the same front and back. That removes Eve and Hannah.

6.There's no silver or gold in her name. (Au or Ag- chemical symbols for silver/gold) That removes Page, Austria and Autumn

7.She's not AA or DD- that removes those with those initials-Alison Adams and Danielle Downing.

8.She's a proper girl's name- that removes those that can be unisex-Kim and Ashley.

9.She's not Irish. That removes Sinead.

10.Her name's not Christmassy. That removes Holly.

11.Her name hasn't got a kiss in it. That removes Erin(the name Kiss) and Alexandra (whose name is the only one with an X or kiss in).

So all are eliminated except for Brother Xavier and Sister Nicola. Brother Xavier is male, so he's out. So the answer is indeed Sister Nicola.. who fits all our conditions, and as she's been referred to as his little sister, we know she is indeed younger.

Well done everyone for tying all the threads together, including some that just got dismissed in passing...

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Sister Nicola is listed specifically as a teacher. How is a teacher younger than Andy? This answer makes no sense, and I find myself quite disappointed that the solution is a "lateral thinking" step that in the context of the overall problem is complete nonsense. Very disappointing. $\endgroup$
    – Rubio
    Jan 11 '17 at 0:42
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ I'm with Rubio here: That's just silly. Sister Nicola is a teacher in a religious school, a grown-up nun. Andy's "pesky little sister" is a young schoolgirl. No amount of lateral thinking can make these two the same person. $\endgroup$
    – M Oehm
    Jan 11 '17 at 8:43

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