6
$\begingroup$

I was standing in a field reading a map

and doing something characteristic of me

I felt the urge to take a power nap

but first I needed to go for a pee

$\endgroup$
1
  • $\begingroup$ Great riddle! Now I want to add a certain tag to the question, but obviously that would be too big a spoiler ;-) $\endgroup$ Apr 17 '17 at 1:10
6
+50
$\begingroup$

Oh, of course ...

It's a mathematical riddle. I should have realised sooner.

I was standing in a field reading a map

A field, as in the mathematical object: a set with two binary operations. A map, as in a function acting on elements of this field.

and doing something characteristic of me

The characteristic of a field, in the ring-theoretic sense - the characteristic of any field is always either zero or a positive prime number.

I felt the urge to take a power nap

A power, as in taking powers of elements. The "power nap" here probably means a power map.

but first I needed to go for a pee

A pee, meaning a prime number $p$, the characteristic of the field.

So taking all in all, you are

a Frobenius endomorphism: the map sending any element of a field of characteristic $p$ to its $p$th power.


Feedback section

When I saw Silenus's answer, I thought that was it and the riddle was solved. But then I noticed the bounty and realised that this wasn't done and dusted yet. The second line was what really did it for me: that unusual word "characteristic" must have been chosen for a reason, so why? Then I thought of what might be standing in a field (for a while I wondered if the solution might be "scarecrow"), and why a field specifically. Eventually it clicked that "field" doesn't mean what you'd first think it does, and everything else just snowballed from there. Exactly as it should with a well-constructed riddle: it seems inscrutable at first, but once you get a hold on it, the solution is self-confirming. My only criticism would be that it took a while for me to get the final solution even after I'd realised what the riddle is all about, but we can put that down to the fact that it's been a few years since I've studied any

algebra.

$\endgroup$
1
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Improve and other puzzle setters - "I thought that was it and the riddle was solved. But then I noticed the bounty and realised that this wasn't done and dusted yet" - just a note that if you don't comment on a wrong answer, people may not know if you've seen it but it's wrong, or if you just haven't seen it. A note on incorrect answers is generally a good idea. $\endgroup$
    – Rubio
    Apr 17 '17 at 2:05
5
$\begingroup$

You are a

storm cloud, perhaps.


I was standing in a field reading a map

A cloud might stand high above a field and look down upon the earth, which resembles a map.

and doing something characteristic of me

This action of hovering above earth is characteristic of clouds.

I felt the urge to take a power nap

"Power nap" may refer to lightning.

but first I needed to go for a pee

The cloud needed to produce rain, since moisture is essential for thunderstorms.

$\endgroup$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.