Sharpen your puzzle toolbox

Stolen from wikipedia * image courtesy of wikipedia

Normal-punctuation-man walked into a bar where exclamation-point-man was serving:

- Fast, give that man a tea!
- I'm too hot. I need a cool drink, relax at the sea.
- For goodness sake, warm, cool, the two are the same! Drink up!
- No. Not similar.
- Hush! Before I tie a knot on your tongue!
- Give me sake instead, please.
- I see, great pick, sure!

The discussion strikes you as infinitely interesting. You sit there at the next table over and ponders the following:

$$ X = \frac{\#oronym^{\#synonym} + \#homophone + \#homograph }{\#heterograph + \#heteronym + \#homonym} + \#contronym $$

* # counted in pairs except contronyms and oronyms (oronyms only exist in the direction of (multiple-word -> single word))

** Edited riddle to remove word i hadn't thought of. There may be more things i missed

What is X?

  • $\begingroup$ Is "godness" simply a typo? $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Commented Jun 19, 2017 at 14:27
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the "counted in pairs" clarification but it still isn't perfectly clear. Are we meant to count matches with words/phrases not actually present in the dialogue? E.g., "pick sure" ~ "picture" but the word "picture" doesn't appear here; should we be counting this as an oronym? $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Commented Jun 19, 2017 at 14:29
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ (My feeling is that if we aren't restricting ourselves to pairs that both occur in the dialogue then the answer isn't going to be very well defined because it may depend on what obscure words one counts.) $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Commented Jun 19, 2017 at 14:30
  • $\begingroup$ Clarified some more! Hm the restriction is that both the words exist in the dialogue e.g. the synonyms 'sky' and 'heaven' would both have to be included for them to add one to #synonyms $\endgroup$
    – Adam
    Commented Jun 19, 2017 at 14:36

1 Answer 1


Answer in progress. First, you can simplify the calculations, because...

Some of the equation terms are actually reused. Homophones include homonyms and heterographs. Homographs include homonyms and heteronyms. (Source)

Next we start counting:

Oronyms (3):
(Must be multiple words from the source text that sound like a single word, so examples like "Before"→"be for" and "relax"→"real axe" are not counted.)
1. "man a tea" (manatee)
2. "I see" (icy)
3. "pick, sure" (picture)

Contronyms (1):
1. Fast ("moving quickly" versus "non-moving")

Synonym pairs (3):
1. sea, drink
2. hot, warm
3. tie, knot

Heterograph pairs (3):
1. too, two
2. sea, see
3. not, knot

Heteronym pairs (1):
1. sake, sake ("rice wine" versus "consideration")

Homonym pairs (1):
1. cool, cool ("relaxing and pleasant" versus "cold", although this is unclear from context)

Finally we perform calculations:

# Homophones = (1 Homonyms) + (3 Heterographs) = 4
# Homographs = (1 Homonyms) + (1 Heteronyms) = 2

$$ X = \frac{3^{3} + 4 + 2 }{3 + 1 + 1} + 1 = \frac{38}{5} = 7.6$$

That's all I have for now. My answer for X is not an integer, so I doubt that it is the value that the author expected. It is possible that I misunderstood some parts of the puzzle.

  • $\begingroup$ I'll give you the tick for that one, good job! The only synonyms I had was: hot-warm, and same-similar. That would've given X = 4. Otherwise it was exactly what I intended. $\endgroup$
    – Adam
    Commented Jun 20, 2017 at 7:20

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