The following story describes a famous person:

A failure, that's what I was. Hopping around on one leg all day didn't help with travel, and holding a pen is no easier when you've only got one hand.

The hopping really affected Jessica's sleep. That's why you would frequently see me at the local café. I used to order a decaffeinated mocha there every day; however, the café forgot to restock on straws (for me, anyways), making even a measly drink highly impractical.

I tried to get on a boat. That one left early, and the one after that, and the other after that, all 12 of them left a bit too early for me. I was confused, depressed, suicidal - I had 52 cards, 13 of each suit, with me at all times! I just didn't understand.

However, the clouds were too heavy for their own good, and it started to rain, a rain unlike any other. Soon after the rain came the lightning, and my life changed, for the better, forever.

Who is this short story describing?

Some extra stuff:

  • This person is real. They exist(ed) in our world.
  • If you provide an answer, please justify your conclusion with relevance to the above story. It's interesting to see not what you came up with, but moreso how you reached that conclusion.
  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Puzzling.SE! This is a pretty good first puzzle. $\endgroup$
    – F1Krazy
    Commented Jul 12, 2017 at 12:57
  • $\begingroup$ @F1Krazy Thank you very much! Your (current) lack of a solution is the best feedback I can get! $\endgroup$
    – Zerium
    Commented Jul 12, 2017 at 13:06
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Not everyone is online at the same time, so don't be too concerned if you don't get any answers for a few hours. I've had a bit of a think but I don't have any ideas so far. $\endgroup$
    – F1Krazy
    Commented Jul 12, 2017 at 13:09
  • $\begingroup$ @F1Krazy I'm in no rush, the suspense only grows stronger with age. :) $\endgroup$
    – Zerium
    Commented Jul 12, 2017 at 13:10
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    $\begingroup$ @think123 Does this 'famous' person exist in reality, or is he fictional ? $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 12, 2017 at 15:08

2 Answers 2


Is this describing JK Rowling, author of the Harry Potter book series? JK Rowling was in poverty before she wrote the first Harry Potter book. She didn't have a job and had to somehow take care of her baby daughter, Jessica. In interviews, she said that she was a "failure". She traveled to Portugal for some time, setting herself two goals: teaching English in Portugal and writing the Harry Potter book. This left her very busy, hence she would only have "one leg and one hand" devoted to each task. She had to take care of her baby daughter, who was named Jessica. She would often visit a local cafe to do her writing because the walk would put Jessica to sleep. She sent her manuscript for Harry Potter to twelve publishers, all of whom rejected the novel. That's in reference to the line "I tried to get on a boat... all 12 of them left a bit too early for me." She fell into depression during this time, as her marriage failed and she had no work. Finally, Bloomsbury accepted her manuscript and Harry Potter was published, which might be referencing how "Soon after the rain came the lightning and my life changed for the better" since Harry Potter famously has a lightning-bolt scar. When Harry Potter was published, she suddenly began making lots of money and her life became better.

  • $\begingroup$ Interesting. Could you please decipher my story and tell me why you think that is the answer? $\endgroup$
    – Zerium
    Commented Jul 12, 2017 at 22:47
  • $\begingroup$ Well done! That is what I had in mind. However there is more to this riddle, with particular regard to my choice of words in each of the paragraphs. If you could break down each sentence into its meaning, I would have utmost respect for your riddle-cracking skills. $\endgroup$
    – Zerium
    Commented Jul 13, 2017 at 2:28
  • $\begingroup$ @think123 Does the 'choice of words' mean that some ciphers or steganography is required here? If so, please tag appropriately. If not, I don't know what's more is missing. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 13, 2017 at 16:09
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    $\begingroup$ @think123 Welcome to Puzzling! (Take the Tour!) Great first riddle; you show promise and I hope to see you continue to contribute! If you feel this answer misses some points you'd like to see mentioned, you are always welcome to self-answer with the complete explanation. Or, many puzzle setters will edit the accepted answer to add a "OP adds: additional notes here" section, so the full intended solution is in one place; this latter option is usually more appropriate when the accepted answer is missing only minor subtle points, as here. $\endgroup$
    – Rubio
    Commented Jul 14, 2017 at 10:40
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    $\begingroup$ @MariaDeleva Okay, I will take note of this in future. $\endgroup$
    – Zerium
    Commented Jul 14, 2017 at 11:33

Notes from OP:

This riddle is based upon the literal interpretation of idioms. "Hopping around on one leg all day, ... only got one hand" refers to the idiom of costing an arm and a leg.

"the café forgot to restock on straws (for me, anyways)" - I meant to refer to the fact that it was J. K. Rowling's "last straw", the last figment of hope / possibility for her.

"I tried to get on a boat. That one left early" - this refers to "missing the boat" - meaning that J. K. Rowling was denied her chance. The 12 boats was well-interpreted, it did indeed refer to the 12 publishers that turned her manuscript down.

"I had 52 cards, 13 of each suit, with me at all times!" This is a literal reference to the fact that J. K. Rowling was not "not playing with a full deck". This idiom means that the person in reference lacks intelligence, but since J. K. Rowling has 52 cards, 13 of each suit, she is in fact playing with a full deck! Her denial of opportunity (12 times) is not because she lacks intelligence.

"The clouds were too heavy for their own good" - in retrospect this was a bit far-fetched, but it was in reference to "each cloud has a silver lining", referring to the power of optimism, and how things will always turn for the better.

Overall the answerer did a great job of deciphering this somewhat poorly written riddle. Picking up on "after the rain came the lightning" to mean Harry Potter's scar was a particularly good catch. Good job answerer!

  • $\begingroup$ Idioms! That is a very clever way to make ciphers, actually, albeit not very obvious. However, the non-obviousness makes it difficult to solve, if you put in inside a story. Good puzzle anyway! I'm not an English speaker, so I don't recognize most of them btw. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 14, 2017 at 12:30
  • $\begingroup$ @WilliamNathanael Yeah, now looking back I might have made this one a bit too incomprehensible. Thanks for the feedback! $\endgroup$
    – Zerium
    Commented Jul 14, 2017 at 12:33

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