It's cold and hard and doesn't bend,
Can bring a life to a speedy end:
It's neither cruel nor kind nor nice.
The answer, friend, is here: _____

Your faults and you it judges well:
Too much and you can go to hell;
If not, on it you'll cross the abyss.
The answer, friend, is here: _____

What word(s) should fill both blank spaces?

  • $\begingroup$ perhaps we can use the rhyme scheme to inform our answer? $\endgroup$ – micsthepick Dec 4 '17 at 17:44
  • $\begingroup$ Second blank can be avarice? :-) $\endgroup$ – Mea Culpa Nay Dec 4 '17 at 17:54
  • $\begingroup$ @MeaCulpaNay No, but (in a certain way) you're thinking along the right lines. $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Dec 4 '17 at 17:55
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    $\begingroup$ It's for sure thrombopiesis! $\endgroup$ – Ctx Dec 4 '17 at 18:00
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    $\begingroup$ "It's cold and hard and doesn't bend, / Can bring a life to a speedy end" my ex-wife!!! $\endgroup$ – RonJohn Dec 6 '17 at 4:40

First blank:

Just ice

Second blank:



Apart from the rhyme, both ideas will fit either paragraph.


  • “It's cold and hard and doesn't bend,”

    These are well known properties of ice. Justice could also be described in this manner.

  • “Can bring a life to a speedy end:”

    Thanks to @Ctx for pointing this out; slipping on the ice can can cause a quick loss of life, whether falling into a hole in a glacier or dying in a car crash caused by slippery roads. Also @1006a pointed out that this could refer to the death penalty.

  • “It's neither cruel nor kind nor nice.”

    Ice (in it's ordinary usage) does not usually have emotional associations. Justice is also meant to judge fairly, without emotional attachment.

  • “Your faults and you it judges well:“

    Getting justice requires the full knowledge of someone's actions, right or wrong. The connection to ice is slightly weaker, perhaps it has to do with the notion of one being “cold as ice”.

  • “Too much and you can go to hell;”

    According to the bible, “all have sinned”, and “the wages of sin are death”, by this reasoning, if all were fully brought to justice, all would be condemned. Too much ice could cause hypothermia, or you could perceive ice as the drug, condemning a person’s life.

  • "If not, on it you'll cross the abyss."

    I'm not too sure about the connection to justice here, perhaps it is a continuation of the last line - With Christ's justice you are saved? In terms of ice, this could refer to Eliza’s miraculous river crossing in Uncle Tom's Cabin.

Special thanks to @1006a and @skyvask for offering their insights for the explanations.

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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Both solutions (or is it only one?) should fit both paragraphs. That's the beauty of it :-D $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Dec 4 '17 at 18:16
  • $\begingroup$ I would interpret “Can bring a life to a speedy end:” as having a car accident on a slippery street. $\endgroup$ – Ctx Dec 4 '17 at 18:29
  • $\begingroup$ It seems like I will need some help on the last part. I think I lack the knowledge. $\endgroup$ – micsthepick Dec 4 '17 at 19:23
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    $\begingroup$ @micsthepick I think it's just a continuation of the biblical "Too much and you can go to hell;" line. The abyss being one that separates hell from heaven, ie it can also send you to heaven instead of hell. $\endgroup$ – Lando Dec 4 '17 at 21:10
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    $\begingroup$ Both versions of the answer (with and without ) can (mostly) fit all the lines. With for the first and third line can be related to even-handedness and impartiality, and for the second line presumably capital punishment; the second verse is a little trickier, but maybe line 5 without the is about expansion in cracks (causing potholes etc.); line 6 could be about death by exposure; and line 7 would be the miracle that let Eliza cross the river. $\endgroup$ – 1006a Dec 4 '17 at 22:04

The answer is disjunction.

  • It's cold and hard and doesn't bend,

Disjunction, by definition, assembles elements or sets and, when the sum (in the broad sense) of two sets is equal to their union, both sets are said to be disjoint (so, no shared elements). Thus, in a context-crossing transposition, «cold» means no sharing, emptiness, which almost always is hard and unavoidable («doesn't bend»).

  • Can bring a life to a speedy end:

The emptiness leads to a safe-proof and a breakdown («speedy end»).

  • It's neither cruel nor kind nor nice.

Disjoint sets share no elements, so the emptiness translates to a state of indefinition, which doesn't consist of anything (so «It's neither cruel nor kind nor nice»).

  • The answer, friend, is here: _____

Once again, the sense of imprisoning caused by the solitude suggests a vivid dream about a lost «friend», while obfuscating the answer, which occurs as an empty line, masking the true nature of reasoning.

  • Your faults and you it judges well:

The negativity flows down to the very bottom, revealing the subject's faults and judging him/her for what he/she most deserves most but is not able to get.

  • Too much and you can go to hell;

Excessive negativity has only two possible paths: drag one to «hell» OR

  • If not, on it you'll cross the abyss.

make one cross the abyss, which, in some cases, may be even worse.

  • The answer, friend, is here: _____

Once again, the feeling of completeness is hidden under the unavoidable «speedy end», which is certainly motivated by a profound isolation (disjunction).

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    $\begingroup$ This is kind of an odd answer, and way more abstract than what I was thinking of. I don't even understand how it fits the clues, and certainly it doesn't fit the rhyme pattern. $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Dec 5 '17 at 9:42
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    $\begingroup$ This answer reminds of this quote from Bloodnet: "I'm always sceptical of wordy intellectuals; they think they can justify just about anything if they cover it over with enough bulls*** " (~Ransom Stark, Bloodnet). :p $\endgroup$ – Tasos Papastylianou Dec 5 '17 at 14:04
  • $\begingroup$ @@ Totumus Maximus - Thank you. @@Rand al'Thor - I feel flattered that you were not expecting this. The way it fits the clues is thoroughly described in the answer I posted. It has to do with disjunction of elements and the solitude it may tempt to think about. Hope it leads to some insight into the explanation. @@Tasos Papastylianou - I hope your intention was not to overwhelm me or call my answer "bulls***". Anyway, it's great to be called intellectual :) $\endgroup$ – Lulo Pilba Dec 6 '17 at 17:57
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    $\begingroup$ I agree with Tasos. These explanations seem to have been written by a very poetic Markov chain and don't make any sense. $\endgroup$ – MikeQ Dec 6 '17 at 21:58
  • $\begingroup$ @LuloPilba It's not a compliment. See Thomas Sowell's commentary on intellectual writing (EDITING section). $\endgroup$ – jpmc26 Dec 7 '17 at 0:18

Perhaps it is



It is cold and hard and also it fits the rhyme nicely in the blanks.

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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ You've got half of the answer. Actually, only half of half the answer. $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Dec 4 '17 at 17:48
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    $\begingroup$ but does it fit both paragraphs? $\endgroup$ – micsthepick Dec 4 '17 at 17:48
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    $\begingroup$ I think you are warm - perhaps try, separated by a space in one case, r13 whfgvpr $\endgroup$ – Tom Dec 4 '17 at 18:00
  • $\begingroup$ @tom man I got this exactly at the time you posted the comment... $\endgroup$ – Sid Dec 4 '17 at 18:04
  • $\begingroup$ @Sid - that's rough, poetic (I still wasn't sure which answer should be in two parts). $\endgroup$ – Tom Dec 4 '17 at 18:09

First, the answers have to rhyme.

Ice is the obvious answer to the first paragraph.

For the second paragraph I came up with this:

1. Your faults and you it judges well: Too many faults the judgement is...no kiss
2. Too much and you can go to hell; Too much kissing leads to...maybe hell
3. If not, on it you'll cross the abyss. the preferable conclusion to kissing
4. The answer, friend, is here: A Kiss!

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  • $\begingroup$ Funny :-) But micsthepick's answer is essentially correct: there's a single word or words which covers both paragraphs, even though the rhyme scheme is different. $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Dec 5 '17 at 9:43

I think the answer might be:


Althought I can't fit it to all the lines.

First part:

“It's cold and hard and doesn't bend,”

in just ice: ice has those properties

“Can bring a life to a speedy end:”

injustice can get you hanged (if you are (extremly) unjust), get you killed (if you are the victim of an unjust person). Also I like @micsthepick and @Ctx use of ice.

“It's neither cruel nor kind nor nice.”

I have no idea. Maybe in justice (as justice is neither cruel nor kind nor nice).

Second part:

“Your faults and you it judges well:“

in justice: justice provides the laws and rules to judge peoples faults and give them the right punishments.

“Too much and you can go to hell;”

This one fits 100%. Too much injustice from you and you are definetly going to hell.

"If not, on it you'll cross the abyss."

No freaking idea.

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The first one is:



Because it fits the rhymes. A knife is cold, because it is out of metal. It is hard and because it is hard it does not bend. You can use it to kill somebody. And it is neither cruel nor nice, it is just a thing.

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  • $\begingroup$ The answer is ICE for this part, they already said it! $\endgroup$ – D. Mellow Dec 5 '17 at 13:18

There is a clue that has not yet been used: "doesn't bend"!

Hard and cold sounds much like ice. But ice bends the light, it bends in a glacier like a spline, and it bends even the Earth's crust! Therefore,

the first phrase is

not ice.

and the second


Explanation for the second:

Your faults and you it judges well:

notice of defect, notice of adjustment

Too much and you can go to hell;

notice of action

If not, on it you'll cross the abyss.

notice of approval

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  • $\begingroup$ In its normal form and the normal meaning of bending, the top-voted answer fits nicely. I don't quite see how your proposed first answer is a specific solution to any of the other clues. If you don't have a specific explanation, you might as well answer "anything" to pretty much any of the riddles. $\endgroup$ – Lolgast Dec 6 '17 at 8:33
  • $\begingroup$ @Lolgast: Both have their highly specific explanation. Anything does not fit. There is no Anythice. $\endgroup$ – false Dec 6 '17 at 8:37
  • $\begingroup$ If so, can you add the explanations for the other clues as well? Perhaps you're seeing something I'm not. $\endgroup$ – Lolgast Dec 6 '17 at 8:38
  • $\begingroup$ Road less traveled. +1. $\endgroup$ – Mea Culpa Nay Dec 6 '17 at 10:03
  • $\begingroup$ @false Not quite sure if you understood what I meant... Just because "ice" doesn't fit one of the clues (according to you, not gonna argue about whether it does), that doesn't mean that "not ice" is the answer. You might as well say it's "not water", "not dirt", "not your finger" since those all can bend. $\endgroup$ – Lolgast Dec 6 '17 at 11:49

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