A man without eyes saw pears on a tree; he did not take pears, he did not leave pears; how can that be?


The usual answer to this very old riddle is that

the man had one eye, took one pear and left one pear.

I have to say that

I would not say that someone with one eye is "without eyes"; that's not how the word "without" works. Nor would I say that someone who takes one thing "does not take" whatever it is, and likewise for leaving. So this riddle is, for me, in xkcd 169 territory.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the input @Gareth I'll keep that in mind for further questions. $\endgroup$ – TMcSquared Mar 3 '18 at 17:02
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    $\begingroup$ XKCD 169 should be in the help centre for Puzzling SE :-) $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Mar 3 '18 at 18:27
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    $\begingroup$ I don't know. Seems to be the whole point of the cryptic-crosswords tag. $\endgroup$ – Rupert Morrish Mar 3 '18 at 20:20
  • $\begingroup$ I'd say this riddle is valid on a technical basis. "pears" can indicate a set of pears with more than one element. If there is only one pear, then it cannot contain a set of pears with more than one element. Similarly, if a man has only one eye, he has an eye, but arguably, not "eyes". $\endgroup$ – greenturtle3141 Mar 9 '18 at 4:44

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