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My first is in the kill zone, but not in no man's land.
My second is in a fifth reef knot, but not in rope or string.
My third is in loneliness, but not in unison or simultaneity.
My fourth follows a formula, but isn't in a code.
My fifth

What am I?

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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The answer to this puzzle will be a hint for Strange sorceresses swallow scarlet swedes. $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Mar 9 '18 at 13:59
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    $\begingroup$ Is there missing something in the last line? $\endgroup$ – MEE - Reinstate Monica Mar 9 '18 at 15:10
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    $\begingroup$ What happened to the last line? $\endgroup$ – NL628 Mar 9 '18 at 15:18
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    $\begingroup$ all letters of the word loneliness are used in unison or simultaneity, so there goes that idea. Another curiousity is the use of the letter 'a' in 'a fourth reef knot', 'a formula' and 'a code', while it is missing in 'not in (-a) rope or (-a) string.' $\endgroup$ – PL457 Mar 9 '18 at 15:59
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    $\begingroup$ @MEE I just checked and there are no mistakes in the puzzle :-) $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Mar 10 '18 at 0:53
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You are ...

... the question "Equine musicians" by Rand al'Thor.

My first is in the kill zone, ...

The thing we are looking for is made up of numbers or digits, because each of the first three lines has a numeral hidden in the first phrase:

    My first is in the kill z[one], but not in no man's land.
    My second is in a fif[th ree]f knot, but not in rope or string.
    My third is in l[one]liness, but not in unison or simultaneity.

(The second line was edited. It had "fourth reef knot" before, which would lead to two numbers.)

My fourth follows a formula, but isn't in a code.

What follows a formula might be a number, too: Formula One.

My fifth

This should probably also indicate a number. There's nothing after "The fifth", so the number is probably zero. (Rand al'Thor has revealed that this is the right answer in a comment. I had considered it, but didn't know what to do with the whole number.)

Okay, now what?

We've got a five-digit number. This number (or maybe sequence of digits) can mean a lot of things.

Here at Puzzling Stack Exchange, it can identify a question. For example, if you look at the address bar right now, you'll see the 5-digit number 61639. Replacing that with the number we found brings us to "Equine musicians".

That question is supposed to be a hint for [another question] of Rand al'Thor's. I have seen "Equine musicians" not long ago: It was in the list of related links in the sidebar to the "Strange sorceresses" question.

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  • $\begingroup$ Very good work! You've got lines 1-3 correct, and made the correct guess at line 4 (my bad re the higher Formula numbers: I should have done my research better before posting). But the series neither stops after 4 lines nor continues indefinitely. The last part may be what we call a lynch-mob puzzle: i.e. the answer is staring you in the face, and when you see it, you'll want to send a lynch mob after my smart arse :-) $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Mar 10 '18 at 15:04
  • $\begingroup$ Okay, I'll stare a bit more. When you stare at a puzzle for too long, the puzzle stares back at you. (But I'd say that at least for the moment you're safe from any lynch mobs sent by me.) $\endgroup$ – M Oehm Mar 10 '18 at 15:50
  • $\begingroup$ The last line could just mean "5" leaving us with 13115 $\endgroup$ – jaydm26 Mar 10 '18 at 16:11
  • $\begingroup$ OK, I'll tell you. There's not really any depth to the last line: either you get it or you don't. Maybe that part of it wasn't a good puzzle. Anyway, rot13(gur snpg gung yvar svir vf oynax vf fhccbfrq gb vaqvpngr gur nafjre mreb). $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Mar 10 '18 at 19:57
  • $\begingroup$ I'd guessed that already, but it leaves me none the wiser as to the whole thing... $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Mar 10 '18 at 20:00
1
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Perhaps the mentioned ones are the

Vowels of English and four of them are given by clues (having a, e, i and u). O is missed out and is provided as the fifth clue, which means (when taken as a riddle), nothing or nought ( O )!

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