11
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I'm born when one is over the treasure spot,
I'm used when you drive to buy a present,
I'm born in the spirit of mutual gift-giving,
Yet I'm literally a super negative one.

Kinda short, so might be open to interpretation, but I assure you your efforts in solving this riddle will be reciprocated with a +1 from me!

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  • $\begingroup$ Excellent riddle! And since tensions are running so high on this site, I should explain that 'lynch mob!' is a compliment between riddlers and not a threat :-) $\endgroup$ Dec 23, 2014 at 12:27
  • $\begingroup$ And congrats on making it to the Hot Network Questions :-) $\endgroup$ Dec 23, 2014 at 14:15
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Why is d'alar'cop giving away so much of his reputation as bounties? $\endgroup$
    – user88
    Mar 6, 2015 at 3:37

1 Answer 1

11
+500
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The answer must be

reciprocal.

I'm born when one is over the treasure spot,

X marks the spot; "the treasure spot" means X. So "one is over the treasure spot" means 1 over x, or $\frac{1}{x}$, the reciprocal function.

I'm used when you drive to buy a present,

The internal combustion engine, present in the car you drive in, is a type of reciprocating engine.

I'm born in the spirit of mutual gift-giving,

Mutual gift-giving; one person reciprocates another's gift by giving them a gift in return.

Yet I'm literally a super negative one.

Another notation for the reciprocal of a number is to raise that number to the power of minus one; reciprocals can be denoted by $^{-1}$, "negative one" in superscript.

And finally...

"Your efforts in solving this riddle will be reciprocated with a +1 from me!"

LYNCH MOB! :-)

If you'd like to know how I solved this, the first line always seemed to me the most tractable. I struggled with 'one' and 'X' for a while before eventually thinking of the correct interpretation, which fitted with the third line. As I was writing the answer, I realised how it fitted the fourth line too, and that was when I was certain I was right. The second line was the hardest, and required a quick search on the internet.

Soon it'll be time to post my seasonal riddle...

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  • $\begingroup$ Search piston engine in wikipedia! $\endgroup$
    – McMagister
    Dec 23, 2014 at 12:29
  • $\begingroup$ @McMagister - Finished now! Feedback also added :-) $\endgroup$ Dec 23, 2014 at 12:33
  • $\begingroup$ Oh man I would never have got this (didn't know a combustion engine was "<that word>", for a start). So glad I cheated. $\endgroup$ Dec 23, 2014 at 14:15
  • $\begingroup$ @LightnessRacesinOrbit Neither did I when I found the solution! :-) It was the first line that enabled me to crack it; I had to do a bit of Googling for the second line. $\endgroup$ Dec 23, 2014 at 14:17

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