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Here's a Riley-ish riddle. (Note that this does not precisely follow the Riley format, as it has 8 lines instead of 4, lapses in meter, and the answer may not strictly conform to typical rules, but overall it's intended to at least resemble the format.)

My prefix is unbroken — yet doubled here —
A hypothetical person, or beginning of years;
My infix is doubled in all of the most recent times:
When split in thirds, pronoun, plural, and conjunction one will find;
My suffix is of one without friends;
You might hear it when an (informal) timed contest is at an end;
My whole: spoken the second it starts,
Comes sooner, and is less, than the sum of its parts.

What am I, and what is the hidden hint in the riddle?

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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Easy. The answer is a clock. $\endgroup$ – can-ned_food Jul 10 '18 at 4:32
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Sorry, but I've wanted to say that ever since I first visited this site. $\endgroup$ – can-ned_food Jul 10 '18 at 4:32
  • $\begingroup$ @can-ned_food Well you can say it here, hahah :D $\endgroup$ – Mr Pie Aug 27 '18 at 14:15
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This is really just putting together others' pieces (so if you are inclined to upvote this, go and do likewise to HollyLeaves's and puzzle-guesser's answers first). I think you are

1001.

My prefix is unbroken — yet doubled here —
A hypothetical person, or beginning of years;

What is one is not broken in two. 1 appears twice in this number. If one refers to "one", as in this sentence, one is speaking of a hypothetical person. And years are counted up from 1 AD/CE and down from 1 BC/BCE.

My infix is doubled in all of the most recent times:
When split in thirds, pronoun, plural, and conjunction one will find;

Recent years begin with two thousand. And THOUSAND = THOU+US+AND.

My suffix is of one without friends;
You might hear it when an (informal) timed contest is at an end;

"One is one and all alone and evermore shall be so", as the old song has it. And a contest may end with a countdown ...3...2...1 (though I'd have thought usually it would end at 0 rather than 1?). [OP mentions in comments that there's also a one/won pun here.]

My whole: spoken the second it starts,
Comes sooner, and is less, than the sum of its parts.

Perhaps the idea here is that one + thousand + one = 1002, which of course is bigger than 1001 and comes later if you're listing numbers in the usual way? [OP mentions in comments that this is also alluding to counting "one thousand one, one thousand two, ..." in games like hide-and-seek.]

Finally, there's allegedly a "hidden hint". So far, the best thing I've been able to come up with for that is

the repeated use of "My", suggestive of the Roman numeral MI which of course is 1001.

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  • $\begingroup$ That's the correct answer, and everything in your explanation is correct. The two final missing pieces: the sixth line is referring to rot13("jba"), as in rot13("V jba gur pbagrfg"), which is what the word "hear" alludes to. The word "it" in the seventh line also refers to the timed contest — that line and the following one both refer to rot13(puebabzrgevp pbhagvat), which often begins rot13("bar gubhfnaq bar, bar gubhfnaq gjb..."). I've upvoted all three answers. However, the puzzle isn't finished yet — there's still the hidden hint left. $\endgroup$ – Aidan F. Pierce Apr 11 '18 at 22:28
  • $\begingroup$ I'd wondered about the "bar gubhfnaq bar, bar gubhfnaq gjb..." thing but it felt like a bit too much of a stretch. Obviously not :-). I'd forgotten the bit about a hidden hint. I have a half-baked idea what that's about; will edit it in (or something else if I think of something that bakes up better). $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Apr 12 '18 at 0:48
  • $\begingroup$ Nope, that's not it. I actually had originally tried to work something like that in explicitly, but I couldn't make it work. $\endgroup$ – Aidan F. Pierce Apr 12 '18 at 1:13
  • $\begingroup$ Aww, puzzle-guesser was so close. Nice $\endgroup$ – HollyLeaves Apr 12 '18 at 12:00
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I think you are:

The year 2001.

My prefix is unbroken — yet doubled here —

From @HollyLeaves - Unbroken is 1, so doubled is 2

A hypothetical person, or beginning of years;

2 is the first digit of years

My infix is doubled in all of the most recent times:

All most recent times are 2000, so infix is "thousand" doubled

When split in thirds, pronoun, plural, and conjunction one will find;

Thou, Us, And

My suffix is of one without friends;

1

You might hear it when an (informal) timed contest is at an end;

3... 2... 1!

My whole: spoken the second it starts,

Whole is a year, spoken as "Happy New YEAR!" the second it starts

Comes sooner, and is less, than the sum of its parts.

Not sure what was intended here.

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  • $\begingroup$ Pretty close, but not quite. See my comment on @HollyLeaves' answer. $\endgroup$ – Aidan F. Pierce Apr 10 '18 at 22:48
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It feels like the answer has to do with

Numbers

The prefix is 1. Unbroken = one whole.
Doubled means the em dash (—), which is twice as wide as an en dash.
'One' as in "One does not simply solve puzzles", also age 1.

The suffix is 0. No friends = unique number. Spoken at end of timed contest.
And the answer, as stated in the title, is less than all the numbers added together?

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  • $\begingroup$ You've got the right idea, and the prefix is right. The suffix isn't, and the em-dashes weren't intended to be significant. $\endgroup$ – Aidan F. Pierce Apr 10 '18 at 19:51

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