Riddle me this:

Curved material inside,
Reveal what is too far away.
Only when turned to the sky,
Stars are brighter in grey.
Seven years overdue,
Before lifting off the ground.
Orbiting, it flew;
New spiral arms were found.
Eyesight surrendered to me,
Since the seventeenth century.

What could I be?

I feel this might be too easy for some, so I will not provide a hint.


Well, I might just add one little thing to make it fun. This is an extra puzzle to find the replacement word. It is not included in the riddle, but can be of help :)

When typing out this riddle, I made a typo in a word and it autocorrected to "material". Now, I don't remember what that word was, but when reflecting back on writing it, I thought of one letter: $\verb|m|$. But am I right?

This is just a thought, but maybe the word contains the letter $\verb|m|$? I can't be sure...

Or actually, I think the word may have started with that letter, and I think it might have had an
$\verb|r|$ possibly, but I know that the rationale behind the answer has not changed. Obviously, if the current answer did not remain the same without this word, I would know — I wrote this riddle!

It is just that the word "material" seems a bit vague. If only I knew what the original word was...

There is a pattern. The following clue should give you a bit of a start.

In the very first sentences, how many words are there before one contains $\verb|m|$?

The "replacement word" is hidden in this little hint. If you can't find the pattern, you can still use the hint to your advantage, but there would just be a lot of fluff to read through.


1 Answer 1


You are

the Hubble Telescope


Most of this is pretty basic. Curved material is the mirror; telescopes reveal what is far away; the star and (spiral) galaxy references are obvious. The original launch date aim was 1983, the same year the telescope was named after Edwin Hubble. Actual launch was in 1990, 7 years "overdue". The title references the Hooker telescope at the Mount Wilson Observatory, used by Edwin Hubble to make important observations that led to the discovery that the universe is expanding.

Also ...

The first letters of the lines of the riddle spell out CROSSBONES, a reference to the Skull and Crossbones nebula NGC 2467 which was discovered with the Hubble telescope.

There's a couple of things I don't get, but

this (again) seems to be a case of recognizing references more than solving clues, and where just a couple of the references are really enough to identify the thing in question. The remaining references don't seem to add much, and figuring them out ends up feeling like a scavenger hunt through Wikipedia. You may want to look at how other riddles use allusion and wordplay, not just vague description, to give clues to the riddle subject. I think this will make for more satisfying riddles for both setter and solvers.


The missing word is of course mirror as already mentioned. The clue suggests looking at how many words there are before the first word containing the letter $m$ - and there are 6, making the first word with an $m$ word number 7. If we take the starting letters of every 7th word, we get: ... make ... it ... remember ... reflecting ... of ... right, or mirror. The word "reflecting" is pretty telling also. :)

  • $\begingroup$ Ok. Thank you for that. I took on board what you said and created an extra puzzle that does not necessarily help you with the riddle. This added puzzle is not a riddle, but I have tried working on the "clue-making". If you want, you can take a look, but either way, you have gotten the tick $\;\color{green}{\checkmark}$ $\endgroup$
    – Mr Pie
    Commented Jul 16, 2018 at 1:47
  • $\begingroup$ [Commenting to the Bonus:] Wow... I must say, you are pretty good. (And the CROSSBONES explanation was brilliant.) Also, in regards to the last line, Since the seventeenth century., Rot13$[$vg vf abg fnlvat gung gur Uhooyr jnf ohvyg va gur friragrragu praghel; engure, vg vf fnlvat gung gur svefg gryrfpbcr jnf.$]$ Was this one of the things you did not get, perhaps? I just wanted to include this because it might appear to be confusing. $\endgroup$
    – Mr Pie
    Commented Jul 16, 2018 at 2:07

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