Read following passage...

Beginning sstory:
There wass a ssound.
Maybe a ssnake?
It went hissss!
Everyone got sscared!
Air mattress sstarted leaking.
Lord help uss!!!!

... now tell me how many times my favorite letter of the alphabet appears in it.

  • 10
    $\begingroup$ mattress not matressss hmm. $\endgroup$ – Jonathan Allan Aug 31 '18 at 11:38
  • $\begingroup$ I've updated my answer, could you provide feedback? I'm actively looking for this one. $\endgroup$ – Perpetual J Aug 31 '18 at 19:27
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's not really a puzzle but just an exercise in counting letters (and finding hidden ones). $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Sep 1 '18 at 11:45
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Randal'Thor I don't actually understand how this one can call this off topic. You've called it not a puzzle, then parenthesized finding hidden things as if that isn't a puzzle-type endeavor. steganography, word-search, number-sequence, word-property, letter-sequence, word-sequence and minesweeper are all legitimate tags that have people finding hidden things. The counting part is merely a mechanism to enigmatically show puzzlers that something is indeed hidden. $\endgroup$ – Chowzen Sep 2 '18 at 15:43
  • $\begingroup$ @Chowzen Well yeah, but in something like steganography or word-property there's actually a puzzle to be solved. This is simply "count some S's, and spot where I've hidden one", which doesn't really seem like a puzzle to me. Several of the other answers here seem equally valid, which is also a reason to close. $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Sep 2 '18 at 22:41

13 Answers 13


Your favorite letter is


And it appears

21 times. 20 times as an actual letter, and then, if you Ctrl+F for 's', you find one more hidden: Hidden S

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Six hundred and seventy two times on the page (at 1440 CST, 8/31/2018). $\endgroup$ – Perpetual J Aug 31 '18 at 19:20
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I can't find that hidden one, is it in the actual post? $\endgroup$ – Féileacán Aug 31 '18 at 20:23
  • 11
    $\begingroup$ @Seraphina check out the pattern the yellow-highlighted letters make in the answer's image, and the question when Ctrl+Fing for s. $\endgroup$ – Daevin Aug 31 '18 at 20:28
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Nicely done! It warms the cockles of my heart to see a new contributor's unique perspective paying off. Welcome to Puzzling.SE! $\endgroup$ – Chowzen Aug 31 '18 at 20:49

Going back to old chestunts, Your favorite letter

appears exactly once in the alphabet. Regardless of which letter is your favorite, letters are listed only once in an alphabet.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Though the post asks of the alphabet not in the alphabet; good answer though. I think this meets El-Guest's cheater-pants-you-can't-do-that criteria! :D +1 $\endgroup$ – Perpetual J Aug 31 '18 at 14:21
  • $\begingroup$ I just noticed that the M in the third line is bolded. MIght that be the hint we're missing? $\endgroup$ – B540Glenn Aug 31 '18 at 14:24
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @PerpetualJ but the "it" in "appears in it" can refer to both the passage and the alphabet. $\endgroup$ – ratchet freak Aug 31 '18 at 14:50
  • $\begingroup$ I'm not so sure it could refer back to the alphabet itself with that statement. With lateral-thinking, sure! The literal flow of the sentence however refers to the passage. This was still a good answer. $\endgroup$ – Perpetual J Aug 31 '18 at 15:03

Your favorite letter is the letter


This letter

is mostly used in the German language; and it stands for a 'double s'. However, the letter ß doesn't belong in the regular alphabet. But it looks like a B so maybe your favorite letter is the letter B? The letter B only appears once in your story; the first letter. Lateral thinking! .. maybe?


I'm not ssure if I've found what you are looking for, but doess your favorite letter appear

two timess - that'ss if it'ss W. Thanks to El-Guesst for counting to two (I couldn't).

Because this sstory contains many occurrencess of

double s, you like doubles cluing double u (W), and there are 2U's so it's a W (doubles) story.

  • $\begingroup$ Doesn't this appear twice? (or are you talking about an actual r13(cnve bs H'f)? $\endgroup$ – El-Guest Aug 31 '18 at 12:50
  • $\begingroup$ @El-Guest thank you - you're right - doh. I guess I still haven't found what Chowzen's looking for. I may update (if not delete). $\endgroup$ – Tom Aug 31 '18 at 12:54
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I think every answer so far fits one of those two tags instead of pattern (including mine), to be honest. Alsso, you're sso uuelcome :D $\endgroup$ – El-Guest Aug 31 '18 at 12:58
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ It's not wordplay. I added the tag "lateral-thinking." $\endgroup$ – Chowzen Aug 31 '18 at 13:11
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @El-Guest I'd say the answer that deserves more attention is this one. $\endgroup$ – Chowzen Aug 31 '18 at 15:23

If your favourite letter is:

anything except "I" or "T" (like the implied "S")
then 0
else 1

-- how many times my favorite letter of the alphabet appears in "it"

  • $\begingroup$ I did wonder if someone was going to inquire about that old chestnut, but that's not it. $\endgroup$ – Chowzen Aug 31 '18 at 11:53

My Observation:

since there is a pattern tag, i noticed the number of s in each line follows this pattern 2,4,2,4,2 ... maybe this has something to do with the answer we are looking for.

  • $\begingroup$ So, the answer is 42, the answer to everything? $\endgroup$ – xhienne Aug 31 '18 at 18:25

I see that

You add one 's' for every correct occurrence of 's' in the words. Except for in 'mattress'. So maybe your favourite letter is 'e'? So when writing mattress, you saw 'e' and got distracted and forgot to add (or overcame your problem of adding) the extra 's'. :P 'e' appears 9 times in the text

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ This is an interesting answer! +1 $\endgroup$ – Perpetual J Aug 31 '18 at 14:29

If the answer is not Marius', and there's no lateral-thinking involved, then perhaps the answer is instead

21? As Marius correctly notes, there are 20 S's in the puzzle, but there are also punctuation marks. In fact there is a period, an exclamation mark, and a question mark. The s in question mark could be the 21st S.

The more I write this answer, the more I feel that the more likely answer is instead

22. Question mark is correct, but you would probably pronounce it quesstion mark instead to follow the speech pattern of the rest of the story!

The other old chestnut outside of Jonathan Allen's is of course

that the phrase "my favorite letter of the alphabet" does not appear at all in the passage.

  • $\begingroup$ But why would you pronounce the punctuation? It's not like you pronounce each individual letter. $\endgroup$ – David Starkey Aug 31 '18 at 14:52
  • $\begingroup$ So then why would it matter if there were 4 S's or 2? It still makes the same sound. $\endgroup$ – El-Guest Aug 31 '18 at 14:56
  • $\begingroup$ That's the thing, it wouldn't make a sound unless you pronounce the punctuation. Normally, it just creates an inflection at the end of the sentence $\endgroup$ – David Starkey Aug 31 '18 at 14:58
  • $\begingroup$ I'm saying that there are 4 S's in some words and 2 S's in others for a reason. The lateral-thinking tag means you can't just go and add up all of the S's; the solution is more clever than that. The method that I was proposing is entirely lateral-thinking, since it considers both words and punctuation marks as simple text. Since there's no green checkmark here, it's not the correct solution, but it was my attempt at discovering Chowzen's sneaky trick! $\endgroup$ – El-Guest Aug 31 '18 at 15:05

Thinking outside the box, your favourite letter is

i - Counting the exclamation marks as upside down i's, you get a total of 12!


Thanks to @Shahriar Mahmud Sajid for spotting the 2424242 pattern!
Using the repeating part (24), we can conclude that your favourite letter is the 24th letter of the alphabet, X, which occurs 0 times sadly.


The Pattern: Given by Shahriar's answer, a pattern was found on the occurrences for the letter s.

A pattern of 2, 4, 2, 4, 2 in which each line follows this pattern for the number of instances in which the letter s appears.

The Double Standard: Tom's answer sums it up well.

Double s, you like doubles cluing double u (W), and there are 2U's so it's a W (doubles) story.

My Answer: I believe there is more to this than Tom and Shahriar have pointed out.

I believe your favorite letter is w and it occurs 2 times.

My Reasoning: There are a lot of things that add up to this, to include the answers that Tom and Shahriar gave. To top it off:

If you concatenate these numbers together, you get the number 24 which is representative of the letter w in the alphabet and it appears 2 times.

Also, following the pattern, there are two instances of w and they are both on lines where there are four instances of s.

Also, I would like to point out that the first occurrence of the letter w is also positioned at index 24 (1 based, including spaces and punctuation) within the passage; which, is either sheer coincidence, or pure genius.


THe letter that appears the most in the passage is s. So this must be your favorite. It appears 20 times.
Bonus: Your second favorite is e. 14 times.

  • $\begingroup$ That's not the number I got... $\endgroup$ – Chowzen Aug 31 '18 at 11:14

"Body must be at least 30 characters, you entered 5." The system lies!


you don't ask us what your favorite letter is, it's not part of the puzzle and since you don't tell us, the answer is either zero or "not enough information".


Your favorite letter is

"z". It appears zero times.

  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Puzzling.SE! Firstly, could you explain why you believe this is the correct answer? Answers without explanation are likely to end up getting downvoted and/or deleted. Secondly, please remember to hide your answers inside spoiler tags, so as to avoid potentially spoiling the solution for anyone who wants to have a go at the puzzle themselves. $\endgroup$ – F1Krazy Aug 31 '18 at 17:55
  • $\begingroup$ Other letters appear zero times $\endgroup$ – xhienne Aug 31 '18 at 18:00

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