# A corresponding riddle

I've been keeping up a correspondence with a friend, a time-travelling historian. Her latest project has been visiting Camelot to understand the dynamics of King Arthur's knights, and she's been writing to me as the project continues.

The first missive told me she was preparing to set off with one of the knights. It sounded oddly like they were going to play golf, but that's probably just me.

The second note was very abbreviated - even combined with what I knew from the first, she only just had time to tell me they were on the road.

Adding the third piece of mail made very clear that the Knight is French.

Once I'd read the fourth thing to come in the post, I understood that the two of them were setting off at dawn, the sun at their backs - more or less.

It was only with the fifth dispatch that I managed to work out what lofty goal King Arthur had sent the Knight to pursue.

Some details of the sixth epistle surprised me - I was starting to get a picture of the Knight's horseriding, which it turns out was... rather lacking.

The seventh and final piece of writing looked like it just doubled down on what I'd read in one through five, but my friend was satisfied she'd done what she'd set out to do.

That was when I wrote back to point out she'd have got to exactly the same place if she'd just asked the Knight for what she wanted.

What's the one word that sums up my response? How do the seven items of our correspondence lead you there?

• Ni! ${}{}{}{}{}$ Feb 12 '20 at 19:57

What's the one word that sums up my response?

Request

How do the seven items of our correspondence lead you there?

The seven pieces of correspondence each clue a letter and the word builds from right to left:
t
st
est
uest
quest
equest
request

The first missive told me she was preparing to set off with one of the knights. It sounded oddly like they were going to play golf, but that's probably just me.

t, sounding like tee, as used in golf.

The second note was very abbreviated - even combined with what I knew from the first, she only just had time to tell me they were on the road.

st, short for street. Commonly used in road names.

Adding the third piece of mail made very clear that the Knight is French.

est, the French word for English is.

Once I'd read the fourth thing to come in the post, I understood that the two of them were setting off at dawn, the sun at their backs - more or less.

uest, which is "more or less" west, the direction you'd be heading if you set off at dawn with the sun at your back.

It was only with the fifth dispatch that I managed to work out what lofty goal King Arthur had sent the Knight to pursue.

quest. They're going on a quest!

Some details of the sixth epistle surprised me - I was starting to get a picture of the Knight's horseriding, which it turns out was... rather lacking.

equest. The start of words such as equestrian and equestrianism which refer to horseriding, but it's "rather lacking" as it's only the start of these words.

The seventh and final piece of writing looked like it just doubled down on what I'd read in one through five, but my friend was satisfied she'd done what she'd set out to do.

request. Steps one to five led to quest. If we "double down", as in do it again, we would re-quest.

That was when I wrote back to point out she'd have got to exactly the same place if she'd just asked the Knight for what she wanted.

request. A clue for the whole word, meaning ask.

• Bang on! There's one very minor clue I included that you haven't explicitly identified, though you were definitely using the idea it points to. Feb 13 '20 at 15:42