# A bunch of duos

My friend, disappointingly, just left to go somewhere without telling me. He was supposed to produce my classical techno-fusion jazz metal rap album! Instead, he left me four riddles, each with two-letter-long solutions, to piece together his whereabouts. He already gave me the solution to the last riddle, "NK."

1) I'm truly the first two in "go back to the start";
Obey me you must if you've mastered the art.
Halting's not smart;
It hasn't ended;
Please let me remind of the part I appended. _ _

2) I can show imagination, I can show you what's real;
Let me show you the unheard, it's what I reveal.
I frequently wander,
And pass time as you ponder;
How all that you've heard is only piecemeal. _ _

3) "Press" on those keys, oh "tug" on those strings;
Do both and you'll make a rise and tide out of things;
Now split them in half;
That's it, don't laugh;
Or flip "down" two-fold like it's a drum stick spinning. _ _

4) NK

Can you help me solve the first three and tell me where he went? It better have been worth it - studio recording time is expensive.

Hint 1:

1) A phrase's first two letters;
2) Initials;
3) Two letters borne out of splitting either of two words in half. Using either word should suffice.

Hint 2:

There's a vague theme across this entire riddle, including the non-highlighted text. Solving #3 first might engender ideas on what #1 and #2 may be.

Hint 3:

Riddle 2 is by far the hardest. I want to draw your attention to the idea that every sound you hear is almost never just one "sound". A pure sine wave is the exception. A mathematician, of all things, may be most qualified to solve this.

• Are we supposed to know if it's one, two, or more words? Or is that for us to determine? Feb 26, 2020 at 1:43
• @TCooper Good question, it's for you to determine. If you have the correct six letters the solution should be plain to see, I think. Feb 26, 2020 at 1:50
• Blargh, I know the second one now - something I hoped I'd never have to look at again...!
– Stiv
Feb 26, 2020 at 21:17
• LOL I apologize for that Stiv Feb 26, 2020 at 21:18

The duos that this puzzle clue all add up to reveal another duo:

1. I'm truly the first two in "go back to the start"; Obey me you must if you've mastered the art. Halting's not smart; It hasn't ended; Please let me remind of the part I appended.

As @TCooper found, this clues the two letters 'DA', the first two letters of the musical phrase 'da capo', which means 'go back to the start'. It also begins the word 'DAFT' (more on that later), which means 'not smart' - so if that hasn't ended, we've got the first two letters 'DA' clued again...

1. I can show imagination, I can show you what's real; Let me show you the unheard, it's what I reveal. I frequently wander, And pass time as you ponder; How all that you've heard is only piecemeal:

This clues the letters 'FT'. My initial interpretation was by way of a reference to 'ft.', the abbreviation that often follows the main artist name attached to a record to credit a second performer who played a big part in its production, but might have been 'unheard' as a producer or musician (much like Mark Ronson is often credited).

Having only noticed later that the OP left a hint that this duo should represent initials for something mathematical, this is actually a reference to the 'Fourier Transform', a mathematical technique which decomposes a function into its constituent frequencies. This has big uses in signal processing, where you can break down a signal (like a sound) into its constituent parts, allowing you to pick out things that were previously 'unheard' and lurking beneath the overall effect. Delving into the technical aspects of Fourier Transforms (after a nudge from the OP), these are 'complex' in the mathematical sense and consist of two parts: one imaginary and one real (hence "I can show imagination, I can show you what's real"). It also converts from the time domain to the frequency domain (hence the clues hidden in "I frequently wander, And pass time as you ponder").

1. "Press" on those keys, oh "tug" on those strings; Do both and you'll make a rise and tide out of things; Now split them in half; That's it, don't laugh; Or flip "down" two-fold like it's a drum stick spinning.

This clues the letters 'PU'. Another phrase meaning 'press' and 'tug' is 'push and pull'. 'Split them in half' and you see that both begin with 'PU'. These two letters also spell 'UP' backwards, which is what you get if you 'flip "down" two-fold' - once in meaning, then once in letter order.

Put these all together with the known 'NK' fourth part and you have:

DAFT PUNK. And let's face it, if you're into 'classical techno-fusion jazz metal rap' you're probably into the fusion music this 'duo' cooks up too!

• Ah, well it makes sense when you put it like that. Nice one. Guessing this is right Feb 26, 2020 at 20:54
• Gotta say quite the ninja'ing of @MacGyver88. Nice job on the recognition of duos! :) I'll grant the checkmark when someone solves #2. It's not quite "ft." but another FT. It's a technical term and hopefully someone somewhere recognizes it. Feb 26, 2020 at 20:57
• @MacGyver88 That's right. Probably the most forced clue but who can resist when drummers spin their sticks. Stiv, it's not quite that "FT" either. I'll add a hint and let it ruminate Feb 26, 2020 at 21:09
• @MacGyver88 Ha! We seem to be on exactly the same wavelength as each other tonight, just a little out of sync! What time zone are you in??! ;-)
– Stiv
Feb 26, 2020 at 21:10
• @anodyne Nudge taken! Think I've nailed all that down now, but feel free to holler if you need more. It's been a loooong time since I've had to think about those...!
– Stiv
Feb 26, 2020 at 21:43

Trying a partial answer, maybe it'll help someone else get there.

1) I'm truly the first two in "go back to the start"; Obey me you must if you've mastered the art. Halting's not smart; It hasn't ended; Please let me remind of the part I appended. _ _

Da Capo - "an Italian musical term that means "from the beginning" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Da_capo

2) I can show imagination, I can show you what's real; Let me show you the unheard, it's what I reveal. I frequently wander, And pass time as you ponder; How all that you've heard is only piecemeal. _ _

??

3) "Press" on those keys, oh "tug" on those strings; Do both and you'll make a rise and tide out of things; Now split them in half; That's it, don't laugh; Or flip "down" two-fold like it's a drum stick spinning. _ _

WA - WAx and WAne, while not exactly half for wax, as close as can be. Wasn't considering this until I thought about the don't laugh clue.

4) NK

That gives us:

DA??WANK

• 1) is correct! This should confirm for you the theme. 2) is by far the hardest. Godspeed. 3) Rise and tide, ebb and flow, __ and __... Feb 26, 2020 at 20:06
• I'll keep sporadically attempting. I might be the most musically disinclined person on all of SE, so this is strictly a research/maybe some book knowledge try for me lol I'm assuming 3 should be obvious after that hint, but still got nothing for now. Feb 26, 2020 at 20:16
• Aha :) your answer to 1 indicates that's not true. It only seems that way because of the nature of the site, I guess. I will add that 2 is something not specific to music whatsoever, but I've described how it is. 3 is the least "technical" so no knowledge required Feb 26, 2020 at 20:26
• Your first duo suddenly made everything click for me TCooper! +1 and thanks for the flash of inspiration :)
– Stiv
Feb 26, 2020 at 20:54
• That's why I posted Stiv, spinning my wheels too hard on this one! Glad it helped Feb 26, 2020 at 20:55