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Questions tagged [english]

Puzzles that crucially depend on some feature of the English language or that only work in an English formulation.

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143 votes
2 answers
8k views

Hearken, now, and listen close!

Hearken, now, and listen close; I have so much to tell. Now lend an ear and do your job; you surely will excel. To find my hidden message, gaze on every word herein. While skimming through it ...
GentlePurpleRain's user avatar
65 votes
1 answer
6k views

How Many Policemen?

A friend of mine presented this nifty little puzzle, he said it's from Round Britain Quiz. It goes like this: An athletics competition, arranged periodically, rewards a medal to 79 winners, 47 ...
Bass's user avatar
  • 77.7k
59 votes
4 answers
7k views

Ghotiy spelling

As some of you likely know, ghoti is an interesting spelling of the word fish. Using: ...
Devsman's user avatar
  • 2,470
58 votes
3 answers
4k views

What is a Cyclone Phrase™?

If a phrase adheres to a certain rule, then I call it a Cyclone Phrase™. Use the examples below to find the rule. Also find the one error in the chart below. (In other words, one of the phrases below ...
JLee's user avatar
  • 19.4k
57 votes
3 answers
3k views

Regular Expressions

...
Bass's user avatar
  • 77.7k
54 votes
3 answers
4k views

The Case of the Miscalculating Calculator

At the Arithmetic Company, to try and cut down labor costs the administration commissioned a calculator to be made. The calculator was produced, and in the quality control division was tested with the ...
KSab's user avatar
  • 1,142
46 votes
2 answers
11k views

And and... and. And.?

This is a cool riddle, which my Maths teacher taught our class, 25 years ago. I still remember it and find it very cool. Can you create a perfectly valid English sentence, which makes perfect sense, ...
Mike Gledhill's user avatar
46 votes
14 answers
3k views

Almost a curse?

What am I? My last three letters serve to clarify.My first four letters are where famous people speak.Dropping all consonants, I am almost a curse. The solution is a single English word and, once ...
user avatar
43 votes
3 answers
2k views

And the rest is hstr!

This is an entry in the 14th Fortnightly Topic Challenge. Ha, nice, a new fortnightly challenge. What's more, it is about history! It seems that people didn't like sports that much, huh? Fortunatly, ...
IAmInPLS's user avatar
  • 11.5k
41 votes
16 answers
5k views

What is the smallest set of letters that can spell any integer? [closed]

Today my 9-year-old nephew told me that he can spell any integer in English using only 9 letters. This is how he's doing it: ...
GOTO 0's user avatar
  • 13.5k
41 votes
5 answers
7k views

Unusual letter combinations

This is an entry in the Fortnightly Topic Challenge #41: Short and Sweet. English spelling is very strange. Sometimes you encounter words with letter combinations that would seem entirely ...
GentlePurpleRain's user avatar
40 votes
1 answer
3k views

Confessions of a Riddle Junkie

I'm $\bbox[#fff9c3]{\color{#fff9c3}{\textbf{NO PEEKING!}}}$ and I am alcoholic. I sometimes also take pot; it makes me kind of casual. And crack too, because it makes me highly skilled. As you can ...
Bass's user avatar
  • 77.7k
40 votes
1 answer
3k views

The Late Queen Gives in to Remorse - Reverse Hangman

Add a "C", I am what has been, Add a "G", I might be a queen, Add a "P", I'll turn away from sin Add an "L" and I may just give in. This is a Reverse Hangman puzzle, see here for an example. ...
hexomino's user avatar
  • 137k
39 votes
5 answers
4k views

What is a Versatile Word™?

If a word has a certain property, I call it a Versatile Word™. In each of the short, unrelated sentences below, only one of the choices is a Versatile Word™. The sentences are for context only, and ...
JLee's user avatar
  • 19.4k
37 votes
17 answers
6k views

What is the name of this puzzle?

The English dictionary, as you may know, is a highly mutable entity. While removing words such as irregardless might be considered a good thing, others, such as ...
Chowzen's user avatar
  • 25.7k
36 votes
1 answer
3k views

Imagine a chess board, but seven-eighths wide

My grandfather wrote me this riddle on a napkin when I was 12. It took me more than a year to solve, but I got it eventually. He said I didn't get it until I had explained the sections, so explain ...
Noah Smith's user avatar
36 votes
1 answer
2k views

Can you follow Directions?

Unemployed? Lk no further! Are you: Able to follow directions? Able to read Flowcharts? Highly motivated? Able to count on your hands and feet without utilizing your big toes and thumbs? Well ...
Chowzen's user avatar
  • 25.7k
35 votes
1 answer
2k views

Took a trip to a parallel universe, need help deciphering

I recently traveled to a parallel universe where the people wrote in a symbol-heavy language seemingly derived from English. While there, I attended various sorts of collegiate lectures to get a feel ...
Conor O'Brien's user avatar
34 votes
1 answer
5k views

Why Alexa Shouldn't Teach Non-Native English Speakers About Idioms

They cost ≈ $0.00833333333333333333333333333333 each. (9) -_----_-_----- Go! Intentionally fracture your fibula! ...
Chowzen's user avatar
  • 25.7k
34 votes
1 answer
2k views

What is a Halved Word™?

If a word has a certain property, I call it a Halved Word™. In each of the short, unrelated sentences below, only one of the choices is a Halved Word™. The sentences do not affect whether a word is ...
JLee's user avatar
  • 19.4k
33 votes
4 answers
2k views

What is a Scalable Phrase™?

Now that you are familiar with Cyclone Phrases, let's look at another kind of phrase. If a phrase adheres to a certain rule, then I call it a Scalable Phrase™. Use the examples below to find the ...
JLee's user avatar
  • 19.4k
32 votes
2 answers
2k views

CSE Hex Cube Puzzle

I've been tackling this puzzle named "Hex Cube" from the CSE (Communications Security Establishment, the Canadian "equivalent" of the NSA) which comes with the instructions: "...
fstarnaud's user avatar
31 votes
1 answer
5k views

The hangman game backward

So, @JLee has posted a hangman game (Hangman- No misses left) on SE. I would like to create one too, but let's do it backward - guess what was the question, with only 1 letter missing: fill in an "a"...
Alex's user avatar
  • 8,566
30 votes
2 answers
1k views

What's "gopher wood"?

Originally published by me on the internet ca. 2003. No trace left on Google, so you get a clean slate. Drenched with sweat from hard labor in the field, Noah loosened his girdle and complained, &...
Juan Tomas's user avatar
  • 1,481
30 votes
7 answers
2k views

A Riddle of Mine

I came up with this riddle a few years ago, and so far very few people have been able to solve it: Think of a four-letter word (“_ _ _ _”) such that adding an A to the beginning (“a _ _ _ _”) changes ...
Dirge of Dreams's user avatar
28 votes
1 answer
2k views

What do you call a pH Table?

The answer is two words (12 letters) which describe a pH table in a cryptic sort of way.
Amoz's user avatar
  • 27.7k
26 votes
3 answers
3k views

Double Speak - Phrases that need rewording

Each of these phrases can be reworded into a Double Speak phrase. A Double Speak phrase has two homophones together in the same phrase. For example a "Warrior's time of rest" could also be called a "...
qwertyu63's user avatar
  • 3,929
26 votes
3 answers
1k views

Why aren't the numbers playing nicely anymore?

The natural numbers have gotten in a big fight and split up into groups. If we can't get them back together again, the universe may never be the same! What kind of sense does it make to have three ...
Engineer Toast's user avatar
25 votes
13 answers
5k views

A rhopalic sentence of at-least 5 words, beginning with as long word as possible [closed]

Rhopalic sentences are sentences which have words whose length is one more than the previous word. eg: I do not hunt birds. I do not know where family doctors acquired illegibly perplexing ...
dryairship's user avatar
  • 1,297
25 votes
5 answers
4k views

Well-known American figure with Roman numerals

Which well-known American figure has an 8-letter name, with 6 consonants and all of them are Roman numerals?
anonymousdude123's user avatar
25 votes
1 answer
3k views

Four is Cosmic!

This is a little puzzle I heard a while back from one of my mathematically inclined friends- I get the sense that it's bounced around a little, so forgive me if you've heard it. There is a sort of ...
Patrick N's user avatar
  • 1,790
25 votes
2 answers
2k views

Strange Glyphs From Another Time

The following glyphs were recently uncovered at a dig site, which have stumped cryptographers and linguists alike. These symbols are guessed to be some sort of ancient language, but nothing is yet ...
ExecutionByFork's user avatar
25 votes
6 answers
1k views

A Plethora of Plurals

Please find words that have the following properties: A word that becomes its plural when the letter "s" at the end is dropped. A word that becomes its plural when the first two letters are swapped. ...
noneuclideanisms's user avatar
24 votes
7 answers
4k views

Spelling Bee Bee Bee

I once attended an English-language spelling bee where a speller, during her turn, repeated the same letter three times in a row, and she was judged to be correct. She spelled the word perfectly, ...
FlanMan's user avatar
  • 5,742
24 votes
7 answers
3k views

From Puzzling to StackExchange

This is a variation of a game I used to play with my friends in my childhood. You are given a starting word, and using the following operations, you have to reach the target word. The solution that ...
CodeNewbie's user avatar
  • 11.8k
23 votes
2 answers
3k views

What is an Uncopyrightable Word?™

If a phrase has a certain property, I call it an Uncopyrightable Word™. In each of the sentences below, one word is an Uncopyrightable Word™ and one is not. The sentences are for context only, ...
GentlePurpleRain's user avatar
23 votes
1 answer
2k views

A brief int counter

The following infinite sequence is used by those taking first steps in maths. 3, 3, 4, 4, 4, 3, 4, 5, 3, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, ? Find the next number.
Tom's user avatar
  • 70.6k
23 votes
9 answers
1k views

I Almost am a Chicken

I almost am a chicken, Not quite a famous horse. Confined to my domain, I'll help you see the course. I almost am contagious, Not quite a Youtube part. Use a pencil when you're ready ...
Chowzen's user avatar
  • 25.7k
23 votes
2 answers
1k views

What is an Inefficient Phrase™?

My friend is so old-school. He gave me the list below of phrases that he calls Inefficient Phrases™, which, by the way, are totally unrelated to Efficient Phrases™, and all other types of Phrases™ ...
JLee's user avatar
  • 19.4k
23 votes
1 answer
2k views

A confusing sign

This puzzle is part of the Monthly Topic Challenge #12: mobile-friendly puzzles. I saw this posted on a sign, but couldn’t make sense of it. What was it trying to say? By ridge loses own aster or ...
Amoz's user avatar
  • 27.7k
23 votes
1 answer
1k views

Reverse Hangman at double difficulty

So I was there, playing Hangman with my friend, when I found myself in a bit of a tough situation. I'd guessed five of the seven letters, and thus needed to get the last two. But I only had three ...
Glen O's user avatar
  • 5,023
22 votes
7 answers
4k views

What number is that ? Asks Grandpa

"So here is a number between 1 and 60" Says Grandpa "If you take its WORD anagram and subtract this number you will get Anagram of the number - number > 5 What is that number"? "So it is the ...
DrD's user avatar
  • 39.3k
22 votes
5 answers
2k views

What is a Surpassing Phrase™?

If a phrase conforms to a certain rule, I call it a Surpassing Phrase™. Use the examples below to find the rule. Some details to save you time: 1. Font doesn't matter. 2. The number of words ...
JLee's user avatar
  • 19.4k
22 votes
2 answers
1k views

Sharp or surprising?

Sharp BR C CH DH H N PR V W Surprising BL CR FL GL KN L M SH SL SN ST THR T Both sharp and surprising B R S Question Is GR sharp, surprising or both? Why?
Toby Speight's user avatar
  • 1,089
22 votes
1 answer
2k views

The hangman game backward #2

Hangman game backward version 2 - guess what was the question, with only 1 letter missing: fill in a "b" - I might lose control anytime, so keep me on my toes. fill in an "m" - my brothers are all ...
Alex's user avatar
  • 8,566
22 votes
2 answers
3k views

The unwriteable punctuation mark

What am I? I will never be written, that surely would be impossible. For thousands of years I was unused for practical purposes. Reputedly the Irish invented me? Nowadays I am often literally ...
Tom's user avatar
  • 70.6k
22 votes
1 answer
2k views

Riddle - He who holds the answer may enter

Here's a riddle I used in a game some time ago. Not the best riddle ever, but we had fun solving it. It was written on a translucent door, on the frame of which was written "He who holds the answer ...
TacoV's user avatar
  • 515
22 votes
2 answers
996 views

Letter to the Editor

These are clues to two-word phrases that all have something in common: Sustainable power Fair-haired countess Nice bull’s-eye Furious swashbuckler Quiet spoon Peculiar heirloom Understated whiskers ...
Luke's user avatar
  • 1,728
21 votes
4 answers
2k views

Rarer for younger, yet also the opposite

I am a common word that refers to a person. I rarely refer to very young people – in fact, the older a person is, the more likely they are to be called me. However, if you pick two random ...
Jafe's user avatar
  • 78k
21 votes
2 answers
2k views

Order order everywhere

Something strange happened yesterday night. It is about a chain of images that I saw while sleeping, in dreams. The following are the sequences I saw: At 1 am, ...
wanderer's user avatar
  • 1,198

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