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12:13 AM
@Deusovi Sometimes you can deduce part of the answer though, i.e. the intersection between all the possible solutions.
But I agree with your comments about the style
Yes, hence my "guessing" comment.
Wait a sec, they changed the puzzle? That's kind of sloppy and infuriating.
Oh huh. They could've at least left a comment.
@Deusovi Yes, I agree
There was an error in the image that made it seemingly unsolvable, and I've been wracking my head for a while now.... Turns out it *was* unsolvable.
Well, at least the concept is interesting.
12:23 AM
Yeah, I love the concept. I have a few ideas for extending it, too.
Ok, there we go. Solved it.
Hey, how did you get stars without making it italicised?
For both stars, or just the first one?
E.g. \*not italicised but visually emphasised* -> *not italicised but visually emphasised*
12:26 AM
Okay, thanks
You don't usually need to do both stars, but sometimes you get nesting problems
**\*Huh?*** -> *Huh?*
Oh, yep, that makes sense
(wow, that doesn't even parse [**\*Huh?**\*])
[we should probably move those to the sandbox]
** how to get bold AND italicized? **
12:29 AM
How to get Comic Sans font? That would be a useful feature, right?
@MikeQ flags
Eh, wingdings is more useful.
@thecoder16 ***B+I*** -> B+I
oh, for some reason i always separate them
this time
12:42 AM
wait, how many is it
Three shall be the number of thy counting.
12:43 AM
it seems to be
That's no fun
Q: Non-existence — it's doesn't exist and does exist

Soha Farhin Pine The middle of a line stretching for eternity in both sides, in words I am. No thing is not me. I and me—we together is non-existence. What is we?

^Is this advertising?
@Wen1now No
I mean promoting your own puzzle
12:50 AM
God, no!
Then what are you doing?
seems like people here are bored
just gave a puzzle to spice up the day
That puzzle seems way too underspecified and nonsensical.
@Deusovi No, I don't think it is. But it might be a tad bit mathematical.
"it's doesn't exist and does exist" doesn't make sense. It's not even grammatically correct.
12:53 AM
It's intentional
Unless it's it seems too broad
well, it is tagged enigmatic-puzzle
^ Enigmatic puzzles are enigmatic.
Enigmatic means must find out the type of puzzle
Which is close to, but different from steganography: people must find information in otherwise non-suspicious text
12:54 AM
I think it should be tagged riddle but not enigmatic
It's very straightforward
Yes, and it is marked as without any semblance to a crossword. So yeah we have to figure out.... something.
but very enigmatic
[tag: ]
Ah, I see. Exists and doesn't exist, straightforward and enigmatic... Paradox?
12:56 AM
@MikeQ Don't forget the it's.
I don't like , to be honest. Or at least, how it's used - often, it seems to just be an "I'm not sure how to tag this" marker.
I think there are puzzles for which it's totally appropriate, and some of them are good puzzles.
But at least half of puzzles so tagged are neither good puzzles nor ones that fit its intended use.
Agreed. But some of them - much more, from what I've seen - are not good puzzles.
i kinda agree with deusovi. most good enigmatic puzzles are steganography puzzles.
I... don't much like steganography puzzles either.
12:58 AM
...well... then what is your example of a good enigmatic puzzle?
The point of steganography is that a message is hidden in an innocuous surface. Many of them fail this test. In addition, they're often poorly designed.
enigmatic is work out the type of puzzle
Q: A well balanced puzzle: Logic puzzle(s) in visual disguise

BmyGuest This is a rather involved puzzle and might require a bit of stamina. All of the puzzle is in image form. The introduction text is not needed for the puzzle. At the end of the puzzle you'll get a short English sentence. The puzzle consists of several sub-puzzles and you're encouraged to post so...

Nopes, this is NOT steganography.
(This isn't tagged for some reason, but it probably should be.)
1:00 AM
yeah, lol, and i see your point now.
On the other hand, good enigmatic puzzles can be good
@ffao Sure. What immediately comes to mind for me in that category are hunt puzzles.
Maybe one of these days someone could post something on the meta along the lines of "What is an enigmatic puzzle" or "What should be involved in an enigmatic puzzle" or similar.
@MikeQ Why don't one of you guys do so?
it would probably be a self-answer, so you would need to prepare an answer first.
1:02 AM
What? Why me?
I don't actually know the answer (I expected it to be a self-answer post)
Nor do I. I'm not even sure if should be a thing.
How would you tag hunt puzzles otherwise? (Legitimate question)
@Deusovi Why not post a discussion thread on meta?
I feel like it would leave a tagging hole
I believe enigmatic-puzzle should be a thing, it just should be used less... recklessly
1:04 AM
We could always go with renaming it to as people have already suggested... :P
@Wen1now Nobody actually is sure of what the standard for a enigmatic-puzzle is.
When the solver does not know what type of puzzle it is
@ffao I think they could easily be tagged with one of , , or something else relevant without giving too much away.
Is ever used on its own?
this, on the other hand, is not enigmatic because the solver knows what type of puzzle it is
That should probably be tagged
1:08 AM
@Deusovi Are you suggesting that enigmaticity should be indicated simply by the absence of a more informative tag? It seems to me that someone might reasonably want to search for what are currently (notionally) labelled as enigmatic-puzzles, but the most obvious reason for wanting to do so seems like it could justify the existence of almost any tag. (Namely: "there was a really great puzzle that I want to find, and all I remember clearly is that at first sight you couldn't tell how to begin.")
I'm suggesting that we don't need to indicate "you may not know how to begin with this one" with a tag at all. After all, that's true of many puzzles currently not tagged , and it's probably different for different people - what might be obvious for one person would be counterintuitive for another.
That's a "yes" to the question I asked, right?
Sort of, but that question implies that we should still be "indicating" it somehow.
I'm not sure that's actually necessary.
@Deusovi What do you mean by "that question"? Are you talking about my one?
(Or even meaningful.)
@SohaFarhinPine I was responding to Gareth's question here in chat.
1:12 AM
@Deusovi I see.
I'm not sure it is inconceivable that a user might want to search for "hunt-style" puzzles instead of well-defined puzzles
And you can't search for tag absence
@ffao True, but that's not what means.
@all Gareth's answer got really close.
His approach is correct.
Another thing: the puzzle might be a tad bit mathematical.
or logical...
You mentioned that.
I did, but that may have gone overlooked.
1:15 AM
(I did wonder whether there was some way to make the answer to the second one a slash, so that the first could yield 0 or O for the origin and then combining them would make an empty-set symbol...)
@Soha Why so many hints when you posted not too long ago? What's the hurry?
@MikeQ I'm VERY impatient.
(I also wondered whether the second could yield "hing" (because no thing is not hing) but that doesn't seem to get anywhere unless the first gives "not" which I doubt because (1) I don't see a way to make it do so and (2) "im" seems way too plausible for the first one)
The first does produce something very similar.
Going offline...
no one here
1:27 AM
There are many ones here
Hi Mike
I am also here
Greetings of the day
Hi Deus
Title updated.
The puzzle will (hopefully) make more sense now.
@GarethMcCaughan The previous title was a bit vague
and now that i think of it, not too intuitive
3 hours later…
4:14 AM
Q: Two very different brothers

noClue Two brothers, young and old Nothing in common, except for one word One is family-friendly, the other is not One is alive, the other is a memory What are the names of these two brothers?

4:42 AM
@SohaFarhinPine I understand that you want your puzzle solved soon. But, remember that you have posted it on a weekend when the site generally gets less traffic. So, hold on to the hints for now. Someone would eventually get it.
4 hours later…
9:00 AM
Q: This Dice Blackjack game - is there Nash equilibrium?

matouscThis dice Blackjack is game for two - bettor and dealer. It is played with fair six-sided dice. Bettor: Bettor starts the game. Bettor can roll dice as many times he/she desires while the sum of rolls is lower than 21. Dealer: Dealer plays after bettor. So dealer knows what sum bettor achieve. ...

9:18 AM
Morning @Beastly
and a good [TIME OF DAY] to you too @Wen1
good morning
Good Afternoon.
Huh. My friends shouted at me after I told them the C4's solution. (I had asked them for help after the CCCC was unsolved for days)
why? cos it was indirect?
9:26 AM
Which C4, Rubio's RECOILED?
Yeah. Rubio's. No not for the indirect anagram
why then?
Those idiots don't even know what a cryptic clue is. I asked about that beforehand. They told me that they know about cryptic crosswords. So, I put forth the clue. Now, they tell me that they didn't know that anagrams and reversals are wordplay..
(Sorry, for using idiot. I am totally mad, right now)
9:30 AM
you seriously don't need to apologise for saying 'idiot'
Well, it's not a word that I regularly use. And it isn't respectful either
Q: Wordsquare Riddle, Again

William NathanaelMy first is very wild You can't pull him off the hat My second is the fourth to start Yet the first to kick the bucket My third are points That makes people trust you My fourth is anything else Easy is to figure out this clue

^ I think word 2 is ABEL. Biblically, was 4th born, and 1st killed. Dunno what the other words are.
I had DEAD - begins with D which is fourth letter
but that doesn't fit with my guesses for other words
I think 1 is HARE
9:43 AM
That fits too
Hare, Abel, Reps, Else ?
I had reps - else fits
I had HARE and REPS
Never heard of ABEL
Cain and Abel (Hebrew: הֶבֶל ,קַיִן‎ Qayin, Heḇel; Arabic: قابيل، هابيل‎‎ Qābīl, Hābīl) were sons of Adam and Eve in the biblical Book of Genesis. Cain, the firstborn, tilled the soil, and his brother Abel was a shepherd. The brothers made sacrifices to God, each of his own produce, but God favored Abel's sacrifice instead of that of Cain. Cain murdered Abel. God punished Cain to a life of wandering, but set a mark on him so that no man would kill him. Cain then dwelt in the land of Nod (נוד‎, "wandering"), where he built a city and fathered the line of descendants beginning with Enoch. The narrative...
9:44 AM
Yep. That's the answer
I knew cain not abel
com wiki?
Sure, we all sort of got it simultaneously
or maybe @MikeQ should do it
you got 3
@Sid got HARE. What's the explanation? It sounds like hair?
Pulling a rabbit out of Hat
9:45 AM
wilder than a rabbit
"pull him off the hat" -> pull out of a hat
yeah that wasn't a good clue
Maybe the OP isn't fluent in English, nothing wrong with that
It doesn't seem that he is
Anyway I vote Mike should answer
9:48 AM
I thought ABEL was a tad unfair. But, that's maybe because I haven't read the Bible
I read the bible once for fun. Its kind of hard to remember everything though
Trivia is generally fair game for puzzles if the information isn't too obscure
Where I'm from, most people are generally familiar with Biblical stories, so I figured it was common-ish knowledge
Anyhow, flip a 3-sided coin to see who posts?
...That doesn't work here, does it.
Shiro isn't here
Red -> Gerbil, Green -> Sid, Blue -> Mike
9:51 AM
Where did Rubio come?
2 messages moved from Codenames
Sorry, meant Gerbil, your icons look kind of similar
ok mike posts
But anyway, Shiro only does two-sided flips
9:51 AM
So Sid didn't have a chance...
roll a dice - 1and2 I post, 3and4 Sid posts, 5and6 mike posts?
What? Dang. Isn't there a chat RNG? Like !d3 or something?
(and no, it is impossible to simulate a fair 3-choice with any number of coin flips)
9:53 AM
Use a 3-sided coin
anyone have one?
Meh. @BG how many did you get earlier?
Coins do have 3 sides
the top, the bottom, and the side
I had 2. HARE and REPS
I had reps and else
9:54 AM
And I had ABEL and ELSE. So again, 2.
(unless it's a polygonal coin/circular with a hole)
Mike had 3, I think?
mike had reps as well I thought
Oh, I did say Reps, didn't I.
so he should so do it
9:55 AM
Kind of out of it this morning, huh...
There you go. 3-sided coins and everything...
by the time we decide, someone else is going to post :P
Q: Non-existence — it's isn't and does exist

Soha Farhin Pine The middle of a line stretching for eternity in both sides, in words I am. No thing is not me. I and me—we together is non-existence. What is we? Hints For #1,

This puzzle's hint is as enigmatic as the puzzle
This also seems to be dangerously veering towards "guess what I am thinking" area
Leave a comment, then.
@Sid Her riddles tend to require some interpretation. It may be a style thing. Sometimes it's well-received, other times not.
Riddles are supposed to be creative (and/or vague) and require a similarly creative solution.
10:08 AM
the title seems to give it is, it isn't and it does
@boboquack It's impossible to do a fair 3-way choice with any fixed number of coin flips. But e.g. you can do this: flip twice, then HH, HT, TH yield your 3 options and if you get TT you do it again (until you get something other than TT).
That seems overly complicated, just use a 3-sided coin like I said...
This takes 2 flips 3/4 of the time, plus another 2 flips 3/16 of the time, etc. So the expected number of flips is 2(1+1/4+1/16+...) = 8/3.
oh right i get you
It's much simpler to use a 3-sided coin. When in motion, both of its sides are perfectly flat. Then it stops moving, and the side facing up is randomly chosen from a pocket dimension, assuming you have one nearby.
Or, you find an unpredictable person, ask them to pick a number 1, 2, or 3. In exchange you pay them a coin.
10:16 AM
What if they choose 4? They're unpredictable...
or roll a dice
until you get 1 2 or 3
You don't even need to wait for that, just take the result mod 3
But Beastly's method works even for 20-sided dice.
If you're worried that your coin (or your coin-flipping) might be biased, flip groups of 3; odd one out (if any) gives your result, and do it again if you get HHH or TTT. Then biased results make the process take longer on average but don't make it unfair.
@MOehm I'm sure beastly won't recommend doing that with a 20sided dice.
10:20 AM
depends if there are twenty people :P
@GarethMcCaughan Sorry. I mean with a bounded number of flips
10:35 AM
Q: Sticks and stones may break my sum

rybo11113 sticks and two stones are laid out as follows: Move three items so the arrangement makes sense.

11:05 AM
@Sid So you downvoted my puzzle because of that hint?
There's currently only one downvote,
and that's presumably given by you.
All puzzles more or less require some form of interpretation
11:18 AM
@SohaFarhinPine 1. Not necessarily - there are many people who could have, and just because someone expressed a worry about something doesn't mean that they down voted. 2. Please don't go after users who downvoted they're just trying to keep the quality high. I'm not saying that you're attacking him right now, just that it looks slightly like you're accusing him.
@Soha As of now, the puzzle has 113 views. Only 1 downvote, and no indicator of who downvoted. The comment that Sid made was that the hint is seemingly unclear (which is fine, it's a riddle after all!) and may require some cognitive leaps of faith to solve. That is different from simply saying "This puzzle is bad".
11:40 AM
@GarethMcCaughan - would it be possible for you to tweak this to exclude users with rep on other sites?
@Mithrandir I didn't mean to sound accusing.
Now that I think of it, I do sound somewhat so.
@Sid I apologise, if I came off as rude.
I just wanted to know exactly why you think that's vague
and too broad.
The puzzle itself is vague, and it's hard to tell what the hint means.
Plus the tag is even moreso confusing, because nothing else in the puzzle screams "crossword", so it may take people a while to figure out a solution.
Sometimes, we design an easy puzzle and it turns out to be much more difficult than expected. Sometimes the opposite is true.
Especially for enigmatic puzzles. People will need time to solve the puzzle, but before that, they will need even more time to figure out the strategy needed to solve the puzzle.
11:56 AM
No apologies needed.
And no, I didn't down vote your puzzle
I reserve my judgement on puzzles until I see the final answer
Q: Popcorn will never stop

DotanIf a man says duck It all turns black Will the ball explode with doom and gloom? The bell will ring And the child will sing When you see a cow ??? Options: The horse knows why You want it to It turns to snow They find a shack Your eyes turn green

can someone explain to me the whole thing about net neutrality?
@Mithrandir dead spammer
@Mithrandir It probably would be possible to tweak it and I've wondered about doing so, but I don't know off the top of my head how to do it. I'll have a look, but probably not today.
1:29 PM
Hello~~ I was wondering if I would be allowed to post puzzles from a past exam paper that I really like...
are there any copyright issues I should be aware of?
I've looked at the answers on meta but still not exactly sure
Always always attribute the source of content you didn't write. That's just to avoid plagiarizing, which is not permitted.
Thats the first barrier.
Hm... I guess I'll leave it then. The source has answers and I don't want people to ruin the puzzle for others
Beyond that, if copyright or restrictions by author/publisher preclude its use elsewhere, then obviously you have no right to post it here and doing so would be a bad idea.
Thankyou! @Rubio
No prob
1:35 PM
@as4s4hetic answers here are - at least unofficially - especially required to mark all answers as spoilers, so that you can have the fun of solving it yourself. I don't know the official policy on this, but it's generally accepted.
@Mithrandir ok! I'll check the website to see if there are any copyright issues and I'll post if there aren't!
@Rubio I think there is a precedent,(or maybe I am wrong) that you can post a puzzle without the source and then attribute it after people have answered.
and personally I like that because then, people have a harder time cheating
You still need to attribute it, though it often suffices to say "This is from an old competition - link will be provided when solved" or somesuch
the idea is explicitly to make it clear you are not representing the puzzle as your own (which is exactly what plagiarism is)
and, of course, you need to make good on that promise
yeah, I mean that ^^
@as4s4hetic ^^ read that
I know I'm being a bit quick, but added more hints. Not last resort hints. Very subtle hints.
Q: Non-existence — it's isn't and does exist

Soha Farhin Pine The middle of a line stretching for eternity in both sides, in words I am. No thing is not me. I exist but do not live. I and me—we together is non-existence. What is we? Hint(s)... for #1, for #2, for #3, for the entire puzzle,

1:49 PM
This makes me think of the imaginary number "i".
@Sid Not that mathematical.
@Sid @Rubio Thank you! I'll keep that in mind
No problem!
2:08 PM
Contact going, if anyone is interested
2:32 PM
Anyone out there?
@Rubio Are you there?
I am - what's up?
Have no puzzle to solve?
I mean, if you're not too busy solving other puzzles, you could take a look at this one:
Q: Non-existence — it's isn't and does exist

Soha Farhin Pine The middle of a line stretching for eternity in both sides, in words I am. No thing is not me. I exist but do not live. I and me—we together is non-existence. What is we? Hint(s)... for #1, for #2, for #3, for the entire puzzle,

Stream of downvotes...
I'm too scared this might be one of my worst puzzles yet.
If no one can solve this, people will think it's too broad.
2:54 PM
Since I don't know the solution I can't say for sure, but it feels like -
"Here's a catalog of stuff that is true about my intended solution. What is the solution?"
As opposed to a series of clues that points the solver toward the solution.
With the former, if you know the solution it's easy to demonstrate that all the facts are true. But if you don't know the solution it may not be feasible, or even possible, to work backwards from the facts to the solution.
That's when a puzzle edges dangerously into "Guess what I'm thinking?" territory.
I don't think that's quite fair
because there's some "structure" to how it works (we find something matching 1 and something matching 2, and put the words together in some suitable way to get something matching 3 -- I think)
so there's at least a reasonable chance that the intended answer is findable
Yeah - I mean, I haven't spent a lot of time on it, to be honest, I'm just giving my impression.
and clearly better, once found, than other candidate answers
I suspect that because this is, apparently, somewhat mathematical? Am I remembering this right? ... that the solution is already somewhat more abstract than concrete, which doesn't help make it more accessible. But I have trouble in that headspace anyway, so that's just me.
3:10 PM
@GarethMcCaughan Did you read the hints?
I saw some hints. Haven't looked in the last few minutes. Hints suggest that actually I'm looking at 0 or O or ORIGIN or something for #1, which makes me puzzled by your earlier statements that I was very much on the right track.
You say "in words" when the thing you've got at hand is not in words, but in ..........
3:22 PM
Read each line very very carefull.y
Hi, The game of pebbles is a two-player game. The game starts with N stones. On a player's turn, he or she must remove either 1, 2 or 4 stones. The player who does not take the last stone is the winner.

Is there a winning strategy?
3:51 PM
@Dattier Hint: (rot13)gel cebivat ol vaqhpgvba gung frpbaq cynlre jvaf vs A=1 (zbq 3) naq svefg cynlre jvaf bgurejvfr.
@Ankoganit : sorry I don't understand
@Dattier What don't you understand? Did you try rot13ing the hint?
4:03 PM
"try proving by induction that second player wins if n (mod 3) and first player wins otherwise"
that should be n=1 (mod 3)
Now can you complete the proof?
I am a cooking, I like do engima
And that's my cake (enigma)
Bravo, it's the good piste
I am a cooker, I like prepare engima
And that's my cake (enigma)
Bravo, it's the good way
Just to make things clear, do you know the solution (and wanted to share the puzzle) or do you not (and wanted help solving)?
I know the solution (and wanted to share the puzzle)
Ok, sorry, I was under the opposite impression; my bad.
And btw, welcome to The Sphinx's Lair!
4:12 PM
So the rest of the solution is: if N=3k+1, then the first player can make it 3k,3k-1,3k-3, and each of them leads to win for second player by induction hypothesis. If N=3k or N=3k+2, first player can make it 1(mod 3) and then win by induction hypothesis.
if 4 stones, then 2, if 1 then 2 stones, but if 2 then ?
how much can takes stone the second gamer
If we start with 4, and A takes 2, then B takes 1 and leaves with 1 which A must take.
(A=first player, B=second player)
A : have N=3k+1 stones, how must game B, to keep the advantage
if A take 4 stones then B 2, if A take 1 then B 2, and if A take 2 then B take ?
If A takes 2, B takes 1, so it's still 1(mod 3)
4:31 PM
Not exactly
Umm why not?
I will give the good answer, but I wait for know if, here they know the good answer : maths-forum.com/enigmes/jeu-des-cailloux-t186029.html#p1235007
Anko's answer looks good to me o_O
5:13 PM
Not exactly
5:55 PM
Q: Another Unconventional Dice Blackjack game - is Nash equlibrium here?

matouscThis question is similar to This Dice Blackjack game - is there Nash equilibrium?, but the game rules are completely different. This Dice Blackjack is game for two. It is also played with fair six-sided dice. In this game is no bettor or dealer, both players have the same role. Rules: Any playe...

Q: My God, it's full of stars!

paramesisAn entry in Fortnightly Topic Challenge #32: Grid Deduction Hybrids My dear friend, unknown to us, may have relocated again. He sent me imagery and constellation maps indicating that a distant red spiraling galaxy was at his zenith, and nearly collinear with the largest local galactic cores. ...

1 hour later…
7:11 PM
@ffao et @Ankoganit : if A takes 2, B can takes 1 or 4.
7:29 PM
8:08 PM
Q: I need help with this number sequence

JeroendeKOkay, so I was reading my local newspaper, and they had an article about a pub quiz, which had the following sequence: 762 - 774 - 571 - 742 - 629 - 796 - 794 - 861 And the question was to figure out the next two numbers. They provided the answers (see spoiler below) but I can't figure out ...

9:04 PM
@Sphinx Anyone else working on this?
Looks like a Spiral Galaxies puzzle with the added gimmick of having unused squares which are loop-draw-able.
9:18 PM
I've pretty much no idea how to do any of the grid puzzles. :)
10:13 PM
Sorry for posting the FTC too early, for some reason I'm not working as I was 7 months ago, so I had to post it manually. My master will look into it this week. But now he really has to go to bed in order to get at least 5 hours of sleep.
(he has to adjust me to the new "post anything, doesn't have to be a tag" rule anyways, so it was a genius idea of him to just assume I'll work as expected... applauds. Let's see if is at least competent enough (i.e. "not too lazy") to fix me this week.
Q: Fortnightly Topic Challenge #33: Surface Geometry Mazes

RottersSlaveThis is the thirty-third instalment of the Fortnightly Topic Challenge described here, with topics suggested and voted on here. This fortnight's topic is surface geometry mazes(suggested by Typhon), and will span from the the 3rd of July to the 16th of July. During this period, we will compile th...

1 hour later…
11:50 PM
Q: Can two colors ever be orthagonally adjacent in a flexi puzzle?

Conor O'BrienA flexi puzzle is a fun little toy, consisting of wood blocks and a string that runs through it. The pattern of colors is repeated twice; if a color is found at position $N$, it is found a second time at position $N+6$. For example, in the picture above, the color red occurs at positions $1$ a...


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