The Riddle Thread….

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    am yisrael chai


    Jewish: the father of Elyasaf, nassi of the shevet of Gad (Bamidbar 2:14)

    Ger: one of Yisro’s names (I don’t think it’s mentioned in the Torah, but it’s in Rashi Shmos 18:1)

    Non-Jew: one of Eisav’s sons (Breishis 36:4)


    Correct! (Was that your answer or did you cheat?) Either way good going!

    am yisrael chai

    I take that back

    Shmos 2:18 clearly the name is in the pshat

    another one Bamidbar 10:29

    am yisrael chai

    tx, Blinky, had to work hard for this one!

    I was concerned if this wouldn’t have been solved b4 bedtime!

    Keep ’em coming!


    My pleasure! I usually don’t have riddles but when I heard this one I knew I had to post it! Ill be on the lookout for more.



    Just beating others to the punch. ?

    am yisrael chai

    As a kid, I was a big reader and I still enjoy reading when I have time.

    Also, trivia, how things work, and history interest me, and I read the news daily so some stuff gets retained.

    Basically, this gives me a broad but shallow range of knowledge on a variety of subjects.

    Three statisticians are deer hunting with bows and arrows in the woods. They spot a deer and the first one shoots. His arrow goes flying ten feet off to the deer’s left. The second guy takes aim and shoots, but his aim is off. His arrow goes flying ten feet to the deer’s right. Suddenly the third statistician starts jumping up and down excitedly and yells, “We got him! We got him!

    (from Readers Digest)

    ☕️coffee addict

    that’s only in 90% certainty level 😉


    coffee addict-


    am yisrael chai

    When may someone not say ????? ???? until they drink a cup of coffee first?

    am yisrael chai

    disclaimers: the individual is in good health & does not need the caffeine to stay up


    am yisrael chai-

    I like halacha riddles because they teach worthwhile info and count as talmud Torah.

    I have no clue, but here are a couple of guesses:

    1) Before Simchas Torah Mussaf, after someone has had a “few too many”, and needs to sober up a bit for davening.

    2) One who has forgotten Havdala on Motzei Shabbos, and needs to make it later in the week without aish and besomim? (don’t know this halocha well)

    If, as I expect, the above two answers are incorrect, can you answer the following:

    1) Is it davka coffee? any drink? any food?

    2) Is it davka Shemona Esrei or a full tefilah?

    Dr. Pepper


    Did you ever figure out the riddle in post # 150,000?

    Let me know if you need a hint.

    ☕️coffee addict


    is it shavuous if he stays up all night? (b/c might fall asleep during S”E)


    Dr. Pepper-

    I’m afraid I’m totally stumped.

    I tried to Google various things to help, including the constant you referenced, but no luck.

    The factors I can think of are width of the table, width of the lines, width and length of the pencil, spacing between the lines, and the probability of the angle between the pencil and the lines.

    Why don’t you repost it here? Maybe some of the sharp new folks can solve it.

    Dr. Pepper

    Here are some hints to get you started:

    1. Ignore the width of the table- (i.e. assume that the probability of the pencil landing on the table is 1).

    2. Pretend that the pencil and lines separating the stripes are one dimensional and thus have a width of 0.

    3. You can use any pencil length and stripe width but the easiest measurements are a width of 1 for the stripe and an length of 1/2 for the pencil.

    4. The two factors to take into account are

    A. How far into a particular stripe does the center of the pencil land?

    B. The angle (from 0 to 90) that the pencil lands. (It’s easier to use radians…)

    I can’t believe I just gave away so many hints.

    am yisrael chai

    ok, here’s a much easier one, & it’s quite appropriate for this season…

    ?? ????- is Rosh Chodesh

    ?? ????- ?

    ??,??,?? ????- are ????? ??? ?????

    ?? (??) ????- is(/are) ??????

    So what is ?? ???? called?


    “So what is ?? ???? called? “

    my son’s birthday!

    But I think you meant yom hameyuchas.

    am yisrael chai

    Happy belated birthday to your son! May you see much ??? from him!

    Ugotit 🙂

    YW Moderator-42

    1. If he was holding a cup of coffee in his hand and said a bracha he cannot say shmona esrei until he takes a sip.

    2. If he made a neder not to say shmona esrei until he drinks coffee.


    for anyone who may want to get me off the hook… er, I mean take a crack at solving “Dr. Pepper”s earlier riddle, it’s reported below

    Let’s say you have a table with equal distant parallel lines running the length of the table, as follows (viewed from above):


    You randomly drop a pencil onto the table.

    What are the chances of the pencil hitting a line?

    Extra Credit- If the length of the pencil is shorter than the distance between two consecutive lines- what famous constant will you estimate?

    (No asking “squeak”. you may ask “I can only try”, as he is typically clueless. [no, that’s not exactly how it was posted originally ?])

    Dr. Pepper

    I can only try-

    Let me get you started-

    There are two variables to keep in mind:

    1. The distance between the center of the dropped pencil to the closest line, let’s call this variable “x” and

    2. The acute angle between the pencil and the pencil and all the lines (since they are parallel). Let’s call this variable “y” (since I don’t know how to get the Greek Letter “theta” on my keyboard).

    The variable “x” can take on values between 0 and 1/2 (recall that the distance between stripes is 1 and the width of the line separating the stripes is negligible).

    The variable “y” can take on values between 0 and 90 (in degrees, any angle 90 degrees and above is not acute).


    Dr. Pepper-

    Thanks for the hints.

    I already realize that only angles 0 – 90 need to be factored, because 91 – 180, 181-270 and 271 – 360 just duplicate the coverage the pencil achieves with 0 – 90.

    B”N I’ll give it some thought.

    (I hope you’re still active in teaching and/or tutoring in some capacity – you have a real talent not only for math but also for making it interesting and conveying the required knowledge and methodology.)

    Oh, here’s something that maybe you can use: ??

    If it didn’t come out well, it’s because I never tried it before – you can call it my beta theta <gong>.

    (cut-and-pasted straight from Wikipedia)



    Here’s the only hint I can give without making it obvious: I typed the message in an old old software interface that you know. The characters will be familiar when pasted back there. The hint is that I typed while holding shift.

    Dr. Pepper




    I have no idea what software interface “squeak” is talking about (I had to use standard decryption methodology), hence the above.


    i think you guys are putting us on.

    i think you are making this stuff up



    I can’t blame you for thinking that, but it’s “real”.

    I’d send you the info (I trust you’d keep it secret) but don’t know how to do so since your mailboxes are no longer used.

    Dr. Pepper

    sofryint reifub sooleestener abagooshin?

    yadvert ont bestafenen.

    goor topi barada nikto


    Dr. Pepper


    If it’s because of me, sorry. Apologies to “squeak”, too. I b”n won’t horn in in the future.


    Sorry, I ain’t buying ?

    (? <== just a smile)

    am yisrael chai


    This is Buffon’s needle problem that uses integral geometry to approximate pi if the length of the pencil is not greater than the width of the line.


    L= length of pencil

    t= parallel lines are t units apart

    x= the distance from the center of the pencil to the closest line

    ?= the acute angle between the pencil and the lines

    The probability density function of x between 0 and t /2 is


    The probability density function of ? between 0 and ?/2 is


    x and ? are independent random variables, so the joint probability density function is


    The pencil crosses the line when


    1. If it’s a short pencil & L<=t:

    Integrate the joint probability density function to get the probability that the pencil will cross a line:

    = 2L/t?

    2. If it’s a longer pencil, the calcualtions r more complicated but solvable


    am yisrael chai

    Thank you for the info / answer.

    I never heard of:

    -Buffon’s needle problem

    -integral geometry

    -probability density function

    Are these taught in high-school level math?

    College level?

    Doctorate programs?

    I don’t remember any of them from my high-school days, although I never took calculus or college level math courses.

    Based on my level of knowledge, I was trying to work out a formula that would account for the perpendicular distance covered by the pencil as the degree of the acute angle between the pencil and the bottom line increased.

    A longer pencil would mean that the 100% likelihood of at least one line being crossed would be reached at a smaller angle.

    I had no idea how to account for the infinite number of angles that exist between zero and ninety, and the likelihood of the pencil crossing the line in each of them.

    Dr. Pepper

    Sometimes, I’ll ask for more time and/or feel I missed something that I should’ve caught if I can’t figure out an answer.

    This isn’t one of those times – I don’t think it was possible for me to get the answer to this one based on what I knew.

    Thanks to both of you for showing/teaching me something(s) new.

    am yisrael chai


    U can google Buffon’s needle for more info.

    There’s another way of solving this; u may prefer that way.

    Definitely keep working on your formula; u may become famous for it!

    am yisrael chai

    Icot (or anyone else :))

    since u r so well-versed in encryptions , could u teitch the hieroglyphics above (& below)?


    Dr. Pepper

    I can only try-

    Formulas are to a mathematician as tools are to a handyman. If a handyman doesn’t have the correct tools he’ll either go out and buy them or say he can’t do the job. Another person (who may not even know which tools are needed) will find a way to improvise.

    I was always impressed at how you were able to solve problems using your own methods when I would have been at a loss if I was told that certain formulas were off limits.

    With this riddle I was truly expecting you to figure out that “x” can take on values between 0 and 1/2 and “y” can take on values between 0 and 90 degrees (or 0 and ?/2 radians). The joint probability function is f(x,y) = 2 * 2 / ? = 4 / ?. A needle crosses a line if x < =(1/2) sin y.

    Therefore “x” has to be between 0 and (1/2) sin “y” and “y” has to be between 0 and 2 / ?.

    All of the above can be done without calculus using methods which you have figured out before on your own.

    The next step requires calculus (or a numerical estimation, another technique you’ve used before). Had you gotten stuck here you could have asked me, squeak, SJSinNYC, Frummie, Feif Un… for help.

    You could also find free integration software online.

    Check out this ==>LINK<== to see a numerical estimation.


    am yisrael chai

    If I had a way to get the info to you and you only I’d gladly do so, as I believe you’d keep it to yourself.

    However, since this is a public forum, and the puzzle is a private message intended for just one recipient, I can’t post it here if it isn’t OK with “squeak” (which I believe it isn’t).


    Dr. Pepper

    Thank you for the kind words, but apparently in this case you’ve misoverestimated me.

    Perhaps the synapses are showing the strain of age or work-related stress.

    Maybe it’s just rust from not trying your puzzles for several months.

    Sometimes my kludged solutions are the result of brute force grunt work, sometimes there’s a “Eureka!” moment, but regardless of how it’s done there is some satisfaction to actually figuring out the answer.

    In any case, although logic and trivia are more my thing, your puzzles are probably better as true mental exercises.

    Please keep ’em coming.

    am yisrael chai

    What was Moshe Rabeinu’s last name?

    am yisrael chai


    Could the mods exchange our email addresses for the hieroglyphics?


    Btw, we’re anxiously awaiting some of your own puzzles…


    Dr. Pepper – i don’t know if it’s possible, but can you explain in plain english what your riddle has to do with pi? i thought pi had something to do with a circle?

    i took calculus in highschool, but unfortunately, it was such a joke class – i didn’t learn a thing. the teacher also taught at a community college and allowed us to take the tests the same way he allowed them, which was open-notes.

    so, we wrote down the formulas he taught us, and then for the tests, we just plugged in the numbers that were on the exam question. Besides, remembering that calculus has something to do with building bridges, i did not learn a thing.

    Dr. Pepper


    I’m not quite sure what your question is.

    Are you asking how the answer relates to ?? The answer is 1 / ? so just raise the answer to the power of -1 and you get ?.

    If you’re asking how the question relates to ?- for that you just have to accept that all transcendental functions are related in ways that may not seem obvious at first.

    (The area of the region bounded by the x – axis and y = 1 / (1 + x ^ 2) from negative infinity to positive infinity is also ?.)

    If you learned Taylor Series, try calculating e ^ (? * i) + 1, where e is the limit of (1 + (1 / x)) ^ x as x tends towards infinity and i is the square root of -1.


    Dr. Pepper

    I clicked on your link above – cool!

    Maybe one of these days I’ll try to get thru (or skim thru) the book “The Story of ?”, which I saw in B&N. A quick look at a couple of chapters showed an explanation of how it was calculated with some precision, which I think is similar to that site’s animation.

    am yisrael chai

    If it’s OK with the moderators, it’s OK with me.

    I’d prefer to use a disposable email address, though.

    I’ll b’n try to come up with something new, or crib a puzzle from elsewhere.

    BTW, we’re still waiting for an answer or hint to your “Coffee” riddle.


    ICOT- no need to apologize, you got it so it’s fair game. There is no such thing as a private message in a public forum unless the message sender is clever enough to pull it off. But I’m guessing that you didn’t get the part with the time if you thought I said 12:30.

    I meant to type the names of the characters instead of copy/pasting the actual characters. I think that would have held you off for long enough, but I was too lazy to do so :(.

    Dr P.- I’m not disappointed.




    Thank you for being understanding.

    You’re right, I didn’t get the time. There was no possible way I could get it without any frame of reference. I assumed it was four different numbers without a colon, since you used no punctuation anywhere else. Upon further consideration, you may have used a colon or period for a time of 1:30, 2.15, 3:14 and so on.

    I have no way of knowing for sure, but I believe “Dr. Pepper” was serious.

    My initial request was more of a “Hah! I cracked your code.” than a real request, but if both you and “Dr. Pepper” has responded “OK”, I wouldn’t have minded being an attendee. While I’d be afraid of boring either one of you, as a fly on the wall that wouldn’t have been a problem.

    And now the big question….

    Is it OK if:

    a) your posts are translated for all to see – I’m sure folks are curious.

    b) I email an individual with the solution (confession – I already did so with a curious moderator).

    c) none of the above, at least not right now.

    I will b”n abide by your wishes.


    a) sure

    b) sure

    c) no



    am yisrael chai-

    I assume some people will enjoy decoding more than being presented with the answer, so…

    B’rshus “squeak”, here are two clues:

    1) The code is a one-to-one character replacement.

    2) The phrase “DR PEPPER” (no quotes, no period) is present in the first post.

    My technique is to cut-and-paste the entire post into Notepad, then use “replace all” to change one character at a time. You can cut-and-paste one character at a time into the “Find What” window when replacing all, so you don’t actually have to type the funny characters.

    am yisrael chai

    last word in the 1st message is decode?

    am yisrael chai

    “we’re still waiting for an answer or hint to your “Coffee” riddle”

    definitely not “my” riddle. I was challenged by a very young pre-bar mitzvah kid…

    The answer I had given him was similar: someone who needed to daven mincha/maariv on Purim & was still ad d’lo yada….

    (I’m not a proponent of getting drunk in the middle of davening on ???? ????)

    I was given the answer this past ???.

    Based upon the answer, I would rephrase the question:

    When must one daven ????? ???? a second time if he eats or drinks something? (It can be any food or drink; it doesn’t have to be coffee.)

    am yisrael chai

    “confession – I already did so with a curious moderator”

    How did u manage that? I tried “contact us” to permit the exchange of addresses but no one got back yet…

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