Ah, the XKCD approach: Have a guard to stab anyone who asks tricky questions in the face.
Then some days *everyone* will get stabbed in the face: That guard will get awfully tired, and ask if he can quit, then stab herself.
My weak “s” finger is showing.
Those responsible for stabbing the people who have been stabbed, have been stabbed.
How easy that one is depends on whether asking the question “would that guard stab me if I asked a tricky question?” counts as a tricky question.
“What is the least tricky question that would defeat all three of you?”
The one who always says the opposite of what he means will ask a tricky question that wouldn’t defeat them and get stabbed in the face. While that’s happening, the one who always tells the truth will defeat the other two.
Or, you know, layer defensive buffs on the guy with the highest dex bonus and have him ask the tricky questions.
Ha! Called it.
I’m thinking “hat” is simply wring and doesn’t work in any way.
Hatters gotta hat.
The two extra letters are -ch, resulting in ‘hatch’, a misspelling of ‘haitch’, an alternate name of the letter H.
…or just “hatch”, a noun meaning ‘an opening of restricted size’ or a verb meaning ‘to emerge from an egg’.
Never mind, I see it now.
I’m going with “hatch” because for sure when that hatch opens in the floor there are going to be fewer people.
I’m fairly certain there are fewer haters than hats in this world; there are a LOT of hats.
Depends how you define hater. If it’s a person who committed a hate crime this year, sure. If it’s a person who made a negative comment on the internet, oh LORD no. Haters born per year outnumber hats by a huge margin, in that case.
It disturbs me that people nowadays are so shallow that they’d try to demonize anyone offering criticism by comparing them to the perpetrators of hate crimes, just to save themselves the mild discomfort of considering their complaints to see if they have merit.
Just because constructive criticism isn’t phrased politely doesn’t mean you can’t learn from it.
Well, that makes “how is a raven like a writing-desk” a bit easier…
We did mention the answer didn’t have to be correct. But it didn’t occur to me it could simply be … wrong. That makes it… difficult.
Because they both have inky quills.
Why is a raven like a writing-desk?
Because this’d be a pretty poor riddle if it weren’t.
One of them is both the same
“They’re both words that appear in the riddle you just asked.”
Nick, I think this will work better if you explain how it all worked in that movie, especially how they got past it.
…how is it possible to win? After all, “screw your riddle, and screw you” is an answer to _any_ proposed riddle.
Propose a riddle that doesn’t end, and others may pass, as an unending riddle cannot be answered. Also if you can prevent it from making sound.
Hmmm, I wonder if a paradox would work… or a nice, properly recursive question to hose the stack… you can’t answer when you’ve crashed, after all…
Nah. “Yes” is an answer to the riddle “Is the answer to this question ‘no’?” It’s not a correct answer, but it’s still an answer.
Possibly, but we’d need to assume that the Antisphinx actually processes the questions fully before answering, and that it is not programmed to drop questions which generate infinite loops.
You can’t win by playing the Antisphinx at its own game.
-Stuff sand in the Antisphinx’ eyes and keep walking
-endlessly duplicate items until the server crashes
-abuse console commands
-feed it Godel’s variation on the liar paradox or some other statement meant to trigger an infinite loop (assuming the Antisphinx is coded to evaluate the question at all)
How about: “What is the Whimsy CEO’s master password?” If it doesn’t have access to that information, you win. If it *does* answer, you call HR and get it fired for breach of its confidentiality agreement.
“Lobster” is an answer. And I don’t think HR would fire someone for it.
Depends. How much does the CEO like lobster?
How would you fire landscape? I wonder how it would answer a question posed in a version of sign language (possibly a made up one).
Really, though, I’d just move on. Challenging the sphinx didn’t work out so well for Oedipus, after all.
Worked out fine for him. It was the sphinx who took it in the shorts. His problem came from being willing to marry older women. ^_^
That and killing strangers that are mean to him that turn out to be his father in the end
The Baron had it right. It can’t answer when riddled with bullets… or some other substance.
Now try mumbling. It can’t answer the riddle if it can’t understand it.
The only solution I can hear is either gagging the sphinx or telling it a joke so twrrible it just groans
Fortunately, this is the right forum for the latter option.
Probably not the right forum for a joke so terrible that the sphinx keels over and dies, though. http://www.nuklearpower.com/2003/06/21/episode-298-a-natural-response/
“three” is a reasonable solution to the riddle as well. It’s a word of letters (not terribly specific, there), and adding two gives “five” — fewer letters.
Wow! I’ve not seen that variation to the answer before. It makes the riddle better, IMO, to have two possible answers
Ask it what one wears on one’s head? It always answers “hat” and it always answers wrong? I base that on a case study of one.
On the plus side, the Antisphinx’s laser eyes don’t appear to be deadly.
it’s an antisphinx
so its attack is antideadly
Today we learned that ‘deadly’ is not a majorana particle.
So you need somebody to dress up like a lady sphinx to distract it while you ask.
Where’s Bugs Bunny when you need him?
I’m pretty sure this storyline will have been plotted well in advance, but in an interesting twist of synchronicity* Gems of War has a new kingdom this week, and one of the quests in that is to discover a question that cannot be answered. Now I’l all impatient to see if Shaenon and Jeff’s answer (question?) is the same as the Gems of War one…
*and as we know, synchronicity was the key to a puzzle in Narbonic, so…
“I weep for you,” the Walrus said:
“I deeply sympathize.”
With sobs and tears he sorted out
Those of the largest size,
Holding his pocket-handkerchief
Before his streaming eyes.
“O Oysters,” said the Carpenter,
“You’ve had a pleasant run!
Shall we be trotting home again?’
But answer came there none–
And this was scarcely odd, because
They’d eaten every one.
(By the way, looks like none of GoComics updated this morning. Odd, especially since I got today’s e-mail subscription.)
Are you implying that they should digitally eat the antisphinx?
Well, she’s not gonna let them stump her with a question, looks like…
To hat, or not to hat, that is the ZAP! Reminds me of a fussy DM from many decades ago.
As a being made of pure code and logic, I am sure the sheer stupidity of the rules of “any answer is technically an answer” hurts Lovelace more than the actual beam to the face.
Oh they have to ask it a riddle/question the answer to which is a swear word
Even that wouldn’t work. It’d just answer “hello.” That would be the wrong answer, but it would still be an answer.
But if the answer doesn’t have to be correct, then any riddle to which it is possible to make a verbal response lets the sphinx win. This puzzle is the verbal equivalent of the previous challenge, which means that they have to cheat.
Even the Star Trek-ish solution of confusing the computer might not work, because if you asked it how many digits there are in Pi, it could answer “three,” because accuracy is not required.
The only non-cheat riddle that works is one which requires the recipient not to answer at all.
Sooooo…. Baron already won, right?
He asked a question. We didn’t see an answer. He doesn’t look zapped.
Your move, Writer.
Three words: McCloudian. Magic. Gutters.
You said it: it was a question, not a riddle :p
Alternatively: “What question would overflow your stack buffer and inject executable code deleting you from the game if you even considered answering it, correctly or incorrectly?”
“This statement is false. Is my previous statement true?”
He can’t answer the question if he never reaches the end of it.
“Do you maybe wanna blow off this whole ‘guard the endgame’ thing and hang out with us for a while?”
It’s Skin Horse. If the Sphynx is an AI, the correct answer is treating it with respect.
If it’s just a dumb bit of video game code, then yeah. Endless loop. Sure hope it has its own thread in memory, or this could get bumpy!
Someone tape its mouth shut!
“Sudo let us pass.”
Okay, I think I’m out of ideas.
Oh! Shit. Okay. It’s classed as terrain. Plant a tree in its mouth!
Or, um. Go… like… go around it. It’s landscape. It’s not gonna follow you. Just go around it.
Unlock the house-customization feature. Complete the gardening mini-game. Acquire the ability to modify terrain. Replace the Antisphynx with a row of hedges.
Or a shrubbery
Oddly, I’m less focused on the technical complexities of the contest and more focused on how utterly cute Lovelace is in the second panel…
That seems like a reasonable focus to me. ^_^
She’s just so pleased with herself!
Convince a moderator that you were totally already past the Antisphynx, but then another player got you killed so you had to come all the way back through here and it’s just not faaaaaair can’t you TP me back to where I was and punish the other player?
As usual, technological hacking is doing it the hard way. Use social hacking.
That’s what I would say if the game had any moderators or other players at this phase of development.
“What is NOT an answer to this riddle?”
As others have pointed out, the true/falseness of the answer doesn’t matter. While it can give an incorrect answer, there’s also nothing stopping it from giving a correct answer either, just as long as it can answer. I’m fascinated about how they’re gonna get past this.
That’s the thing – my question isn’t asking for a correct answer; it’s asking for something that isn’t an answer to it. There’s no way to reply to it that can be interpreted as answering it; whatever you say just goes into the set of things that are not answers to the riddle.
Oh sure, Nick! NOW you tell her! You need to work a bit harder then that if you want to be a useful maiden to your hero. 😛
It was in a movie. I wonder what the canonical riddle was.
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