A riddle about a dead man and 53 bicycles left two Lord of the Rings stars scratching their heads.
Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan, who play Pippin and Merry in the classic series, host a weekly podcast called The Friendship Onion.
Among several regular features of the show, there is the chance for listeners to send in their riddles – a homage to the famous chapter of The Hobbit, Riddles in the Dark.
And listeners have begun sending in some very tricky puzzlers.
Bretta from Melrose, Massachusetts, shared the offending conundrum on this week’s episode and it left the pair, and guest Michael Rosenbaum, scrabbling for the answer.
The riddle was simply – a detective encounters the body of a deceased person covered by 53 bicycles. Why?
Julian Parker via Getty)
The trio begin by focusing on the ‘bikes’, assuming at first that the person must be a cyclist or that the situation was a bike race gone wrong. Michael Rosenbaum even asks the producer – who knows the answer – whether it is the Tour de France.
Monaghan makes the point that they should assume that if he is a cyclist, then of the 53 bikes one would be his own and 52 would be others’. At this point, they ask producer if he is a cyclist at which he replies ‘no’.
The attention then shifts to the number 53 with the producer saying that the number is important. Monaghan then asks whether 106 (53×2) is relevant, given that would be how many wheels there would be.
Rosenbaum follows, asking if the person was thrown off a building, to which the producer says: “No, well, it’s possible…”
Rosenbaum pipes up, saying: “Bridge!” To which the producer says he is getting warmer, only to say he is getting colder once he elaborates that he thinks the person was on a collapsing bridge.
Boyd suggests that it has something to do with 52 weeks of the year. But that is quickly dismissed.
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The producer then hints that ‘bicycle’ is relevant, suggesting ‘think beyond a literal bike’.
What follows is a lot of back and forth with theories ranging from flying bicycles to tattoos, before the producer gives two clues – ‘Walgreens’ and ‘Vegas’ – saying that you can find these in both these places.
Walgreens is a pharmacy chain in the US much like Boots here in the UK. It sells random items beyond just medicine and toiletries.
This sparks a chain of suggestions with Rosenbaum getting close with his comment of ’52 card pick up’.
This then has Boyd shouting: “Cards!”
Rosenbaum adds: “The Bicycle deck of cards are lying on top of him – he died of gambling or something…He died because he lost a bet.”
The producer says there’s a piece of evidence they are missing at which Monaghan says: “There are 52 cards in a deck.”
This is the final piece of the puzzle they needed as Rosenbaum finally says: “He cheated!”
And that’s the riddle’s answer. A person was found dead with 53 cards – they were killed after it was found that they had an extra card and were cheating at the game.
And if you’re confused by where Bicycle comes into the scenario, so was Boyd.
Bicycle is a popular brand of playing cards.
Did you get the answer? Would you have been able to work it without the hints?