The puzzle was sent in by a podcast listener and left the duo racking their brains for several minutes
Image: Scott Kowalchyk / CBS via Getty Images)
A riddle about a dead man and 53 bikes has 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 is the ability for listeners to send in their puzzles – a tribute to the famous Hobbit chapter, Riddles in the Dark.
And listeners began to send out very tricky puzzles.
Bretta from Melrose, Massachusetts shared the conundrum in this week’s episode and it has left the couple, and guest Michael Rosenbaum, searching for the answer.
The riddle was simply – a detective meets the body of a deceased person covered with 53 bikes. Why?
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The trio begin by focusing on “bikes,” first assuming 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 – if it is the Tour de France.
Monaghan points out that they should assume that if he is a cyclist, then of the 53 bikes, one would be his and 52 would be everyone else’s. At this point, they ask the producer if he is a cyclist to whom he answers “no”.
Attention then turns to the number 53 with the producer saying that the number is important. Monaghan then asks if 106 (53×2) is relevant, given that that would be the number of wheels.
Rosenbaum follows, asking if the person was thrown from a building, to which the producer replies, “No, well, it’s possible …”
Rosenbaum calls out, saying: “Bridge! To which the producer says he’s warming up, only to say he’s cooling down once he explains that he thinks the person was on a collapsing bridge.
Boyd suggests it has something to do with 52 weeks of the year. But this is quickly dismissed.
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The producer then hints that ‘bike’ is relevant, suggesting ‘thinking beyond a literal bike’.
What follows is a lot of back and forth with theories ranging from flying bikes to tattoos, before the producer gives two clues – “Walgreens” and “Vegas” – saying you can find them in these two places.
Walgreens is a chain of drugstores in the United States, as is Boots here in the United Kingdom. He sells random items beyond drugs and toiletries.
This triggers a chain of suggestions with Rosenbaum getting closer to his “52 card pickup” comment.
This then makes Boyd scream, “Cards!”
Rosenbaum adds, “The Bicycle card deck is based on him – he died from the game or something … He died because he lost a bet.”
The producer says they are missing a piece of evidence to which Monaghan says, “There are 52 cards in a deck.”
This is the last piece of the puzzle they needed because Rosenbaum finally said, “He cheated!
And that is the answer to the riddle. One person was found dead with 53 cards – she was killed after finding out she had an extra card and was cheating at the game.
And if you don’t know where Bicycle fits into the storyline, so does Boyd.
Bicycle is a popular brand of playing cards.
Did you get the answer? Could you have worked it without the clues?