How do you spell “candy” with two letters only?


Teller: “The basics of the riddle is very simple. It’s just: how do you spell ‘candy’ with two letters only.”

Another Observer [through text]: “Oh, is it C and Y?”

Me: “Oh, that’s pretty smart.”

Teller: “I… think it’s stupid.”


The teller heard this riddle very recently from their father while he was visiting the teller at college. The teller and their father are from Singapore, but they have close family in and connections to the US as well. The riddle was performed in a group call with both voice call and text chat available, hence the involvement of an additional observer in the solving of the riddle.


The fun and trick of this riddle comes from a simple bending of linguistic rules of English spelling, grammar, and understanding of the alphabet. I included the teller’s impression of the riddle not only because I thought it was funny, but also because it is a very logical response to a riddle that’s based on a logical fallacy. The solution of the riddle requires the solver to accept two contradictory truths: that “C” and “Y” are letters but “and” is not, and that “C,” “Y,” and “and” all equally function as letters used for spelling the word “candy.” In finding the solution, the solver must perceive these two principles as more dynamic, blurry, and transitory. The solution also benefits from a more visual understanding of spelling and language rather than an auditory one, as the visualization of “c and y” is much closer to the word “candy” than it is in speech.