I love riddles, but it can be difficult to find good riddles. It is easy to find joke riddles. There are even more poor or mediocre riddles that have more than one possible answer. I have also found numerous "word" riddles that allude to different uses of a particular word or even part of a word. The best riddles, however, refer to one specific object and have only one possible answer.
My favorite chapter in The Hobbit is Riddles in the Dark where Bilbo has his famous riddle duel with Gollum. It includes great classic riddles like:
This thing all things devours:
Birds, beasts, trees, flowers;
Gnaws iron, bites steel;
Grinds hard stones to meal;
Slays king, ruins town,
And beats high mountain down.
Below are some riddles that I have written. Each one is followed by two hints, then the answer, and then an explanation (when necessary).
On Placid Wave
On polished plane or placid wave
Or sometimes distant land.
I'm every race. I'm every face—
All things to every man.
Not point of view nor twist of truth,
But facts I bring to light.
Yet cease to share or even care
When darkness veils my sight.
A Trip from the Shore
A trip from the shore with exercise fun
Cooled down by water while baked by the sun.
Like Madam, I'm Adam, noon, and racecar,
And sagas and solos. I'm like radar.
As drab as a fool, aloof as a bard,
A Santa at NASA, draw, O coward.
Like Kay, a red nude, peeped under a yak,
And like campus motto: "Bottoms up, Mac."
In fact, like a yak, I sound like one too.
And here's where I give you one final clue:
Working together, with barely a rest,
With partners you'll put teamwork to the test.
Wood I Cannot Cut
Riddle me clues. Riddle me facts.
While in the woods with my big axe
I find some wood I'd like to cut
To build a part of my new hut.
I swing with strength—a failed attempt.
This solid wood I cannot dent.
What is this wood that holds me up?
What is this wood I cannot cut?
While hunting there I drop my gun.
I see a bear and start to run.
A mile south, a mile east,
I flee for life from giant beast.
Then north one mile to find my gun,
This deadly race I now have won.
Now answer me if you would dare:
What color was this giant bear?
Lone stalwart knight all dressed in black.
Advances boldly from the back.
His ivory foes still standing ground
Have yet to move or make a sound.
This tale I tell, is it a lie?
Say "yea" or "nay" and answer why.
A solid safe; treasure within.
I take it home then I break in.
Green outer shell, heart hid in straw,
And deep within a hidden ball.
Two eyes, a nose, expression smug.
I crack its head to drink its blood.
I'm always wet and never dry.
In ocean beds I dance or lie.
I'm found in rivers, gulfs, and seas
Where clams and squids do as they please.
I'm not the biggest fish you'll see
Yet fishermen still flock to me.
I'm in deep depths and on the shores.
I'm harvested and sold in stores.
I'm found in cleaners; found in soups.
I'm found with fish that swim in groups.
You often find me on your boat.
Too much of me and you can't float.
Too much of me and you can die.
I've no more clues. Now what am I?
Head Without Arms
I'm given as gifts or bummed for by bum.
I'm worth some of all, and get all of some.
I've head without arms and tail without legs.
I've power for which the blind beggar begs.
You need me, then get me, then give me away
For fun or for work. For pleasure or play.