Ok, yesterday's Cosmic Conundrum puzzle generated a flurry of unanticipated thought patterns and subsequent solutions, which created a conundrum in scoring more than anything else.
But more on that later. First, the solution. Here's the poem:
THE EARTHRUNS LOOPS
WHILST STARS ALIGN
FOUR TWOTHREE ONE
WITHIN EACH VERSE
And here is the intended solution, with the corresponding verses in the poem meant as clues for each step:
- "CONCEALED THEY'RE KEPT...UNTIL THE DARK SHINES IN REVERSE" --> Reverse black and white by highlighting the poem. Six invisible letters will start to twinkle: T,A,M and P,M,K.
- "STARS ALIGN" --> Most can get Matt Kemp from only step 1, but if you read vertically down each stanza in the column where the hidden letters appear - including both invisible and pre-existing letters - you'll get all eight letters in his name 'TATM PEMK'
- "FOUR TWO THREE ONE" --> For sure you can see the anagram after the above step, but technically this line in the poem tells you the sequence in which to arrange the letters to get MATT KEMP.
So as at least one reader mentioned, courier font was used to ensure the proper vertical alignment. And the last line was written backwards not in an attempt to be cute, but rather as a necessity - it kept the poem center-justified while getting a space in the appropriate slot for a hidden letter.
In anycase, that's how the puzzle solution was supposed to go. But it turned almost everybody initially submitted a solution based only on step 1. There were so many solution variations that got the right answer (Matt Kemp) but not quite the right methodology that I had trouble scoring it objectively. The most common semi-solutions:
- Finding only the 6 hidden letters but not putting them together with the 2 pre-existing letters to get only T_AM P_MK, and from there guessing Matt Kemp but wondering why two letters were still missing.
- Finding the 6 hidden letters and thinking 'SHINES IN REVERSE' meant reversing the letter sequence into MAT KMP, but still wondering about the two missing letters.
- Some found the 6 hidden letters, the connection to the FOUR TWO THREE ONE line to get MA_T K_MP, but still wondered why 2 letters were missing.
So ironically it was the 2 letters that were not invisible that were the hardest to find. This chaos was ultimately due to my short-sighted puzzle construction. I fell in love with the hidden text concept but did a poor/rushed job of the execution. My apologies, I just hope I was able to score it equitably.
Anyways, congratulations to Karina for being the first to correctly answer! I'm not sure exactly why, but her winning this puzzle makes me think of Glen Davis in last Sunday's Celtics-Magic game. She was followed by UBragg, Lauro, Neeebs, Dusto Magnifico, Mr Customer, Quad, J Steve, Fanerman, Brandon, Jose, Natalie, MLASF, and stolenmonkey86. And I'm gonna pull the Supreme-Arbiter-of-Puzzle-Scoring card and give MSTI 30 points for a semi-solution that wasn't good enough for full credit but wasn't bad enough for participation credit only. If anyone feels they were scored unfairly I'll hear your case - please email us.
As always, thanks for playing. Updated PCS Rankings to be posted soon. Next puzzle, 7am, Thursday May 21!