Thursday, June 11, 2009

Off-Day Grand Slam Puzzle #6: The Bear, the Cub, and the Owl

A week in the woods trekked the Bear and the Cub,
The Bear’s rigid face, disguising his love.
As the seventh day set, said the Bear to his son,
“My journey ends here; yours has only begun.”

“For after tonight, I continue no more;
Your life's voyage awaits, but alone you must go.
Now listen my son, you mustn’t despair,
It’s a part of your growth from a cub to a bear.”

The Cub listened close,
collecting his fears,
Understanding the words
but holding back tears.
His father then turned
and looked to the stars,
And let out a roar
heard heavens afar.

A moment henceforth, a shape in the sky
Came fluttering forth, emitting a cry.
“Wh-wh-whoo!” was the call, a whispering howl,
And upon a tree branch, softly landed an owl.

Motioned to the bird, did the Bear to his son,
“One lesson remains and its teacher has come.
In shadows he moves, in riddles he speaks,
But his wisdom to you the Owl can bequeath.”

“Three questions you’ll have, consider them well,
For whatever you ask, the answer he’ll tell;
His words may seem strange, his dialect odd,
But truth often lurks behind drivel’s façade."

Approaching the Owl, embracing his task,
The Cub softly spoke, “I’d first like to ask,
Which one of my loves will make the best mate:
Matilda or Eve, or Jasmine or Grace?”

The Cub then stepped back, in anxious repose,
Waiting to hear what the Owl alone knows.
“Ou-fte-ten-ore!” came the Owl's reply,
Then a shade to the left, darted his eyes.

Confusion besieged
the Cub’s furrowed face,
“He said not Matilda,
Eve, Jasmine nor Grace!”
Said the Bear to his son,
“on his words you must dwell,
For you've seen them elsewhere,
and ‘Jasmine’ they spell.”

“Ou-fte-ten-ore?” repeated the Cub,
“But that’s not the name of Jasmine, my love!
The Owl’s cryptic words, please father explain?”
The Bear’s stern response: “two questions remain.”

The Cub took a breath, gazed back up the tree,
“Wise Owl,” he began, “I next ask of thee,
As I travel on, to best avert doom,
Should I move by the light of the sun or the moon?”

The Owl stared ahead, eyes wide as the sky,
“Fro-wo-who-peri!” the intriguing reply.
His words echoed forth, traversing the night,
Then his eyes moved once more, but this time to the right.

The Cub helplessly looked for his father’s assist,
As the meaning again in the answer was missed.
With the Bear’s chiseled growl came the needed respite,
“Follow his glance and move only at night.”

“A single last question
and answer remain,
But there’s also a twist,”
the Bear went on to explain.
“This last one I’ll give you
a hint what to ask,
But decoding the answer
this time is your task.”

The Bear then began with a shrouded goodbye,
“Tonight as we sleep, I’ll be by your side.
But brave you must be, come light of the dawn,
When you rise with the sun, to find that I’m gone.”

And from the Cub’s eyes, tears started to flow,
While continued the Bear, “Now son you must know,
Upon waves of chance, fate’s vessel is tossed,
But a course can be found where our paths again cross.”

And suddenly there, the Cub understood,
And gathered his poise, as much as he could.
He turned to the Owl, and spoke once again,
“I’d like to proceed with my final question.”

“Tomorrow at dusk, as I start on my quest,
Which way should I head: north, south, east, or west?
Please tell me which path, Wise Owl I implore,
Will unite me one day with my father once more?”

The Owl seemed to sigh, and with calm nonchalance,
“Depa-alne-jorn-afer!” came his cryptic response.
He then neither looked, to the left nor the right,
But instead crossed his eyes, and disappeared into the night.

Turned the Bear to the Cub, perhaps for the last time,
“Tonight as you sleep, I pray truth you’ll divine;
But remember my son, should tonight be our last,
That distance and time for my love is no match.”

Then father and son, lay their heads down to sleep,
And with all of his heart, the Cub tried not to weep.
Yet one last tear fell, from eyes of despair,
Only this time those eyes belonged to the Bear.

Hint #1 (10:44am):
Like parts of a song, the words from his tongue,
A familiar refrain, previously sung;
The shifts in his eyes, a conductor’s baton,
That point to the notes you seek in the song.

Hint #2 (12:00pm):
The most important clues are given by the Bear each time he interprets the Owl's replies to his son.

Hint #3 (12:58pm):
There is no need to go hunting through old posts. This puzzle is entirely self-contained.

Solution: click here

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Puzzle Rules: Which way must the Cub go to ensure he one day sees his father again (no pressure)? Comment freely in the thread, but if you have the solution, please don't give it away to everyone in the comments section. Instead, do the following:

• Email us with the direction, along with your reasoning (submitted answers with only the answer, without an explanation, will not be accepted. Likewise, correct answers arrived at via luck or the wrong reasoning count for participation credit only). And please include your screen name somewhere in the email; and
• Post a comment simply saying you have emailed your solution attempt. I may not be able to reply to your original email promptly, so please be patient and check back on the comment thread for the latest news; I may confirm correct answers there.
• And remember, this is a Grand Slam Puzzle, worth 150 points instead of the standard 100. And don't forget what's at stake!

You have until midnight PT tonight to submit your answer. Good luck!

Not familiar with SoSG's off-day puzzle competition? Read up here. And join the fun!

67 comments:

Fred's Brim said...

hoot hoot!

QuadSevens said...

Uh-oh! I struggle with word based puzzles!

berkowit28 said...

Whoa!

Mr. Customer said...

Answer in!

QuadSevens said...

Wow! Mr. Customer is killing me! I feel the top spots slipping away from me.

Ubragg said...

answer sent!

Ubragg said...

nice work mr customer!

Mr. Customer said...

Quad,

depending on how it's weighted, I might not catch you if you're the second response. I may need a spoiler to take the yellow jersey.

Eric Karros said...

Wow. Mr Customer nailed it in 25 minutes. And I was worried it might be too difficult. I can never tell.

Congratulations.

Mr. Customer said...

Never mind...

Mr. Customer said...

EK,

We have a family tradition that no game or puzzle is hard enough unless somebody cries, so I may not be the best benchmark.

Eric Karros said...

UBragg is 2nd. You guys are too frickin' good. Maybe this one was too easy.

1. Mr Customer
2. UBragg

Mr. Customer said...

You can only hope to contain us...

Eric Karros said...

Quad can still catch the 1st or 2nd place with the new scoring system. It depends on 2 things: 1) if/when he solves it, and 2) how many total people solve it.

And either way, remember this puzzle also counts towards the next set of prizes...

berkowit28 said...

I'm not going to get this one. I have no idea where to start.

berkowit28 said...

I found where to start, just having a little trouble finishing...

fanerman said...

Answer sent! Go bears!

Eric Karros said...

Fanerman busts out with the third correct answer:

1. Mr Customer
2. UBragg
3. Fanerman

Berko, you're on the right track...

berkowit28 said...

Answer sent in!

Eric Karros said...

Berko is in:

1. Mr Customer
2. UBragg
3. Fanerman
4. Berkowit28

BTW, I personally disagree with the Owl's answer to the first question. Matilda is way hotter than Jasmine.

Eric Karros said...

By the way my comment above is not a hint...

Mr. Customer said...

I'm a Grace kinda guy myself, but to each his own.

QuadSevens said...

I'm lost in the woods. =/

Eric Karros said...

Just the fact the Cub is apparently macking on 4 different ladies is amusing enough.

Quad, hang in there. You're still mathematically alive for a top-two prize spot.

QuadSevens said...

I've got a late start for work today. So I thought a run would help. Nope. In the shower I had an idea, but it didn't pan out either. I'll be thinking hard about this one for a while.

rbnlaw said...

OK, so the Bear is Mike Ditka and the Cub is Ernie Banks. The Owl is Burt Hooton.

I'm lost once again.

Dusto Magnifico said...

coincidentially, Lions mate 50 times a day! when in heat.

I like the poem, but I have no idea on an answer yet. Too bad I have a real job now and have to work.

fanerman said...

Yeah, I was thinking.... 4 lady bears to choose from? Dayum.

berkowit28 said...

fanerman, I liked your "Go Bears!" given the context...

Eric Karros said...

For those stumped, I'll post a hint shortly.

Until then, you can ponder the greater meaning of the poem. Is it a parable for something? Does the Bear die at the end, or merely leave? Is the Cub's final question asking how he can one day get to Heaven? Do I even know exactly what the word 'parable' means?

Eric Karros said...

Hint posted.

Neeebs said...

You see EK, I was right. Do I get partial credit.

QuadSevens said...

It's going to take at least one more hint for me I think. Unless an idea hits me like a bolt of lightning.

Eric Karros said...

Right about what, Neeebs?

Hi Quad...I wasn't sure there was anybody still working on it other than Neeebs.

Is anyone else out there? If so would you like another hint?

QuadSevens said...

I would love another hint! My mind has hit a roadblock.

Awesome said...

i am so lost! so yes another hint would be great.

Eric Karros said...

I know better than to ignore a request by someone named 'awesome'. I posted another hint, this time in English.

But not sure how helpful it is. Quad, awesome, anyone else still working on it - let me know your current line of thinking so I can best help you along.

berkowit28 said...

What's peculiar about the new point system is that I currently (as 4th and last so far to get the answer) have fewer points than I will if two (maybe even one) or more people get the right answer later. I'd get my maximum possible if exactly two more correct results come in. After that it starts going down a bit but not by too much as more right answers come in. It is a little odd that I get fewer points as 4th of only 4 than 4th of 6 or more. But I can live with it. ;-)

J. Steve said...

Got it!

Eric Karros said...

The new point system was designed specifically to penalize you, Berko.

Sounds like it's working.

J. Steve said...

You're welcome, Berko!

Awesome said...

well i am not doing so awesome right now. i'm having a complete blonde moment, which would only be acceptable if i were actually blonde.

Eric Karros said...

After a 3.5 hour drought, we have another solver! J Steve is in:

1. Mr Customer
2. UBragg
3. Fanerman
4. Berkowit28
5. J Steve

karina said...

Working on it, Eric. It's just this puzzle is diffficult+heavy day of work.

Eric Karros said...

Berko, in all seriousness, your analysis or understanding of the new point system is a bit off. If you have already solved the puzzle, as more people subsequently solve it, the following happens:

1) your absolute score increases (or stays the same, but never decreases)
2) the difference between your score and the top solver's score decreases (or stays the same, but never increases)
3) the difference between your score and the score of the person immediately in front and behind you decreases (or stays the same, but never increases)
4) the difference between your score and people who don't solve the puzzle increases (or stays the same, but never decreases).

So there's no apex or valley. You score never a case where, your score increases until X people solve, but then starts to decrease if X+1 people solve.

And by 'score' I mean score for that puzzle. Not overall PCS total, which can increase or decrease depending on the rolling 7 methodology.

In your case Berko, the fact that J Steve solved the puzzle did not change your score. It was 75 before, it's still 75 now. It remains at 75 if/when the 6th and 7th people solve. Once the 8th person solves, it goes up to 63% of 150, or 95. Once the 10th person solves, it goes up to 70% of 150, or 105. Thereafter, as more people solve, it keeps going up, but by a smaller increment each time.

berkowit28 said...

Right, right. I had meant to say "after 8", not after 6. I screwed that up, too. Thanks for the correction. And also for the demonstration that it would keep going up, not start coming down again. I got that all wrong.

It's still peculiar. ;-) Come on - J Steve showed the way. Three more of you now...

Actually, of course, J Steve has a higher standing in the PCS Totals than I do. So his correct solution will actually push me lower in the current table than if he didn't get the answer, even if I go up in points on this puzzle with 3 more correct answers. I suppose things do tend to balance out like this so that, by and large. By and large...

J. Steve said...

I guess I didn't help Berko with this puzzle's points yet, but I did help him get closer to the magical top-half of this puzzle's fastest solvers...

berkowit28 said...

I will explain what I mean by "peculiar":

I guess I feel more "special" as one of only 4 or 5 who solve a puzzle, even if I'm the slowest of those, than as the 4th-fastest of 8 or 10 or 20 people solving an (easier?) puzzle, although I will get more points for the latter.

But that will remain so irrespective of points awarded. I get why the new point system is good when a lot of people can solve a puzzle. I'm fine with it. And in the long run, the lack of many people getting any points at all, aside from participation points, for a difficult puzzle, will reward those few who do solve it substantially in the ongoing PCS Totals. 75 points vs. 0 or 10 points is a biggy. All in all, it's a good system.

QuadSevens said...

Answer sent in. *crossing my fingers*

Brandon said...

I'm working on it too but I'm so in tears over the story line I can't concentrate. (sobs)

Eric Karros said...

Quad is in!

1. Mr Customer
2. UBragg
3. Fanerman
4. Berkowit28
5. J Steve
6. Quadsevens

Eric Karros said...

Stay strong, Brandon.

BTW I posted another hint, though that was like over an hour ago now

QuadSevens said...

I feel myself slipping into 3rd place. This puzzle took some serious stretching for my mind.

Mr. Customer said...

Quad,

You're the Rafael Nadal of the SOSG French Open. I'm sure an opportunity for revenge will shortly present itself.

jose said...

Answer sent

karina said...

Answer sent in.

QuadSevens said...

Mr. Customer,

Funny you should use that analogy. Last season when I lost the lead to Jose midseason, the SoSG boys used a picture of Nadal and Federer to announce the change in leaderboard standings.

Eric Karros said...

Yes jose; sorry keep at it karina.

Folks I may be out of pocket until approx the laker game, but fear nit I will be back.

QuadSevens said...

With Jose, that's 7 solvers! I only need 7 more to get enough points to stay in the top two spots! =)

J. Steve said...

Quad, I'm going to get a little suspicious if the next seven solutions happen to come from "newcomers" such as TripEights, FivesOverAces, or JacksAndThrees...

QuadSevens said...

I hadn't even thought of doing that! That would have been a very sneaky way to get more points! I'm not that evil. Or am I?

karina said...

Quad, you should help me!

Eric Karros said...

It would be very ironic if Jose - the man who usurped Quad last season - actually pushed him into the top 2 one year later by solving the puzzle.

The media would be all over that story.

karina said...

Doubt sent in :(

Gil Gamesh said...

answer sent

karina said...

Another answer sent in.

Eric Karros said...

Yes Gil! Sorry Karina:

1. Mr Customer
2. UBragg
3. Fanerman
4. Berkowit28
5. J Steve
6. Quadsevens
7. Jose
8. Gil Gamesh