Friday, June 12, 2009

Off-Day Grand Slam Puzzle #6: Solution

The answer to yesterday's Grand Slam puzzle is 'south'.

When the Bear deciphers each of the first two answers for his son, he also gives two critical clues: "On his words you must dwell, for you've seen them elsewhere" and "Follow his glance". He is hinting at the solution methodology: scanning the verse for an earlier occurrence of the owl's words, and from there looking in the direction that his eyes indicate to identify a key letter.

Here's the step-by-step instructions for deciphering the Owl's replies:

  1. Separate each of the Owl's replies into four segments as indicated by the dashes in his words. Example: the Owl's answer "Ou-fte-ten-ore!" is thus separated into 'Ou', 'fte', 'ten', and 'ore'.
  2. Then take each segment and find where you had previously seen the given letter pattern. Some appear multiple instances within the puzzle - take the first instance in each case. Example: the first segment of the first answer is 'Ou'. Do a word search for 'ou' in the poem and it first occurs in the 4th line, in the word 'journey'.
  3. Next, make note of where the Owl glances after giving his reply. In the first case, he glances to the left, so look at the letter to the left of where the word segment appears. Example: The letter to the left of 'ou' in the world 'journey'' is 'j'.
  4. For the last step, take the resulting four letters that correspond to each of the four word segments, and put them together. In each case, the four letters will spell out the first four letters of one of the choices (you will notice the Cub always phrases his questions as multiple-choice rather than open-ended). Example: The four segments in the Owl's first answer spell j-a-s-m for 'Jasmine'.

Below is the breakdown of each of the Owl's replies, starting with the Cub's first question:

Cub's question: "Which one of my loves will make the best mate: Matilda or Eve, or Jasmine or Grace?"

Owl's reply: "Ou-fte-ten-ore!"

Direction of Owl's glance: to the left

Word Segment Previous Occurrence Resulting
Ou "My journey ends here" j
fte "For after tonight" a
ten "Now listen my son" s
ore "I continue no more" m

Meaning of Owl's Reply: j-a-s-m, or 'Jasmine'

And the Cub's second question:

Cub's question: "Should I move by the light of the sun or the moon?"

Owl's reply: "Fro-wo-who-peri!"

Direction of Owl's glance: to the right

Word Segment Previous Occurrence Resulting
fro "from a cub to a bear" m
wo "A week in the woods" o
who "'Wh-wh-whoo!' was the call" o
peri "a whispering howl" n

Meaning of Owl's Reply: m-o-o-n, or 'moon'

And now...for the last question. You'll notice in the Owl's reply, each word segment is 4 letters long. And after he speaks, the Owl crosses his eyes. As with the previous two questions, you have to take your cue from this, meaning you look 'between' each word segment.

In other words, each 4-letter segment must be divided into two 2-letter sub-segments, and as before search the text for where the two subsegments appear somewhere in the poem, but this time with a single letter between them. This is the letter you must pull, as follows:

Cub's question: "Which way should I head: north, south, east, or west??"

Owl's reply: "Depa-alne-jorn-afer!"

Direction of Owl's glance: to the middle

Word Segment Previous Occurrence Resulting
depa "you mustn’t despair" s
alne "but alone you must go" o
jorn "My journey ends here" u
afer "For after tonight" t

Meaning of Owl's Reply: s-o-u-t, or 'south'

Congratulations to Mr Customer, UBragg, Fanerman, Berkowit28, J Steve, Quadsevens, Jose, and Gil Gamesh for their correct answers, in that order.

Updated PCS Ranking - and puzzle prize awards ceremony - coming soon. Next off-day puzzle: Monday, June 15, 7am!


Steve Sax said...

I would have solved this puzzle earlier, but I'm allergic to owls.

I can't even read the Harry Potter books.

QuadSevens said...

What happened to the correct answers by QuadKings, QuadJacks, QuadSixes, QuadDueces, QuadNines, and QuadAces? =)

Fred's Brim said...

Do you write for The Onion?

Eric Karros said...

Quad, I just calculated the udpated rankings. Wow. I'll just say, it was a lot closer than I expected. Stay tuned.

Steve Sax said...

EK, so that's why our server is slow today--you're using the Cray to calculate PCS rankings.

Can't you get the night shift to do that for you?

QuadSevens said...

Missed out by 4 points right? That tie in the last puzzle got me!

Neeebs said...

my answer made more sense.
I should get extra credit.

Mr. Customer said...


My coffee is going to mysteriously be laced with quaaludes on Monday, isn't it?

QuadSevens said...

HAHA! I'm not bitter Mr. Customer. There will be at least two more chances to win a prize this season. But if your phone receiver is super glued to the dock, that wasn't me.