## Tuesday, July 14, 2009

### Off-Day Puzzle #11: Solution

The answer to yesterday's puzzle is James Loney.

There are four steps to solving it:

1. First, unscramble the image on the left. Dig through your CD collection for a reference image if necessary. The unscrambling process will be helpful for two different reasons, one of which is the resulting message "X's mark the spots". Keep that in mind.
2. Divide the image on the right into a 4x4 grid as is the left image. Then re-arrange the resulting sixteen pieces "in sync" with how you unscrambled the left image:
3. Next, find the hidden words. Here are the 32 words you're looking for:
• Seven (7) Spice Girls or Central American countries: Brown, Bunton, Halliwell, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, and Panama;
• Six (6) Entourage actors or Sex and the City characters: Ferrara, Grenier, Piven, Hobbes, Jones, York;
• Seven (7) current Supreme Court Justices or 5 last contestants on Rock of Love Bus: Roberts, Ginsburg, Thomas, Stevens, Mindy, Beverly, Ashley;
• Six (6) top 5 career NFL passing leaders or bottom 5 1st round NBA draftees: Favre, Elway, Moon, Eyenga, Douglas, Gibson;
• Six (6) last 5 MLB perfect game throwers or first 5 World Cup host countries: Cone, Rogers, Wells, Brazil, France, Italy.

And here is where they lie in the now-unscrambled word search:

4. And finally, going back to the unscrambled message "X's mark the spots," look only at the letters that are part of two intersecting words. You will see there are 11 such letters, which when read in sequence spell "Number Seven". James Loney.

And with that, we will likely never hear Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Mindy from Rock of Love Bus mentioned together again, much less multiple times by multiple people in a single thread.

Congratulations to UBragg, Quadsevens, BWrightson, Josh S, Drewdez, Mr Customer, J Steve, and Fanerman.

Updated rankings soon, and next puzzle tomorrow, 7am. A Grand Slam puzzle!

berkowit28 said...

Interesting. I sort of had the right idea, but cockeyed. I thought of 4x4 grids. But instead of mapping 16 whole 5x4 subset grids of letters to their unjumbled locations in the big picture, I mapped each individual letter in a 4x4 grid of letters the same way. I tried that with 3 adjacent subset grids, saw it didn't solve the puzzle. (It also looked too labor-intensive to be true. It was.) I also tried traversing the letters in the manner of the previous puzzle EK referred us to, and that didn't work either, of course. I don't know why I never thought of the large 5x4 subset grids.

Mr. Customer said...

Thank the gods.

If I'd spent as much time solving as bellyaching, I'd have been done sooner.

After my recent puzzle frustrations, I was suprised that I was able to find all those names (including the ones that weren't in the puzzle) so quickly yesterday morning. Spending my 25 minute drive into work searching for words before unscrambling the puzzle was impossible. But that led me to the correct conclusion that it needed to be altered. Once at work, people tried to get in the way of my PCS time, but I got the puzzle done anyways.

Neeebs said...

This puzzle would have been more fair if you didn't have to shuffle the "squares" containing the letters.

For those of you who solved this puzzle...you guys are WARPED. :-)

Josh S. said...

I figured we had to do something to the letters, since no word other than Mindy appeared in any natural order.

What took me forever was reordering the puzzle in a way that I could actually work on it. I first wrote the letters out in their proper order. Then I typed them into Word, but got frustrated that the letters wouldn't line up. I tried cutting the puzzle up with scissors, but had to stop because it really looked like I was blowing off work.

Finally, I happened upon the "USMARC" font and that made the letters line up perfectly.

Josh S. said...

Oh, and I flipped an R and a G, so it took me forever to find "Favre" before realizing my mistake.

Blowing off work is essential for the PCS puzzles. I cut the puzzle up and taped it all back to together to find the words. I had to do this twice actually, because I taped the pieces together in the wrong order on the first try (4,3,2,1 instead of 1,2,3,4).

Steve Sax said...

Josh S: Courier is another uniform-width font

Mr. Customer said...

I hear you there. I'm usually able to "disappear" for a few hours in the morning, but I got going down a dead end trying to "decode" the hidden words before I understood step 2. Then everything really went to hell, so work could no longer be denied.

One I figured out the correlation between the two halves (at about 10p), everything fell into place.

Josh S. said...

Hmmm...I tried courier, but it didn't line up for me.

berkowit28 said...

You'd be better off in Excel than in Word for a grid...

J. Steve said...

What got me was that I was looking at the letter "x" when it appeared in the puzzle. There were six of them in the puzzle and they lined up perfectly into two lines. Because of that, I figured there was something to that in solving the puzzle. Obviously there wasn't, but since I was stuck on the actual letters, EK's hints didn't help at all. Finally, I looked at the puzzle one last time and went at it a different way and got it then.