Spaghetti #2

There seem to be two approaches to this game. One is to take the random words and imagine that they represent an actual metapuzzle, created by someone using a daffy logic — but logic nonetheless. These people seek out a degree of elegance in the output of my random number generator. What’s crazy is: They find it. Todd Etter‘s extremely simple approach to yesterday’s words was by far the most liked — he simply divided each word in half, took the first letter of the second half, and anagrammed. Incredibly, his answer is a geographical location for the third day in a row. I don’t know how long we’re going to be playing this game, but we’re damn sure going to see how long Todd can keep this streak going. No pressure, Todd.

The other super-cool elegant solution, to my mind, came from Ucaiomhu. It was a latecomer to the thread, so you might not have seen it. Go give it a read — it’s great.

So that’s one camp. These are the folks who believe the world makes sense, or can make sense with a little applied thought. Then you have the other camp: They turn the five random words into a Rube Goldberg contraption of startling complexity. Follow along, if you will, as Neville Fogerty reaches the two-word answer “OR” in a dozen simple steps. (Warning: You will need a double major in chemistry and math.) I might argue that even Neville’s path is outdone, in terms of number of hoops jumped through, by David Ellis Dickerson.

The complicated solutions make me laugh. The elegant solutions blow my mind. I approve of both approaches.

Onwards to today’s words! Please brace yourselves. The random number generator apparently read yesterday’s answers and decided it has been too easy on you.

VIRGINIA CREEPER
PLAIN
SCUTTLE
HYDROGEN PEROXIDE
STATE

Good luck! As before, even if you can’t figure out what to do with these words — and God knows I sure can’t — please do check the comments and “Like” the best responses.

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8 Comments

  1. JanglerNPL
    Posted October 2, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    Each answer contains exactly two state abbreviations (apart from STATE, which is just there to put you on the right track).

    VIRGINIA CREEPER — IA, id, il, IN = 2 inbetween
    PLAIN — IN, ks, ky, LA = 2 inbetween
    SCUTTLE — SC, sd, tn, tx, UT = 3 inbetween
    HYDROGEN PEROXIDE — DE, fl, ga, hi, ia, ID = 4 inbetween

    Now indexing that number into the spelled-out last state, you get NOAH.

       8 likes

  2. Todd Etter
    Posted October 2, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    I would have really been stumped had Eric not provided a little nudge in his flavor text:

    “These are the folks who believe the world makes sense, or can make sense with a little applied thought.”

    Wow… two uses of the word SENSE. Okay, that can’t be a coincidence.

    Aha! I see what’s going on…

    VIRGINIA CREEPER also known as five-finger = TOUCH
    PLAIN = in plain SIGHT
    SCUTTLE –> scuttlebutt. This is obviously SMELL. :)
    HYDROGEN PEROXIDE often used in the ear = HEARING
    STATE anagrams to TASTE

    But wait… I thought there was a SIXTH SENSE. Of course, there is. It’s ESP. And that my friends, is the country for SPAIN.

    ANSWER = SPAIN

       16 likes

  3. Michael Hoffman
    Posted October 2, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    Can anyone hold a candle to Todd?

    Eric, maybe we need to change the rules to “Metas that are NOT meta-metas”. Once Todd is on a path, he is unstoppable.

       0 likes

  4. Posted October 2, 2012 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

    Each of the answers contains (in consecutive letters in four cases and non-consecutive letters in one case, or phonetically in all cases) a form of an irregular verb:

    CREEP (present tense)
    LAIN (past participle of LIE)
    CUT (present, past, or past participle)
    HIDE (present tense)
    ATE (past tense of EAT)

    Take the first, second, or third letter of the base form of each verb, depending on whether the inflected form is in the present, past, or past participle, opting for present tense in the case of CUT, to obtain C, E, C, H, A, which anagram to CACHE. (If we had chosen the past participle for CUT, it would instead anagram to CHEAT, which I had to do a bit to make this work anyway.)

    But wait, there’s more! If we proceed as above, but instead index into the answer word by the tense of the hidden verb, we get V, A, S, H, T. Doesn’t look like much, but when you realize that Eric withheld one of the answer words you get VASHTI, the queen who was succeeded by Esther in the Bible. Unfortunately, there are too many possibilities to get the missing answer through backsolving, but I like IAMBIC or MIRANDA as possibilities.

       1 likes

  5. Posted October 2, 2012 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

    VIRGINIA CREEPER can be formed by overlapping, in order: VIRGINIA, which is a STATE; ACRE, which measures a PLAIN; CREEP, which means to SCUTTLE; and PER, which is HYDROGEN PEROXIDE’s middle name. When you put those other four words in that order and take the diagonal, you get SLUR.

       3 likes

  6. Posted October 3, 2012 at 12:53 am | Permalink

    There’s two five-letter answers, so let’s assume only the first five letters of each word are important.

    VIRGI
    PLAIN
    SCUTT
    HYDRO
    STATE

    Treating this as a sphere (where you fold the bottom to the left and the top to the right) gives YANGS along a great circle.

       1 likes

  7. Posted October 3, 2012 at 12:55 am | Permalink

    *bottom to the right and top to the left. But you knew that already.

       0 likes

  8. Ken / Cazique / SternK
    Posted October 3, 2012 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    Kudos to you, combining two old faves, a music puzzle and a color puzzle, in one. Four of these end phonetically with a word (REAPER, LANE, [see below], SIDE, and EIGHT:

    Don’t Fear The REAPER by Blue Oyster Cult
    Here Comes Santa Clause (Right Down Santa Claus LANE) by Bob B. Soxx and the Blue Jeans
    On the Dark SIDE by John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band
    Summer ’68 [EIGHT] by Pink Floyd.

    We didn’t use SCUTTLE above, since it’s reserved as the key to the mechanic – it ends phonetically in CUDDLE, which is at the beginning of the title “CUDDLE Up a Little Closer” by the Ink Spots. That band name cues us to use the colors in each of the band names above – Blue, Blue, Brown, Pink. Taking the lengths of those color names (4, 4, 5, 4) as indices into the song titles, we get the answer to the puzzle, TEEM.

       0 likes

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