A Second Helping of Spaghetti

As has been previously noted, there are two ways you can go when solving a round of Spaghetti: Surprisingly simple, or gloriously wacky. Yesterday we saw plenty of both.

James McTeague received the most votes by making us wonder if this wasn’t an actual metapuzzle instead of a bunch of random words: He observed that each word contained two Is and/or Os, and these could be arranged to spell out a word in binary. Honestly, I’ve seen real puzzles that were less elegant.

Codeman also played with the Is and Os, arranging the words into two strings so that all the Is were in one half and all the Os in the other. Amazingly, this technique reveals an eight-letter answer, CALIPERS, sitting right there, plain as day. Hard to believe.

Ange took third place, though in my opinion her answer best captured the absurdity of the whole exercise: It wasn’t enough that she was able to create an actor’s name out of each random word (by, of course, spelling each word backwards and adding a letter to a substring). She went the extra mile to determine that each actor had been in a movie with a punctuation mark in the title. Because obviously. The letters she added spelled out KEITEL, giving us another actor famous for punctuation-laden movies, or anyway, he had one in his resume, thank goodness.

Congrats to our three winners. You are all crazy brilliant. And also, just plain crazy.

Shall we do one more round?

I think perhaps the random number generator read yesterday’s results and concluded that it was too easy on all of you. Let’s see what you make of these five words:

STREP THROAT
DEAN
THANE
SOW BUG
EXCEPTIONAL

As before, you can add a sixth word of your choosing, if you wish. Whether you come up with an answer or not, please do check back and read what other people submit, and choose one or more as your favorites. Good luck!

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14 Comments

  1. Posted January 13, 2015 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    Are you sure you’re not leaving actual metapuzzles out here?

    Treat solo consonants as dots and strings of more than one consonant as dashes.

    EXCEPTIONAL = – -.. = Z
    DEAN = .. = I
    THANE = -. = N
    STREP THROAT = – -. = G
    LOUIE = . = E
    SOW BUG = .-. = R

    The answer is ZINGER.

       12 likes

  2. Eric Berlin
    Posted January 13, 2015 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    James, I’m glad you’re on my Hunt team.

       7 likes

  3. JanglerNPL
    Posted January 13, 2015 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    The first step is to take some letters out of each answer, and then rearrange — there were lots of possibilities, but thankfully the metapuzzle author gave the answers in order:

    STREP THROAT – R S = EARTH SPOT (unlike the others, we have to take two letters here — the extraneous R will be important)
    DEAN – E = AND
    THANE – A = THEN
    SOW BUG – W = BOGUS
    EXCEPTIONAL – C = ANTELOPE (XI)

    All together: Earth spot, and then bogus antelope (XI). This is a cryptic clue for our answer, NETHERLANDS (THEN anagrammed + ELANDS, plus the extra R we took out in the beginning).

       3 likes

  4. Michael Hoffman
    Posted January 13, 2015 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    This seems too easy. Most Metas have some clue built in, so the length disparity of the words raised a flag:
    EXC EPT ION A L
    STR EPT HRO A T

    The obvious “shared letter grouping” must be a clue!
    The rest falls into place:
    DEAN
    THANE
    SOW BUG

    Remove all shared letters, and you are left with:
    D TH SOW BUG

    Take the 3,4,5 and 9th letters (from the shared letter grouping key):
    HSOG

    Read backwards and GOSH this was an easy puzzle!

       1 likes

  5. Gemini6Ice
    Posted January 13, 2015 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    We had to backsolve the sixth answer to get this one: THROUGH.

    Each answer has an abbreviation for a month in it, except the first letter is wrong. There are two of each month. Arrange in order by month number, and put each pair in reverse alphabetical order. Extract the “wrong letter” and then shift it by its position and the number of the month:

    THANE: H(an). H + 1 (Jan) + 2 = K
    DEAN: E(an). E + 1 (Jan) + 2 = H
    THROUGH: O(ug). O + 8 (Aug) + 4 = A
    SOWBUG: B(ug). B + 8 (Aug) + 4 = N
    STREP THROAT: R(ept) + 9 (Sept) + 3 = D
    EXCEPTIONAL: C(ept) + 9 (Sept) + 3 = O

    KHANDO, a reference to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khando_Ballal, fitting since the theme of this round was Diplomacy.

       3 likes

  6. Andrew Greene
    Posted January 13, 2015 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    Anagramming each word or phrase, and then stitching those anagrams together in the given order, yields:


    STREP THROAT = SPORT ART THE
    DEAN........ = N DEA
    THANE....... = TH ANE
    SOW BUG .... = W BOGUS
    EXCEPTIONAL. = PLACE NO EXIT

    The answer is OLYMPUS — the original Olympic games featured both SPORT and ART competitions, and THEN the losers faced DEATH ANEW. We now know that Olympus is not real; it’s a BOGUS PLACE with NO EXIT.

       1 likes

  7. Ange
    Posted January 13, 2015 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    Take the Scrabble tile values of the FIRST FOUR letters in each word, and locate that string of numbers within pi:

    DEAN = 2111 can be found at 1411854th position in pi
    SOWBUG = 1143 can be found at 4114095th position in pi
    THANE = 1411 can be found at 4011121st position in pi
    EXCEPTIONAL = 1831 can be found at 3010529th position in pi
    STREPTHROAT = 11113 can be found at 4141840th position in pi

    Take the FIRST FOUR numbers in the locations within pi, and treat those as Scrabble tile values (treat 0 as a blank tile); make the name of a US president that fits those values:

    1411 = TYLER, 10th president
    4114 = WASHINGTON, 1st president
    4011 = FILLMORE, 13th president
    3010 = MONROE, 5th president
    4141 = HAYES, 19th president

    Convert president number into letters and you get JAMES, which means obviously the answer is GARFIELD, because James Garfield is the only president with a published mathematical proof.

       6 likes

  8. Posted January 13, 2015 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    The answers form sets of 11 letters, with DEAN left over; if the complete 11s are ordered by word count, this gives:

    EXCEPTIONAL
    STREPTHROAT
    SOWBUGTHANE
    DEAN

    Now mark all the letters in ANSWER wherever they occur in the diagram above, and rotate 90 degrees counterclockwise

    ..#
    ###
    #.#
    .#.
    ...
    ...
    ...
    ##.#
    .###
    ...#
    ###.

    This gives you a lower case d and y, so the final answer is just DANDY.

       3 likes

  9. Charles
    Posted January 13, 2015 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    Read the answer words as a sentence, taking a stressed syllable as a dash and an unstressed syllable as a dot. If you read the “sentence” the way my text-to-speech does, you get:

    STREP THROAT — = M
    DEAN – = E
    THANE – = T
    SOW BUG .- = A
    EXCEPTIONAL .-.. = L

    So the answer, like my text to speech, is METAL.

       1 likes

  10. Dustin
    Posted January 13, 2015 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

    Fortunately the answers are given in the right order for this one. Each answer can be split into two parts, and the split must be at the word break if it’s a phrase. The first part can have a single letter added somewhere to make a new word or name. Then, you need to add that letter to the END of the second part, and add one more letter at the end to make another new word or name. Here’s the solution:

    STRE(E)P / THROAT(E)(D)
    DE(N) / AN(N)(E)
    THA(T) / NE(T)(S)
    S(L)OW / BUG(L)(E)
    EXCEPTION(S) / AL(S)(O)

    The final letters added to the ends of the second halves spell out “DESEO,” which is Spanish for “desire.” But don’t go calling it in just yet! We haven’t made use of the other five letters we added, which spell out “ENTLS,” or “En. tls.” This is a forced five-letter abbreviation for “English translation” so the actual answer is simply DESIRE.

       1 likes

  11. Tinhorn
    Posted January 13, 2015 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

    Solving the final puzzle in this, the Pandemic round of the Board Game Hunt, gives us IMMIXES. With six puzzles in the round, it’s clear that THANE serves as an ordering mechanism for the other five. And, since IMMIXES was the solution to the puzzle in the round whose title was in all capital letters, we know (from other rounds in the Hunt) that it is not only a solution word, but it also hints at how to solve the meta. Here, clearly, IMMIXES tells us we need to add in a letter and anagram the result. Thus, we have:

    T + DEAN = ANTED
    H + EXCEPTIONAL = EXOENTHALPIC
    A + IMMIXES = MAXIMISE (and the puzzle was located at LONDON on the Pandemic board — elegant!)
    N + SOWBUG = BOWGUNS
    E + STREPTHROAT = POTTER’S EARTH

    And hey, as a confirmation and ambiguity-avoidance mechanism, each of the anagrams is sneakily clued in the flavortext of its corresponding puzzle. Neat!

    Then, simply reading up the diagonal, we get:

    anteD
    exoEnthalpic
    maXimise
    bOwguns
    Pottersearth

    POXED … for a nicely thematic solution.

       2 likes

  12. Jack Lance
    Posted January 13, 2015 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

    You should have told us that STREP and THROAT were two different answers!
    We can put them in an order so that each word shares a bigram with the next word IN THE SAME POSITION

    DEAN
    THANE
    THROAT
    STROBE
    STREP
    EXCEPTIONAL

    These bigrams spell out ANTHRO STEP.
    This along with the unused SOW BUG, is a direction cluing TRILOPOD

       1 likes

  13. Wei-Hwa Huang
    Posted January 14, 2015 at 12:39 am | Permalink

    Can’t be this simple, can it?

    Sort the answers in alphabetical order, and then notice that each answer has a silent letter:

    DE(A)N
    EX(C)EPTIONAL
    SO(W) BUG
    SPLEND(O)UR
    STREP THRO(A)T
    THAN(E)

    The letters preceding the letter spell out EXODON, a genus of a silent fish.

       4 likes

  14. Matt J.
    Posted January 20, 2015 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

    I know I’m late to the game, but:

    The five answers can be split and repaired into five new words or phrases that directly or indirectly hint a topic in the news:

    DE/EP THROAT (Watergate)
    STR/UG (US Olympic gymnastics team)
    SOWB/ANE (swine flu)
    TH/IONAL (Wurm-thional, alternate name for phenothiazine)
    EXCEPT/AN (Brendan Behan’s quotation “All publicity is good, except an obituary notice” in London’s Sunday Express)

    If you take the 20th century year in which each topic first started showing up in the news, you get:

    ’72 (Watergate scandal)
    ’96 (Atlanta Olympic debut)
    ’76 (Major US outbreak)
    ’35 (Introduced by DuPont)
    ’64 (Date quotation was printed)

    If you then find X mod Y, X being the 2 digit year and Y being the length of the phrase, you get: 2, 1, 6, 0, 0.

    Using Brendan Behan’s quote subject, if you do a search for “21600 obituary” you only get links for obituaries at one location: The Krause funeral home in Brookline, WI. And those who remember the series “Six Feet Under” remember Peter Krause played one of the main characters. So the answer is SIX FEET UNDER (which also happens to describe both dead celebs like James DEAN and insects like SOW BUGs.)

       0 likes

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