To say my grandfather was eccentric is like saying water is wet - technically incorrect, but close enough that nobody really cares. I suppose in lieu of a better word "eccentric" will do.

In any case, my grandfather was a writer, as well as a puzzler... and a prankster. He loved elaborate, drawn-out pranks for no particularly good reason.

When we went to execute his will, we found a strange note hidden inside. Here's what it says:

Of course, you will all be wanting to know just how to access all of my belongings so that you can divide them up. Not to worry! I have all of my possessions in order at the bank. All that you need to do is to provide them with the correct password. Quite simple, really. But since I love having the last word, I've made it a bit of a challenge for you all. All you need to do is to solve a word web. Oh, and you'll need page 14 of my latest book. Good luck!

I looked up a word web, and found this question here on Puzzling.SE, which explains how one is solved.

We then went and opened up his book to page 14, and this section was highlighted:

The air was filled with buzzing, and not the pleasant buzzing of bees - but the obnoxious drone of flies. It was a horrible day to go out. And truth be told, I wasn't exactly sure why I had decided to travel. I had gotten the urge to take a walk, and now I was regretting the decision - what with the cold, and the flies, and... oh, Lord.
I squinted at the object lying on the trail in front of me. It looked vaguely like someone had tried to grow a cactus, somehow managed to fail, and then tipped over the pot. In any case, a spikey tangled mess now blocked the trail ahead, and there was no way over (or, for that matter, under). And now the wind was beginning to blow.
Sighing, I turned around, zipped up my sweatshirt, and started heading back. It was a twenty minute hike back before I reached my house and walked in. Defeat in something you're not sure why you started is a surefire way to feel down. I like walking, but it's not really something I love.
That night, I had a strange dream. I don't normally dream, so a dream in of itself is unusual, but this was an especially weird one. It was bright, and I could see the sun. I was squinting in the bright light.

But... this looks nothing like a word web! Could you help me figure this out and figure out what my grandfather was on about?

Hint, based on @Stiv's answer:

The groups were correctly identified, and the words for 1 and 4 are correct. The word for 2 is 5 letters long. The word for 3 is 4 letters long.

  • $\begingroup$ I feel this is a reference to a work of literature. Is any outside knowledge needed? $\endgroup$ – Bewilderer Aug 3 at 17:00
  • $\begingroup$ @Bewilderer - except for the instructions on how to solve a word web, everything you need to solve the puzzle is contained in the puzzle itself. $\endgroup$ – Mithical Aug 3 at 17:03
  • $\begingroup$ Well, I've found your mechanism (that was nicely clued!) and 2 of the groups. The other 2 are proving elusive, particularly what I shall call 'group 3' which involves some rather common words that are proving hard to choose anything definitive... I'm guessing that your choice of puzzle to link to means these are not all necessarily just compound words or two-word phrases...? (e.g. the use of BONES to clue "SKIN [and] bones" in the linked puzzle...?) $\endgroup$ – Stiv Aug 3 at 20:19
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Water is indeed wet and I have dedicated my entire life to proving this fact, so I am slightly offended that you think no one really cares. :( $\endgroup$ – Ankit Aug 5 at 4:45
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ google.com/url?q=http://scienceline.ucsb.edu/… water isn't wet and i refuse to hear otherwise $\endgroup$ – TruVortex_07 Aug 5 at 21:36

A third attempt at a complete answer! (With assistance from @Mohirl...)

Just like other "word web" or puzzles, we are looking to find connections between 16 different words, grouping them into 4 connected sets of 4, and then finding one final connection between the 4 connections.

The only problem is... we haven't been given the words here! So how to find them? Well, first notice:

the title is "Grandpa's last laugh". Not only that but a line in the flavour-text explains that Grandpa "love[s] having the last word".

Then realise that the puzzle text comprises:

4 paragraphs of 4 sentences each.

Is it a stretch too far to surmise that the words we need for our web are:

the last words of each sentence? And specifically, that even the 4 connection groupings have already been provided to us - each one comprises the 4 'last words' in a paragraph.

This means that our groups are:


As far as connections go, I have so far spotted two which have been confirmed correct by the OP:

1: TIME ('Time flies', Time-out, Time travel, Time Lord)

4: DAY (Daydream, One day, Sunday, Daylight)

In comments below, @Mohirl has made suggestions for the two remaining connections:

2: STAND (Stand by Me, Pot stand, Understand, 'Blow this popsicle stand')

3: FALL (Fall back, Fall in, Fall down, Fall in love)

Previous confirmed-incorrect attempts for the remaining two groups include:

2: FIRE ('So fire me...', Fire pot, Under fire, 'Blow fire')
2: CRACK (Crackme, Crackpot, 'Crack under [the strain]', Crack/Blow - both nicknames for cocaine)

3: LINE (Backline, Inline, Down the line, Loveline)
3: LOCK (Lockback knife, Lock-in, Lockdown, Lovelock)

If all of these were correct, then to solve the puzzle this would mean we are looking for a final connection between:


Then (again, with thanks to @Mohirl) a very fitting connecting answer for these four linking words would be:

THE LAST (The Last Time, The Last Day, The Last Stand, The Last Fall) where all the links are to films or songs with these titles. 'LAST' is of course hidden in plain sight in the title of this puzzle, the grandfather loves having 'THE LAST word', and it fits with the method of discovering the hidden word-web in the first place!

| improve this answer | |
  • $\begingroup$ I will confirm that the two that you are confident about are indeed correct. :) $\endgroup$ – Mithical Aug 5 at 17:25
  • $\begingroup$ @Mithical Ok, noted. More thought required then... $\endgroup$ – Stiv Aug 5 at 17:35
  • $\begingroup$ 3 could be rot13(Fgrc. Fgrc Onpx, Fgrc Va, Fgrc Qbja, Fgrc va gur Anzr bs Ybir) $\endgroup$ – Bewilderer Aug 6 at 16:18
  • $\begingroup$ @Mithical How about these groups now - any better? $\endgroup$ – Stiv Sep 1 at 16:13
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Okay, thanks @Mohirl - I have edited these ideas in now, with credit. You might just have cracked this - it does fit very nicely...! $\endgroup$ – Stiv Sep 2 at 13:46

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.