13
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The set of sixteen items below can be partitioned. Each partition is of four items that have something in common. I invite you to figure out the partitions and commonalities. You'll find that the four commonalities are of the same type in some sense; and that, taken together, they clue an eight-letter word.

BULL, COME, DICK, KO, LEE, ME, MULL, NIT, RE-ROBE, RICH, RUBBLE, SEW, SHELLS, STIR, TELL, WEIGH

Hint (added later):

RE would work instead of RE-ROBE (and would be a more appropriate word for this puzzle) were it not for the fact that it's also a musical note. I included RE-ROBE because it's easy and in my hope that people use it to start solving the puzzle.

Another hint (added even later):

I don't know why I included NIT rather than KNIT. It makes no difference whatsoever.

Another hint (added even later):

LEE and TELL are in the same partition.

Another hint (mentioned a little while ago in the comments on the question):

Bubbler asked me whether the KO on the board is "ko" or "K.O." and I replied that it's the former and that that question is important.

Another hint (mentioned a little while ago in the comments on an answer):

The fact that none of the words contain the letter A is just by chance.

Well… there may actually be some sort of linguistic connection between the wall's rules and the absence of an A. Like, maybe it's easier to find non-A words to fit the wall's rules than to find A words to fit them. But knowing that is probably not going to help you.

Another hint (added even later):

One European and one African country are represented here by name.

Another hint (added even later):

Also, a big city in East Anglia is represented by name.

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15
  • $\begingroup$ Is KO "Ko" or "K.O."? $\endgroup$ – Bubbler Nov 4 '20 at 5:37
  • $\begingroup$ My observations so far: rot13(Bayl OHYY, ZHYY, GRYY, FURYYF pbagnva qbhoyr Y. Bayl QVPX, AVG, EVPU, FGVE pbagnva na V orgjrra gjb pbafbanagf (nyfb jbexf jvgu XAVG). Bayl ER-EBOR, EHOOYR, EVPU, FGVE pbagnva na E. Bayl PBZR, ZHYY, FGVE, EHOOYR pbagnva n fubeg "hu"-fbhaq. Bayl OHYY, ZHYY, GRYY, EHOOYR raq jvgu na Y-fbhaq. Bayl PBZR, YRR, EHOOYR, JRVTU pbagnva rknpgyl gjb ibjry yrggref. Bayl FURYYF, FGVE, EHOOYR, ER-EBOR pbagnva rknpgyl guerr pbafbanag fbhaqf.) $\endgroup$ – Bubbler Nov 4 '20 at 6:12
  • $\begingroup$ My observations over the last couple of days potential groups rot 13 Cnvef jvgu Hc ng gur raq gb znxr n cuenfr (Pbzr, jrvtu, fgve, frj), Unf n qbhoyr pbafbanag sbe 3eq naq 4gu yrggref (gryy, ehooyr, zhyy, ohyy) Eulzrf jvgu zhfvpny abgrf (zr,xb,frj, jrvtu) V xabj yrr pna svg urer gbb. $\endgroup$ – Prince Deepthinker Nov 4 '20 at 6:27
  • $\begingroup$ Two more: rot13(YRR ZR ER-EBOR JRVTU (svefg ibjry fbhaq vf ybat, pbagnvavat na /v/); XB YRR ZR (X)AVG (vf n jbeq jura erirefrq)) $\endgroup$ – Bubbler Nov 4 '20 at 7:31
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ "FIFTEENTH • Wrong! All answers are wrong!" — The Westing Game (which, incidentally, if you haven't read, you should. Not that it'll help with this puzzle: it's just a good-quality kids' book) $\endgroup$ – msh210 Nov 4 '20 at 7:44
3
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8 letter word:

Carreras thanks to JS1 for this

Group 1

Prefix Ho__+ word (LEE, TELL, COME, ME) makes Holy, Hotel, Hokum, Homey

Group 2

Prefix Nor__+ word (WEIGH, DICK, RICH, MULL) makes Norway, Nordic, Norwich, Normal

Group 3

Prefix Sey__+ word (SHELLS, SEW, BULL, KO) Seychelles, Say-So , Sable, Seiko

Group 4

Prefix Te + word (RE-ROBE, RUBBLE, STIR, NIT) Terry-Robe, Terrible, Tester, Tenet

If you take the syllables you can spell Jose Tenor which hints at Jose Carreras.

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14
  • $\begingroup$ Very close! Group 2 is right and note how group 1 is rot13(qrsvarq fvzvyneyl gb tebhc 2... lbh zvtug pbafvqre pbagvahvat nybat gur fnzr yvarf. Bu, naq qb lbh ernyyl cebabhapr ubeevoyr jvgu gur fnzr ibjry nf gur bgure ub- jbeqf?) $\endgroup$ – msh210 Nov 10 '20 at 7:29
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ This is very similar to what I was working on in comments above. My Group 3 however was rot13(FNL: FURYYF (FRLPURYYRF), OHYY (FNOYR), FRJ (FNL-FB), ZR (FNZRL) juvyr V unq PBZR va gur UB tebhc (UBXHZ)) $\endgroup$ – Stiv Nov 10 '20 at 7:42
  • $\begingroup$ Is this correct? $\endgroup$ – Prince Deepthinker Nov 10 '20 at 23:08
  • $\begingroup$ The four groups are defined correctly and have the correct elements in them — well done! — but that's not the eight-letter word I was thinking of. (Ignore the puzzle title: there's no real clue there.) $\endgroup$ – msh210 Nov 10 '20 at 23:29
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Rot13: Pbhyq gur nafjre or Pneerenf orpnhfr gur sbhe pngrtbevrf gbtrgure orpbzr "Grabe Wbfr"? $\endgroup$ – JS1 Nov 12 '20 at 21:09
6
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Firstly, there's something very important to notice about the word set in this puzzle:

None of the words contain the letter 'A'!

I believe this is a deliberate clue and is supposed to hint at:

The need to manipulate these words using the letter A to make new words. This is backed up by use of the word 'A-MORPHOUS' in the title, which suggests in a punny way that we need to morph (i.e. 'change the form of') the words in this puzzle using the letter 'A' in all of our transformations.

The wall can then be resolved as follows:

Group 1: Can add an 'A' to make a new word
BULL --> BULLA
LEE --> ALEE
STIR --> ASTIR/SATIR/STAIR
WEIGH --> AWEIGH

Group 2: Can change the last letter to an 'A' to make a new word
COME --> COMA
KO --> KA
ME --> MA
SEW --> SEA

Group 3: Change a letter other than the last to an 'A' to make a new word
REROBE --> AEROBE
RUBBLE --> RABBLE
SHELLS --> SHEALS
TELL --> TALL

Group 4: Change a letter to an 'A' and reverse the letter order to make a new word
DICK --> DICA --> ACID
MULL --> MULA --> ALUM
NIT --> NAT --> TAN
RICH --> RIAH --> HAIR

While I can't immediately spot a punny 8-letter word that sums this up, a suitable one based on earlier observations about the title might be:

MORPHING - although I am open to better suggestions!

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9
  • $\begingroup$ Just noticed after posting that this doesn't satisfy the third hint, so I must have something in the wrong group, but so much of this fits (including the first two hints) that I feel this must be incredibly close to the bullseye...! :) $\endgroup$ – Stiv Nov 5 '20 at 0:37
  • $\begingroup$ If this was the intended answer, I would be disappointed. $\endgroup$ – Prince Deepthinker Nov 5 '20 at 0:41
  • $\begingroup$ According to QAT, you can put rot13(gryy (gryn) naq yrr (yrn) vagb tebhc 2, zbir frj (fnj) gb tebhc 3, naq zbir xb (xbn) gb tebhc 1). $\endgroup$ – Jeremy Dover Nov 5 '20 at 1:01
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @msh210 This is happening to me a lot this week...! Is the initial observation at all important or just another freak coincidence?! $\endgroup$ – Stiv Nov 5 '20 at 7:38
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Stiv, the latter. $\endgroup$ – msh210 Nov 5 '20 at 9:11
-1
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First step is to make a wall. The words are in alphabetical order in the puzzle, and I am assuming they must be grouped an re-ordered.

3 or less
clue: "I don't know why I included NIT rather than KNIT"
answer: 3 rather than 4 letters, number of letters is important?
KO LEE ME NIT

have LL
BULL MULL SHELLS TELL

verbs that involve an object
RE-ROBE STIR SEW WEIGH

remainder
COME DICK RICH RUBBLE

Which creates a wall like - alphabetical

 BULL     MULL    SHELLS   TELL     
 COME     DICK    RICH     RUBBLE
 KO       LEE     ME       NIT   
 RE-ROBE  STIR    SEW      WEIGH   

Or perhaps grouped vertically

 BULL     COME    KO       RE-ROBE
 MULL     DICK    LEE      STIR
 SHELLS   RICH    ME       SEW
 TELL     RUBBLE  NIT      WEIGH

But the order of the elements in the wall is a mystery to me. Assuming the elements in the 4 groups are related to each other, than what order are the 4 groups to each other?

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3
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ I specifically said NIT vs. KNIT makes no difference; so your first group can't be. KNIT and SHELLS also are verbs involving objects. And "the rest" is not generally considered a valid group in a connect wall. $\endgroup$ – msh210 Nov 5 '20 at 14:14
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    $\begingroup$ But you also said you chose NIT over KNIT. But if that's not the case, then it's got to be a phonetic clue. $\endgroup$ – jmbmage Nov 5 '20 at 14:15
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    $\begingroup$ "The words are in alphabetical order in the puzzle, and I am assuming they must be grouped an re-ordered." No need to assume. The puzzle says to group them. It doesn't say to order them, and indeed there's no need (or clued criterion by which) to. $\endgroup$ – msh210 Nov 5 '20 at 14:24

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