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An entry in Fortnightly Topic Challenge #48: Unusual tag mix


After pondering what my next puzzle would be about I decided to change my base towards the realm of slitherlink puzzles.

I found this krazy site containing a variety of non-standard grid slitherlink puzzles, and took some inspiration from there.

This is my favorite form: it contains squares, pentagons, hexagons, heptagons as well as octagons.

There is a question hidden in this puzzle, if you can answer it you earn the check mark.

slitherlink_puzzle

Hint:

There is a hint in the flavourtext

Hint 2:

The digits in green form one big number

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  • $\begingroup$ can we have another hint, please? :) $\endgroup$ Feb 19 at 17:18
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    $\begingroup$ @ArturoVialArqueros Sure, here it is! $\endgroup$ Feb 19 at 18:53
  • $\begingroup$ I was almost sure that was the way to go, but the confirmation helped me narrow down the possibilities :D Puzzle solved! $\endgroup$ Feb 22 at 13:22
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Solved Slitherlink:

Completed Grid

Now, getting the question from the solved grid:

If we note the number of sides used by the highlighted shapes and write them all together, we get the string 10127723165147052514546427056312254361. None of its digits is greater than 7 (because every shape has 8 sides or less), so we can treat it like octal (Flavor text hints to changing bases). If we convert it from octal (base 8) to a handy base 26 using the alphabet...

We get the question, which is:

'How do Guam Tree Snakes climb?'

Thematically, the answer is that:

The 'lasso' themselves around the trunks of the trees, which can be stated as saying that the snakes "slither" and "link" themselves to climb the trees!

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    $\begingroup$ That's two loops, not one. $\endgroup$
    – aschepler
    Feb 11 at 13:11
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    $\begingroup$ @ArturoVialArqueros There is one error in the colored cell numbers you filled in. $\endgroup$ Feb 11 at 16:05
  • $\begingroup$ Oh, I see, one loop. Your yellow cells confused me. $\endgroup$
    – aschepler
    Feb 11 at 17:37
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    $\begingroup$ The "6" near center left is really "0". $\endgroup$
    – aschepler
    Feb 11 at 19:55
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    $\begingroup$ @ArturoVialArqueros Well done! $\endgroup$ Feb 22 at 18:14

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