5
$\begingroup$

Can you figure out what's going on here?


    **********
           - D
  ------------
     *********
           + O
  ------------
    **********
           - W
  ------------
     *********
           + T
  ------------
    **********
           + E
  ------------
   ***********
           - O
  ------------
    **********
           - A
  ------------
     *********
           + P
  ------------
    **********
           - N
  ------------
     *********
           + C
  ------------
    **********
           - G
  ------------
     *********
           + O
  ------------
    **********
           - P
  ------------
     *********
           + S
  ------------
    **********
           - O
  ------------
     *********
           + D
  ------------
    **********
           - C
  ------------
     *********
           + P
  ------------
    **********
           - T
  ------------
     *********
           + G
  ------------
    **********
           - P
  ------------
     *********
           + A
  ------------
    **********
           - G
  ------------
     *********
$\endgroup$

1 Answer 1

9
$\begingroup$

It looks like

each set of stars should be a word, and adding or removing the given letters should lead to a new word (possibly with anagramming?).

Using that, we can start filling things in:

Based on letters that are removed before they're added, the first string must have D, W, A, N, G, and five unknown letters. Those five letters stay the whole way through, so they should be reasonably common.

After throwing those letters into Qat and trying a few options, I hit on WANDERINGS as a workable one -- that makes the extra letter set ERINS, which are all very common.

So the filled chart is:

(There are a few options for some of these - I've just arbitrarily chosen one.)
WANDERINGS
[-D] ANSWERING
[+O] NORWEGIANS
[-W] REASONING
[+T] RESONATING
[+E] GENERATIONS
[-O] TANGERINES
[-A] RESENTING
[+P] PRESENTING
[-N] PESTERING
[+C] RESPECTING
[-G] PRESCIENT
[+O] RECEPTIONS
[-P] SECRETION
[+S] SECRETIONS
[-O] SINCEREST
[+D] DIRECTNESS
[-C] DISSENTER
[+P] PRESIDENTS
[-T] DISPENSER
[+G] DEPRESSING
[-P] REDESIGNS
[+A] REASSIGNED
[-G] READINESS

$\endgroup$
3
  • $\begingroup$ The fifth operation is +E, not -E, so a possible word would be rot13(TRARENGVBAF) instead of rot13(VTABENAGF) $\endgroup$
    – samm82
    Commented Aug 2, 2021 at 23:39
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @samm82 Fixed, thank you! $\endgroup$
    – Deusovi
    Commented Aug 3, 2021 at 0:02
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for explaining your reasoning and describing how you surmised the first word. I worked hard on coming up with a chain that was interesting and also offered enough clues to determine the first word. $\endgroup$
    – SlowMagic
    Commented Aug 3, 2021 at 18:15

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