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Pentacles

Cups

Wands

Swords

A Minor Miracle

(Imgur album for convenience: https://i.sstatic.net/IqNfp.jpg)

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1 Answer 1

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Pentacles

These are five crossword-like structures: the first two clues are for the outer and inner ring (the latter of which can read starting from any point and in any direction), and the remaining five clues are for the five sides of the pentagram.

The completed grids are here:
completed grids with marked letters in red
The red-dotted letters spell STARFISH.

Cups

Each of the right-hand phrases clues a different phrase - for instance, a "secretive buzzer" is a CAGEY BEE. This sounds like you're spelling out KGB, which fits the "espionage" clue.

The list of solutions is:

KGB IDLE BAT SAIL BODS WE CLAD RUN NET
In the image, some blanks for letters are circles instead of squares; the indicated letters spell GLASSWARE.

Wands

The clue answers are:
clue answers
Each of these can be parsed as a boolean expression - so "PANDA" is "P AND A". In some cases, the given order of operations disambiguates.

As hinted by the 26 rectangles, we need to figure out which of the letters is true and false. The clues highlighted yellow (green in my screenshot) are to be taken as true, and the rest are false.

The logic:

From FORD, GORU, JORD, LORD, VORW, WORX, QORE, HORRORCORE, [LANDF]ORM, KNORR, we rule out CDEFGHJKLMQRUVWX.
From ANANDA, A is true. From IXORA and PANDA, I and P are false.
From SANDS, S is false. From SNORT, T is true.
From BORG, B is true. From BANDZ, Z is false.
From NORMANDY, N is true. From NANDY, Y is false. From NOTHANDO, O is true.

Anagramming the true letters spells BATON, the "conductors' need" hinted in the flavortext.

Swords

Each of these clues is missing a certain number of letters from the front of all of its words:

___ On (Spurred) (5)
"HOw DO YOu LIke ___ APples?" (4)
OCCupying AN OTToman, PERhaps (6)
PREPared FOR A DECAthlon, FOR EXAMple (7)
COMMOnplace (8)
YOU PLACE IT UNDERNeath A CHAMPAgne WINEGLass TO COUNTEract DISCOLouration OF A TABLECloth, E. G. (7)

The answers to these clues are EGGED, THEM, SEATED, TRAINED, ORDINARY, and COASTER. Each of these can also have the appropriate number of letters added to the front to make a new word, forming Legged, ANthem, NAUseated, CONStrained, EXTRAordinary, ROLLERcoaster.

The first letters of these spell LANCER.

A Minor Miracle

The given cards are the 4 of Cups, the 5 of Swords, the 4 of Swords, the 4 of Wands, the 4 of Pentacles, the 5 of Wands, the 5 of Swords (again), and the 6 of Swords.

Indexing into the corresponding answers spells SE CORNER.


In the bottom-right corner of the Rider-Waite-Smith deck (where these pictures are taken from), artist Pamela Coleman Smith drew a small 'signature'. But the signatures here have been edited - instead of merging together her initials, they each display a letter and a number.

5S 3P 4P 4S 3C 3S 3P 2C

We can repeat the same process to get the final answer - tarot readers hear spirits with an EAR CANAL (which, as indicated by the pushed-up cards, has ARCANA right in the middle!)

Thanks to M Oehm and Stiv for helping me finish off this answer.

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    $\begingroup$ rot13(Lbhe zvffvat Phc vf VQYR, juvpu vf eryngrq gb zbenyvgl (fybgu). V guvax gur nzovthbhf bar fubhyq or ONG nf va 'ong fcbegf' - onfronyy, pevpxrg, rgp.) $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Commented Nov 7, 2021 at 7:57
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Closer inspection reveals that rot13(gur fvtangher qvssref sebz pneq gb pneq. Vg vf abg gur hfhny CPF fvtangher sbhaq ba gur pneqf, ohg n ahzore-yrggre pbzovangvba. Lbh jvyy unir gb pbcl gur vzntr; whfg zntavslvat vg va vzthe vfa'g rabhtu, sbe zl rlrf ng yrnfg. Naljnl, qbvat gung tvirf RNE PNANY, juvpu svgf gur birenyy gurzr, orpnhfr vg unf Nepnan vafvqr.). $\endgroup$
    – M Oehm
    Commented Nov 7, 2021 at 12:47
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    $\begingroup$ (And S3 could be rot13(anh | frngrq), I think.) $\endgroup$
    – M Oehm
    Commented Nov 7, 2021 at 18:27
  • $\begingroup$ @Stiv Ah yes, that looks good - thanks! I didn't realize that second one as an actual phrase. $\endgroup$
    – Deusovi
    Commented Nov 7, 2021 at 23:06
  • $\begingroup$ @MOehm Added both of those in, thanks for the help! $\endgroup$
    – Deusovi
    Commented Nov 7, 2021 at 23:06

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