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Ladies and Gentlemen. This is Ralph Prat in Bismark, North Dakota, bringing you the daily weather forecast. The weather is better here than in Iowa, or maybe it isn't. Honestly, I just began working today. I have such a strange job. The SNR owns the broadcast, I can barely say anything. However, I do know that today there will be more weather than I'll be used to. But nothing like they have in Malawi and France, now that's just crazy. There, you could see even priceless paintings such as a Picasso cubism dog flying through the air without warning. Oh, that's my time. Anyway, I don't know whether you'll have a cool day or not, but have a good one.

What is the weather going to be like today, and why?

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1 Answer 1

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Bad news. There is going to be ...

... a tornado.

Hidden in the forecast ...

... are several four-letter words related to the weather with an additional letter in the middle:

T in rain: This is Ralph P(ra·t in) Bismarck, ...
O in warm: ... than in Io(wa, o·r m)aybe it isn't.
R in snow: The (SN·R ow)ns the broadcast, ...
N in hail: ... more weather t(ha·n I'l)l be used to.
A in wind: ... in Mala(wind) France, ...
D in smog: ... cubi(smog) flying ...
O in cold: ... have a (co·o·l d)ay or not, ...

The additional letters in the middle spell tornado.

How did I find it?

(I'll use Stef's request as an excuse to describe my haphazard look for patterns as "thought process".)

This puzzle has a title, a question and some text. All of these set the theme, "weather", and the tag tells us that we are looking for a word. Because there isn't much else, the word must be hidden in the text.

There are many ways to do that, but usually, the answer must be constructed from smaller fragments, most often letters. Looking at the capital letters and the capital letters that are not at the beginning of a sentence yielded nothing.

There are two US states and two countries mentioned, which often means that postal or internet domain abbreviations are involved. But not here. Also, these items are lumped together at the beginning and at two thirds through the text. Usually, what we are looking for is strung out more evenly.

When reading the text, some obscure words stand out. Hiding words in the text is not always easy, especially if the hidden words must spell out a message. Even in good texts such as this one, some Obscure words are needed now and then.

So, the made-up name of the forecaster with the unusual spelling (Pratt would have been more likely) and "The SNR" are auch words. "Malawi and France" is an unusual pairing and what's with Picasso's "cubism dog"? I saw "wind" in "Malawi and" and thought that maybe there was something at the end of words. Then I saw "snow" and "smog" and found the pattern. It was also rather clear that the extra letters in the middle should form an answer.

When looking for patterns, I like to paste the text into a text editor, so that I can rearrange it and try out things. I bracket off things I find or I place line breaks around them. Sometimes it's useful to convert everything to lowercase and remove all spaces and puctuation, so that I can search the text for hidden words that span several words in the text. Wildcard search and regular expressions help, too.

Even so, I needed rhkoulen's help to identify the N correctly. So my method isn't super systematic. I just try out some things and see wheter they fit. Of course, having been around PSE for some time means that I have already seen many possible patterns and I may have developed an eye for them. And very often I can't find anything.

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    $\begingroup$ Are you sure the N is in high? I would think it would be in hail: "...weather than I'll be used to." This requires ignoring the apostrophe, but a comma is ignored for O and I think hail is more weathery than high. Really good eyes though, I was stumped. $\endgroup$
    – rhkoulen
    Nov 9, 2021 at 19:31
  • $\begingroup$ Yes you are right. N was my last missing link and I stopped looking when I found something vaguely weather-related. $\endgroup$
    – M Oehm
    Nov 9, 2021 at 19:33
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    $\begingroup$ I have no idea how people even notice patterns like that, people on here are either too smart for me or they're all aliens $\endgroup$ Nov 10, 2021 at 8:30
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    $\begingroup$ @htmlcoderexe: Thanks, earthling, and greetings from Zmblfax! $\endgroup$
    – M Oehm
    Nov 10, 2021 at 10:28
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    $\begingroup$ @Stef: Sure I can. I never pass up on a chance to wax lyrical about my "thought process". :) $\endgroup$
    – M Oehm
    Nov 10, 2021 at 17:57

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