Hello! I'm Mike, and welcome to your 3rd annual "Needle in a Haystack" awards!
We'll have just five rounds of competition, followed by judging, then your champ!
In each round, the contestants line up to play, but only the rarest will win a round.
Each round's winner(s), if any, wins one point, and of course, a hefty pride lift.
There's only one winner each year, with ties decided by a bonus round.

The most notable participant wins this competition- so intense that it's a war.
The packed crowd is hyped and ready. We're about to start here in 1 minute. Come on clock!
Our 23 participants may (should), but don't have to, compete in every round.
And we're off! Round one had no winners, but since then only 2 contenders carry the day.
Why, it's too bad that in the end, only one is the best and rarest winner this year.

Who are the final two contenders, and who won?

  • $\begingroup$ Small hint: I just changed the formatting so that there are 2 groups of 5 lines. Some of the lines were wrapping to the next line with that other formatting. $\endgroup$
    – JLee
    Commented May 9, 2022 at 11:41

1 Answer 1


The 23 contenders are

The 23 letters of the alphabet that appear in the text of this puzzle.

The rounds of the competition are

each line of text in the puzzle description

In the first round, the winner is

no one, because no letter appears just once. (Assuming that you have to appear to be a contender)

In the next four rounds, the winners are

B, B, L, L, each time with only one occurrence.

Now after the fifth round, there is a tie between

B and L, with two points each.

So we do move to a bonus round. This time,

B and L tie in the first 4 rounds (with one occurrence each), but in the last round, there are 2 Bs and only 1 L, so L wins.

Thus the final winner of the competition is

The letter L!

  • $\begingroup$ @JLee, I'm not sure why you removed "Hello", then added it back and changed my answer to match? $\endgroup$ Commented May 9, 2022 at 18:15
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I had a comment here earlier explaining it, but I deleted that. This morning when I reformatted the puzzle, I accidentally deleted the word "Hello" from the first line. I added it back in to be consistent with what I originally posted. It is an example round of nobody winning. Either way it did not affect the final answers, which you got correct, but I updated your answer based on the updated question. $\endgroup$
    – JLee
    Commented May 9, 2022 at 18:45

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