# Avoid consuming broken cereal?

Please allow me to lead you on a merry dance through the following original puzzle (for which you will need to work out exactly which way to proceed).

The question is: What type of dance is it? The answer is 8 letters long.

• Well, I do get the title, so that's a start.
– JLee
Commented Sep 20, 2022 at 18:40

The dance is a

NEWS REEL!

First we notice that

we have a compass rose with clues at the eight points. The clues are dashes, digits, and stars. All stars are red, some numbers are red.

To the right are four squares.

Each square tells us something about the clues around the rose.

The first square

keys that the digits represent the initials of the compass points. 1=N, 2=NE, 3=E, etc...

The second square

has a symbol for each of the categories. For example, at North is music, to the Northeast is Old World Geography and to the West is New World Geography.

The third square

Who knows, maybe we don't need it.

The fourth square

indicates how the clues are ordered: chronologically, alphabetically, by size, or (alphabetically by last name).

For the clues at the compass points

we first replace each digit by its one- or two-letter abbreviation. We can notice patterns, find some answers, deduce the category and even fill in the answers with no clues where they form a complete set. Then the letters represented by red symbols can be anagrammed to get the name of a letter of the NATO phonetic alphabet.

North

These are Nirvana albums in chronological order

BLEACH
NEVERMIND
IN UTERO

CHARLIE

Northeast

These are New England states

RHODE ISLAND
CONNECTICUT
NEW HAMPSHIRE
VERMONT
MASSACHUSETTS
MAINE

INDIA

East

These are members of rock band The Eagles

GLENN FREY
DON HENLEY
RANDY MEISNER

ALFA

Southeast

These are Stack Exchange sites listed in chronological order

STACK OVERFLOW
SERVER FAULT
META STACK EXCHANGE
SUPER USER
MATHOVERFLOW
STACK APPS
WEB APPLICATIONS
WEBMASTERS
...

MIKE

South

The five senses

HEARING
SIGHT
SMELL
TASTE
TOUCH

ECHO

Southwest

Locations of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World

ALEXANDRIA
BABYLON
EPHESUS
GIZA
HALICARNASSUS
OLYMPIA
RHODES

LIMA

West

Counties of Wales

CLWYD
DYFED
GWENT
GWYNEDD
MID GLAMORGAN
POWYS
SOUTH GLAMORGAN
WEST GLAMORGAN

ALFA

Northwest

Nations with nuclear weapons (one assumed)

UNITED STATES
RUSSIA
UNITED KINGDOM
FRANCE
CHINA
INDIA
PAKISTAN
NORTH KOREA
(ISRAEL)

DELTA

Now we have our 8 letters

CHARLIE (C), INDIA (I), ALPHA (A), MIKE (M), ECHO (E), LIMA (L), ALFA (A), DELTA (D)

And we didn't even need to understand that third box! All we need to do now is

take the letters in the order indicated by the red arrows

IAALCEMD!

Hmm, that doesn't seem quite right...

The way to proceed on this merry dance is to notice that

the third box actually indicates the total number of letters in each of the intended category names!

We can figure them out as follows

NIRVANA (7)
NEW ENGLAND (10)
EAGLES (5)
STACK EXCHANGE (13)
SENSES (6)
SEVEN WONDERS (12)
WALES (5)
NUCLEAR WEAPONS (14)

As confirmation, each category name's initials are the initials of that cardinal point, ie (North = Nirvana, North East = New England, East = Eagles etc...)

Finally,

we index into each category name by the corresponding NATO letter to get another eight letters: R N E E E S W L. Taking them in the order indicated by the red arrows gives us our dance, the NEWS REEL, which is appropriate because NEWS spells the cardinal points and the rose is round like a reel.

The title

looks like a cryptic clue, but as @No Name and @JLee point out, it is merely a rephrasing of "Never Eat Shredded Wheat", a mnemonic for the points of the compass going clockwise.

• Can you include the answer to the cryptic clue on the title as well? Commented Sep 21, 2022 at 3:57
• @justhalf workin on it... Commented Sep 21, 2022 at 6:07
• All looking good @cap :) You can probably skip over the 'red herring' part - it wasn't intended to be one and may be a tad confusing for readers; I think your narrative works fine without it (I really like the 'Hmm' train of thought!). The only thing one might describe as a red herring here is the fact that each group contains a distinct total number of items, which may suggest an ordering to some solvers - however, this was more a construction challenge on my part, rather than any kind of solving suggestion. Re the title, think 'mnemonic', and then you've got it all!
– Stiv
Commented Sep 21, 2022 at 7:23
• @Stiv rot13(ab rng fcyvg jurng)? Commented Sep 21, 2022 at 7:43
• It's not enough to avoid consuming broken cereal. One must also avoid consuming wet breakfast pastries! Commented Sep 21, 2022 at 9:59