# What is in the middle?

You have 4 options to guess what the question mark in the middle is.

Please try to solve without the hint first

Hint

There are 3 commonalities for all the words

• White space. Just white space. Sep 17 at 21:35

I've been thinking for some time that the answer to this is:

4. THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS

Because...

These clues point to words that have specific letters in common with the names of the planets (i.e. worlds) in our solar system.

However, whenever I think I've pinpointed the specific rule, it seems that one of my words produces an exception, so I'm not 100% sure I have identified all of them exactly correctly. Here are my contenders though:

A SURICATE = MEERKAT

A BAD NEWS FOR COMPUTERS = VIRUS

WHERE WE ARE = EARTH

WHAT SOLDIERS SOMETIMES DO = MARCHES

ONE OF THE DOZEN DECIDERS = JURYSPEAKER

A METAL FASTNER AND PIERCER = SAFETYPIN

THE ARMPITS = UNDERARMS

A DIRECTION = NORTHERN HEMISPHERE?

With these word choices we can see that:

1. Every word begins with the same letter as the respectively ordered planet:

Meerkat/Mercury, Virus/Venus, Earth/Earth, Marches/Mars, Juryspeaker/Jupiter, Safetypin/Saturn, Underarms/Uranus, NorthernHemisphere/Neptune.

2. Not only that, but every word (except Virus) also contains the second and third letters of the respectively ordered planet:

MEeRkat/MERcury, [Virus/Venus], EARth/EARth, MARches/MARs, JUrysPeaker/JUPiter, SAfeTypin/SATurn, UndeRArms/URAnus, NorthErnHemisPhere/NEPtune.

3. Additionally, every word (except Meerkat) ends with the same letter as the respectively ordered planet:

[Meerkat/Mercury], ViruS/VenuS, EartH/EartH, MarcheS/MarS, JuryspeakeR/JupiteR, SafetypiN/SaturN, UnderarmS/UranuS, NeptunE/NorthernHemispherE.

Criticisms of my approach:

A) Clearly, 'MEERKAT' and 'VIRUS' are exceptions to these rules - I may not yet have these correct. (Could 'Meerkatty' be correct instead? No clue yet as to a suitable 'Virus' alternative though...)

B) 'Northern Hemisphere' is not really 'a direction', but given that I was able to find words containing the first three letters of each of the other planets, this is the closest I have for words of the form n*e*p*e

C) I have 'Earth' for both the planet and its substitute word, rendering it trivially true for all the rules - this may not be the OP's intention...

These things considered, I am positive that MARCHES, JURYSPEAKER, SAFETYPIN and UNDERARMS fit these rules too well for them not to be intentional. (I considered JURYPERSON initially, until I stumbled upon one that actually ended in 'R' rather than merely containing it...)

Despite these, I think this must be pretty darn close to the OP's intention, hence my posting this answer after almost 2 months of remaining unanswered.

One final note on the choice to go 'in the middle':

I chose the one cluing 'WORLDS' because this is what the other boxes surrounding it clue, but an argument could also be made for '2 THE SUNSHINE STATE' - not because of Florida, but because these planets go around the SUN...

• Rot13(V jbhyq fhttrfg: znepu, whebe, abegurnfgrea, jvgu gur ehyr gung ng yrnfg guerr bs gur yrggref zngpu sebz gur cersvk be fhssvk bs gur cynarg. ZREphel, IraHF, ZNEf, RNEGU, WHcvgrE, FNGheA, HENahF, ARcghaR.)
– JS1
Nov 10 at 12:45