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Find 1) the correct path through the maze and 2) a six-letter thematic answer.

thunderbolt

Text version:

Blood Father Metal Too strong
Data storage device Capital's inlet Capital Code
Polar climate US soap opera Radiation Road
Radiation Schooling Weather Thunderbolt

Any adjacent cells (two cells that share a side) are connected. Additionally, each of the four corner cells are connected to the outside of the grid. These are the only connecting paths that exist.

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1 Answer 1

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To pass through the maze, take the following route:

(Enter top left) - Blood - Data storage device - Polar climate - US soap opera - Capital's inlet - Capital - Metal - Too strong - Code - Road - Radiation - Weather - Thunderbolt - (Exit bottom right)

(This is presented diagrammatically in a later spoiler, fear not...)

The reasoning behind this is that...

...every phrase in the maze can be represented by a pair of letters. Specifically, though, most of them can be represented by two consecutive letters of the English alphabet. And even more specifically, it is possible to plot a route through the maze whereby the entire English alphabet can be spelled out in order by these letter pairs!

AB "Blood" = a blood group;
CD "Data storage device" = compact disc;
EF "Polar climate" = represents an 'ice cap climate' in the Köppen climate classification system;
GH "US soap opera" = General Hospital;
IJ "Capital's inlet" = a body of water in Amsterdam, capital of the Netherlands;
KL "Capital" = Kuala Lumpur, capital of Malaysia;
MN "Metal" = Manganese (chemical symbol 'Mn');
OP "Too strong" = 'Over-powered';
QR "Code" = QR code;
ST "Road" = an abbreviation of 'street';
UV "Radiation" = Ultra-Violet;
WX "Weather" = Morse code shorthand for 'Weather';
YZ "Thunderbolt" = Name of The Thunderbolt in DC Comics.

You can see this most easily in an image:

Route through the maze

Note that three rooms are unvisited...

...and that the phrases in each of these can also be represented by a pair of letters, just not alphabetically-adjacent-and-ordered ones:

PA "Father" = a nickname for one's dad;
IR "Radiation" = Infra-Red;
ED "Schooling" = Abbreviation for 'EDucation'.

Putting these together in order from top-to-bottom, left-to-right spells out PAIRED - the hidden six-letter thematic answer, since this puzzle is all about pairs of letters!

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  • $\begingroup$ Yes, that's the one. rot13(Gur gvgyr znl nyfb freir nf n uvag/pbasvezngvba orpnhfr bs gur svefg yrggref bs rnpu jbeq gurer.) How did you break into the puzzle? I'm curious as usual. $\endgroup$
    – oAlt
    Oct 12, 2023 at 11:24
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    $\begingroup$ @oAlt Ha, I hadn't spotted the acronym there :) My 'in' was that as I thought around things that could be synonyms of the phrases, I came up with suggestions for 'Radiation', 'Too strong' and 'Road' that fitted a certain pattern. Noticing that 'Road' and 'Radiation' were adjacent gave me a theory, and finding that 'Code' fitted neatly in between confirmed it - I had a solid chain! 'Metal' was then forced, I quickly cracked 'Blood', 'Data storage device' and Capital' and I then filled in the gaps with the help of the pattern and confirmatory Wikipedia searches. A satisfying puzzle to solve :) $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Oct 12, 2023 at 11:38

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