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This puzzle is part of the Puzzling Stack Exchange Advent Calendar 2023. The accepted answer to this question will be awarded a bounty worth 50 reputation.

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Today, in my excitement for Christmas, I went looking for the man responsible for bringing presents and joy to children all around the world - and I found him! But I had some assistance along the way...

I asked an actress in the latest Bond movie, a Bird of Prey, a Doctor's assistant (and someone that looked like a smaller version of them), a Beckham, a pile of metal bits from a mattress (I don't know what I was thinking there...), a von Trapp, a Friend, a long-time American Idol judge, and a detective in the 99th Precinct of the New York City Police Department in Brooklyn.

All of them said they could help me! The question is: With these folks on-side, where did I find him?

The answer is a 10-letter geographical region.

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2 Answers 2

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THE ANSWER IS:

CALIFORNIA

BOND ACTRESS = ANA (DE ARMAS) (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ana_de_Armas)

BIRD OF PREY = BARBARA (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbara_Gordon)

DOCTOR WHO ASSISTANT = CLARA (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clara_Oswald)

SMALL VERSION OF ASSISTANT = CLARITA - (-ITA means little or child in Spanish)

BECKHAM = CRUZ (DAVID BECKHAM'S YOUNGEST SON)

METAL BITS IN FROM MATTRESS = FE SPRINGS (FE = IRON, SPRINGS IN A MATRESS)

VON TRAPP = MARIA (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maria_von_Trapp)

FRIEND = MONICA (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monica_Geller)

AMERICAN IDOL JUDGE = PAULA (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paula_Abdul)

B-99 DETECTIVE = ROSA (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosa_Diaz)

All of these:

BECOME CITIES IN CALIFORNIA WHEN YOU PUT SANTA IN FRONT OF THE ANSWERS

SANTA ANA (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Ana,_California), SANTA BARBARA (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Barbara,_California), SANTA CLARA (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Clara,_California), SANTA CLARITA (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Clarita,_California), SANTA CRUZ (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Cruz,_California), SANTA FE SPRINGS (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Fe_Springs,_California), SANTA MARIA (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Maria,_California), SANTA MONICA (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Monica,_California), SANTA PAULA (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Paula,_California), SANTA ROSA (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Rosa,_California)

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  • $\begingroup$ Since this was the first answer to twig the full pattern and get everything correct, I am awarding this one the checkmark. (Although Prince Deepthinker did spot the significance of the 'on-side' hint laid in the question, and has since fleshed out their answer with a good amount of additional explanatory detail...) $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Dec 16, 2023 at 9:24
  • $\begingroup$ I also worked out the state, and majority of the puzzle and did all the hard work but ok it’s your puzzle $\endgroup$
    – PDT
    Dec 16, 2023 at 9:31
  • $\begingroup$ thanks Stiv, im happy to give some bounty to PDT as its xmas, if that is possible. For the record my answer was put together at the time of the first post which was not a complete answer. $\endgroup$
    – sean47
    Dec 16, 2023 at 9:31
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Just to add I worked out the answer and most of the clues and the general theme an hour before the the User Sean 47 did he just touched up a certain errors here and there. I was only around the corner to tidy up the clues before he posted his answer.

Pretty sure the 10 lettered place is…

California

Because

The clues I have worked out point to cities in California in alphabetical order.

Before we start

The clue ‘on side’ points to the fact that the clues are on the right side of Santa to create a city. These are all the cities in California which start with “Santa”

Here are the clues and the cities in order:

The clues:

An actress in the latest Bond movie

This refers to the actress ANA DE ARMAS from the movie “No time to die”

A Bird of Prey

This refers to BARBARA GORDON from the DC Comic book Team: Birds of Prey

A Doctor's assistant (and someone that looked like a smaller version of them)

CLARA OSWALD - one of the more recent assistants of Doctor Who 11th and 12th in the British Sci-fi series Doctor Who.

A Beckham

CRUZ BECKHAM who is the son of ex-footballer David Beckham

A pile of metal bits from a mattress (I don't know what I was thinking there...),

SPRINGS

A von Trapp

This refers to MARIA VON TRAPP from the Sound of Music

A Friend

Then refers to MONICA GELLER from the old American Sitcom Friends

A long-time American Idol judge

PAULA ABDUL

A detective in the 99th Precinct of the New York City Police Department in Brooklyn.

ROSA DIAZ from the American tv series Brooklyn 99

And so you get the cities:

Santa Ana, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara (the “smaller version” clue points to Santa Clarita where clarita means child thanks to Sean 47 for this) Santa Cruz, Santa Fe (Metal hence ‘Iron’) Springs, Santa Maria, Santa Monica, Santa Paula, Santa Rosa

Also

Santa + something haha is a reoccurring theme here nice Christmas joke Stiv!!

Links:

SANTA ANA (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Ana,_California), SANTA BARBARA (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Barbara,_California), SANTA CLARA (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Clara,_California), SANTA CLARITA (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Clarita,_California), SANTA CRUZ (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Cruz,_California), SANTA FE SPRINGS (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Fe_Springs,_California), SANTA MARIA (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Maria,_California), SANTA MONICA (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Monica,_California), SANTA PAULA (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Paula,_California), SANTA ROSA (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Rosa,_California)

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  • $\begingroup$ Well, you seem to have spotted what's going on here, but I don't think you've truly grasped what you're looking at, since there are several errors in your identifications. If you were to include the original clues in your answer and write out your answers beside them, you might spot where your mistakes lie... $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Dec 15, 2023 at 21:37
  • $\begingroup$ Is it better now? $\endgroup$
    – PDT
    Dec 15, 2023 at 21:41
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    $\begingroup$ This was really tricky to decide who to award the checkmark too. I've gone with the other answer for the reasons specified in my comment there, but if your answer had been posted with everything correct and this great level of detail right from the start, I would absolutely have given it to you. You spotted and reported the hidden hint and the fact that this is all the possibilities, arranged alphabetically, and the explanations as they are now are really useful, so you have my upvote at least! :) $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Dec 16, 2023 at 9:28
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    $\begingroup$ I'm not sure we can 100% say the other user definitely 'copied' without engaging them in conversation (people can hit on the same insights independently) but I understand why you feel this way. I think if I had been in your situation, I'd have held off posting a partial answer until I felt I had everything in place, with the full pattern explained. You were absolutely on the right track, but at the point the other answer appeared you still had 'Palm Springs' as one of the answers, for example, which doesn't fit the pattern at all. Sorry! $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Dec 16, 2023 at 9:42
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    $\begingroup$ For the record as mentioned above I was working on this puzzle when the first attempt was made, which only had about half the answers. It does take time to post a full response with links and find all the correct answers. $\endgroup$
    – sean47
    Dec 16, 2023 at 10:19

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