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This puzzle is the fifth one from Brian Chen's Splash 2016 hunt. I thought I can solve it but stuck at the last step (maybe). Here is the whole puzzle:

enter image description here

Transcript:

  • There are ten buildings: a cabin, a cathedral, a chateau, a college, a condominium, a fraternity, a hotel, a policestation, a shelter, a theater at the centers of squares of a 10 x 10 grid.

  • There is exactly one building in each row and exactly one building in each column.

  • The chateau is one square northwest of the cabin, which is one square northwest of the condominium.

  • The college is exactly at the midpoint of the police station and the chateau, being distance √5 from both.

  • The college is six squares northwest of the hotel.

  • The five buildings whose names start with C are in five adjacent rows.

  • The fraternity is in the leftmost column, and the closest building to the fraternity is the chateau, at distance 3√2.

  • The police station is orthogonally adjacent to the top-left square.

  • The shelter is in the bottom row, and the closest building to the shelter is the hotel, at distance √5.

  • The theater is two squares northwest of the cathedral.

After you've placed the bulidings in the grid, note that the buildings send many letters east to empty cells, even extending beyond the edge of the grid. But everything important occurs inside the grid....


How I tried:

The first step is to place buildings in a grid. After I noticed that police station must be placed at (2,1), the other buildings can be placed easily. How I place the buildings:

SPOILER

Then I was stuck. After I placed letters in grid (see the picture below), I noticed that it looks like a crossword puzzle, but I couldn't find anything interesting in the grid that may be or hint the answer. 'the' appears three times, but even if I use Across the Road as a clue, letters on both sides of 'the' seems to be useless. Later I tried using blank parts as 'road', but it didn't work. I can't think of other ways to get the answer. (It's worth noting that the beginning of the answer should be N, which was backsolved from the meta.)

SPOILER

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  • $\begingroup$ You're noticed some "the" in the grid, but I think the column with two of them is further suspicious... $\endgroup$
    – xnor
    Feb 27 at 3:12
  • $\begingroup$ Are you sure from backsolving that the answer starts with the letter you said? I think I see a satisfying way to arrive at the answer, but it starts with a different letter. $\endgroup$
    – xnor
    Feb 27 at 12:29
  • $\begingroup$ @xnor If we take the initial letters of the other four puzzles in the linked pdf, then the given initial letter for the fifth puzzle is the only option that gives a valid word (at least according to QAT). Although it's a variant spelling of a common word that I've not seen before, so the meta-acrostic assumption may be false (or I've got one of the other answers wrong). $\endgroup$
    – fljx
    Feb 27 at 16:01
  • $\begingroup$ @fljx i also solved the other four puzzles in the PDF and got what i imagine are the same answers you did... and yeah, i suspect the assumption that the meta answer is just the first letter of each of the five answers is flawed. it wouldn't seem to make sense for the entire puzzle hunt to lead to a weird spelling of a word i've never seen before. $\endgroup$
    – SQLnoob
    Feb 27 at 16:08

2 Answers 2

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The final step will be more obvious if you

Write the names of the buildings so that the first letter appears in the space to the right. Think of it as the building itself occupying one square and then the name being written next to it:
filled grid with dots for building locations

Then take a look at the

Final column, which reads down "THE●ANDTHE" - seems like something's going on there.

Noting that

The ● represents the cathedral, which suspiciously has none of its letters in the grid, we might suppose that it's meant to represent the entire word "cathedral".

Sure enough,

If we google "The cathedral and the" we come across an essay titled "The cathedral and the bazaar", giving us the final answer BAZAAR.

Finally, a P.S. with regards to the meta:

Having solved the other puzzles in this mini-hunt, I can confirm that this answer does contribute correctly to the meta despite not starting with N. Without spoiling too much, I'll say that the final answer is a common English word that fits thematically with the title of the hunt!

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  • $\begingroup$ Thank you. I will look over my previous answers. $\endgroup$
    – Jusolin
    Feb 28 at 8:52
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I think I solved this and I have the answer, even though it doesn't start with the letter N that you said you got from backsolving. Since you asked for just the next step, I've given bite-size hints as questions and answers in individual spoilers.

Q1:

You noticed some "the" appearing in the grid -- is there anything further suspicious around where they appear?

A1:

In the 9th column in your grid, the letters read down T H E _ A N D T H E, where the _ is an empty space

Q2:

What might the empty space correspond to?

A2:

It's the building in that row, the Cathedral, whose letters are written directly to the right of this empty space

Q3:

How can we interpret it as a phrase?

A3:

"The Cathedral and the"

Q4:

What's the answer that fits here? (Googling will help if this doesn't ring a bell)

A4:

The Cathedral and the Bazaar, a book by Eric S. Raymond.

So the final answer is:

BAZAAR

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  • $\begingroup$ This is correct and fits perfectly with the solutions of the other four puzzles in the hunt to provide a thematic answer to the meta $\endgroup$
    – SQLnoob
    Feb 27 at 16:33
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you. I thought that my previous four answers should be right, and now I think I should check my answers again. $\endgroup$
    – Jusolin
    Feb 28 at 8:49

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