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When I started working at WordPuzzles Inc. as a substitute, I thought I'd found a path to my dream job. Getting paid to work on puzzles was all I'd ever wanted! "This is it, you've made it in life" is what I told myself.

As time went on, I became a full-time employee, and gradually started to notice cracks in the system. The higher-ups seemed more concerned with quantity than quality. Overworked and faced with looming deadlines, most of the words we ended up using were not even real words! As a lover of words and puzzles, I was upset. I grew bitter, getting angry at the smallest things, powerless to change the root of the problem.

But now I know what I must do. Turns out, I'm not alone — all my coworkers have been feeling the same anger all this while. Together, we can cause an uproar large enough to stir the highest echelons of management, and if we do it right, maybe they'll finally see what's truly important.

To show you how big the problem is, here's a puzzle from our company. If making up words to fit a puzzle is something you excel at, see if you can find the four-letter word that, upon escalation, narrates my journey with WordPuzzles Inc.

Reflect on pool — level 3, 7 letters
Bury concern — level 2, 7 letters
Conclude plague — level 1, 3 letters
Python append — level 3, 6 letters
Desire to shine — level 3, 7 letters
Core monetary unit — level 3, 7 letters
Underwater explorer to strip clothing — level 1, 3 letters
Grain angle — level 3, 7 letters
In favor of woodland — level 2, 5 letters
Convinced to fuse — level 3, 7 letters
Discourage hate strongly — level 1, 3 letters
Oriental festival — level 3, 7 letters
Annoy the two of them — level 3, 7 letters
Undecided craving — level 3, 7 letters
Absorb a cutting remark — level 2, 5 letters

7,5,1,1,1 (4 letters, level 3)
2,3,5,3 in poetry (3 letters, level 2)
1,2,2 in French (3 letters, level 2)
1,2,3 (4 letters, level 3)

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    $\begingroup$ Amazing idea for a puzzle! $\endgroup$ Commented May 22 at 23:29

1 Answer 1

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The three levels

are, so to speak, X/Xer/Xest (small:1, smaller:2, smallest:3)

and in the first block

each line defines words that superficially appear to be corresponding terms at two of the three levels, leading to an answer that's the corresponding non-word at the "missing" level. So, for instance, the first line has pool = "pond" (level 1) and reflect = "pond-er" (level 2), and the answer is "pond-est" (level 3, and 7 letters as required).

So:

Reflect on | pool                     level 3, 7 letters pondest pond\er
Bury | concern                        level 2, 7 letters interer inter/est
Conclude | plague                     level 1, 3 letters inf     inf{er,est}
Python | append                       level 3, 6 letters addest  add\er
Desire to | shine                     level 3, 7 letters lustest lust/er
Core | monetary unit                  level 3, 7 letters centest cent/er
Underwater explorer|to strip clothing level 1, 3 letters div     div{er,est}
Grain | angle                         level 3, 7 letters cornest corn/er
In favor of | woodland                level 2, 5 letters forer   for/est
Convinced | to fuse                   level 3, 7 letters soldest sold/er
Discourage | hate strongly            level 1, 3 letters det     det{er,est}
Oriental | festival                   level 3, 7 letters eastest east/er
Annoy | the two of them               level 3, 7 letters bothest both/er
Undecided | craving                   level 3, 7 letters hungest hung/er
Absorb | a cutting remark             level 2, 5 letters diger   dig\est

Now let's

notice that we have 15 words and the second block contains 15 smallish numbers. What happens if we extract letters from those words, in order, at the given positions? (So, start with letter 7 of "pondest" and letter 5 of "interer".) We get:
TRIAL (4 letters, level 3) or T-EST
EVER in poetry (3 letters, level 2) or E-ER
SEA in French (3 letters, level 2) or M-ER
BUG (4 letters, level 3) or P-EST.

If we now

reduce these all to level 1, we get T-E-M-P or TEMP, describing our narrator's beginning at WordPuzzles;

and then it is natural to

escalate first to level 2, revealing the TEMPER he was in at all the bogus words, and then to level 3, hoping to stir up a TEMPEST and force the idiots in the C-suite to pay attention.

I suspect there are

more little hints in the puzzle text than I have consciously noticed, but e.g. we have the root of the problem, and perhaps "what's truly important" suggests MATT-ER.

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  • $\begingroup$ All correct of course, nicely done! $\endgroup$
    – Ankoganit
    Commented May 22 at 1:49

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