# My newspaper was stolen

A few days ago, I was surprised to find my weekly newspaper hadn't arrived on time.

After a few days I realised it must have been taken by someone... probably the postman as I'd caught him reading my mail last week.

But then, out of nowhere my paper was delivered earlier today. Except when I got the puzzles page, it had already been completed! And not only that, a bunch of clues had been scribbled out too...

## Why did they do this?

• My first guess was: mitrafarmand.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/ransom-note.jpg :D (completely unrelated to the puzzle, no spoilers to the actual solution)
– chtz
Commented Jul 25 at 14:59
• @chtz haha that's perfect :P Commented Jul 25 at 16:25
• "Why did they do this?" Because they are too cheap to buy their own paper? Commented Jul 26 at 13:01

They scribbled on the puzzle section because...

IT WAS TOO EASY!

There are several components here to work out...

Cross Sum

Work out what numbers should replace the scribbles by solving the completed calculations - these are (along the side) 20, 1, and 20, and (across the base) 20, 15, and 15. Converting these to letters via A1Z26 and putting them together yields the word TATTOO.

Crossword

Identify all of the censored words, by back-solving the words given in the crossword and trying to pick out letter shapes that might be hiding behind the scribbles. NB Some of these are very tricky (I was stuck on #5 and #7 for over an hour). Doing this yields the following words:

Across:
1. Slim PICKINGS
2. COCKATOO family
3. Most common type of MUSHROOM
4. Used before MONEY
9. May be squeezed if this is easy PEASY
10. Common place for a STOOL

Down:
5. Number of sides of a LUGSAIL
6. First CARTOON
7. Religion of a HIJABI
8. Californian city, BEVERLY _____
11. Microsoft co-founder, BILL _____

Killer Sudoku

Add the numbers in each cage to find the original clue that would have been given and thus get the numbers 16, 5, 14, 14, 25, 23, 9, 19, and 5 (when reading row-wise and top to bottom). Converting these to letters via A1Z26 gives us PENNYWISE.

Codewords

The solution key to the codeword (by listing the letters represented by the numbers 1-26 in order) is: GRATEFULXYZBCDHIJKMNOPQSVW - this is the word GRATEFUL followed by 'XYZ' then the unused letters of the alphabet in order.

Kakuro

Work out the sums for each row and column, which would have been the original clues to the puzzle. Reading down the left-hand column gives us 7, 15, 9, 14, 15 (in A1Z26 this gives us GOING), while reading across the top row gives us 18, 9, 3, 8, 9, 5 (which in A1Z26 gives us RICHIE).

Put it all together now, and what do we have? Well, notice...

...the advertisement in the middle referring to a 'connections' puzzle of 16 words. How many words do we have? 16, you say?! Then I'd say we have ourselves a puzzle to solve!

The wordset we have found can be grouped into categories like so:

BEVERLY, BILL, PENNYWISE, RICHIE - characters in Stephen King's IT;
GRATEFUL, HIJABI, LUGSAIL, MUSHROOM - words whose first 3 letters can be changed to 'WAS' to make new words (WASTEFUL, WASABI, WASSAIL, WASHROOM);
CARTOON, COCKATOO, STOOL, TATTOO - words that contain the word 'TOO' as a substring;
GOING, MONEY, PEASY, PICKINGS - words that make phrases when they follow 'EASY'.

Read these connecting words together in an order that makes grammatical sense and we learn that IT WAS TOO EASY!

• For the record, the second group that I list in my final spoiler was the hardest to spot by far. I was staring at those for ages, certain of what I needed to make but completely unable to see how for sooooo long!
– Stiv
Commented Jul 24 at 21:36
• I got stuck on the crossword then just couldn’t be bothered to continue I knew how to proceed once I had the words but just couldn’t find the second half of it…
– PDT
Commented Jul 24 at 21:39
• Correct of course!! Apologies if the crossword was a bit tricky to pick, I know some of the words were quite obscure - I tried to scribble less on those words, but when compressed it didn't make much difference! Oh and the second group was purposefully very hard, I didn't want all the group to be... well y'know, too easy :P Commented Jul 24 at 21:42
• Another note I noticed whilst making too is that, despite the answer, ironically I think quite a few of the actual puzzles were impossible with the given clues! Commented Jul 24 at 21:45