38
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(Note: the backstory here may or may not be entirely fictitious.)


The fortnightly chess theme is finally over! I couldn't stand it. It was chaos! Pieces moving around in all the wrong ways... I was so angry that I made metapuzzles purely to tell everyone how much I hated it. Unfortunately, the message got lost when I started working on puzzles, and now I can't remember what it was! The metas rearranged themselves roughly in order from easiest to hardest, and to make things worse, when I spilled water on my speakers all of the flavortexts fell to the bottom of the post. (Yes, that's exactly how computers work.) Can you all help me figure out what I was trying to say?


Background: A metapuzzle (or meta) is a puzzle that combines words or phrases from other puzzles into a new word or phrase. For an example, see my previous meta. Flavortext is text that goes at the top of a puzzle, obliquely hinting at what to do.

Once you get the answers, the cryptic clues themselves are not necessary to solve the metas, but they may be very useful in one case. One meta is incorrectly ordered. Numbers for each meta are for your convenience only and are unnecessary. Metas are ordered roughly in order of difficulty.


Meta 1

  • Lets current flow great with vents (13)
  • Crab researcher heard Chevy steal to name a few - every, uh, concept (13)
  • Basketball game and insect make transportation (5, 3, 5)
  • Untangled, sore, mutilated doctor (6, 7)
  • Circle bear, backing up (4)
  • Odd scampi are sticky substance (3)
  • Small-town boy (6)
  • Six directions with a messy "DIE"? That's something that attracts suspicion (9)
  • Building for bird with no tail (5)
  • Udon or sake veiled contributors (6)
  • Fabric is only money put the other way around (8)
  • Make note (2)

(full name)


Meta 2

  • That breath grabs by the ear, making students (9)
  • Everyone in greeting held captive by short stomach element (8)
  • Journey for particles leads to issues (9)
  • Trip in bar room (5)
  • Works of parties (6)
  • Small entrances to functions (4)
  • Orb taken back in HAL Laboratory (4)
  • Divide lodge (7)

Meta 3

  • One surrounded by trunk makes sound (5)
  • Taking directions to road by end is smart (5)
  • One Direction member sounds like flower? (4)
  • Circle back to reservoir (4)
  • Mathematician's snake (5)
  • Burning bush - other kept secret (3)
  • Approach dye mostly for a joke (6)
  • Ship with no walls: a tale of the past (7)

Meta 4

  • Saws its ash oddly in European country (5)
  • Circuit element; snack element (7,4)
  • City of quotes destroyed shareholders' return (4, 2, 6)
  • State of recently slurred laundry basket (3, 9)
  • Chief, if angered, hides game (4)
  • Share chirp again (7)
  • Snare damaged voice actor from my other meta (5)

Meta 5

  • Wheel made up of hard wood (4)
  • Is Capone able to channel? (5)
  • Gore inside kingdom? Clean up (7) (replaced erroneous clue)
  • Worry about automotive's emissions at first (4)
  • Sunshine following Ben makes a shout for joy (6)
  • Calipers wrongly described reproductions (8)
  • Ambassador Ichigo conceals column of a sort (5)
  • French programming style is easily broken (7)
  • Notice no redhead shrinking (6)

Meta 6

  • Broken Gene, TV goer, earned something in return (3, 7)
  • Chlorine sea creature is a mess maker (7)
  • Flab lacks horrible "Plan B's", maybe (4-5)
  • Misses: "Eastern" cover is Spanish (6)
  • Sending away, staring (8, 3)
  • Take for granted panhandle, perhaps (3)
  • Those that warn pet hiding you and some charges (8)
  • Wet bean contains pages (5)
  • What pesky whipper-snappers do online: stop freaking out (4)

Misc.

Anyone up for a game of cards?

Chess.com made me look like an idiot, but I became much more studious with the help of Wikipedia.

Getting around is harder than you'd think. You always get confused and make a mistake.

Let's pair up to be more safe. Here, you go first.

My unique old consorts, when pressed, will tell you how to talk to me.

My partner loves to usurp the throne.

Sometimes I feel like I can only see one side of things.

Oh, and I found this weird drawing in my notebook, although something tells me that there's something wrong with it. Next to it was the word "SPAN" and a rightwards arrow.

enter image description here


Hints for unsolved metas:

2:

There is no wordplay involved in this meta: what the answers represent is associated with something else.

5:

It seems like something happened to these words. What could they have been originally, and how could they have been changed?

6:

Someone has already noticed something weird about this one.

Metameta:

The grid still doesn't seem right to me. How could we fix it?

$\endgroup$
18
+100
$\begingroup$

I'm still curious about this puzzle, so here are a couple more of the clues I think might be right but haven't been solved thus far.

Meta 2

  • Works of parties (6)

    Labors (double definition, works=labors, parties=Labors)

  • Small entraces to functions (4)

    Sins (S + ins = sine functions) ?

  • Trip in bar room (5)

    From Volatility: Space (triple definition, space out/space bar/physical space)

Meta 5

  • Notice no redhead shrinking (6)

    Waning ("notice"=warning, "no redhead"=subtract r, def: shrinking)

Meta 6

  • Sending away, staring (8,3)

    Perhaps: Pointing out (double definition)
    Second try: Checking out (double definition)

Meta 2 Answer

Big thanks to @feelinferrety and @LeppyR64 for help!

The answers to Meta 2 (mostly from @feelinferrety) are:

Disciples
Thallium
Questions
Space
Labors
Sins
Ball
Quarter

And it seems that each of these can be

associated with a number.

Giving us

12 Disciples of Jesus
Thallium is element 81
20 Questions, the game
Literally, a space 12 Labors of Hercules
7 deadly Sins
8 Ball, the pool game or 9-ball
Quarter is 25 cents or 4 to make a whole?

We need the flavortext

My unique old consorts, when pressed, will tell you how to talk to me.

There's a clue hidden MadGab-style in this flavortext

"unique old" = unicode, which hints that we need unicode characters.

Combining that with "when pressed", we press the sets of numbers giving: 128120 and 127825.

Then we look up the unicode characters with those HTML entity codes:
👸 PRINCESS and 🍑 PEACH

Leaving the final answer to Meta 2:

PRINCESS PEACH

Meta Meta

As f'' pointed out, you can use the paths drawn on the notebook paper to

fill a chess board. And since each clue is the same length as one of the chess pieces' paths, you can fill in the 8x8 board with the answers to the 6 metas as follows:

enter image description here
We can be confident in this orientation because of the "SPAN →" clue which matches the upper right of this board.

And though there are two paths of length 9, we know that MALAYSIAN goes with the knight's path, since that meta was based on Arthurian Knights.

Then, we use the remaining flavortext "Chess.com made me look like an idiot, but I became much more studious with the help of Wikipedia." This refers to

Two common quick checkmates, the Fool's Mate ("idiot") and the Scholar's Mate ("studious").

If we play out those scenarios,

and take the landing square of each piece in succession, we get:

enter image description here

So CHEC from the Fool's Mate game.

and

enter image description here

KPLEASE from the Scholar's Mate game.

Leaving us with (in retrospect, of course)

Check, please.

I'm glad there was a pun at the end of the rainbow.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ Both correct! :D $\endgroup$ – Deusovi Jun 17 '16 at 17:54
  • $\begingroup$ All your associations are correct except the last two. I suggest looking carefully at the missing clue: it's not quite standard, but it's definitely fair. $\endgroup$ – Deusovi Jun 17 '16 at 21:31
  • $\begingroup$ And "SINS" is correct! "POINTING OUT" is not correct, although you have the clue type and 6 of the 11 letters correct. $\endgroup$ – Deusovi Jun 17 '16 at 21:31
  • $\begingroup$ @Deusovi Took another crack at the Meta 6 clue and the last couple associations. $\endgroup$ – Dan Russell Jun 18 '16 at 3:44
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Could "Trip in bar room" be space? (as in spacing out, the spacebar, and physical space) $\endgroup$ – Volatility Jun 22 '16 at 21:32
12
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My answers:

Meta 4

Saws its ash oddly in European country (5)

Swiss (SaWs ItS aSh)

Circuit element; snack element (7,4)

Silicon chip (circuit, or silicon [element] and chip [snack element])

City of quotes destroyed shareholders' return (4, 2, 6)

Cost of equity (anagram of "city of quotes")

State of recently slurred laundry basket (3, 9)

New Hampshire (recently=new, "hampshire" sounds like "hamper")

Chief, if angered, hides game (4)

FIFA (chieF IF Angered)

Share chirp again (7)

Retweet (double definition)

Snare damaged voice actor from my other meta (5)

Asner (anagram of "snare")

Meta 5

Wheel made up of hard wood (4)

Helm (H + Elm)

Is Capone able to channel? (5)

Canal (can+al)

Gore inside kingdom? Clean up (7) (replaced erroneous clue)

Realign (Gore = Al, Kingdom = Reign, Re + al + ign)

Worry about automotive's emissions at first (4)

Care (car+e)

Sunshine following Ben makes a shout for joy (6)

Hurray (hur+ray)

Calipers wrongly described reproductions (8)

Replicas (anagram of "calipers")

Ambassador Ichigo conceals column of a sort (5)

Doric (ambassaDOR IChigo)

French programming style is easily broken (7)

Fragile (FR (French) + AGILE (programming style))

Meta 6

Broken Gene, TV goer, earned something in return (3, 7)

Got revenge (anagram of "Gene, TV goer")

Chlorine sea creature is a mess maker (7)

Clotter (CL for chlorine + otter)

Flab lacks horrible "Plan B's", maybe (4-5)

Fall-backs (anagram of "flab lacks")

Misses: "Eastern" cover is Spanish (6)

Elides (e+lid+es)

Sending away, staring (8, 3)

Standing off (double definition)

Take for granted panhandle, perhaps (3)

Beg (means "take for granted" in the phrase "beg the question")

Those that warn pet hiding you and some charges (8)

Cautions ("u" in "cat" followed by "ions")

Wet bean contains pages (5)

Soppy ("pp" inside "soy")

What pesky whipper-snappers do online: stop freaking out (4)

Post (anagram of "stop")


Meta 1 Answer

Anyone up for a game of cards?

The first four answers each have thirteen letters and start with C, D, H, or S. Use the length of the remaining eight answers to take the appropriate letters from the long answer starting with the same letter (e.g. hoop -> fourth letter from "horse and buggy" -> S). This produces the word spadille, which is another name for the ace of spades.

Meta 3 Answer

Sometimes I feel like I can only see one side of things.

Every answer can be preceded by either "black" or "white". Taking the first letter of the answer for "black" or the last letter for "white" spells out eyepatch.

Meta 4 Answer

Let's pair up to be more safe. Here, you go first.

Each answer is associated with two letters:
Switzerland's country code is CH.
A silicon chip is an integrated circuit, or IC.
Cost of equity is abbreviated as KE.
New Hampshire has the abbreviation NH.
The FIFA game series is published by EA.
Retweets are known as RT.
Asner's first name is ED.

These spell chickenhearted.


Some other thoughts

The three metas solved so far have 11, 8, and 14 letters. These are the same as the lengths of the paths of the rook, bishop, and pawn, respectively. Perhaps the final meta requires filling the six meta answers into the six pieces' paths. If so, one (the king) should have 13 letters, and the other two should have 9 letters each. Metas 5 and 6 have 9 clues each, so they could be 9 letters if each clue gives one letter.

The six pieces' paths can be rearranged to fill a chessboard:


Meta 6 is probably the one out of order, because the clues are listed in alphabetical order. The answers all have different lengths from 3 to 11.

$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Meta 1 is correct! $\endgroup$ – Deusovi Apr 26 '16 at 4:25
  • $\begingroup$ @Deusovi and there was me thinking it was some Bridge play I didn't know $\endgroup$ – Jonathan Allan Apr 26 '16 at 4:30
  • $\begingroup$ @JonathanAllan: Like I said, they're ordered roughly in order of difficulty. Meta 1 is admittedly kinda weak. $\endgroup$ – Deusovi Apr 26 '16 at 4:31
  • $\begingroup$ Nice work on metas 1 and 4! (I suggest adding the corresponding flavortexts so you can rule them out for other metas.) $\endgroup$ – Deusovi Apr 26 '16 at 4:42
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ :( I really want the messy chlorine sea creature to be "clutter" but it comes out "clotter"... $\endgroup$ – feelinferrety Apr 26 '16 at 5:51
10
$\begingroup$

Partial answer

Meta 1

Lets current flow great with vents (13)

superconducts (super is great, "con" is a prefix meaning "with", ducts are vents) (credit to Paul Evans)

Crab researcher heard Chevy steal to name a few - every, uh, concept (13)

carcinologist (the clues are forced, but seem to fit)
a Chevy is a car; cin sounds like "sin", of which an example is stealing (steal to name a few); ol sounds like "all" (every); o sounds like "uh"; the gist of something is its "concept".

Basketball game and insect make transportation (5, 3, 5)

horse and buggy (H-O-R-S-E is a basketball game, and a buggy is an insect) (credit to ffao)

Untangled, sore, mutilated doctor (6, 7)

dental surgeon (anagram of "untangled, sore") (credit to Paul Evans)

Circle bear, backing up (4)

hoop ("pooh" spelt backwards)

Odd scampi are sticky substance (3)

sap (odd letters in "scampi")

Small-town boy (6)

hamlet (a small town, and a boy's name)

Six directions with a messy "DIE"? That's something that attracts suspicion (9)

seediness ("SENESS" are six compass directions, and "edi" is an anagram of "die")

Building for bird with no tail (5)

condo ("condor" without the 'r')

Udon or sake veiled contributors (6)

donors (hidden in "udon or sake")

Fabric is only money put the other way around (8)

cashmere ("mere" + "cash" the other way around)

Make note (2)

do (to make is to do, and do-re-mi are notes) (credit to Paul Evans)

Meta 6

My partner loves to usurp the throne.

Clues were solved by @f'' and @DanRussell

Each solution can be changed by changing one letter into a 'u' (hinted by "usurp"). If we arrange the solutions in order of their length:

Beg -> Bug
Post -> Pout
Soppy -> Soupy
Elides -> Eludes
Clotter -> Clutter
Cautions -> Cautious
Fall-backs -> Full-backs
Got revenge -> Got revenue
Checking out -> Chucking out

The replaced letters spell the word espionage.

$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ "Make note (2)" could be do as in do-re-mi $\endgroup$ – Paul Evans Apr 24 '16 at 17:05
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Basketball game... = horse and buggy $\endgroup$ – ffao Apr 25 '16 at 0:02
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ "Untangled, sore, mutilated doctor (6, 7)" is dental surgeon $\endgroup$ – Paul Evans Apr 25 '16 at 0:13
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ "Lets current flow great with vents (13)" is superconducts $\endgroup$ – Paul Evans Apr 25 '16 at 13:11
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @feelinferrety Basically, someone a long time ago thought tumors looked like crabs and the name stuck... $\endgroup$ – ffao Apr 26 '16 at 3:02
6
$\begingroup$

Since I'm pretty new to cryptic clues and not very good at them, I'll just post the few that I can solve. Feel free to take.

Meta 2

  • That breath grabs by the ear, making students (9)

    Disciples (sounds like "this sigh pulls")

  • Everyone in greeting held captive by short stomach element (8)

    Thallium (ALL in HI in TUM (short stomach - tummy - tum); Thallium is a chemical element)

  • Journey for particles leads to issues (9)

    Questions (QUEST (journey for) + IONS (particles); Questions can be issues)

  • Orb taken back in HAL Laboratory (4)

    Ball (haL LABoratory backwards)

  • Divide lodge (7)

    Quarter (1. To divide into four. 2. To provide lodging to.)

Meta 3

  • One surrounded by trunk makes sound (5)

    Noise (Roman numeral i surrounded by nose)

  • Taking directions to road by end is smart (5)

    Nerdy (Directions N & E, "rd" for road, y ends "by")

  • One Direction member sounds like flower? (4)

    Nile (Niall is a singer in a boy band called One Direction; a flow-er is a river, Niall is pronounced "Ny-al", a bit like the river Nile)

  • Circle back to reservoir (4)

    Pool (LOOP backwards)

  • Mathematician's snake (5)

    Adder (haha)

  • Burning bush - other kept secret (3)

    Hot (bush - other)

  • Approach dye mostly for a joke (6)

    Comedy (COME + DYe)

  • Ship with no walls: a tale of the past (7)

    History (sHIp + STORY)


Might come back later for more.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ All good so far except "parody". At this point it should be possible to solve meta 3. $\endgroup$ – Deusovi Apr 26 '16 at 2:51
  • $\begingroup$ Since 3 is basically done here I added the other answer, although not sure about the approach/joke either - just noticed "feel free to take" ...added another, might add more $\endgroup$ – Jonathan Allan Apr 26 '16 at 3:50
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I'm new to cryptic puzzles, but here's my shot at this one. Burning bush - other kept secret = hot = burning $\endgroup$ – Wesley Situ Apr 26 '16 at 3:52
  • $\begingroup$ @WesleySitu: That's it! "kept secret" indicates a hidden word. $\endgroup$ – Deusovi Apr 26 '16 at 3:55
  • $\begingroup$ Meta 3 should definitely be solvable now. $\endgroup$ – Deusovi Apr 26 '16 at 4:03
6
$\begingroup$

Meta 5 Answer

The flavortext for this one is Getting around is harder than you'd think. You always get confused and make a mistake.

Thanks to @Volatility, we can take this to mean that we should change a letter, then anagram it.
We can do so and transform each word into a member of the Knights of the Round Table. Those transformations follow.

Helm - Hoel
Canal - Lucan
Realign - Geraint
Care - Erec
Hurray - Arthur
Replicas - Percival
Doric - Cador
Fragile - Griflet
Waning - Gawain

And so the final answer,

taking the letters that were replaced, we get...
MALAYSIAN

$\endgroup$
4
+100
$\begingroup$

FULL ANSWER LIST WITH EXPLANATIONS

I'm using standard cryptic annotations here:

  • +: concatenation.

  • hom: homophone.

  • 2def: double definition.

  • (): insertion.

  • Lowercase letter: deletion.

  • *: anagram.

  • <: reversal.

Meta 1 Clues:

SUPER+CON+DUCTS; CARCINOLOGIST (hom "car sin all uh gist"); HORSE AND BUGGY (2def); DENTAL SURGEON*; HOOP<; ScAmPi; HAMLET (2def); SE(EDI*)NESS; CONDOr; uDON OR Sake; (CASH)(MERE)<; DO (2def)

Meta 2 Clues:

DISCIPLES (hom: this sigh pulls); T(H(ALL)I)UM); QUEST+IONS; SPACE (3def); LABORS (2def); S+INS; ...roBAL Lah<; QUARTER (2def)

Meta 3 Clues:

NO(I)SE; NE+RD+bY; NILE (hom "niall"); POOL<; ADDER (ddef); busH OTher; COME+DYe; sHIp+STORY

Meta 4 Clues:

SaWs ItS aSh; SILICON+CHIP; COST OF EQUITY*; NEW+HAMPSHIRE (slur "hamper"); chieF IF Angered; RETWEET (2def); ASNER*

Meta 5 Clues:

H+ELM; CAN+AL; RE(AL)IGN; CAR+Emissions; HUR+RAY; REPLICAS*; ambassaDOR IChigo; FR+AGILE; WArNING

Meta 6 Clues:

GOT REVENGE*; CL+OTTER; FALLBACKS*; E+LID+ES; CHECKING OUT (2def); BEG (2def); CA(U)T+IONS;SO(PP)Y; POST*

Metas:

Meta 1: Anyone up for a game of cards?
The four 13-letter answers represent the 52 cards in a deck, with each representing a suit. Each of the other answers represents a singular card, with suit determined by first letter. Taking the letters in the "deck" corresponding to the "cards" from the other eight answers, we get "SPADILLE", another name for the ACE OF SPADES. Since there is a card game called "Rook", this is the rook meta.


Meta 2: My unique old consorts, when pressed, will tell you how to talk to me.
Almost all of the answers are associated with a number. Those associations are: 12, 81, 20, SPACE, 12, 7, 8, 25. "Unique old" sounds like "unicode", and in fact if we take the Unicode characters with decimal values 128120 and 127825, we get "PRINCESS" and "PEACH". (The organization behind Unicode is also called the "Unicode Consortium".) So the meta answer is PRINCESS PEACH. The regal tone and use of "consorts" suggest that this is the king meta.


Meta 3: Sometimes I feel like I can only see one side of things.
Each of the answers can be preceded with "BLACK" or "WHITE" to make a common phrase. (In one case, you must use "WHITE AND" rather than "WHITE".) Taking the first letter of the answers that can start with "BLACK" and the last of those that can start with "WHITE", you get the meta answer EYEPATCH. The only piece that can "only see one side of things" is the bishop, which must stay on the same square color for an entire game of chess.


Meta 4: Let's pair up to be more safe. Here, you go first.
Each of the answers is associated with two letters. Those bigrams are, in order, CH IC KE NH EA RT ED, so the meta answer is "CHICKEN-HEARTED". The pieces most commonly grouped together to be more safe are pawns, and in real life "pawns" are typically considered weak. So this is the pawn meta.


Meta 5: Getting around is harder than you'd think. You always get confused and make a mistake. As "around" suggests, this meta is based around the knights of the Round Table. The latter half of the flavortext tells you how the answers can be modified. You can anagram each and replace one letter to get the name of a Round Table knight. The replaced letters spell out "MALAYSIAN", an airline which has had some trouble getting around in the past. This is clearly the knight meta.


Meta 6: My partner loves to usurp the throne.
"Usurp" clues the letter "U", and taking over forcibly. The letter U can replace one letter in each of the answers; the modified answer will still work with the definition half of the clue. Sorting by word length and taking the modified answer, we get the word ESPIONAGE. But whose partner is "U"? Well, U is always by Q's side. This is the queen meta.

Metameta:

Each of these metas is associated thematically with a chess piece. The answers have the same length as the corresponding pieces' paths. Those paths can also be reassembled into an 8x8 grid. Doing so, you get the following:
NCESSPAN
INOCAEIM
RAEIHSYA
PGSPPEAL
AEAAKYEC
CPDTECIH
ESECNHEA
OFSHDETR
Chess.com made me look like an idiot, but I became much more studious with the help of Wikipedia.
This flavortext clues the Fool's Mate (as shown on chess.com) and the Scholar's Mate (as shown on Wikipedia). If you play those out on the grid (rotated so that SPAN faces rightwards), the pieces land on these letters:
........
.....E..
..E.HS..
....P..L
..A.K.EC
.....C..
........
........
Reading those out in the order that the pieces land on them, you get the phrase Check, please! - something you'd surely say if you were done with something!

$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Some trivia you might find interesting: Originally, the rook meta was at the end. The answers were all words that appeared exactly once in the Hasbro rules for Rook; drawing lines to connect them in order would form A on the first page and on the second. I couldn't figure out how to clue that effectively though, so I scrapped it. $\endgroup$ – Deusovi Jun 24 '16 at 22:11
  • $\begingroup$ And now the Chess Fortnight (felt like forever) is finally over! Wonderful puzzle! $\endgroup$ – LeppyR64 Jun 24 '16 at 22:11
  • $\begingroup$ @Leppy: Thanks so much! I honestly didn't expect it to take this long. I'm glad you enjoyed it, though! $\endgroup$ – Deusovi Jun 24 '16 at 22:12

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