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This is a more advanced punzzle with a first level based on the same concept as this one. Each of the questions below is answered by the name of a US city which could be pronounced in a way that has a pun relationship with the question. These questions do not generally make use of the literal name in English or other languages (e.g. you won’t find a pair like …do they have a large population of heavenly beings / Los Angeles) so some creativity is required; a round of Mad Gab might be a good warmup.

Any close-to-reasonable pronunciation one could get out of the spelling of the name is fair game. It might help to think of how English language learners (who incidentally have an SE here) might try to pronounce the city name. (This means that puns on the correct pronunciations of places like Worcester are out).

The answers to those questions then provide input to the sequence of strange events and question that follows. The overall punzzle seeks the identification of a single city as the solution. Of course, please share your intermediate steps.


I started out looking for some cities, wondering in which one...

  1. …are they never buyin’ things?
  2. …do small sets of connected computers make music?
  3. …do they have a good supply of backcountry cooking gear?
  4. …do people give negative answers all over again?
  5. …do people have overproductive livers?
  6. …did they have to dig deep to find water?
  7. …would you find yourself at the center of a river crossing?
  8. …would you find your Wine house?
  9. …would someone give a terse response to a Question of Scruples?
  10. …would you find the Scottish girl?
  11. …do people take a vendor’s unique perspective on “take ‘em or leave ‘em” situations?
  12. …do they make cloths to protect relatively large passenger vehicles?
  13. …would you find a comedy crew practicing on the river?
  14. …do they add font weight?
  15. …is it impossible to make ice?

After finding these cities, I wanted to ZIP up to City Hall, where I might find the mayor, but I lost the first number.
So I had to go around a lot of times and make a letter instead.
Unfortunately, I tripped, and everything got jumbled up.
When I brushed off the mud, I found two animals.
The leathery one moved away, and the sly one asked me where I might find results of the process of formation of the only thing that still remained.
It was very hard, and I hadn't yet thought of the answer.
Where is it?


Here's a constraint that might help if you get stuck:

All cities have population >100K.

User ev3commander adds the following resource to make things easier than the constraint alone:

List of cities with population >100k

Here's a hint if needed:

It is significant that at least one clue in the list is missing punctuation, where it might otherwise go.

Folks on The Great Outdoors.SE might be able to help on #3. Their chat is here.

As a bit of a hint for #3,

Both the city and the pun are titles of (different) Wikipedia articles.

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  • 6
    $\begingroup$ Upvote this comment if you would like to see a layer of complexity added to the puzzle (which would not invalidate any progress toward solving it as it currently stands). $\endgroup$ – WBT May 25 '16 at 5:09
  • $\begingroup$ 8 and 13 are probably the hardest. $\endgroup$ – WBT May 25 '16 at 15:48
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ I wonder if there should be a community wiki for this one, since the solutions are spread out in several answers $\endgroup$ – Matt May 25 '16 at 17:27
  • $\begingroup$ With sufficient interest, this puzzle has leveled up. The hardest part of what's left relies on 3 and 13 as some extra incentive to get those. Good luck, and enjoy! $\endgroup$ – WBT May 27 '16 at 15:11
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Leathery-> cow? sly->fox? $\endgroup$ – ev3commander Jun 7 '16 at 1:14

10 Answers 10

13
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Collecting others' answers to the original clues so everything's in one spot.

1 …are they never buyin’ things?

Renton, WA: They're always "rentin'" rather than "buyin'." (From AggieKidd)

2 …do small sets of connected computers make music?

Lansing, MI: Local Area Network + sing

3 …do they have a good supply of backcountry cooking gear?

Charlotte, NC (a lot of charcoal, probably wrong...verified incorrect)
Nashville, TN (There's a company called Nash that makes backpacking coolers...? Verified incorrect.)
Berkeley, CA (They have a lot of Kelley Kettles?) or
Killeen, TX (They have a lot of Kelley Kettles?) or
Gilbert, AZ (They have a lot of Ghillie Kettles?)
Soon we'll have guessed all 300 or so cities!
Mesquite, TX: "Mess kit" (explanation from Brad Sandman)

4 ...do people give negative answers all over again?

Reno, NV: "re-" meaning to do again, plus "no" (From Joe Z.)

5 …do people have overproductive livers?

Mobile, AL: mo' bile

6 ...did they have to dig deep to find water?

Lowell, MA: a "low well" (From Joe Z.)

7 …would you find yourself at the center of a river crossing?

Hartford, CT: heart, aka center, of the ford

8 …would you find your Wine house?

Miami, FL: My Amy [Winehouse] (From ColleenV)

9 ...would someone give a terse response to a Question of Scruples?

Plano, TX: in Scruples, "no" is the shortest (most terse) answer on a card. You'd "play no" on the question somebody is asking you. (From Joe Z.)

10 …would you find the Scottish girl?

Dallas, TX: In Scotland, a girl is often called a "lass, so we have "da lass." (From AggieKidd)

11 …do people take a vendor’s unique perspective on “take ‘em or leave ‘em” situations?

Salem, OR: Vendors don't "take 'em" or "leave 'em", they "sale 'em" (From AggieKidd)

12 ...do they make cloths to protect relatively large passenger vehicles?

Vancouver, WA: "van cover" (From Joe Z.)

13 …would you find a comedy crew practicing on the river?

Rochester, NY: "row jester"

14 …do they add font weight?

Boulder, CO: "bolder"

15 …is it impossible to make ice?

Fresno, CA: "freeze no"


Meta puzzle

After finding these cities, I wanted to ZIP up to City Hall, where I might find the mayor, but I lost the first number. So I had to go around a lot of times and make a letter instead.

I think this means to take the ZIP code of City Hall in each of the cities, then drop the first number from each. After that, go around and around (mod 26) and convert the result to a letter.

98057 → 8057, 8057 mod 26 = 23 → W
48933 → 8933, 8933 mod 26 = 15 → O
75149 → 5149, 5149 mod 26 = 1 → A
89505 → 9505, 9505 mod 26 = 15 → O
36602 → 6602, 6602 mod 26 = 24 → X
01852 → 1852, 1852 mod 26 = 6 → F
06103 → 6103, 6103 mod 26 = 19 → S
33133 → 3133, 3133 mod 26 = 13 → M
75074 → 5074, 5074 mod 26 = 4 → D
75201 → 5201, 5201 mod 26 = 1 → A
97301 → 7301, 7301 mod 26 = 21 → U
98660 → 8660, 8660 mod 26 = 2 → B
14614 → 4614, 4614 mod 26 = 12 → L
80302 → 0302, 0302 mod 26 = 16 → P
80306 → 0306, 0306 mod 26 = 20 → T 93721 → 3721, 3721 mod 26 = 3 → C

Unfortunately, I tripped, and everything got jumbled up.

WOAOXFSMDAUBLTC

When I brushed off the mud,

WOAOXFSMDAUBLTC - MUD = WOAOXFSABLTC

I found two animals.

FOX and COW, leaving ASABLT

The leathery one moved away, and the sly one asked me where I might find results of the process of formation of the only thing that still remained.

Process of formation of BASALT

It was very hard, and I hadn't yet thought of the answer.

BASALT is hard. The word even derives from Latin for "very hard stone."

Where is it?

Not sure yet. If the "B" is somehow an "M", it could be PLASMA, which of course is made in Sunnyvale, CA

Perhaps in Basalt, Colorado? Or in Hilo, Hawaii?
Rockford, IL or Round Rock, TX or Little Rock, AK?

Las Vegas, NV (Lava gas)?

Thanks to @MatthewGreen:
Charlotte, NC: a char[red] lot, because basalt is formed from cooling lava, so after a lava flow you're likely going to have a lot of charred material on what would then be a "char lot."

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  • $\begingroup$ Five for five! Keep on going! $\endgroup$ – WBT May 25 '16 at 15:41
  • $\begingroup$ CONGRATS! You got #13! $\endgroup$ – WBT May 29 '16 at 17:56
  • $\begingroup$ #3 is still up for grabs. Does the extra hint help? Once you open the pun article, it'll be pretty obvious that's the right one. $\endgroup$ – WBT Jun 7 '16 at 2:16
  • $\begingroup$ @WBT So definitely not this one, huh? Seemed promising. $\endgroup$ – Dan Russell Jun 7 '16 at 2:25
  • $\begingroup$ It was a great guess, but there's a better fit out there. It's fairly direct and not subtle. $\endgroup$ – WBT Jun 7 '16 at 2:27
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3 ...do they have a good supply of backcountry cooking gear?

Hollywood, FL — they're "wholly wood".

4 ...do people give negative answers all over again?

Reno, NV — "re-" meaning to do again, plus "no"

6 ...did they have to dig deep to find water?

Lowell, MA — a "low well"

9 ...would someone give a terse response to a Question of Scruples?

Plano, TX — in Scruples, "no" is the shortest (most terse) answer on a card. You'd "play no" on the question somebody is asking you.

11 ...do people take a vendor’s unique perspective on “take ‘em or leave ‘em” situations?

Salem, MA — instead of "take 'em" or "leave 'em", you "sale 'em"

12 ...do they make cloths to protect relatively large passenger vehicles?

Vancouver, WA — they make "van covers"

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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Oh, I get it now. $\endgroup$ – Joe Z. May 25 '16 at 15:52
  • $\begingroup$ I actually was thinking of "Vancouver" for my "Canadian pun city" problem, so that's how I got that one. :P $\endgroup$ – Joe Z. May 25 '16 at 16:27
  • $\begingroup$ "Ontario, CA" was definitely a better answer for that one. $\endgroup$ – WBT May 25 '16 at 16:29
  • $\begingroup$ No, I mean, I'm making a new question consisting of Canadian cities rather than US ones, and I used the exact same pun you did except with Vancouver, BC instead (which has a lot more people in it). $\endgroup$ – Joe Z. May 25 '16 at 16:30
  • $\begingroup$ Good try on #3, but not it. $\endgroup$ – WBT May 29 '16 at 17:55
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A few of my additions:

1 …are they never buyin’ things?

Renton, WA, "Rentin'" They're just "rentin'" rather than "buyin'".

3 …do they have a good supply of backcountry cooking gear?

Albuquerque, NM, Al-Baq-Querqe $\rightarrow$ Out - Back - Cookery - Confirmed incorrect.

7 …would you find yourself at the center of a river crossing?

Hartford, CT, "Heart Ford", the heart or middle of a ford.

10 …would you find the Scottish girl?

Dallas, TX, "Da-Las", A Scottish girl is often called a "lass", so we have "da Lass".

11 …do people take a vendor’s unique perspective on “take ‘em or leave ‘em” situations?

Salem, OR, "Sale - Em", Vendors don't "take 'em" or "leave 'em", they "sale 'em"

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  • $\begingroup$ Good guess on the latest, but there's a better answer out there; you'll recognize the answer when you get it. I generally avoided using the intended meanings of city names in this puzzle. $\endgroup$ – WBT May 25 '16 at 15:54
  • $\begingroup$ JoeZ has the intended explanation for 11. Of the others: One has the right city but a slightly better explanation exists; two are wrong. Those that remain are fully correct (though one could contest some spelling). $\endgroup$ – WBT May 25 '16 at 16:11
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    $\begingroup$ For your (current) answer for #1, if it's right - I'd say the explanation would have to do with ----in', similar to the buyin' $\endgroup$ – charfellow May 25 '16 at 16:26
  • $\begingroup$ It's no longer a shot in the dark, but still just as far off. $\endgroup$ – WBT May 25 '16 at 16:31
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    $\begingroup$ @AggieKidd My god, the number of different ways I've tried to pronounce Albuquerque because of this puzzle... $\endgroup$ – Dan Russell May 27 '16 at 18:21
5
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A guess for number 8

8 …would you find your Wine house?

Miami, FL My (mi) Amy (ami) Winehouse (Wine house) Nice clue capitalizing Wine!

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  • $\begingroup$ Nice work! +1 for number solved. $\endgroup$ – WBT May 25 '16 at 17:34
  • $\begingroup$ I was looking for something that was "amy" D: $\endgroup$ – Joe Z. May 25 '16 at 17:34
  • $\begingroup$ @JoeZ. I approached it from the "my/mi" (since it was 'your house') $\endgroup$ – ColleenV parted ways May 25 '16 at 17:35
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Not necessarily expecting either of these to be right (both are a bit of a stretch), but I figured I'd keep the ball rolling on this.

3 …do they have a good supply of backcountry cooking gear?

Rancho Cucamonga, CA ("Ranch o' cook mongers")

13 …would you find a comedy crew practicing on the river?

Cambridge, MA ("Com-bridge")

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  • $\begingroup$ Nice try, but no hits. Keep thinking anyway! $\endgroup$ – WBT May 26 '16 at 14:23
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(continuing from Dan Russell)

#3 …do they have a good supply of backcountry cooking gear?

Bakersfield, CA, 93301, 3301 % 26 = 25 -> Y (confirmed INCORRECT)

Instead...

Oh, Mesquite, TX is correct, but it's because it means "Mess Kit"

Leaving

ASYBLP -> "BY ALPS" (INCORRECT)

ZIP to City Hall

https://bouldercolorado.gov/city-council/council-member-suzanne-jones shows Municipal Bldg at 80306 ... 0306 % 26 = 20 -> T

...where I might find results of the process of formation of the only thing that still remained.

COW FOX ASABLT -> "BASALT"

It was very hard, and I hadn't yet thought of the answer.

Gotthard Pass (INCORRECT)

Where am I?

Switzerland, South Carolina? Or, the closest "big city," Savannah, GA? (INCORRECT)

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  • $\begingroup$ Interesting guesses, but not correct! Aggie Kidd also guessed that on #3, but later edited it out (and I wouldn't expect you to check other answers like that; it's fun to figure these out on one's own). $\endgroup$ – WBT Jun 24 '16 at 3:29
  • $\begingroup$ I think I understand #3 now, but that leaves me stumped on the final puzzle. $\endgroup$ – Brad Sandman Jun 24 '16 at 18:29
  • $\begingroup$ What is the process of formation of that thing that remains? Also, consider linking the Wikipedia article to help improve the major advance you made near the top of your answer. $\endgroup$ – WBT Jun 25 '16 at 3:23
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  1. do they have a good supply of backcountry cooking gear?
    Maybe...

    Greeley, Colorado
    Sounds like "grill" (Confirmed wrong)

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  • $\begingroup$ Nope, more backcountry than backyard. $\endgroup$ – WBT May 27 '16 at 19:08
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  1. would you find a comedy crew practicing on the river?

Wild guess:

Rockford, IL
"rocking on the ford" (wrong)

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  • $\begingroup$ Nope. This one has nothing to do with the actual meaning of any part of the city name ("ford," "bank," "bridge," "rio," etc.) $\endgroup$ – WBT May 27 '16 at 19:14
0
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A guess

13…would you find a comedy crew practicing on the river?

Lafayette, LA Laf = Laugh ... confirmed Incorrect

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0
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I checked my answers against others posted when I couldn't figure out the meta question. I got most of them right, a few wrong. Looks like the only one that a correct answer hasn't been found for is #3, so here's the only guess I had that hasn't been posted yet:

Stockton, CA (stock has been used in cooking for ages, back country or not, and they have a "ton" of it here)

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  • $\begingroup$ Nice guess. #3 did have a correct answer posted, by Brad Sandman, which is also now incorporated into Dan Russell's answer. You can check there or you can keep guessing without checking yourself, for the fun of it. $\endgroup$ – WBT Jul 12 '16 at 18:21

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