I visited a mysterious old man at the place where he lived and worked. He told me a story then he shook my hand. I felt very strange.

I went outside of his house to clear my head. I saw a creature eating grass. It tried to butt me but when we made contact, it collapsed into a pile of cloth.

Nearby there was a family of fluffy creatures of a related species. They wandered toward me. I tried to pet them but the results were even stranger. The mother shrank into a miniature version of herself. The father became a severed human limb and the young one exploded!

This was awful! All I could think of was getting away from there. I found an animal that I thought could help. As soon as I tried to get on it, it disappeared and I found myself at the seaside.

I was disoriented and I staggered back, brushing against a mammal that had just emerged from the sea. It immediately dissolved into several pools of brown liquid that sank, foaming, into the sand.

I had to find the old man again. In my hurry I tripped over a different semi-aquatic mammal. It turned into a cake!

When I found the old man, he laughed at my distress. He snapped his fingers, said the word "uncouth," and everything was back to normal.

What on earth happened?

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    $\begingroup$ The surreal elements is what really makes this puzzle fun to stick with $\endgroup$ Jun 2, 2016 at 15:52

3 Answers 3


Building on the answer from Deusovi:

You were given the power to

Create anagrams of the creatures you encountered
Goat -> Toga
Ewe -> Wee (Deusovi)
Ram -> Arm (Deusovi)
Lamb -> Blam (Deusovi)
Horse -> Shore (Deusovi)
Seal -> Ales
Otter -> Torte

The title of the Puzzle is "The Puzzle that Dims a Tornado"

Tornado is a cryptic hint pointing towards an anagram.
Taking an Anagram of "Dims a" gives you Midas who was a King from greek mythology who turned everything he touched to gold. This is the story that you were told by the old man and you appear to have gained a similar power, but you turn everything to anagrams.
This suggests that the man you met was in fact Dionysus and, as Deusovi has pointed out, his magic word is an anagram of "Untouch".


Your hand was given the power to

move a letter to the front of a word.

The transformations that I've gotten so far, explained:

(not sure about the first one), EWE → WEE, RAM → ARM, LAMB → BLAM, HORSE → SHORE...

And his magic word meant



Design Notes- Not An Answer

When I make a puzzle that seems successful, I like to say a little bit about what I think made it successful in the hope that it may be useful to other puzzle-makers. Especially in this case, since the basic idea was very weak.

The accepted solution explains everything. The basic idea is:

Given a clue to an animal and an anagram of the animal's name, guess the animal and the anagram.

That was my starting point.

I happened to notice that a few farmyard animals' names had anagrams. Lamb, horse and goat.

I knew I had to do better than that. It had to be more interesting and more challenging. To make it more interesting, I decided to make a story out of it. To make it more challenging, I had two (simple) ideas:

Make it part of the puzzle to figure out that it is about anagrams, and add some more anagrams. Adding more anagrams gives the reader more to figure out and also more clearly establishes the anagram pattern.

Bmyguest once advised me to make sure to give enough examples to make sure that your solution is the only one that really fits. I always try to do that. Nothing spoils a puzzle like having another solution that is almost but not quite as good as yours.

I thought of

A number of anagrams of animals' names. It seemed cool to me how weirdly unrelated the names and anagrams were. The idea of turning things into their anagrams followed naturally as did the Midas thing. To make it reasonably solvable, I kept it to fairly short one-to-one anagrams organized around themes, the farm being the main one.

I like to start a multi-part puzzle with something hard, then something easier as a kind of "entry point" so the reader has a better idea of how to handle the hard part. That seems to be the way this one worked out.

Kudos to Deusovi for getting the basic pattern as is only just since his name is an anagram.

The last part was the title. It is, of course, a clue to the story that inspired the story part of the puzzle and is kind of an indirect clue to how the puzzle works. I figured at any rate when someone worked out the full solution, the title would be a nice confirmation of correctness.

I was happy with the way this worked out and I hope the journey from apparent insanity to a logical sequence was an entertaining trip for the reader. I think it shows that you can construct a fun puzzle out of simple parts if they are linked in the right way.


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