Last Friday, I was feeling a bit sad because I hadn't earned much rep recently, so I decided to try this awesome sock puppet thing everyone's been raving about. I logged out of my normal Puzzling account, and started to create a new account. I entered all the relevant made-up information, then of course I had to prove that I wasn't some sort of malicious program, so I clicked the reCAPTCHA button at the bottom of the page.
"Unable to verify humanity?" What's that supposed to mean? Maybe they'd realized that my sock puppet had the same IP as I did. Clever SE programmers! Nevertheless, I pressed on and looked at the "re-reCAPTCHA" they presented.
This looked simple enough, like the good old CAPTCHA days, so I typed "overlooks" and "inquiry" into the box. A few seconds later, another message appeared.
Ouch, internet! Calling us humans non-human hurts a bit. Now I really needed that sock puppet rep to feel better about myself, so I waited while the re-re-reCAPTCHA loaded, then saw this:
Um, what? This looks daunting enough that I'm about ready to throw in the towel, but I would love to at least know what the answer is. It looks like a bunch of these, but not all, are cryptic clues. Maybe some of you can help?
And kudos, SE engineers, for having a true Puzzling challenge to prevent gaming the system. I'm in awe.
So...what is the verification phrase I should type?
(Though I wasn't able to solve this myself, I did manage to copy down all the clues—left to right, top to bottom—in text format, to help you help me.)
Text of clues:
1. Beginning after combat, nothing contained my Guatemalan uncle's hostilities (6) 2. One of a listening pair are confused (3) -3. Departed behind schedule (4) 4. Shawshank inmate's hearing studied (3) 5. In the cult, I mated with the best (8) 6. At Bern, even Hamilton's home (3) -7. Dude has the case (2) 8. A bit of pure stagnation! (4) -9. Interminable delays yield little Starbucks (4) 10. Devil dazzled—without break—in speech (3) 11. Go back and erase life's first awkward stare (4) 12. Captain of Gryffindor followed snitch in to score (6) 13. Write with a marker (3) -14. Loose modern communication breaks record (4) 15. Nothing happened while heading from London to Liverpool this time (3) 16. Part made with revolutionary hair product (3) 17. Hurried and opened teapot spout (4) 18. I heard any street can make home (4) 19. Apple launched a leading product, ignored petition (4) 20. Malfunctioning gear fume (4) -1. Sibling with little work ends up penniless (5) 2. We tracked a couple of errors, then went back to be certain (4) 3. Standard mark (4) 4. Present sage final advice for a neighbor (4) 5. News organization covered President's program (3) 6. In retrospect, the accidental exlcamation cut short was "Shit!" (3) -7. Part of what "amen" does! (3) 8. Big kid forgot opening of anthem, told to leave (2) 10. A beer was left to chill inside (3) 10. Possesses an endless variety of avocados (3) -11. Most common dialup device lacks premium core (4) 12. Primate, at heart, is a bird (3) -13. Register the contents of the will I started (4) 14. Expression for rat bastard (3) 15. Peace for Englishmen interrupted by South African revolution (4) -16. As one, we left to get that girl (3) 17. Checks in with future inspiration (5) 18. A neighbor started peeking into gym class' window (4) 19. License to go outside of Cuba or Jamaica (2) 20. Automaton purchased by phone (3) 1. Copy 2. Race 3. Tempering 4. Netiher here nor there 5. Search 6. Obfuscation 7. Trouble 8. Spear 9. Last-ditch fix 10. Transparent 11. Serious 12. Delight 13. Nearly final 14. Tale 15. Most in need 16. Core 17. Satisfy 18. Contributor 19. Firm 20. Obvious