5
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Consider the words he, mother, and smothered. These words form a series, each nested in the next:

he, mother, smothered.

Such a series can be encoded with a clue consisting of the following:

  • synonyms of the words in the series
  • nothing else.

For example, the above series can be encoded with the clue:

That man suffocated mom

Parsing this clue, we get:

That man | suffocated | mom
HE         SMOTHERED    MOTHER

Now that you know the rules, let's see if you can find the series clued by the following:

  1. Favorable signs flavor photograph
  2. Purplish-red plant generation
  3. Captives label all the world, according to Shakespeare
  4. Tear banded stomach tissue
  5. Nether perennials have an obligation

*This puzzle was inspired by this one of wildBillMunson.

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  • $\begingroup$ Regarding the green tick, I will award it to the first person to post three solutions that have not been posted previously. If nobody gets three on their own, I will award the tick to the first person to post two solutions that have not been posted previously. If nobody gets two on their own, I will award the tick to the first person to post a solution. $\endgroup$ – GoldenGremlin Jan 14 '17 at 1:17
5
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  1. Favorable signs flavor photograph

    AUSPICES, SPICE, PIC

  2. Purplish-red plant generation

    MAGENTA, AGENT (thanks @ChrisCudmore), AGE

  3. Captives label all the world, according to Shakespeare

    HOSTAGES, TAG, STAGE

  4. Tear banded stomach tissue

    RIP, STRIPED, TRIPE

  5. Nether perennials have an obligation

    LOWER, FLOWERS, OWE


Feedback section

Subjective order of difficulty (easiest to hardest): 3, 5, 4, 1, 2. Although I got 5 first, I'd say 3 is easier because "all the world, according to Shakespeare" only has one possible meaning.

In general, what makes the clues harder is multiple possible meanings of a word. For instance, "tear" could mean as in crying; once I realised it meant as in "rip", 4 was easy. 2 was the hardest because even once I got the innermost and outermost words, I couldn't find the right middle word because I was too hung up on the more obvious meaning of "plant". Also, of course, more obscure words tend to make clues harder. I'd never have thought of "auspices" without help from a thesaurus.

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  • $\begingroup$ The word youre looking for is AGENT. $\endgroup$ – Chris Cudmore Jan 14 '17 at 1:41
  • $\begingroup$ @Chris Oh, THAT kind of plant!!! See what I mean about multiple possible meanings of a word? $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Jan 14 '17 at 1:42
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, it's all state of mind. $\endgroup$ – Chris Cudmore Jan 14 '17 at 1:43
  • $\begingroup$ Your difficulty ratings seem correct to me. I didn't think this one was hard. Just a quick little puzzle for anyone willing to do it. $\endgroup$ – GoldenGremlin Jan 14 '17 at 1:44
  • $\begingroup$ @Silenus It was fun! :-) $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Jan 14 '17 at 1:47

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