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Below are nine ordered groups of words and phrases. Use common sense to solve the first eight. This should then tell you how to continue with the last group.

  • objective; break; happening at night; friend; dominant; not fake; stamp; beacon; complete
  • not before; personality; go in; trash; half of a half; enroll; male chicken; H2O
  • x or y, e.g.; set off; give away; dispose of; lucky; baby; finish
  • ammunition; cottage; fjord; brochure; lavatory; V in ROYGBIV
  • catastrophes; main office; Harry and Beatrix, e.g.; female siblings; authors
  • remote; concerning this; evidence; parody
  • something giving stability/balance; explosion; image-breaker
  • disappeared; 14 pounds
  • customs of a society

Good luck!

P.S.: A clue may be provided later, but not before you've found the solution.

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  • $\begingroup$ Nice puzzle! I had fun trying this, especially as a few of us were racing ahead with our answers at the same time. $\endgroup$ – Phylyp Jan 19 '18 at 13:43
  • $\begingroup$ You guys were simply too fast for me. Chapeau! $\endgroup$ – Karsten Köpnick Jan 19 '18 at 13:46
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The approach is:

Find synonyms
Find the common last letters for each line
Together, they form a string

objective; break; happening at night; friend; dominant; not fake; stamp; beacon; complete

al: goal, interval, nocturnal, pal, physical, original, seal, signal, total

not before; personality; go in; trash; half of a half; enroll; male chicken; H2O

ter: after, character, enter, litter, quarter, enter, rooster, water

x or y, e.g.; set off; give away; dispose of; lucky; baby; finish

nate: alternate, initiate, donate, terminate, fortunate, neonate, terminate

ammunition; cottage; fjord; brochure; lavatory; V in ROYGBIV

let: bullet, chalet, inlet, pamphlet, toilet, violet

catastrophes; main office; Harry and Beatrix, e.g.; female siblings; authors

ters: disasters, headquarters, potters, sisters, writers

remote; concerning this; evidence; parody

of: aloof, of, proof, spoof

something giving stability/balance; explosion; image-breaker

last: ballast, blast, iconoclast

disappeared; 14 pounds

one: gone, stone

customs of a society

CULTURE

String together the fragments to form:

Alternate letters of last one

Which is:

Alternate letters of CULTURE form CLUE

Which explains the statement "A clue may be provided later, but not before you've found the solution"

Because the word clue is in the solution! :-)

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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Very good! You're the first to find the final one. I'm kicking myself for not having got it. $\endgroup$ – Jaap Scherphuis Jan 19 '18 at 13:37
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ well done, well guessed $\endgroup$ – Stefanto Jan 19 '18 at 13:41
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Congratulations! $\endgroup$ – Karsten Köpnick Jan 19 '18 at 13:43
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Phylyp. Yes, but when I posted it, two others already beat me to it. Since they were more complete than I had gotten so far, I just deleted mine. $\endgroup$ – Karsten Köpnick Jan 19 '18 at 13:47
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ "original"? "real" is a better synonym IMHO, and still fits the solution. $\endgroup$ – Bohemian Jan 21 '18 at 13:26
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I believe that for every group of words, there are synonyms which then end with the same syllable

For the group of 9

objective -> goAL stamp -> postAL complete - toTAL

For the group of 8

not before -> afTER personality -> characTER go in -> enTER

For the group of 7

x or y -> coordiNATE

For the group of 6

ammunition -> bulLET ; cottage -> hamLET ; brochure -> bookLET ; lavatory -> toiLET ; V in ROYGBIV -> vioLET (thanks to Kilhaul)

For the group of 5

catastrophes -> twisTERS Harry and Beatrix -> potTERS female siblings -> sisTERS authors -> wriTERS

For the group of 4

evidence -> proOF parody -> spoOF remote -> far OFF concerning this -> speaking OF

For the group of 3

explosion -> bLAST

For the group of 2

disappeared -> gONE 14 pounds -> stONE

Then it forms a sentence which reads

AL-TER-NATE LET-TERS OF LAST ONE Alternate letters of last one

to be continued

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  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Well done, for the group of 6 I'd say : ammunition -> pelLET ; cottage -> hamLET ; brochure -> bookLET ; lavatory -> toiLET ; V in ROYGBIV -> vioLET $\endgroup$ – Keelhaul Jan 19 '18 at 13:19
6
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Here's my partial answer:

objective; break; happening at night; friend; dominant; not fake; stamp; beacon; complete

goal, interval, nocturnal, pal, influential, real, seal, signal, total

not before; personality; go in; trash; half of a half; enroll; male chicken; H2O

after, character, enter, litter, quarter, register, rooster, water

x or y, e.g.; set off; give away; dispose of; lucky; baby; finish

indeterminate, detonate, donate, eliminate, fortunate, neonate, terminate

ammunition; cottage; fjord; brochure; lavatory; V in ROYGBIV

bullet, chalet, inlet, leaflet, toilet, violet

catastrophes; main office; Harry and Beatrix, e.g.; female siblings; authors

disasters, headquarters, Potters, sisters, writers

remote; concerning this; evidence; parody

aloof, hereof, proof, spoof

something giving stability/balance; explosion; image-breaker

ballast, blast, iconoclast

disappeared; 14 pounds

gone, stone

customs of a society

?

So that gives:

al-ter-nate let-ters of last one ?

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  • $\begingroup$ How about cardinal for the missing one in line one? $\endgroup$ – Karsten Köpnick Jan 19 '18 at 13:44
  • $\begingroup$ @KarstenKöpnick For the word cardinal I would have expected a different clue. I've now gone for "influential" instead. $\endgroup$ – Jaap Scherphuis Jan 19 '18 at 14:10

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