The Making Of: Enter the Vermillion
A Word From The Poster: Thank you all for taking the time to attempt solving this riddle. I found that it was a rather difficult one to solve; even with the hints I supplied. Since this is the case, I've decided to write a "Making Of" answer, in which I will break this puzzle down. So without further ado; let's get to it!
Note: This is not a solution to the puzzle, but provides notes from its poser. This type of answer has been approved by the community.
Caution: This post may contain spoilers.
The inspiration for this came from an issue I had at work. In software development, an issue can arise that is referred to as a bottleneck:
A bottleneck occurs when the capacity of an application or a computer system is severely limited by a single component, like the neck of a bottle slowing down the overall water flow.
As I searched for a solution to my problem, I began thinking of analogies for my problem, along with potential solutions to those analogies. This is when the source of this riddle came to mind:
Anticoagulant; Anticoagulants are used to prevent clotting of blood.
Though the analogy was not perfect, it was good enough to get my gears turning on a riddle.
The Initial Riddle
Now the initial riddle has been the same since I encountered the word. I didn't really have to put much thought into it. The prefix is the same as the suffix, and the infix didn't really make much sense; however, a simple Google search on anagrams for the infix found that there was only one available word that used all of the letters.
Guiacol; guiacol is distilled from wood tar, is yellow, and smells terrible.
This gave me the second half of the initial riddle and I called it done.
Solving the Initial Riddle
I believe it is easily perceived that no one was able to solve this on the initial riddle alone. The process of solving this one was a long road indeed.
My suffix is my prefix.
This relates to the literal fact that ant is the suffix, and the prefix of the word. Literal thinking narrows your search to words that begin and end the same.
Defined for both as well.
Ant is defined as a prefix (variant spelling of anti- before a vowel or h) and a suffix (denoting attribution of an action or state). There are only so many words in the English language that meet the requirements of this line.
My infix has one anagram, is colored yellow and smells.
Again with literal thinking, the infix of anticoagulant only has a single anagram. This is Guiacol which is explained above.
I knew right away that finding the answer was going to be difficult, even for the more experienced. So I decided that I should create some hints to help out the community with solving it. Creating the hints (in my opinion) was definitely the hardest part. I wanted to create hints that would be helpful, but not too helpful. Another important factor was ensuring that the hints made it progressively easier to solve the riddle.
In the end, I decided that the hints should refer to not the entire word, but parts of the word, and what the word could relate to. On top of that, I didn't want to give too much away, so I made the hints into puzzles themselves.
Thick and Thin: This was a rather useless hint given the fact that it was given first. However, in the long run, it does relate to anticoagulant. The relation isn't 100%, but in essence, thick can be seen as blood clotting, where thin can be seen as blood thinning.
Blood Lust or Thirst/Vampire: Now this one was difficult to come up with, I wanted something that was more knowledge based for this hint. The common theme between the three tyrants supplied, is that they all (alongside their armies), slaughtered hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people. This refers to the blood spilt along their way. If your first thought was to Dracula, then you're not alone, and you should know that Stoker actually got a lot of his inspiration from Atila the Hun, though the name Dracula was inspired by Vlad II Dracul. However, you can find references to all three tyrants throughout the book.
Emmet: This was an acrostic, though simple to create, and harmless in the horizontal representation; it is a powerful hint. Emmet is an archaic word for ant which is the prefix and suffix of anticoagulant.
Guiacol: This one is a little harder to find; however, after about 30 minutes of clicking through a Google search on distilled from tar, I found it. Guiacol is the only anagram of the infix in anticoagulant. It is yellow, smells terrible, and is used as flavoring.
Ant: This is another simple but powerful puzzle as it gave away the prefix and suffix yet again. I figured if you hadn't solved the acrostic for Emmet, then you would surely get this one. This puzzle references the fact that ants are always busy, the fight for their queen, and have you ever heard The Ants go Marching?
Vampire Bat/ICOAGUL: Now this one I had to get creative with. I wanted to really give this one away, but it was difficult as there is also the acrostic aspect of it. The beginning of each line in the puzzle gives the acrostic icoagul which is the true infix of anticoagulant. The puzzle also heavily refers to the Common Vampire Bat in particular due to its saliva. The saliva of the vampire bat contains an anticoagulant which is useful as it stops blood from clotting and allows it to feed on its prey.
Logistical Steps and Resources
This was mostly limited to Google and Wikipedia; however, I did use the Words Containing tool from d-Code.
As I stated above, the initial riddle has remained the same from the start. The only thing that truly changed was the title. Originally called Fantasy Feeding: Weapons Untold, I was trying to relate the title to how the answer could be used as a weapon of sorts (the answer to the final hint does this in reality). I eventually came to the realization that this wasn't really a fitting name, and changed it to Enter the Vermillion which is a reference to the red color.
This was a difficult riddle to its core. It was fun to write, even more fun to adapt, and I learned quite a few interesting facts along my road to completion. My takeaway from this riddle is to definitely tone it down a notch and only write these in depth riddles once in a blue moon.
Questions for the Community
If you would like to present feedback, please feel free to answer the following questions in a comment below. If someone has already stated something highly similar to your thoughts, just up-vote their comment!
- What are your thoughts on the riddle?
- On a scale of 1 - 10, how would you rate the initial riddle?
- Did any of the listed answers occur to you in your search at any point?
- Is there anything I could have done better?