9
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There is an old miner named prospector Pete.
Who seeks the treasure that lies under feet.

On a weary journey on a hungry mare,
he comes across a food stocked lair.

But the kitchen's guarded by a nasty sheep,
who only wants to bite and bleat.

And if he wants a meal from there,
he'll need to secure the beast somewhere.

Just to keep things short and sweet:
The previous parts are obsolete.

These words in order and sized with care,
the solution's hidden fair and square:

Ram rope, ore area, pea & meat.
Just one thing 'til it's complete.

And that one thing is simply:______

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That one thing is simply:

EAT

because

you can pack it all in thus:
ROPE
AREA
MEAT
reading ROPE, AREA, MEAT across and RAM, ORE, PEA, and EAT down.

Though I remark that

we're awfully close to being able to get MARE in there too, which would have been nice :-).

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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ +1 shouldn't it be rot13(rng) instead? $\endgroup$ – hexomino Jan 14 at 17:17
  • $\begingroup$ Oops, that's what I meant to write. [EDITED to add:] Now fixed. Sorry about that. [EDITED again to add:] In case anyone suspects me of bad faith, note that the second spoiler block, which I have not changed, already made explicit that that was the word I had in mind. The error in the first block was simply a typo. $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Jan 14 at 17:20
  • $\begingroup$ In a district, while hoping to dine, / He sees sphagnum upon an incline. / Two vases on top / Hold cookie and chop. / He gets up and consumes with some twine. $\endgroup$ – Hugh Meyers Jan 15 at 18:54
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The one thing is simply

(to) EAT

Because if you arrange the words as follows:

ROPE
AREA
MEAT

The following is true:

Reading the columns gets you RAM, ORE, and PEA, and the final missing word, EAT.

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