# The Puzzle Hunt

This puzzle is like a scavenger hunt; the solution to each part of this puzzle becomes a critical part of the next part of the puzzle.

Part One [Steganography]

Be very aware, dear.

Buttons seem statically charged.

Blackberries beat strawberries year-round.

Got it? Good, you'll need it to answer the next part.

Part Two [Knowledge]

I am a state.

Not a state of confusion or a state of fear.

I am a state.

Like one in America that you see here.

I have two representatives from part number one.

California has one, I have two, the rest have none.

Good going. Here comes the third part!

Part Three [Word-parts]

Take the answer for number two.

Take the second and third letters away.

Move the last letter to right after the new second letter.

And put in an "an" after the first letter.

Now remove the last three-quarters of me.

Now throw an "n" at the end instead.

Ah-ha! You have the answer. Gorgeous, ain't it?

One last part!

Part Four [Phonetic clues]

I sound like I have two parts.

(I'm the thing from number three.)

My first sounds rather like you, I think. It's spelled similarly, too.

My second sounds like something that you shouldn't really do.

But wait! - if you had a lisp or a slur, what else could that last part be?

A celestial object, perhaps? Why yes, that's it!

The answer was right there the whole time.

That's the last one!

• This is my first time attempting a puzzle like this; constructive criticism quite welcome! – Brandon_J Feb 24 '19 at 21:45

Part 1:

Each of these lines has four letters. Taking the first letter of the first word, second letter of the second word, and so on, spells BEAR for each line.

Part 2:

These "representatives" are the state flags: California's flag has one bear on it, and MISSOURI's has two.

Part 3:

Follow the directions: MISSOURI → MSOURI → MSIOUR → MANSIOUR → MANSIO → MANSION. (Though one step should read "one quarter" rather than "three quarters".)

Part 4:

Yes, "mansion" sounds like it has two parts: "man" (which describes the solver, as in 'human') and "shun" (something you shouldn't do). If you talk with a lisp, then that last part might instead be meant as SUN: a celestial object.

Feedback:

Many of the parts were very easy, sometimes even without. For example, part 2 was gettable without even getting part 1: looking up California shows the bear immediately. From that it's easy to figure out that Missouri is the answer to part 2 and "bear" is the answer to part 1, without even having tried.

I got part 3 forwards, but it's also possible to get without having parts 1 and 2. Qat is a word finder that has "equation matchers"; the Qat query ABCXYZ;AanCZXn;|B|=2;|Y|=2;|A|=1;|C|=1;|X|=1;|Z|=1 gives about 20 pairs of matches for your pattern, and scanning through the list easily gives MISSOURI / MANSION. While you may not care as much about puzzles being broken by a high-powered tool like this, the directions still reveal that the result is most likely of the form "_ a n _ _ _ n". This may be enough for people to get it from part 4 manually and the hint at the end of part 3, bypassing the entire first half. (Especially knowing that they should be starting with a state. Because you need to take a quarter evenly at one point, that limits it to 17 options purely based on letter count!)

In general, the individual parts are pretty easy, too. There's nothing wrong with that, but I'm not sure if it's what you were aiming for. Part 2 is gettable fairly quickly from part 1, but I wouldn't say it's too easy. Part 3, though, is a fairly straightforward list of directions (and that's a perfectly fine puzzle genre!) - so I don't think the additional confirmation at the end is necessary. And most of part 4 seems to just be re-confirming your answer for part 3, rather than being its own puzzle.

Overall, I thought it was pretty nice, but it could definitely do with some more dependence on past answers, and less confirmation. Confirmation that you're on the right track is generally good to have, but this had much more than enough: large parts of sections 2, 3, and 4 were confirmation that you were on the right track, with comparatively little to solve in those sections.

• Oh, shap. I understood the California clue with one simple search, but after that I watched this page: uswings.com/product/state-flags-united-states and this somehow shows something different for the state in the solution -.- – Annosz Feb 25 '19 at 9:38
• I appreciate the detailed feedback! – Brandon_J Feb 25 '19 at 14:18