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forte_puzzle

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Answer is a two-word phrase.


Text transcript of the clues (for copy-paste purposes)

Agamemnon, to Homer...
Pet food brand with a ProActive Health line...
SI unit equal to one coulomb per volt...
Government org. headed most recently by Gina Haspel...
Chemical produced by the Haber process...
State-run assoc. that provides off-market insurance...
Prophet who revived a child in Zarephath...
Shakespearean Athenian who loves Lysander...
Part of an insect's head that the mouthparts are attached to...
Israeli striker who is the nephew of Eitan Aharoni...

...or extinct mollusk species that looks like a ram's horn
...or Egyptian goddess whose Greek equivalent was Artemis
...or to include an author's name next to a quote, perhaps
...or invoking imagery from "The Divine Comedy"
...or members of the 1%
...or what people claim Eric Swalwell did(?) during an MSNBC interview
...or part of a reggaeton hit that is a remix of "Voodoo Song"
...or French mathematician who first proved e was transcendental
...or tasks on a to-do list
...or vegetable fiber that comes in white and tossa varieties
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  • $\begingroup$ This was a nice puzzle! Cute concept and well-executed, with every aha moment being fairly clued. $\endgroup$ – Deusovi Nov 24 '19 at 17:59
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Continuing from M Oehm's answer:

The phrase he extracted should be parsed as

"Wager Limb X, or Ans".

This is then interpreted:

A wager is a BET; a limb could be an ARM; and X is TEN.
So we have BET ARM TEN: swap A for TE, and we get BETTER MAN.

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  • $\begingroup$ (Will delete this answer if M Oehm edits this into his instead.) $\endgroup$ – Deusovi Nov 24 '19 at 16:26
  • $\begingroup$ Oh, I see. I'm fine with having your final step as a separate answer. $\endgroup$ – M Oehm Nov 24 '19 at 16:33
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, this is the intended parsing. Some notes to wrap things up: rot13(gur yrggref ng gur gbc bs gur tevq fnl CHMMYRL, juvpu vfa'g bs zhpu hfr, ohg ng gur obggbz bs gur tevq gurl fnl UVAG GVGYR, juvpu vf fhccbfrq gb vaqvpngr gung gur gvgyr pbagnvaf zber guna vg frrzf. Nyfb, jura gur yvarf ner pbeerpgyl qenja, gur jbeq GJVPR pna or znqr bhg sebz gur yrggref gung ner pbzcyrgryl rapybfrq ol gur yvarf, juvpu vf na vaqvpngvba gb nccyl gur genafsbezngvba gjvpr.) I'll accept this answer, but credit @MOehm for doing most of the work to get there! $\endgroup$ – HTM Nov 24 '19 at 17:59
  • $\begingroup$ What is the "or ans" part? $\endgroup$ – justhalf Nov 25 '19 at 10:27
  • $\begingroup$ @justhalf It means "...or answer [to the puzzle]". It parallels the structure of the original clues (after matching), and hints that we need to find the counterpart of the clued text once again. $\endgroup$ – Deusovi Nov 25 '19 at 15:43
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Partial answer

Answers to the trivia quiz:

     ... DANAAN ●            ● AMMONITE ...
       ... IAMS ●            ● BASTET ...
      ... FARAD ●            ● CITE ...
        ... CIA ●            ● DANTEAN ...
    ... AMMONIA ●            ● ELITE ...
        ... JUA ●            ● FARTED ...
       ... ELIA ●            ● GENTE ...
     ... HERMIA ●            ● HERMITE ...
       ... GENA ●            ● ITEMS ...
      ... BASAT ●            ● JUTE ...

Each answer on the left corresponds to one answer on the right with one A replaced by TE. ("A Forte", that is "A for TE" in the title hints at the substitution. Thanks to this rule, nothing of what Mr Swalwell did shows up in my Google history.) There are ten pairs, each starting with a different letter from A to J.

The letters

The black circles next to the corresponding answers can be connected with lies, which cross one or two letters:

enter image description here

From A to J, the letters are: W AG ER L I MB XO R A NS. They can be rearranged to "wager, limb, xor, ans".

And now?

I don't know. Perhaps we must find synonyms for the words above: Bet + arm / leg / tentacle + ...? Hm. If "xor ans(wer)" is really correct, perhaps that's an instruction to bitwise-xor stuff. Perhaps the A ↔ TE conversion is needed again to find words that can be converted in that fashion? For example, "X or ans" could be read as "X or tens" and the limb "arm" can be turned into "term". Yes, that's all very tentative.

Well, I'm out of ideas for now.

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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ You're on the right track! I think I've figured out the parsing and the final answer from what you have. (see my answer, and feel free to edit it into yours -- you did the majority of the work here) $\endgroup$ – Deusovi Nov 24 '19 at 16:26

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