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(This is part of a series of puzzles written for Timwi for a Secret Santa puzzle exchange, themed around various custom modules for the game Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes. No KTaNE knowledge is necessary for any of these puzzles except the final meta; each puzzle resolves to a single word or short phrase.)


On The Subject of Blind Alleys

enter image description here

AKIN, EGOS, FOCI, MASK, RIPE, TURN, WOMB, YELL, CLOAK, EVOKE, FRONT, GREEN, NUMBS, RESET, SATYR, ADVENT, FUNGUS, LASHES, LOITER, SYNTAX, EYELESS, FIREFLY, SAPIENT, STERILE, ASSASSIN, HANDICAP, UNSEEING

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  • $\begingroup$ Could you explain what we are supposed to do? $\endgroup$ – Florian F Feb 15 at 20:59
  • $\begingroup$ @FlorianF Part of the goal of the puzzle is to figure out what you have to do. As the intro says, this puzzle should give you a word or short phrase as its answer. $\endgroup$ – Deusovi Feb 15 at 21:02
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This seems to work:

enter image description here

With huge thanks to @Gareth and @mbingo, there appears to be a word drawn by the letters in the black boxes, and the word is:

SHOVEL

The job here appears to be to solve a crossword where most of the crossword isn't visible.

However, the words for the crossword are given and the number of letters below the crossword matches the number of crossword boxes which are visible.

My procedure (as I remember it) was...

There seemed to be 2 eight letter words poking out in the first black area. There are 3 eight letter words in the list, but UNSEEING starts with a "U" which is not in the list of letters under the figure. So I placed the words ASSASSIN and HANDICAP in the two slots (arbitrarily).

I then

Looked at the middle exposed part. All words containing "P" either had an "A" or an "I" in front of the "P". But "A" was already taken by ASSASSIN, so it had to be an "I", meaning the word RIPE. I then needed a word connecting with "R" in RIPE and only FIREFLY fit. This gave me the words FRONT and GREEN. It also gave me TURN as the only word with a "T" as the fourth last letter.

After this my recollection gets hazy.

I believe I noticed that UNSEEING fit across the two other eight letter words. This gave me NUMBS. To continue on the right side it seemed only a word starting with "R" would do, i.e. RESET. I placed it at the bottom. I noticed that I still needed to have a word with "K" in the parts poking out and could place EVOKE. At this point, given the letters and words remaining, it just started to fall into place.

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    $\begingroup$ As well as explaining your procedure, you need to make the final step to extract a word. I think it's rot13(FUBIRY). $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Feb 12 at 19:06
  • $\begingroup$ Nice job, both of you! $\endgroup$ – mbingo Feb 12 at 19:23
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    $\begingroup$ @Jens What mbingo said. I don't think it's worth posting an answer of my own for, and I'm quite happy for you to get the Meaningless Internet Points for it. You were well ahead of me on solving the crossword. $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Feb 12 at 19:43
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    $\begingroup$ @mbingo Wow, thanks a lot! I never would have noticed that if you hadn't told me. Thanks so much! :) $\endgroup$ – Jens Feb 12 at 19:44
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    $\begingroup$ Nicely done! (Fun fact - the original version of this puzzle didn't have two letters already placed for you. It's still solvable that way, purely logically!) $\endgroup$ – Deusovi Feb 12 at 19:45

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