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Wordy Wednesday 404

WORDY WEDNESDAY #398
PATHFINDER 22 (answer)
Here is the answer to this puzzle. If you still wish to solve it yourself, please go here for the normal version of the puzzle, or here for the easier version of the puzzle. Here's a list of people who solved it:
Cindy Heisler **
Cole Kendall **
Joe Bernard **
Kyle Nils **
Leo Termin **
Mark Ballinger **
Mary Maynard **
Stephen Potter **
Kevin Orfield **
Lee Glascock **
Patrick Jordan *
Ryan Faley **
Sam Levitin **

WORDY WEDNESDAY #399
SNAKE CRISSCROSS 15 (answer)
Here is the answer to this puzzle. If you still wish to solve it yourself, please go here for the normal version of the puzzle, or here for the easier version of the puzzle. Here's a list of people who solved it:
Cindy Heisler **
Cole Kendall **
Joe Bernard **
Leo Termin **
Mark Ballinger **
Bo & Becky Green **
Kevin Orfield **
Lee Glascock **
Ryan Faley **
Sam Levitin **

WORDY WEDNESDAY #400
PENT WORDS 80 (hint)
As of this writing, 14 people have solved this puzzle. Haven't solved it yet? Here's an easier version. Send your answers to glmathgrant[at]gmail[dot]com within the next week to appear on the solvers list and be recognized for your puzzle prowess. Good luck, solvers!

WORDY WEDNESDAY #401
FOXGERYPTICS 16 (hint)
As of this writing, 12 people have solved this puzzle. Haven't solved it yet? Here's an easier version. Send your answers to glmathgrant[at]gmail[dot]com within the next week to appear on the solvers list and be recognized for your puzzle prowess. Good luck, solvers!

WORDY WEDNESDAY #402
ANAWORDSEARCH 3 (hint)
As of this writing, 7 people have solved this puzzle. Haven't solved it yet? Here's an easier version. Send your answers to glmathgrant[at]gmail[dot]com within the next week to appear on the solvers list and be recognized for your puzzle prowess. Good luck, solvers!

WORDY WEDNESDAY #403
CODEWORDS 14 (hint)
As of this writing, 10 people have solved this puzzle. Haven't solved it yet? Here's an easier version. Send your answers to glmathgrant[at]gmail[dot]com within the next week to appear on the solvers list and be recognized for your puzzle prowess. Good luck, solvers!

WORDY WEDNESDAY #404
(click here for a PDF version)
[Author’s note: I tried to share a link to this puzzle, but the website went down, and now gives a 404 error! On this page and the following page are the solution write-up and comments from my patrons who got to see the puzzle before the site went down, so you can get some sense of what an absolutely fantastic puzzle you missed. Perhaps you can figure out what the puzzle’s title was.]

The solver is presented with an interactive online word search puzzle, but instead of a regular word list, the solver is given clues to the words. After finding all of the words, a button appears that says “HIDE WORDS”; doing so hides all of the words, resulting in this grid:
Thanks to the words being hidden, it is easy for the solver to realize that the unused letters in the word search spell DECODE FIRST LETTERS OF HORIZONTAL WORDS IN READING ORDER USING PUZZLE TITLE AS VIGENERE KEY. After discovering this message, the solver will probably need to use the “UNHIDE WORDS” button to see the words again, unless the solver has perfect memory. Since there are 21 horizontal words and 21 letters in the puzzle’s title, any Vigenère cipher decoder can easily be used to obtain the clue GREAT GETAWAY GAME EMCEE. (Note that some decoders don’t work if you type spaces in the key.) Great Getaway Game was a short-lived game show based on word searches (aptly enough); the final answer is the name of the legendary emcee who hosted it, WINK MARTINDALE.

Patron Agnes R. Kift writes: Although I think I solved this puzzle, I was never able to figure out the significance of the 40-digit number 9684456666447445446554457564645644544859 or the 26 numbers 16-3-7-6-29-3-5-5-11-0-4-12-6-10-21-8-0-19-16-14-6-3-1-5-1-0. [Author’s note: The first number contains the lengths of the 40 answer words in alphabetical order; the list of 26 numbers indicates how many times each letter of the alphabet appears in the answers: 16 A’s, 3 B’s, 7 C’s, and so on.] The first word I found was the name of the Jeep; I just bought a JL model myself, so I recognized it instantly. Then I identified the chemical element and the musical instrument, both starting with the same unusual initial letter. (Did you know the instrument’s name comes from Greek words for “wood” and “sound”?) The MP4 video of the song “Tom Sawyer” over an image of the robotic dog from the Mega Man games was clever, but whose voice clips were those? [Author’s note: They are voice clips of late political commentator Limbaugh, naturally.] I would never have figured out what word the picture of all the trees referred to without the hint that it’s an anagram of TAMBOURER, nor did I know Moon Zappa's middle name. The last word I found was the newspaper comic about the fictional newspaper The Treetops Tattler-Tribune (I had to look that up, because I’m more familiar with the footwear than the comic).

Patron Greta N. Fisk writes: I liked how you used one image, the table of contents from a Bible with the names of the first two books censored, to clue two words. You missed a chance to do that again with the two words that form the title of that classic 1990 movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger as Douglas Quaid. [Author’s note: I decided the puzzle had too many movie references already – actor Harrison from Star Wars, actor Tom from Top Gun, the Beatles movie from 1965, the 2007 movie where Nicolas Cage plays a magician pursued by the FBI, the one with Adam Sandler holding a remote control, the John Wayne movie True ____, the Tom Hanks movie Saving ____ Ryan, the 1951 movie A Streetcar Named ____, and DreamWorks Animation’s utterly deplorable The ____ Baby – so I clued those two words a different way to keep things varied.] And it’s a good thing you specified that the picture of an egg cell was a 4-letter word, because the word EGG coincidentally appears in the word search, but the web app doesn’t recognize that as the correct answer.

Patron Karen F. Stig writes: As a Nintendo fan, I was proud of myself for identifying all the Mario answers without looking them up. The picture of the Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga map with the caption “Half the name of this kingdom” was a snap (other people might have preferred a picture of comedian Orson), as was the racing game Mario ____ 64 and the name of the bird in Super Mario 64 who steals Mario’s cap (an apt name for the kind of “-maniac” who steals things) – and don’t get me started on how easy it was to identify that princess Mario rescues! Most people wouldn’t identify the Super Scope game Yoshi’s ____, which was actually the first game to refer to said princess by her current name instead of Toadstool outside of Japan; you could have used the Apple browser for that one if you wanted it to be easier. I’m surprised that you didn’t use Super Mario 64 to clue the dome-shaped arctic dwelling, since such a dwelling appears in the level Snowman's Land.

Patron Reg F. Atkins writes: I appreciated the sitcom references like the one about the New York City cabbies that aired from 1978 to 1983, and the more recent ____ Development. It was also apt that a game show featured in the final clue phrase when you also used the GSN original show ____ Knowledge as a clue. I had to look up the NATO phonetic alphabet to learn what preceded “Lima”. I also had never heard of rapper DeShaun Dupree Holton; I might have gotten that word without looking it up had the clue been “____ of purchase” or “burden of ____”. And thanks for invoking my childhood memories of playing the tic-tac-toe-inspired Mattel game ____ Across.

Patron Stefan G. Rik writes: I enjoyed how easy the cryptic clues were, and that they were alphabetized by answer, because I’d never solved any before: “Secret found in sugarcane (6)”, “Rage about cog (4)”, “Meld a broken Olympic prize (5)”, “Scooter relative sulked (5)”, “Flip peels to snooze (5)”, “Austere oboist has sound system (6)”, and “Gloves, ties concealing sleeveless garment (4)”.

COMING NEXT WEEK. . .

* What's a 5-letter word for "Marisa of My Cousin Vinny"?

Submit your answers to glmathgrant[at]gmail[dot]com. Until next time, keep on living, and yappy solving!

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