Last week’s asymmetric grid had a familiar look once you realized what was scattered around the grid:
That’s the completed grid overlaying a Clue board. And around the grid we had:
Mr. GREEN up there in the STUDY;
Mrs. WHITE in the HALL, with the the WRENCH either also in there or lying in an adjacent corridor;
Split between two entries, the LEAD PIPE in the LOUNGE;
Col. MUSTARD and Miss SCARLET, somehow simultaneously occupying both the LIBRARY and the BILLIARD ROOM;
The CANDLESTICK, lying across both the BALLROOM and the KITCHEN;
The ROPE in the CONSERVATORY;
The KNIFE in, again, the ballroom;
Prof. PLUM, also in the kitchen; and
The BODY of Mr. Boddy, dead and hidden in the CELLAR, as usual.
Missing from the above list is Mrs. PEACOCK (a person), the empty DINING ROOM (a place), and the REVOLVER (a thing). Because, of course, endings A and C are wrong; it is always Mrs. Peacock.
This one seems to have gotten mixed reactions. A few things going on. First, some people had never played Clue, or it had been a long time or just wasn’t their cup of tea, so the people and weapons all over the grid maybe just weren’t going to ring any bells.
Second, over the years Clue has been tinkered with a bunch. The KNIFE, which to me is “standard” because that’s what it was called in my set as a kid, is apparently only present in “some North American versions” and is more typically called the DAGGER, which a few solvers submitted because they overlooked the absence of any kind of handgun and didn’t have KNIFE embedded in their minds as part of the set of Clue weapons. As I told one solver who made this misstep: “Luckily there are no prizes riding on it so I judge this as ‘you grokked it but overlooked something, and that’s understandable because you’re used to the knife having a different name.'” Also, the board orientation is arbitrary; the rooms are always in the same place relative to one another, but sometimes the board is shown as the grid had it, and other times (like on the Wikipedia page) it’s rotated 180 degrees. Image searching yields mixed results, but for me the orientation as I constructed it seems to predominate. Your google-algorithmic mileage may vary, and some people had to rotate the board in their head to make sense of the board in this puzzle’s grid.
Finally, and more troubling from my point of view, quite a few solvers did not feel a strong “click” with respect to how to choose the “place” part of the meta answer. A few submitted CELLAR, which is not in keeping with the game at all – the cellar is always where the body is stashed, never the scene of the actual murder. A knowledge of the game’s workings was definitely an advantage here – the puzzle’s title “Elimination Game” refers both to the fact that Clue is a game about murder (i.e. eliminating someone), and also that the way you play Clue is that you eliminate all the suspects, weapons and rooms not involved in the murder and what’s left solves the case. Most solvers had no trouble figuring out that Peacock and Revolver, the only suspect and weapon not present in the grid, must be in the answer; but a fair number of folks either didn’t see, or weren’t sure about, the somewhat different way of “eliminating” the rooms – the one room that’s different from all the rest is the Dining Room, because it’s the only room that doesn’t have at least one of the innocent people or unused weapons in it.
On the other hand, this experience wasn’t universal – one solver commented “very clever way to get the room elimination,” and there were clearly others who had no uncertainty. So while I regret giving you a puzzle that didn’t fully click for everyone – another solver called this part of the solve “infuriating and opaque” – there were definitely some folks on my wavelength.
42 solvers submitted the right answer, though several of those people expressed uncertainty about the room choice. 13 more clearly got the main idea but submitted a different room. And 2 made the knife/dagger mistake.
As penance for a puzzle that didn’t sit well with everyone, this week I’m giving you one normal-sized puzzle and one smaller one. Puzzle #7 is a 15×15 puzzle called “Piling Up the Hits.” Puzzle #7a is an 11×11 called “What Do You Want?” Totally coincidentally, one of the puzzles has a record label as its answer, and the other one a song.
As always, you can either download the .pdf files below, or click on the links for the .puz files shared from Google Drive.
The answer to metapuzzle #7 is a record label.
The answer to metapuzzle #7a is a song.
Submit your answers using the contact form by Monday, April 29 at 11 p.m. Pacific Time. Please specify which answer goes with which puzzle, and feel free to submit separately if you’ve solved one but not the other. I’ll post the solutions, and a new puzzle, next Tuesday.