Like I said last week I really struggled with the right title. I gave it a long, weird one, that arguably gave away too much. Anyhow, the deal with the puzzle, which asked for a mathematical term, was that it had five isolated black squares (four 1x1s, and a 2×2, necessitating the slightly larger 16×16 grid to center it.) And if you started at the right place and read around those “blocks,” each spelled something:
Those somethings were TURMERIC, CELERIAC, RUSSET POTATO, RED ONION, and RUTABAGA – all foods that are the root of a plant. (Are the onion, technically a bulb, or the potato, technically a tuber, or even turmeric, technically a rhizome, really roots? Maybe not to a botanist but Wikipedia is here to bail me out: “the term ‘root vegetable’ is applied to all these types …” Also, no one who entered raised a fuss about this so I’m not gonna worry about it.)
Anyway, these underground edibles, whether or not you insist they aren’t all really “roots,” were spelled out in squares, so the mathematical term we were looking for was SQUARE ROOT(S). (Submissions were about 50/50 between singular and plural. I suppose it’s possible some of those who submitted the singular didn’t see the four smaller ones, but no matter, I consider either entry correct.)
Up next is a puzzle called “Wedge Issues.” I hope it won’t be controversial!
The answer to the metapuzzle is a four-letter word. Submit your answer using the contact form by Monday, September 30 at 11 p.m. Pacific Time. I’ll post the solution, and a new puzzle, next Tuesday.