1997 MIT Mystery Hunt Puzzle 29 Solution

"Comparable to" in the flavor text clues that these items appear in well-known similes (sometimes not in the sense pictured). Take the indicated letter from the adjective describing each item.

  1. (D)RY as a bone
  2. AM(E)RICAN as apple pie
  3. (R)IGHT as rain
  4. H(A)RD as rock
  5. (T)IGHT as a drum
  6. PR(E)TTY as a picture
  7. (D)UMB as a post
  8. BL(I)ND as a bat
  9. (S)MART as a whip
  10. CU(T)E as a button
  11. S(H)ARP as a tack
  12. CL(E)AN as a whistle
  13. (S)TRAIGHT as an arrow
  14. G(O)OD as gold
  15. (L)IGHT as a feather
  16. Q(U)ICK as a wink (Wink Martindale)
  17. FI(T) as a fiddle
  18. S(I)CK as a dog
  19. CO(O)L as a cucumber
  20. (N)EAT as a pin

This spells DERATED IS THE SOLUTION, so the answer is DERATED.