2.1: Lions and Tigers and Bears! (Solution)

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Author: Brian Tivol

The puzzle is a criss-cross with 149 blanks ranging from three to ten
letters each.  Astute hunters should have guessed that there would be
at least one Pokemon puzzle, and this is it.

While there are 150 original Pokemon (everyone can ignore those extra
newest few), it's not unreasonable to assume that perhaps we left one
out with a reason.  As teams started assembling their word list, they
may have noticed "Farfetch'd" and "Mr. Mime", and wondered whether or
not they should drop the punctuation.  Similarly, they may have
scratched their heads about "Nidoran (male)" and a "Nidoran (female)",
sometimes just listed as "Nidoran(m)" and "Nidoran(f)".  If you only
try to insert FARFETCHD, MRMIME, and NIDORAN for these troublesome
four, you'll see that the 149 blanks are exactly the right length for
the entire list.

It's a big criss-cross, but it's not impossible to find the unique
answer.  The letters that fall on the red squares spell out THE ANSWER

                         p     g       s    d      d  
            seadra       i    jolTeon  t    r      i  
      machoke        venonat   l     m aerodactyl  t  
        H   a            s  g  bulbasaur    t      t  
        a   k           nidorina     n y    i mEtapod 
        r  lickitung     r  A  t     k u    n a       
        m   n  v            v     r  e  weezing       
        e jigglypuff  b     e   p a  y        N  h    
        l y    s      l  bellsprout   o    z  e  i  m 
        e n   kangaSkhan    e   l i   m   kabuto t  a 
        o x    u      s     r   i clefable p  o  m  g 
    kakuna vaporeon   t         W a   n    d  nidorino
      i               o         h t d y    o     n  E 
      n         p    nidoking   i e o tauros   b l  m 
      g  v      e     s     l   r   d e        u e  i 
      l  i     primeape  d  o  slowbro      moltRes t 
      e  l   e  s        r  o  a    i   g      t    e 
    parasect k  I    alakazam  n    o   o      e p    
    s    p   abra        g     d  d     l     articuno
    y    l   n  n    machop    Snorlax  d      f d   d
    d kabutops         h n     h  a     u  w   r g   d
    u    m    v       magikarp r  g     caterpie e   i
    c    e    u        r t     e  o d muk  e   E o   s
    k        slowpoke  m e mewtwo n r      d     t   h
         m    p     l  a  c       a onix poliwag      
         arcanine   e  n zubat  r i w    i e  r       
         g    X     c  d  b    charizard k    beedrill
         m          t fearow    y   e  u a    o       
         a    scyther  r  n     h   exeggcutE k       
        griMer h    o    seel   o      t h           h
     p p   e   a  d d    q    g r      r u   f       a
     o i  koffing electabuzz  r n      i     a n w   u
     l d d w   s  w      i    o        omastar i i t n
    Pidgeotto  e  g      r    w  s      a    f digLett
     w e d h   y  o  ponyta   l  t kadabra   e o g n e
     r y u        n  a   l g  I  a r    o    t q l t r
     a   o        g  r  venomoth r a  G w raichu y a  
     t  c            a     l  h  m b  o a    h e t c  
    shellder   Rapidash    d weepinbell k f  d e u r  
    p   o              v   e     e y  e   l    n f u  
    e   y          wArtortle          machamp    f e  
    a   s   p e        l a nidoran        r   s    l  
    r   t   o x  m     t n     h  c     r e  gastly   
    o  gengar e  r  h  o g     y  l Tentacool n  a    
    w   r   y g  m  o  r e  geodude     t n   d  p    
            g g victreebel     o  f     t     s  r    
            o u  m  s    a   venusaur   a     l  a    
          ninetales eevee         i   hItmonchan s    
              o     a             r     a     s       
           gyArados              hypno        h       

Many teams had big, big problems with this puzzle.  There were few who
didn't realize that this was a Pokemon puzzle, but many had tremendous
difficulty filling in the grid.

We had two target audiences in mind when we created this puzzle.

First, we considered the team members who like working on puzzles,
like the atmosphere of the hunt, but don't staring at puzzles and
having no insights as to how to solve them.  We thought that those
team members would light up at the opportunity to grind away for a few
hours on a puzzle that they knew how to solve.  From what we hear,
most of those people did enjoy working on this puzzle... for the first
few hours.

Second, when our team competes, we often look at a puzzle, decide that
nobody would enjoy grinding away on it, and write a computer program
to solve it.  We thought most teams had one or two programmers on them
that behaved similarly.  This puzzle could also have been thought of
as a programming exercise.

So, either way, imagine how much more fun you'd've had if we'd gone
ahead with our initial idea for grinding: a 50-by-50 black-and-red
paint-by-numbers puzzle which yields the criss-cross grid.  With the
same lack of instructions.

We're sorry that this proved to be so time-consuming and so difficult.
We honestly were surprised that people tried to solve this by hand
after an hour's work didn't yield much progress.  Even assuming we
have the opportunity, we will never do it again.