Greg Pliska                

(J CREW is the correct answer to this puzzle.)


It is 3:00 p.m. on a Thursday, and you are listening to the fourth race at Aqueduct. Your horse loses, and you decide to do some subway riding to work out your frustrations. You grab your weekly unlimited-ride train pass (valid till Sunday) and a printout of the subway map PDF from the MTA website[GLP1] , and off you go.


You board the train at the beach station whose name also includes a multiple of 10[GLP2] (if there is more than one option, take the one closest to an LIRR transfer point) . Write down the first letter [GLP3] of this station's name. You travel ten stops to a station where you can change trains[GLP4] , changing trains en route if you have to, but not changing direction of travel. You write down the fourth letter of this station's name (or the second[GLP5]  if it is also the name of a famous person), then change [GLP6] trains, continuing in the same direction. Travel on this train until you reach a station[GLP7]  whose name's first word is the same as a word in the name of another station on this line. Write down the first letter [GLP8] of the second word of the name of the station you've stopped at. Disembark.


Wait until 3:30 p.m., then board a train [GLP9] from this station in any direction on any line which will get you in the fewest number of stops to a station[GLP10]  whose name is the last name of a U.S. President. (In case of a tie, pick the President with the easternmost birthplace.) Travel until you reach a transfer point[GLP11]  for a listed mode of airport transportation. From here, keep riding, counting station stops until you reach the end of this line[GLP12] . Write down the Nth letter [GLP13] of this terminal station, where N[GLP14]  is the number of station stops you just counted (including this terminal station).


At 4:30 p.m., change your direction of travel, and board a train [GLP15] that is a different color than the train you just left. Travel seven stops[GLP16] , writing down the second letter [GLP17] of the sixth stop[GLP18] . Make a free transfer to a numbered train. [GLP19]  (If no numbered trains are available, take a train whose letter is a Roman numeral.) Travel towards the terminus with most number of possible transfers[GLP20] . Write down the first letter[GLP21]  in the name of the first stop you make en route (ignoring any numbers there might be in the name of the station).


When you get to this line's terminus, transfer to an uptown train that won't be running at all in 12 hours [GLP22] (making sure that a handicapped passenger traveling with you could not get off at the next stop even if it were). At the next stop [GLP23] that includes the name of a cultural organization, write down the fourth letter [GLP24] of that organization's name. (If your handicapped friend can get off at this stop, you've taken the wrong train.) The next express stop on this track is named for a numbered street[GLP25] ; a number of the following stops on this line are named for streets ending with the same digit as this one. Write down the Nth letter [GLP26] of the word for that digit, where N is the number of the following stops that end with that digit[GLP27] .


As the train begins to move uptown, you realize that the first syllable of the name of one of the termini [GLP28] of the line you're on sounds like a letter of the alphabet; write down that letter.[GLP29]  When you reach 168th St. (or a station at least partially having that name) disembark and wait until 6:15 p.m. While you're waiting, you notice that there are three train lines running uptown (roughly north) from this point at this time. One makes five stops before terminating, another six, and the third seven[GLP30] . Find the fourth stop of the line that makes six before terminating[GLP31] . Write down the repeated letter in the station's name [GLP32] (as printed on the map); if there is more than one repeated letter, write down the one that is last alphabetically; if there are no repeated letters, write down the last letter alphabetically.


Head downtown on the lowest-numbered train [GLP33] available from 168th St. (where you have been waiting). When you get to a subway station with a police station[GLP34]  ignore any numbered street in the name of the subway station, and write down the letter [GLP35]  that appears twice in the remaining words (if you have more than one option, write down the letter that is not the same as the last letter you just wrote down).


Continue downtown, passing the station [GLP36] where you can transfer to the line with the fewest stops in the system. The next stop is one of three nearby stations [GLP37] between which you cannot transfer for free, but which share the same numbered street name. The initial letter of one word in the three names is unique among the three; write down that letter[GLP38] . You've spent an hour on this train line, so you disembark at this stop, changing to a different downtown local train [GLP39] without paying for a transfer.


You climb aboard, hearing an announcement that this is the last of these trains tonight, since service ends on this line in 45 minutes; you set your watch alarm to go off in an hour[GLP40] . As the train pulls out, you realize that ahead of you are a number of stations whose names are exactly the same as nearby stations on different-colored lines. ('Nearby' means roughly on the same horizontal axis, and not over a river.) The next stop[GLP41] , for example, shares the same name with two other nearby stations. Don't count this one. Rather, from here, begin counting stations whose name is exactly the same as exactly two other nearby stations on different-colored lines[GLP42] . When you've passed the last of these[GLP43] , note the number you'd counted[GLP44] , and get off at the next stop which shares its name with only one other nearby station [GLP45] and walk to that station. After eliminating any duplicate letters in this station's name (written without abbreviations) you could spell out a breath mint [GLP46] brand, if you deleted one more letter -- write that letter [GLP47] down.


You board a downtown train [GLP48] at this station, and travel (without changing direction) the number of stops equal to the number of stations you'd just noted[GLP49] , then switch trains, continuing in the opposite direction on a different line[GLP50] . You take this train to the end of the line, noting the initial consonants of all the street or avenue names in the names of stops the train makes[GLP51] . (You're interrupted by your watch alarm [GLP52] at one point, and mistakenly note 'G' as one of the initial consonants of these stops, even though it isn't.) When you get to the end of the line, write down the first consonant in the alphabet that you didn't note along the way[GLP53] .


You wait on the train at the terminus until it starts back in the opposite direction. At the first station with the name of a tree or shrub in [GLP54] it, count the number of stops (without transferring) to the nearest terminus of any train line other than the one you're on[GLP55] . Write down the Roman numeral for that number[GLP56] . Continue towards a stop that includes a nickname for a resident of the city you're in[GLP57] , changing train lines if you have to. As you ride, count the number of stops from that stop -- the one with the nickname in it -- until the train terminates[GLP58] . Take the Nth le[GLP59] tter of the stop you're now at[GLP60] , where N is the number you've just counted[GLP61] .


Board an outbound train[GLP62]  (other than the one you've just been on). When you pass a station [GLP63] sharing a name with a World War II Admiral, write down the second letter of that station's name (unless he was a United States Admiral, in which case write down the first letter[GLP64]  of the station's name). When you reach a station whose name begins with the letter or number of the train you're on[GLP65] , disembark. It's late, so you decide to rest for a while. Since you're in a neighborhood whose name is the same as that of a Caribbean nation, you dream of sunshine and sandy beaches. When you wake up, it's 2 a.m., and you're still in the subway station -- no sunshine or sandy beaches here. So you board a train[GLP66]  with a different letter or number than the last one you were on, and off you go again.


The fourth station the train stops at includes the name of a type of road[GLP67] . Write down the first letter [GLP68] of that type of road, but don't get off the train. Continue on this train until you reach a stop on this line with a type of wine in its name (not a brand name, just a generic type)[GLP69] . Write down the first letter of the second word [GLP70]following the name of the beverage  in that station's name (counting hyphenated words as one word).


As you continue downtown on this train, you doze off, awakening at 3:00 a.m., after the train has reached its terminus [GLP71] and begun heading in the opposite direction. When you stop at the station with the most possible transfer options[GLP72] , you write down the last letter of its word[GLP73]  with the most vowels (where Y is a vowel), unless that word contains a number, in which case write down the first letter. Note the smallest digit in the name of this station, and travel that number of stops[GLP74] . Change trains here[GLP75] , continuing uptown but on a different train line[GLP76] . Beginning at the next station stop, note the numbers in each station stop's name[GLP77] ; add these numbers as you go, stopping and disembarking when you reach a station whose name begins with a compound word[GLP78] , where one part of the word is the last name of a U.S. President, but the other part of the word is not something you would normally eat. If the total number[GLP79]  of the station name numbers is a date in the 20th Century, head downtown on a different train line; if it is a date in the 17th Century, head downtown on the same train line; if it is a date in the 15th Century, walk to the nearest station with the same name and take that line downtown.


Travel until the last stop[GLP80]  before the train you're on crosses (or goes under) a body of water; disembark here and wait till 7 a.m. Board next a train [GLP81] in any direction whose second stop (in that direction) contains a numbered street that is a cube[GLP82] ; if no such train exists, board a train whose fourth stop is a cube (as long as that train is not the same line you just got off of); if neither of those trains exist, board a train whose second stop is a even-number multiple of five.


Travel on this train until the end of the line (which includes the name of a type of coin). Write down either the letter of the train you're on, or the letter that corresponds in the alphabet to the number of the train[GLP83]  you're on. Stay on board until the train resumes travel in the opposite direction. It is now 8:00 a.m.


When the train you are on stops at a station [GLP84] whose name includes a word that is also the capital of an island nation, write down the last letter [GLP85] of that word. Travel two more stops[GLP86] , changing there for a downtown train [GLP87] whose terminus in that direction begins with the same letter as that train line (or letter that corresponds in the alphabet to the number of the train line). Take that train three stops[GLP88] , then change to another downtown train that terminates in three stops (if you have more than one option, take the train line you haven't traveled on yet[GLP89] ). At the second stop[GLP90] , you decide you want to be on a train whose next stop name contains a word that precedes 'jump' in a common phrase, but not one that includes a word that anagrams to a name for something divers might jump off of[GLP91] . Change trains, if you need to, in the direction of that station (if you have a choice of trains, take the one that does not stop consecutively at stations with the names of Revolutionary War figures in them[GLP92] ).


Stop when the train you're on reaches a station with a palindrome [GLP93] (numeric or alphabetic) in its name. You check your watch, realizing its been 19 hours since you were listening to the horse races. Fortunately, you're on a train that is heading for a branch that leads to your original embarkation point. You count the stops from the palindromic station until this train reaches your original embarkation point, and get off the train. Divide the number of those stops [GLP94] into the number in the name of this embarkation (and now debarkation) point: Caesar shift the letters you've written down forwards by that number[GLP95] .


Your travels complete, you realize that all service changes happened exactly on time, regardless of where you were in the system, and there were no unexpected delays or reroutings. Comforted in this anomalous perfection, you head home to relax and enjoy the races once more.

 [GLP1]Solvers MUST use this version of the map (or the actual physical map handed out at MTA subway stations. Any other map will lack data necessary for solving.

 [GLP2]Either the A Train at Beach 60 or at Beach 90. Beach 60 is closest to the LIRR transfer point at Far Rockaway Mott Av.

 [GLP3]B (Beach 60)

 [GLP4]Euclid -- You do not have to change trains (you would if you'd taken the S from Beach 90). Since it IS a racing day before 7 p.m., the A train does stop at Aqueduct Racetrack.

 [GLP5]U (Euclid is a famous mathematician.)

 [GLP6]C train is the only train you can change to from the A at Euclid.

 [GLP7]Broadway Junction -- The C also stops at Fulton St -- Broadway Nassau.

 [GLP8]J (first letter of 'Junction')

 [GLP9]J train (see below for reasoning)

 [GLP10]Cleveland is two stops away on the J line (the J is on rush hour service at this time); Wilson is two stops on the L train, Grant two stops on the A train. President Wilson was born in Staunton, VA, Grant in Point Pleasant, OH, and Cleveland in Caldwell, NJ.

 [GLP11]Sutphin Blvd is the transfer point for the AirTrain (again, the J is not stopping at 121 St at this time).

 [GLP12]Jamaica -- one stop away.

 [GLP13]J is the first letter of Jamaica.


 [GLP15]E train (the J train, which you just left, is a brown line, as is the Z; the E is blue)

 [GLP16]23rd St Ely (the E, express at this hour, stops at Sutphin Blvd Archer Av, Jamaica Van Wyck, Kew Gardens Union Tpke, Forest Hills 71 Av, Jackson Hts Roosevelt Av, Queens Plaza, then 23rd St. Ely)


 [GLP18]Queens Plaza (the sixth stop on the above list)

 [GLP19]7 train (with a weekly pass you can transfer free to the 7 at 45 Rd Court House Sq)

 [GLP20]Times Square (the other terminus of the 7 train allows no transfers)

 [GLP21]H (Hunters Point Av is the first stop you make en route)

 [GLP22]C train (Times Sq 42 St is linked to 42 St Port Authority Bus Terminal via a free transfer. Heading uptown from Times Square, the C train does not run between midnight and 6:30 a.m. The next stop is 50 St., where handicapped access is southbound only.) (The 9 train is also not available in 12 hours – see below for problems if you take that train.)

 [GLP23]81 St -- Museum of Natural History (Columbus Circle is a location, not a cultural institution.) (If you had taken the 9 train earlier, this step would put you at Lincoln Center, but your handicapped friend could get off here so therefore you've taken the wrong train.)

 [GLP24]E (Fourth letter of 'Museum')

 [GLP25]125th St.

 [GLP26]V (the third [see below] letter of FIVE)

 [GLP27]Three: 135 St., 145 St., 155 St.

 [GLP28]Euclid (the other terminus is 168 St -- Washington Hts)


 [GLP30]A, 9 and 1, respectively.

 [GLP31]Marble Hill 225 St (on the 9 line)

 [GLP32]L (appears three times, as printed)

 [GLP33]1 train (the A, C and 9 train also run downtown from 168th St)

 [GLP34]59 St Columbus Circle is the first such station.


 [GLP36]42nd St - Times Sq is a transfer point for the 42 St Shuttle, which has only two stops.

 [GLP37]34th St Penn Station, 34th St Penn Station, 34th St Herald Square

 [GLP38]H (Street, Station and Square share an S; Penn and Penn share the P; Herald has the unique initial)

 [GLP39]9 train (both the 2 and 3 trains are express)

 [GLP40]The 9 train service ends at 8 p.m. When your watch goes off it'll be after 8 p.m.

 [GLP41]28th St.

 [GLP42]14 St, Canal St., Chambers St. (23rd St. is the name of five nearby stations).

 [GLP43]Chambers St.


 [GLP45]Rector St.



 [GLP48]R train (the W train cannot go three stops)


 [GLP50]M train (the only other line at this station, Lawrence)

 [GLP51]Court, Broad, Fulton, Chambers, Canal, Bowery, Delancey, Essex, Marcy, Hewes, Lorimer, Flushing, Myrtle, Central, Kinckerbocker, Myrtle-Wyckof, Seneca, Forest, Fresh Pond, Metropolitan

 [GLP52]It is now after 8 p.m.


 [GLP54]Myrtle-Wyckoff Aves

 [GLP55]The L train terminus at 14th St is 13 stops away, at Canarsie Rockaway Pkwy is 10 stops away. 10 is the correct number.


 [GLP57]Knickerbocker Av (you do not have to change trains).

 [GLP58]Central Av, Myrtle Av (the M train terminates at Myrtle between 8 p.m. and 6:30 a.m.)

 [GLP59]Y (Y is the second letter of Myrtle.)

 [GLP60]Myrtle Ave


 [GLP62]J train (the Z is not running at this time)

 [GLP63]Halsey (Kosciuszko is a Polish participant in the US Rev. War, and Gates is a Brit.-Amer. General from the Fr.-Ind. War.)

 [GLP64]H (Halsey is a U.S. admiral)

 [GLP65]Jamaica Center Parsons/Archer (you are still on the J train)

 [GLP66]E train (the Z is not running at this hour)

 [GLP67]Kew Gardens Union Turnpike (the E is local at this hour, so now it stops at Sutphin Blvd Archer Av, Jamaica Van Wyck, Briarwood/Van Wyck Blvd and then Kew Gardens Union Turnpike)

 [GLP68]T is the first letter of 'Turnpike'

 [GLP69]42nd St Port Authority Bus Terminal (port is a type of wine)

 [GLP70]B (bus is the second word after 'port'; B is its first letter)

 [GLP71]Cortlandt St

 [GLP72]42nd St Port Authority Bus Terminal

 [GLP73]Y ('Authority' has the most vowels, 5)


 [GLP75]7th Ave

 [GLP76]D train (note that the direction of travel, from left-to-right, changes to right-to-left) (the B has no service at this hour)

 [GLP77]59 + 125 + 145 + 155 + 161 + 167 + 170 + 174 + 175 +182 + 183 = 1696

 [GLP78]Bedford Pk Blvd (Fordham Rd is wrong because 'ham' is something you would eat).


 [GLP80]161 St Yankee Stadium

 [GLP81]4 train (downtown) (at this time, the 4 train does not stop at 138th St., since this is a rush hour peak direction)

 [GLP82]125th St

 [GLP83]D (for 4 train)

 [GLP84]Fulton St/Broadway Nassau (Nassau is the capital of the Bahamas. Kingston, which is the capital of Jamaica, is not a 4 train stop.)

 [GLP85]U (last letter of Nassau)

 [GLP86]14th St Union Sq

 [GLP87]W train (terminates at Whitehall St)

 [GLP88]To Canal St.

 [GLP89]Z train (J and Z both terminate at Broad St, in three stops; you've already traveled on the J.)

 [GLP90]Fulton St/Broadway Nassau

 [GLP91]High (not Broad, which anagrams to 'board')

 [GLP92]A (C stops at Lafayette, Franklin, Clinton-Washington)

 [GLP93]88 St

 [GLP94]6 (Rockaway Blvd, Aqueduct North Conduit Av, Howard Beach JFK Airport, Broad Channel, Beach 67 St, Beach 60 St)

Page: 4
 [GLP95]60 divided by 6 = 10. Your string of letters is BUJJUHEVULUHOJXYHTBYDU which shifted forward 10 alphabetic spaces spells LETTER OF EVERY THIRD LINE. You’ve taken the A, C, J, E, 7, C, 1, 9, R, M, J, E, D, 4, W, Z, A. Every third letter spells J CREW.