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Al Hamilton Metapuzzle

by Michael Korn

The following characters belong to this witness group:

CharacterAddressPuzzle answer
L. S. Barton 12 Gold Creek Dr., Elizabeth, CO 80107 HANDSFREE
Hal Cleveland 2312 Lisa Ln., West Orange, TX 77630 OUTFIT
E. Cooper 822 Agee Ave. NW, Camden, AR 71701 EIGHT
K. Edison 51 Porteous Terrace, Plainfield, CT 06374 CELESTIAL NAVIGATION
N. S. Fenwick 1408 Darwin Ave., Princeton, IN 47670 SPECTATOR
Al Hamilton 180 Albion St. Apt.3, Somerville, MA 02144 ALIAS
O. Kilmer 68 Chemin de Malledaille, Bayonne 64100, France CIRCLE
H. Lombardi 3205 N. Paul Bunyan Expressway, Hackensack, MN 56452 VANQUISH
Ali Pitcher 114 Church St., Hoboken, GA 31542 ATKINS
M. E. Stockton 256 Orchard Rd., Newark, DE 19711 GRETA GARBO
T. A. Whitman 405 Maplewood Cir., Trenton, OH 45067 TALCS
G. Wilson 237 Beer Garden Gulch Rd., Atlantic City, WY 82520 ZEBRA

Each character shares a surname with one of the twelve rest stops on the New Jersey Turnpike. This grouping is hinted at by their addresses: each city shares its name with a city in New Jersey. Order the names according to their location on the Turnpike, keeping separate lists for northbound and southbound rest stops. (Note: the Lombardi rest stop is accessible to both northbound and southbound motorists.)

Both directions:

Southbound: (stops listed from north to south)

Northbound: (stops listed from north to south)

Notice that the first names/initials of the southbound stops spell "ALKALI METALS", while the northbound stops spell "HALOGENS". There are six alkali metals and six southbound rest stops; there are five halogens and five northbound rest stops. As such, each rest stop can be associated with an element as shown:

Although not technically an alkali metal or a halogen, there is only one element which could reasonably be placed atop each of these groups, and combined with Lombardi's first initial, we see that we should pair up Lombardi with HYDROGEN.

It turns out that each puzzle answer contains the chemical symbol for the corresponding element. Listing the southbound stops (alkali metals), followed by the northbound stops (halogens), we have

H. Lombardi      H     VANQUIS(H)
Al Hamilton      Li          A(LI)AS
Ali Pitcher      K          AT(K)INS
M. E. Stockton   Rb    GRETAGA(RB)O
T. A. Whitman    Cs        TAL(CS)
L. S. Barton     Fr      HANDS(FR)EE

H. Lombardi      H     VANQUIS(H)
Hal Cleveland    F         OUT(F)IT
O. Kilmer        Cl        CIR(CL)E
G. Wilson        Br         ZE(BR)A
E. Cooper        I           E(I)GHT
N. S. Fenwick    At      SPECT(AT)OR

Reading the column of letters which immediately precede the symbols spells the phrase SALT AL'S STREET, which is the answer to the metapuzzle.

Having contacted Al Hamilton with this phrase, teams are sent the following email:

From: Al Hamilton
Re: Salt Al's street

My, but it's snowy, and driving on these New Jersey streets can be a nightmare! Us Jersey guys named Al tend to stick together and help each other out when the weather gets bad. We pay it forward, so to speak, but only to other Als. So you can salt the street of anyone in Jersey named Al. Just send photographic evidence that you've done this to me at al.hamilton0@gmail.com.

When teams submit such a photo, they receive a "thank you" email from Al, and the next dossier is made available to them.