Bribe The Critics (solution)
Letters by Josh Ain, Reviews by James Grimmelmann, Francis Heaney, SJ Klein, and David Turner
On their way into the theater where Jesus Christ Super Star Wars will be produced, the team is met by Max, Leo, and Ulla. Leo explains that he's noticed something in the critics' reviews. Each of them seems to have responded strongly to one of the team's other shows, to the point where he or she subconsciously inserted references to it in his or her review. If the team can figure out what drew the critics to the other shows, it might help figure out the critics' secret desires and identify the right tickets to use as bribes. Max and Leo say they can get any needed tickets, so the team should go talk to them once they've figured out a good bribe for a particular critic.
When the team goes into the theater, the six critics are milling about. Each of them is casually carrying a program from the other show he or she likes, suggesting that the puzzle is not to figure out which show they're obsessed with, but doing something further with that knowledge. Each also tells any member who asks something that might be useful:
- Betsy Johnson (Mayan Fair Lady): "Careful use of language matters to me, and no one knows more about careful language than the British."
- Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (Ogre of La Mancha): "I love seeing tales of the fantastical, and the derring-do of knights errant."
- William S. Bergman (A Circus Line): "You've got me: I do enjoy a visit to the big top, but only if it's artsy and incomprehensible."
- Ben Bitdiddle (Phantom of the Operator): "I like a show that features good logical exposition."
- Sheila Sunshine (Into the Woodstock): "I'm sorry I missed the 1960s; it seemed like it was such a great puff scene."
- Watson 2.0 (Okla-Holmes-a): "I was named after IBM's founder, but I've always felt more of a connection to a more literary Watson."
After being appropriately bribed, each critic gives an appropriately excited exclamation and sits down. If the team hasn't solved one or more of the critic puzzles after 20 minutes, the appropriate critics give them a further hint, with heavy wink-wink emphasis on the highlighted words.
- Betsy Johnson: "There's nothing like hearing Elizacatlipoca pronounce her WORDS with a good BRITISH accent."
- Charles Lutwidge Dodgson: "Shrek makes a convincing medieval KNIGHT, doesn't he?"
- William S. Bergman: "I like a good pre-theater dinner at LE CIRQUE before seeing an arty foreign circus."
- Ben Bitdiddle: "Phantom of the OPERATOR is one of the most LOGICAL shows I've ever seen."
- Sheila Sunshine: "You don't have to be HIGH to enjoy Into the Woodstock ... but it helps."
- Watson 2.0: "I was programmed with a complete knowledge of literary TITLES, and Sherlock HOLMES is part of the canon."
Each critic's review contains a set of words that are thematically linked to the other show with which the critic felt a connection. These words form an acrostic for what the critic wants tickets to.
Betsy Johnson's review links her to Mayan Fair Lady. It contains words that are different in British English than their American English equivalent.
INTERVAL (intermission) NAPPY (diaper)
ENGAGED (busy, as a telephone line)
Charles Lutwidge Dodgson's review links him to Ogre of La Mancha. It contains the names of various knights, real and fictional:
ARTHUR [Conan Doyle]
KARL POPPER ELTON JOHN
Taken together, they spell out LAKERS. Give Dodgson front-row seats to see the Lakers where he can see the Laker Girls from Spamalot.
William S. Bergman's review links him to A Circus Line. This hipster is a closet Cirque du Soleil fan, and his review contains words from the names of its productions (not including stopwords like "the"):
Criss Angel BELIEVE
Michael Jackson: The IMMORTAL World Tour
Taken together, they spell out BOZO LIVE. Send Bergman to Chicago for the annual showing of the least ironic clown of all time.
Ben Bitdiddle's review links him to Phantom of the Operator. His review contains words which contain bitwise operators:
Taken together, they spell out L'ORFEO. Take Ben to Monteverdi's opera about Orpheus's descent to Hades in an attempt to bring his dead wife back to life.
Sheila Sunshine's review links her to Into the Woodstock. It contains various drug slang terms:
Taken together, they spell out BURNING MAN. Get her into the finest gathering of facilitated meditators in the country.
Watson 2.0's review links him to Okla-Holmes-A. It contains words from the titles of Sherlock Holmes stories (not including stopwords like "the"):
The Adventure of the RED-HEADED League
The Adventure of Shoscombe OLD Place
The FINAL Problem
The Adventure of the LION's Mane
The adventure of the Beryl CORONET
The Five ORANGE Pips
The Adventure of the Six NAPOLEONS
Taken together, they spell out ROFLCON. Who'd have thought that the world's most intelligent computer was into lolcats? Send him to the next con to chill with Tron Guy.
When all six critics are seated, Ulla says, "Und now we will have a performance, ya?" Hilarity ensues.
After the performance, William S. Bergman, speaking for the critics, announces that it's a crazy idea, but they'll go off, confer, and review it on the spot. The critics assemble in the corner, talk for a moment, and then announce their verdict: "We hated it!" Bergman explains that out of gratitude for the nice tickets, the critics just won't say anything at all. You're on your own. They file out, complaining about how awful the show was. Dodgson shakes his pipe, looks one of the team in the eye, and says how disappointed he was, etc.
Ben Bitdiddle, however, stays behind for just a moment longer ...