# Any Old Puzzle (solution)

## by Andrew Lin; original concept by Seth Schoen

Each clue resolves to a word containing only the letters A, N, and Y. (The clue “cat” reveals the hidden theme of this puzzle, and the reason for the otherwise arbitrary use of Pop-Tart flavors for reference strings.) From the first group of indexes you can infer how strings are converted to numbers: you list all of the possible strings formed from these letters, sorted first by length and then alphabetically, and take the index in the list. So:

A = 1

N = 2

Y = 3

AA = 4

AN = 5

...

(This is the length-plus-lexicographic order typically used to enumerate all finite strings with a given alphabet; starting with 1 is natural because the empty string should have value 0.) Doing the math and indexing reveals the answer, **FIRESTONE**. In detail:

A RASPBERRY (N = 2) N CINNAMONROLL (AA = 4) S SMORES (A = 1) W STRAWBERRY (AN = 5) E CHERRY (Y = 3) R BLUEBERRY (NA = 7) F MINICRISPSFROSTEDCHOCOLATE (NAY - AAA = 24 - 13 = 11) I WILDLICIOUSWILDGRAPE (YAY - AYN = 33 - 20 = 13) R BROWNSUGARCINNAMONUNFROSTED (YAYA / YA = 100 / 10 = 10) E LIMITEDEDITIONGINGERBREAD ([AYANA + AY] / NAN = [178 + 6] / 23 = 8) S MINICRISPSFROSTEDSTRAWBERRY (NYAN - NAAN = 86 - 68 = 18) T NEWLIMITEDEDITIONCONFETTICAKE (NANNY / NY = 216 / 9 = 24) O CHOCOLATECHIPCOOKIEDOUGH (ANYA - ANNA = 55 - 52 = 3) N RAINBOWCOOKIESANDWICH (YAN - ANA = 32 - 16 = 16) E NEWBROWNSUGARCINNAMONLOWFAT (AYA - ANN = 19 - 17 = 2)