# 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)
```