Solution to Operator Test

Author: David Wilson

The flavor text makes specific reference to remembering the lessons of the past, and the teams being on a Hunt.

The answer to each bolded clue is the title of a previous Mystery Hunt puzzle. The remainder of the clues are of a form that fit with that puzzle, one step before the final solution. Apply the answer-extraction method from that puzzle to get a word from each group.

This yields the phrase SWAMP OR LUSTFUL FAMILY GUY CHARACTER, which clues QUAGMIRE. "Quagmire", however, is not the answer to this puzzle--as before, it's the name of a previous Mystery Hunt puzzle, whose final extraction step is "call in the title of the puzzle as the answer."


Ringo Starr song, or a step in many puzzles - FILL IN THE BLANKS - Puzzle (2013), Solution
At the end of Fill in the Blanks, solvers have a list of chemical elements; put the symbols in order to spell the answer.

Symbolized by a triangle on top of a cross - SULFUR
Palm line of PDAs - TUNGSTEN
Source of ionization in smoke detectors - AMERICIUM
One of two ancient Greek names for Venus - PHOSPHORUS

If you sleep and socialize, you don't do this - STUDY - Puzzle (1995), Solution
The puzzle Study involves identifying three countries or states, and then taking the unique letter common to all three.

Its national bird is a macaw; Alexander's country; Place that at one time was "balanced" by Maine - HONDURAS,MACEDONIA,MISSOURI
Brown location; Sporcle's favorite country; Franklin's choice for national bird - RHODE ISLAND,KYRGYZSTAN,TURKEY
Quitting smoking and 1920x1080 - RESOLUTIONS - Puzzle (2009), Solution
Resolutions was itself another puzzle that referred to mechanics of previous puzzles. The final extraction step was the final extraction step of the 2003 meta-meta: given seven seven-letter words, read up along the diagonal.

Not dorsal - VENTRAL
Titular Gladiator - MAXIMUS
Randomize - SHUFFLE
Fish or Frog, in Wonderland - FOOTMAN
Degree or golf tournament - MASTERS
Precious metal in bars or ingots - BULLION
Tolkien's prince who travels with a king - LEGOLAS
Where you can see Jon Stewart, Bill Clinton, and Dan Katz - WORDPLAY - Puzzle (2013), Solution
In Wordplay, solvers end up with six words that each follow one of six distinct patterns (palindrome, word with only one consonant, hill words, etc.) that have been established during the puzzle. Each pattern distinguishes a specific letter; extract these letters to form the solution.

Europe-focused soccer confederation - UEFA (one consonant - F)
You might see them in dirt or snow (or in Indianapolis and Daytona) - TRACKS (valley word - minimum is A)
Judged (worthy) - DEEMED (pyramid word - single letter is M)
Site of vacations and volcanoes - HAWAII (repeated letter of I)
Tennis player Monica - SELES (palindrome - middle letter L)
Last word of many 2012 Youtube parodies - STYLE (hill word - maximum is Y)
US lender of last resort - FEDERAL RESERVE - Puzzle (2013, mini-meta), Solution
Each puzzle is associated with either a city with a Federal Reserve Bank, or a city in one of their regions. (In the original puzzle, this association was made on the puzzle pages; here, the cluephrase specifically mentions a city.) The Federal Reserve officially associates letters with each region. The letter of the Federal Reserve District appears once in the answer for the corresponding city; use that as a letter location to index into the answer word for the other city in that region.

Current holder of Cambridge post held by Newton and Data - GREEN (Cambridge, MA (and Newton, MA) are in Boston's region of A; the A in ANIME lines up with the G in GREEN. This clue is a reference to the Lucasian Chair.)
Focus of a Boston convention since 2003 - ANIME
Morrisville State College athletes - MUSTANGS (Morrisville, NY is in New York's region of B; the B in OBSERVER lines up with the U in MUSTANGS)
New York newspaper since 1987 - OBSERVER
Philadelphia bistro The Ugly   - AMERICAN
Singer of "The White Cliffs of Dover" - VERALYNN (Dover, DE is in Philadelphia's region of C; the C in AMERICAN lines up with the Y in VERALYNN)
Feeling the unnamed narrator associates with IKEA - NESTING INSTINCT - Puzzle (2009), Solution
You get a list of words, each of which can be a synonym for the answer word. In this case, CHARACTER can mean the same thing as BYTE (in computers), FRUITCAKE (i.e. a nutty person), INTEGRITY (good morals), or QUALITY (property).

Computer magazine started in 1975 - BYTE
Stereotypical unwanted holiday gift - FRUITCAKE
Partner of confidentiality and availability - INTEGRITY
Word preceding "assurance" or "Inn" - QUALITY