Solution - Words Search

By Craig Kasper, Andrew McManus, and Jeremy Horwitz

Answer: Click here to reveal

The word search solution is relatively straightforward, as unusual twists have been foregone in this puzzle. Answers to the clues are listed in ascending order by length, and alphabetically within each length. The leftover letters in the grid spell the message "FOLLOW THE SAME TRAIL AGAIN WHAT THREE WORDS DO YOU GET NOW USE CHRIS SHELDRICK LOCATOR APP." But what trail is there to follow?

Close inspection of the word search grid should establish that most of the words in the are grid connected, while the words which are not connected can be arranged to spell SEVENTEEN CHAINED CONNECTIONS SPELL SECOND SOURCE. Close inspection of the clues reveals that one begins with A, one with B, ..., one with R—none begin with S and the rest begin with T. Alphabetizing the clues gives:

After-title inclusionSUBHEADING
"C'mon, you expect me to believe that?"PUH-LEEZE
Doorways in the Sand authorROGER ZELAZNY
Emir's coffee-cup holderZARF
Favorite, at a sports bookSAFE BET
Geddy of RushLEE
Hived off, in British parlanceDIVERTED
Investigate for printsDUST
Justification by mathematical example, perhapsEXISTENCE PROOF
Kidder of Pakistani descent featured in Der KochJEFF MIRZA
Litigant's solicitation during discoveryREQUEST TO ADMIT
Musical categorizations found in hymnalsMETRICAL INDEXES
Name of 2013's Preakness-winning horseOXBOW
Original Blankety Blank host TerryWOGAN
Payette tributary's tributaryDEADWOOD RIVER
Regularly consumed foodstuffDIETARY STAPLE
Tarkington satire of first loveSEVENTEEN
Tethered (to), in a wayCHAINED
Ties to powerful peopleCONNECTIONS
Time period of unspecified lengthSPELL
Type of codeSOURCE

The answers to the six clues that begin with T are (in order): SEVENTEEN CHAINED CONNECTIONS SPELL SECOND SOURCE. (These are also exactly the entries that cross no others.) The other 18 entries form a series of connected words in the word search. Taking the connecting letters in each case, starting with the B used by both SUBHEADING and DIMBULB, spells out BUZZFEEDSFRIXWORD. The word-search grid has the same dimensions as the BuzzFeed crossword for the Friday of the MIT Mystery Hunt (Friday, January 15, 2016).

Looking in the crossword at the 17 positions where the letters BUZZFEEDSFRIXWORD appeared in the word search gives SCRIPT█PILL█MERIT. These three words, when entered into what3words (Chris Sheldrick's locator app), act as geolocation coordinates.

Going to the location specified this way allows the solver to find a geocache with (several copies of) the following 15x16 grid:

Using this to pick out 18 letters from the crossword gives (in order) ANSWERSKYCHASEZONE. Thus, the final answer is SKY CHASE ZONE.

Thanks to Caleb Madison at BuzzFeed for helping make this puzzle happen.