In Thanksgiving Town, interacting with your family and friends can be . . . complicated.

Three intrepid puzzle solvers are trying to win the Mystery Hunt. Hopefully you can help them!


Here are your team members:

  • The Economist is on the west side of the room solving this puzzle.
  • The Chemist is on the north side of the room solving this puzzle.
  • The Linguist is on the east side of the room solving this puzzle.
  • A helpful turkey is standing by on the south side of the room.

Along the south wall there are seven bottles of beer:

  • A red bottle of SHANDY
  • An orange bottle of PILSNER
  • A yellow bottle of HEFEWEIZEN
  • A green bottle of STOUT
  • A blue bottle of IPA
  • An indigo bottle of LAGER
  • A violet bottle of PORTER

You should follow the steps in numerical order, unless otherwise instructed. During each numbered step, each character takes their actions for that step simultaneously, and you should not move onto the next step until everyone has finished following all of their instructions for that step. Characters may sometimes interact with others, so if a character’s instruction says something should be happening that hasn’t happened yet, wait and see if other characters make it happen during the current step.

It’s not a bad idea to record your results after each step, rather than only tracking the current state of things. If you make a mistake, you’ll be a lot happier if you don’t have to start over from the beginning!

The Economist
  • Step 1: It appears that whoever is keeping the books here has kept track of nothing at all. That won’t do. Let’s identify the first row as the “Column” row; in each of those nine squares, write the column number of that square. And call the second row the “Row” row; in each of those nine squares, write the row number of that square. That wasn’t very exciting. The third row can be the “Sum” row; in each of those squares write the sum of the numbers in the two squares above it. Yes, even if it has more than one digit. And in the fourth row, write the product of all the third-row numbers, one digit per square. Hmmm, you finished before you got to the end. The second and third digits in the product were the same, so write that digit one more time in the ninth column. That was exhausting. Have the turkey bring you a bottle that’s the Nth color of the rainbow, where N is the digit that appears most often in your grid.
  • Step 2: These calculations are getting complex, so you may need to go to someone for inspiration. Find a 20th-century year reading across in your grid, take the last name of the winner of the Nobel Prize for Economics in that year (naturally you have his name memorized), and starting from the center square and proceeding downward, write the name alphanumerically, one letter per square. (So if the name were KATZ, you would put an 11 in the center square, 1 in the square below that, and so on.) The resulting grid looks a little bit like a hammer, so also write HAMMER alphanumerically across the grid (again, one letter per square) in the only place it can fit without changing existing numbers.
  • Step 3: This puzzle is getting out of control, and you haven’t even applied any sudoku rules yet. It would probably be prudent to apply a Keynesian parity split . . . which is not actually a thing, but like many professional economists (and, for the record, the constructor of this puzzle), you essentially just make stuff up as you go along. There are exactly three empty squares in the grid that are orthogonally adjacent to both an odd number and an even number. In each of those squares, write the sum of the two adjacent numbers. Each of these squares is in a different position within its 3×3 box. In each of those three positions within the upper-left 3×3 box, replace the number currently in that position with the number you wrote in that position in another box. After doing this, one column of the grid should contain seven digits, but only three different digits. Your drink is empty, so throw the bottle away and ask the turkey to get you a shandy.
  • Step 4: It feels like you’ve been working on this puzzle for quite some time. The fiscal year is probably coming to a close, and this would likely be a good time to trim some excess. Seven of the 3×3 boxes have a unique square that has the highest number in that box. Erase the contents of each of those seven squares. One of the other boxes is completely empty; in the center square of that box, write the lowest positive whole number that doesn’t appear in any of the squares of your grid. The ninth box has three instances of only two different numbers; note the sum of those two numbers. Finally, ask the turkey to deliver your drink to the Chemist, and also to bring her a drink with the same number of letters as the sum you just found, and which ends with the alphanumeric equivalent of the number you just wrote down. That’s a tall order, but you have faith in the turkey to be able to carry it out.
  • Step 5: So much data to analyze here. 43 numbers, 53 digits, 0 bottles of beer on the wall . . . Wait! You see the answer to this puzzle! It’s all about maximizing your efficiency and potential, so your answer is the letter that is alphanumerically equivalent to the highest number occurring in any square of the grid! You share it with your teammates in case they need it.
The Chemist
  • Step 1: Good thing you didn’t get stuck with the crossword. Leave that letter-parsing junk to the word nerds; you are a woman of action. Start by carrying out the first step for each character in your konundrum. When you’re finished, the three characters should be wearing four sashes, which seems a bit excessive. Of the three rainbow colors NOT represented by their sashes, the bottles of two of those colors seem to have been delivered to your teammates by the turkey. So you grab the bottle of the third color yourself and enjoy a refreshing drink.
  • Step 2: Apparently the word nerd can’t hold her beer and is giving you a second drink. Well, when life gives you two drinks, do some chemistry, that’s what you always say. Mix the two beers together to create an ingenious new cocktail called . . . Name it after the initials of the two colors of the bottles involved, hers first. Hey, that reminds you of a number! Follow that numbered step for each character in your konundrum. The character in the middle just drew a letter on the table in front of them, and you think you sense a distress call from . . . deeper in the puzzle? That’s weird. Ask the turkey to get you a beer with a name containing that letter, while you figure out what to do.
  • Step 3: You’re not usually one to play the hero, but it sounds like someone needs alcohol, and that’s a need you respect. You’re not sure if this is going to work, but try lowering the bottle you most recently received into the konundrum. And then have each character follow step N, where N is the number of letters in the color of the bottle you just lowered. You can’t really see what happened down there, but the bottle’s gone, and you heard a two-digit number shouted out. But from the tone of his voice, you’re pretty sure he multiplied it by forty-seven to mess with you. So divide what you heard by forty-seven, and jot that number down for use in your next instruction.
  • Step 4: You’re actually quite the accomplished mixologist, and you could probably whip up some really delicious cocktails if it weren’t for the fact that people (well, birds) seem to bring you nothing but beer. Whatever. You mix together the two drinks you’ve just been handed, and you note the color you’d get if you blended the colors of their bottles. In the konundrum you’re working on, you note the lengths of the first word and last word of the sash of that color, calling them X and Y. You follow each character’s step of the number you wrote down a little while ago, but replace the first number mentioned in the monster instruction with X, and the first number mentioned in the mobster instruction with Y. You can leave the sniveling liar’s instruction as is. After finishing, you notice the liar has labeled his table with the common abbreviation of a movie you like. Make a mental note of the number of letters in the last word of that movie’s subtitle.
  • Step 5: Remembering the number you were thinking about at the end of the previous step, you execute that step for each of the characters in your konundrum. Wait! You see the answer to this puzzle! It works how any turducken konundrum would work: Once the characters start sharing answers with each other, you take the reported sudoku answer, and then the reported konundrum answer, and then the reported crossword answer. You inform the rest of the team and congratulate yourself on a job well done.
The Linguist
  • Step 1: What a delightful opportunity to use many of the words you know! No clues just means you can write your own. Let’s see . . . Assume the clue for 13-Across is “People who live in a village,” the 4-Down clue is “The process of inflating,” the 5-Down clue is “The most hungry,” and the 16-Across clue is “An object that contains.” You suppose that a snobby puzzle solver might think these are not the most deceptive clues for their answers, but they just don’t appreciate the elegance of a good suffix. They probably also wouldn’t appreciate the intoxication of a good beer . . . Have the turkey fetch you a beverage which can be read within one of your across entries. Then take the middle letter of the name of that drink and write it in the middle square of the puzzle. I’m sure those are abbreviations for something.
  • Step 2: This drink is actually not really as tasty as you hoped. Put it in front of the Chemist. She’ll find something to do with it. In the meantime, your grid has too many known words, when your specialty is the construction of new words no one has ever seen before! Get things started by sweeping through the grid, and every time you see a row of three empty squares horizontally adjacent to an N, fill in the next three letters of the alphabet (in order starting from A, of course). Speaking of A, one of the letters in your three new creations could be replaced by an A to produce a common previously existing word. Copy that letter into another square which currently contains a number (but no letter) and is a knight’s move away.
  • Step 3: These new words you’ve invented are great! They should get used more often. Of the three new words you filled into the grid during the last instruction, only one of them would fit in another across entry (assuming you can’t change any existing letters) so write it there. You’re starting to amass a lot of letters in this grid, and it would be nice if they were more organized; actually, to your surprise, the second and third columns of the grid are almost in alphabetical order from top to bottom! Erase two letters, and then in two numbered squares write two letters (all four of these letters should be different), so that each of these columns contains five correctly sorted letters. You could use another drink now. Have the turkey bring you a bottle bearing the name of an alphabet you’ve encountered often in your studies.
  • Step 4: You have a meeting to which to get, so you’d better finish this puzzle soon. In fact, you’d better finish this beer soon. You start with that, drinking it very quickly. There should really be a English-language verb for that sort of action . . . What was it again . . . Hey, you can complete it as an entry in the crossword and you’ll only have to write in one letter! You attempt to do this, but due to the rapid consumption of alcohol, your motor skills are impaired, and you write the correct letter in the wrong square. The square it lands in instead is the only empty square that is orthogonally adjacent to one instance of a vowel and diagonally adjacent to an instance of the same vowel. You notice you’ve also formed a word reading down (though not one taking up an entire entry) because unlike people in some other realities you have no reason to be aware of, you know your geek alphabet. Greek alphabet. [hic]
  • Step 5: As exciting as it’s been to develop so many new words—not that you actually assigned meaning to any of them—the grid’s still not completely filled, and this whole process is starting to feel anticlimactic. Wait! You see the answer to this puzzle! One of your favorite countries (so many national languages!) is almost hidden in the grid word-search style, and you only need one letter to complete it . . . That letter must be the answer to the puzzle! Go and let your teammates know, since it might help them.