by Chris Morse and Matt Gruskin
with puzzle content read by Victoria Coren Mitchell
Problem:

In this puzzle, you see a 4 × 4 grid of boxes that has 16 Egyptian hieroglyph symbols on it (the first 6 of which are the ones from the UK game show Only Connect, in order). These hieroglyphs also appear above the grid/wall in the same order, but with indexes after them in parentheses. Clicking on each box gets you a minipuzzle that pops up in a window with an answer checker as well. After a minipuzzle is solved, that answer and the hieroglyph now appear on the box, and the box has become “selectable.” Once you have begun to solve many of the minipuzzles, you are able to click on four boxes to try to make a set. Once you make a set, the set is removed from the grid and moved to the bottom of the page, and four clues appear below the grid. Eventually, all four sets will be at the bottom and the full set of 16 ordered clues will appear below the grid.

Each of the 16 minipuzzles gives a word or phrase, and you can then index into these answers using the hieroglyph-keyed numbers at the top of the puzzle to get the clue phrase USE FIFTH FOR VIGENERE KEY. These indexes and their order remain at the top of the grid, even as the answers move down after making sets. Each of the sets of four things you had connected in an Only Connect fashion could have a fifth word added, and the same word works in all four sets. That word is ARGO. Now you have 16 questions (with blanks) and your 16 answers fit into them to complete trivia clues, and the new set of 16 answers can be indexed by the number at the end of each clue. If you take this string of 16 “gibberish” letters, and use ARGO as the Vigenere key, it spells out “It’s INCLINED FAULT” and your answer is INCLINED FAULT.

(8, 4)

Each of the clues gives a word in the official state nickname of the U.S. state. If you take the number and index into the state it spells “Connecticut’s.” If you repeat the process, Connecticut is officially the CONSTITUTION state, and that’s the answer.

 Annoy persistently (4) Badger Wisconsin C Not as far off in time (6) Sooner Oklahoma O Coors-owned beer introduced in 1989 (10) Keystone Pennsylvania N Like most American coins before 1965 (1) Silver Nevada N One who offers help freely (9) Volunteer Tennessee E Michael who wreaks havoc upon the Hoover Dam, Alcatraz, and New York City in his movies (6) Bay Massachusetts C Cussler novel with antiquities hidden in Texas (4) Treasure Montana T Emerald, e.g. (1) Gem Idaho I 1967, for Canada (1) Centennial Colorado C Bill Monroe’s genre (5) Bluegrass Kentucky U Marge Simpson’s hairdo (2) Beehive Utah T Indian, e.g. (7) Ocean Rhode Island S
(2)

The first words in the list, before it becomes alphabetical, spell FORM GRIDS. If you make 5 × 5 grids (interlocking in alternate letters), you can make 4 grids from the 24 words.

The grids contain the words FIRST, BRACE, THREE, and FINAL which clue the ordering, and since the grids are symmetrical the central letter will always be the same, and in that order they spell LEAR.

```FIRST  BRACE  THREE  FINAL
L E H  L M X  O E R  U E E
IGLOO  OPERA  TIARA  GORGE
R A R  N E L  E L T  U V R
TEXAN  DURST  MAMBO  SEEDY```
(3)

Each of these is a clue to a 4-letter word, and these form a looping word ladder that could only be missing one possible word to complete the loop, if repeated letter positions never repeat the change. That missing word is RAFT.

 Hobbit clan TOOK Buffoon MOOK TV alien MORK Grade MARK Zenyatta, e.g. MARE Lion’s pride? MANE Walking implement CANE Lean CANT Chuck Palahniuk novel RANT (Your Answer) RAFT 20th-century U.S. president TAFT Dessert pastry TART Wrongful act, legally TORT Sound from a horn TOOT
(2, 1)

Each of these clues is for a compound word or two-word phrase that form a looping chain. The element that is missing to complete the chain is FIREWALL. The clues are listed in alphabetical order so that you can form the chain.

 Set of little kids having fun together as set up by their parents PLAY GROUP Residence for a collection of people requiring care or supervision GROUP HOME Person who rarely goes out HOMEBODY Actor who stands in for a star, often during more revealing scenes BODY DOUBLE Act of betrayal involving an associate DOUBLE CROSS Former CNN nightly debate show CROSSFIRE (Your Answer) FIREWALL Metonym for the U.S. financial and corporate world WALL STREET Item supported by a lamppost STREETLIGHT S.H.I.E.L.D. bunker found near Lake Ontario, with “The” LIGHTHOUSE Male domestic worker from the British colonial era originally HOUSEBOY Young man who offers himself as a sex object BOY TOY Dog breed much smaller than its standard version TOY POODLE Fashion item popular with teenage girls in the 1950s POODLE SKIRT Long, flat cut of beef often used for fajitas SKIRT STEAK Utensil for cutting your T-bone STEAK KNIFE Form of BDSM using daggers and swords KNIFE PLAY
(7, 8)

Each of these clues is read aloud to you by the actual Only Connect host, Victoria Coren Mitchell. Each of them clues a 6-letter word that contains the letters AESTR and one other letter. These additional letters, in each case in order, spell out KING ARTHUR.

 Run around intentionally naked STREAK K Gulliver's Travels, for example SATIRE I Aft ASTERN N Italian witch STREGA G Cowboy ropes REATAS A Collar ARREST R Winery employee TASTER T Famous American newspaperman HEARST H French painter of the late 1800s SEURAT U Decliner of a Nobel Prize SARTRE R
(3)

Each of these sets of words contains an anagram of a word, an antonym of a word, and a rhyme of a word. If you read the first letters of these words, it spells out another set FELT, REFFED, RIGHT, which clues LEFT.

AntonymRhymeAnagramWordFirst Letter
STURDYSTALEFLAIRFRAILF
HARDBREEZYYEASEASYE
MINUTECHARGEREGALLARGEL
STRAIGHTENEDSEIZEDSEDATETEASEDT
FICTIONALSTEELEARLREALR
APATHETICMEAGERAGREEEAGERE
STAGNANTTRUANTUNFELTFLUENTF
TEPIDDIARYREIFYFIERYF
LATESURLYLAYEREARLYE
GLUTMIRTHHATREDDEARTHD
CALMCLOUDYWORDYROWDYR
EXTERNALTHINNERRENININNERI
STREWSHEENANGELGLEANG
MOROSEPARTYEARTHYHEARTYH
SAFETYDEBTHATTERTHREATT
(2, 3)

Each of these clues a word that is one letter off from one of the radio alphabet words. Taking the new letters in order spells SOUTH OPPOSITE which clues NORTH.

 Enterprise helmsman SULU ZULU S Pricey prom ride LIMO LIMA O Tumbler or chrysalis PUPA PAPA U Highland apparel KILT KILO T Long walk in the woods HIKE MIKE H Cinco y tres OCHO ECHO O Speak directly to God PRAY X-RAY P Constellation near Columba and Dorado PICTOR VICTOR P Common name for infectious pododermatitis, which affects the hooves of cattle and sheep FOOT ROT FOXTROT O Opening in the head where the shaft of a golf club fits HOSEL HOTEL S Maeby portrayer ALIA ALFA I Band that charted with “Together” in 1980 TIERRA SIERRA T Pixar fairy tale BRAVE BRAVO E
(3)

Clues lead to answer pairs in which each answer has a single consonant—the same consonant in each pair. The consonants spell CBNCPTL which can be re-expanded to CUBAN CAPITAL or HAVANA.

 Farewell in Firenze; Frigid ciao; icy C Reed instrument; One of many waterways in Louisiana oboe; bayou B Ancient region to the west of Lydia; Former Hawaiian senator Ionia; Inouye N Billiards need; Group Clarence Thomas once chaired cue; EEOC C Howard role; Fencing weapon Opie; epee P Tribe of the central plains; Sewing case Otoe; etui T Founder of the American Dance Theater; Fancy mayonnaise Ailey; aioli L
(1)

The first clue in each pair leads to a “long” answer of 7 or 8 letters. The second clue leads to a “short” answer of 3 or 4 letters comprising the exterior letters of the “long” answer. The initial letters of the unclued, four-letter interior words spell out ACTOR BRONSON VESSEL which is another set of clues giving P(INCH)OT, and the unclued portion, INCH, is the answer.

 Make rougher Prisoner CO(ARSE)N A Director Linklater Disencumber RI(CHAR)D C Adult male horse German electric car due out in 2019 S(TALL)ION T Type of chemical bond Penny C(OVAL)ENT O Like many infected wound discharges Flat-bottomed boat PU(RULE)NT R Aria from Carmen, familiarly “Abdomen” in Japanese medicine HA(BANE)RA B Let out of prison Place to take notes PA(ROLE)D R Carbonate mineral used for decoration Pass (out) DOL(OMIT)E O Phonograph needle holder Male cat TO(NEAR)M N Separation in time or space Craps need DI(STAN)CE S Solemn agreement Inclination C(OVEN)ANT O Wisconsin city Green New Zealand parrot KE(NOSH)A N Debased or distorted imitation Waiter’s carrier TRA(VEST)Y V Money coming into a company Bitter woody herb R(EVEN)UE E Baby holder Feline-headed Egyptian goddess BAS(SINE)T S Having a front rim, as a hat Short movie VI(SORE)D S Hillary’s daughter Medical care provider in MIT’s town CH(ELSE)A E What Jeanne d’Arc was the maid of Logic gates OR(LEAN)S L
(4)

Each of these clues gives an answer that has an animal name hidden inside it. The first letters of those spell out PEANUTS DOG BREED which is BEAGLE.

 Sparkling wine from Asti spumante PUMA P Longest bone in the human body femur EMU E Its capital was Nineveh Assyria ASS A 1,000,000 gram-meters per second squared kilonewton NEWT N Moving with a sudden jerk, like when a subway starts lurching URCHIN U Author of Doctor Zhivago Pasternak TERN T Country that borders Namibia and South Africa Botswana SWAN S Take arbitrary or forceful possession of, particularly for police or military use commandeer DEER D Second largest city in the Netherlands Rotterdam OTTER O Swift’s traveler Gulliver GULL G Ent that hangs out with hobbits Treebeard BEAR B Watery poop diarrhea RHEA R New Hampshire county whose seat is Laconia Belknap ELK E Rue regret EGRET E Movie that has a 1976 sequel entitled Drum Mandingo DINGO D
(1)

Each clue in the first column can be paired with one in the second column such that their answers are reversals of each other. The initial letters of the second-column answers, ordered by the first-column clues of their reversed counterparts, spell out FLIP ACHY OR MAD which means reverse sore, or EROS.

 Tiger’s sport Whip GOLF/FLOG F Iniquitous On-air EVIL/LIVE L Seaweed sheet Press NORI/IRON I Small town or village Goad DORP/PROD P Mediterranean island Willing partner? ELBA/ABLE A Sam on GLOW Study hastily MARC/CRAM C Expression of contempt Earring shape POOH/HOOP H Heavy cart Linear measure DRAY/YARD Y Famed captain Sign NEMO/OMEN O Villain’s base Shiraz scratch LAIR/RIAL R Type of cheese Identified EDAM/MADE M Famed volcano Pay to play ETNA/ANTE A The Defenders actor Bambi, e.g. REED/DEER D
(5)

Each of these sets contains three clues, where each clue solves to a 6-letter word, and in the first set the first two letters are the same, in the second set the middle two letters are the same, and in the third set the final two letters are the same. Taking these three bigrams in order spells DOMINO.

 Medicinal amount DOSAGE Set of cases before a court DOCKET Aussie currency DOLLAR Like a virgin, e.g. SIMILE Stone used at a nail parlor PUMICE Corn-based breakfast food HOMINY One lacking melanin ALBINO Foxwoods, e.g. CASINO San Joaquin Valley city FRESNO
(5, 6)

There are two columns of clues in alphabetical order. Each clue solves to a word that can be arranged with the other words into a series of transdeletions. The letters that are removed each time, from each of the three words, in each column, spell out QUA and KER to make QUAKER.

 Sid Sackson game Acquire Amicus follower curiae Q Heath-type shrub erica U Cereal grass rice A Component of hair keratin Rods’ home retina K “Drops of Jupiter” band Train E One opposed anti R
(2)

Each of these sets of clues is alphabetized, and the sets are alphabetized as well. Each set of clues solves to six 3-letter words, which will make a word square. Ordering by the upper left letters (which are A through G), the central letters spell RED STAR which is the answer.

 Agency in HHS FDA Hearing organ EAR Legolas, e.g. ELF Lentil dish DAL Price to enter FEE Sound from Sandy ARF Aladdin’s partner in crime ABU Close male pal BRO Coastal Indian state GOA Cross the sportscaster IRV Home to the Cavaliers UVA Insurance company bailed out in 2008 AIG Antiquated OLD Common chat request ASL Employ USE High school equivalency test GED Pair DUO Trygve follower DAG Automated responder BOT Caspian, e.g. SEA Diet soda brand TAB National anthem contraction OER Ozawa used to head it BSO Travel like a Whitelighter ORB Corn remnant COB Despot Amin IDI Dry, as a wine SEC Opposite of trans CIS Pen manufacturer BIC Poetic form ODE Fish eggs ROE For all time, poetically EER Greek vowel ETA Hon BAE Recede EBB “Takin’ Care of Business” band BTO Fleischer the press secretary ARI Period of time ERA Ruby, e.g. GEM Russian fighter plane MIG Sack BAG Yak GAB
```AIG  BSO  COB  DAG  EER  FEE  GAB
BRO  OER  IDI  USE  BTO  DAL  ERA
UVA  TAB  SEC  OLD  BAE  ARF  MIG```
(5)

At the top is a series of clues, clued in an important order. Below is a series of longer answers, clued in alphabetical order (though there is a missing clue, for the final answer). Each of the clues below is for a longer phrase that is an anagram of two consecutive words in the upper list. Upon doing this, there is no clue for BALL + PACKER which anagrams to BLACK PEARL, the minipuzzle answer.

 Beer holder (5) STEIN Director Frank (5) CAPRA Oversee, as a bar (4) TEND Gas (5) VAPOR Garner vehicle (5) ALIAS Hip-length clothing item (5) TUNIC Vandyke and Balbo (6) BEARDS Burning (5) AFIRE Not shy (5) UNCOY Washington, e.g. (5) STATE Coming-out location? (4) BALL Midwestern NFLer (6) PACKER Milo’s partner (4) OTIS Turbulence causers (2 wds.) AIR POCKETS = PACKER + OTIS (Your Answer) BLACK PEARL = BALL + PACKER Common American administrative center or home to local government (2 wds.) COUNTY SEAT = STATE + UNCOY Living room furniture item DAVENPORT = VAPOR + TEND What a police officer might investigate DISTURBANCE = BEARDS + TUNIC Late Beatles hit (4 wds.) FREE AS A BIRD = AFIRE + BEARDS Defiantly aggressive (hyph.) IN-YOUR-FACE = UNCOY + AFIRE Blofeld's pet (2 wds.) PERSIAN CAT = CAPRA + STEIN Caribbean nation (2 wds.) SAINT LUCIA = TUNIC + ALIAS Source of iodine, usually (2 wds.) TABLE SALT = BALL + STATE Gregory Hines, e.g. (2 wds.) TAP DANCER = CAPRA + TEND Inflammation of connective tissue TENOSITIS = OTIS + STEIN Indiana university VALPARAISO = VAPOR + ALIAS
(3, 6)

Here, a list of trigrams can be arranged into four words. If you look at these words, they form a loop, where the first/last two letters of each overlap. Taking those overlapping letters in order spells AMETHYST.

 AMULET AM ETHNARCHY ET HYPNOTIST HY STYROFOAM ST

These 16 answers can be arranged into 4 sets:

• Ships (AMETHYST, CONSTITUTION, BEAGLE, BLACK PEARL)
• Kitchen Brands (KING ARTHUR, RED STAR, DOMINO, QUAKER)
• Alan Arkin Movies (EROS, HAVANA, NORTH, FIREWALL)
• words that become new words with a C in front (LEFT, LEAR, INCH, RAFT)

Each of these sets could have a common fifth word added to them. That word is ARGO, which then becomes the Vigenere key.

Figuring out all 4 sets will give you all sixteen clues in order. Below are the answers to the clues, and the letter that is extracted from each answer.

 Her ___ was angry (5) INCH HEDWIG I Full name of the actress who played ___ in 1983 (1) DOMINO KIM BASINGER K State where a ___ is the D-I sports mascot (6) QUAKER PENNSYLVANIA Y Full name of the female athlete nicknamed The ___ (1) BLACK PEARL WILMA RUDOLPH W Best-known work by Peter ___ (9) BEAGLE THE LAST UNICORN N Month N : Month N - 1 :: ___ : ? (6) AMETHYST GARNET T Youngest daughter of ___ (3) LEAR CORDELIA R The last alphabetical attribute in the category with ___ (1) CONSTITUTION WISDOM W Real full name of G.I. Joe character with the codename ___ (14) FIREWALL MICHELLE LACHANCE N Wife of ___ (6) KING ARTHUR GUINEVERE V A ___ can be found in the middle of a white region on this African flag (2) RED STAR DJIBOUTI J Surname of French painter who painted a ___ from a famed shipwreck (9) RAFT GERICAULT T Word after ___ in a Le Guin novel (2) LEFT HAND A Full name of the singer of the 2017 hit song ___ (12) HAVANA CAMILA CABELLO L ___ of the Iran Contra Affair (6) NORTH OLIVER R Goddess considered the mother of ___ (3) EROS APHRODITE H

Now you have IKYWNTRWNVJTALRH, which if you use ARGO as the Vigenere key can be decrypted to ITS INCLINED FAULT.