by Dan Katz
Problem: Halloween Town/​Thanksgiving Town

The Turducken Konundrum is, appropriately enough, a konundrum inside a konundrum inside a konundrum. Most of the activity is executed by the crossword and sudoku solvers on each level, but the konundrum solver determines which steps should be followed on the next (lower) level, and receives information based on what happens on that lower level that affects future actions. A fourth konundrum is being solved in the third konundrum, but it’s scarcely a puzzle at all.

Characters in the top (turkey) konundrum are from the 2017 Mystery Hunt (and share the reputed drinking habits of Mystery Hunt team Setec Astronomy). Characters in the middle (duck) konundrum are inspired by the name of Mystery Hunt team Illegal, Immoral, and Fattening, and their predilection for wearing labeled sashes is inspired by that team’s organizational scheme. Characters in the bottom (chicken) konundrum are from Escape From Zyzzlvaria, the sci-fi board game that was introduced in the 2002 Mystery Hunt and that served as the setting for the 2009 Mystery Hunt. Most of the devices in their HQ are stolen from the mobile game Spaceteam. You are on a spaceteam. Get ready for the spaceteam.

Action occurs in five phases, where each phase is a step of the turkey konundrum which propagates downward.

Phase 1

  • Economist 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.
  • Linguist 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.
  • Chemist 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.

The Economist fills the numbers 1–9 into the top row, all 2's into the second row, and the numbers 3–11 into the third row. The product of the numbers 3–11 is 19958400, so they fill 199584009 into the fourth row. 2 appears most often, so the turkey brings them the Orange Pilsner.

The Linguist writes VILLAGERS, INFLATION, HUNGRIEST, and CONTAINER in the given locations. Since LAGER is contained in VILLAGERS, the turkey gets her the Indigo Lager, and she puts a G in the middle square.

The Chemist carries out Step 1 of the duck konundrum (see below). Since the duck konundrum characters are wearing Red, Blue, Yellow, and Green, and the Orange and Indigo bottles are taken, she takes the Violet Porter.

  • Capone 1: You guess you’re willing to give this puzzle a try, but you hope you get to do some things that are illegal. You remember there are rules for a sudoku, but those rules don’t apply to you, right? You like to get the most you can out of every situation, so just throw a 9 in every square of the grid. Hmm. In retrospect this might not pass for a solved sudoku if the fuzz shows up. You should stick in some lower numbers, but not too low. Sneak a peek at the monster’s grid across the room, and for every square over there that contains a 6, 7, or 8 (including if it’s one digit of a two-digit number), replace the 9 in the corresponding position of your grid with that 6, 7 or 8. You’re only lowering your total haul by seventeen, which isn’t so bad. Now have that dopey bird bring you a sash the color of paper money (in modern America, of course) and put it on.
  • Cookie 1: You guess you willing to give this puzzle try, but you hope you get eat some things that are fattening. Puzzle have so many empty squares. What, they need letters? You have favorite letter of all, C! C is for . . . COOOOKIEEEE! You put C in all squares that no have numbers in them. Four squares, one triangle. That good enough for you. You now send duck to bring you stylish sash, and put sash on. Oh, that no visible, camouflaged by your fur. You send duck to bring you second sash. This not quite right, so you cross out first word and write “Googly” instead. That right now, you have those. You consider eat duck, but it seem useful at fetching things. Maybe it fetch you tasty food later.
  • Tartuffe 1: You guess you’re willing to give this puzzle a try, but you hope you get to do some things that are immoral. Oh drat, a konundrum. Those are dreadfully boring, and you really don’t get anything useful until the end. Perhaps you can save yourself some time. Begin the konundrum, but rather than starting at the beginning, follow the sixth step for each character. Hopefully this will wrap things up quickly so that you can go convince a rube that you’re an ideal spiritual advisor. Hmmm, that didn’t go as planned. It’s almost as if the author expected you to do that. It appears that exactly one of the devices was toggled twice during these instructions. Tell the duck that you’ll give it lots of bread crumbs if it brings you the sash matching the color of that device. Put on the sash, and don’t give the duck any bread crumbs. Not a single one.

Al Capone puts 9’s in every square, and then replaces the three rightmost squares in Row 1 with 6-7-8, the three leftmost squares in Row 6 with 6-7-8, and two squares in Row 9 with 6 and 7. The duck brings him the Green Royal Guard sash.

Cookie Monster puts C’s in all the unnumbered squares. The duck brings him the Blue Miss Congeniality sash (since his fur is blue) and then the Red Fresh Eyes sash, which he changes to a Googly Eyes sash.

Tartuffe carries out Step 6 of the chicken konundrum (see below). Since the Flashwave was toggled twice, the duck brings him the Yellow Meta Solver sash.

  • Blastoid 6: This kind of puzzle is not your specialty. You’ll need to seek some alien help. Crew, set a course for Zyzzlvaria Alpha! Oh, your crew are all solving puzzles. You guess you can do the navigation, you just need to stop at Outposts 1 through 8 before arriving. Start from the center square, move one square upward and write a 1. Then move two squares to the right from there and write a 2. Keep doing this, cycling through the directions up, right, down, and left in that order. The last two numbers you place are in the bottom row of the grid, and the square exactly halfway between those two numbers is the location of Zyzzlvaria Alpha. Mark that square with an A so that you don’t forget where it is. Now to start the engines . . . Scotchy usually does this, doesn’t he? Whatever. Ask the ship’s chicken to toggle the devices with the most A’s in their names. There should be a 3-way tie for first. Onward for space justice!
  • Scotchy 6: Ach, what a nonsense of a puzzle this is. Ye’ve got to get this ship movin’, and ye haven’t e’en had a drop to drink today. All ye can really think of is ouzo, Brut, ’n’ moonshine. On that note enter the words OUZO, BRUT, ’n’ MOONSHINE into the grid so that one entry intersects the other two. (O’ the four ways to do this, choose the one where the square between the B and M contains a two-digit number.) Ay, that bloody H indicates overheatin’! Ye must fix the problem by puttin’ a C in the topmost o’ the numbered squares b’low the H in the same column, ’n’ then erasin’ the H. The square with the C has two digits in it. Call the chicken o’er and tell it to toggle the Mth and Nth devices on the control panel, where M and N are those two digits.
  • Algernon 6: Oh boy, this is a lot of pressure. Your crewmates looked at this puzzle and said, “We should definitely give this to Algernon,” so you’re probably the only one who has any shot at solving it. But if you cross your fingers and do your best, you know you can do it! You follow the first step. Hey, that wasn’t actually as tough as you feared! That number you extracted seems pretty important . . . write it on the north wall of the room.
  • Kidz 1: Let’s get started! Can you add the numbers in the first two squares of the grid? Did you get the same number that’s in the next square? You did! Great job!

Captain Blastoid fills in the numbers 1 through 8 as described, and writes an A in the center square of the bottom row. The chicken toggles the Flashwave, Kappavent, and Negative Laser.

Scotchy fills in BRUT as 9-Across, MOONSHINE as 13-Across, and OUZO as 3-Down. He erases the H and writes a C in square 23. The chicken toggles the Starprism and Flashwave.

Algernon carries out Step 1 of the Kidz’ Konundrum, adds 1 and 2, and gets 3 (and writes it on the wall). Good job, Algernon.

The Starprism, Kappavent, and Negative Laser are all on, and the other devices are off.

Grid status at the end of this phase:

Phase 2

  • Economist 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.
  • Linguist 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.
  • Chemist 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.

The 1995 Nobel Prize for Economics was given to Robert LUCAS, so The Economist enters 12-21-3-1-19 in the center column, and enters 8-1-13-13-5-18 in the eighth row.

The Linguist gives the Indigo Lager to the Chemist and enters the “words” ABCN, NDEF, and GHIN. Since GHIN could become GAIN, she writes an H in square 22.

The Chemist mixes the Indigo Lager with the Violet Porter and calls it an IV. Since that's the Roman numeral for 4, she carries out Step 4 of the duck konundrum (see below). Since Tartuffe wrote down a T, the turkey brings her the Green Stout.

  • Capone 4: You can’t shake this feeling that somebody’s watching you from above. You’re not a particularly religious guy, so you assume it’s a G-man! You’d better start cleaning up these cooked books before you get busted for tax evasion. Maybe they’ll look at numbers in the middle row first, so make those much lower. Replace the first number in the row with a one. No, even that’s too much. Make the next number a zero. No, you want something out of this. Make the next number a one. Keep alternating like this until you’ve finished the row, and then do the exact same thing to the middle column. The last digit you write will be in a row that now sums to 68 . . . that’s too conspicuous. Rip off the rightmost three columns of the entire grid, crumple them into a ball, and throw them at the blue guy across the room. They’re his problem now.
  • Cookie 4: How can you think when you this ravenously hungry? You stand around lost in thought until object from across room hits you in face. Is it . . . COOOOKIEEEE?!? No, is piece of paper. What you do with this? Ohhhh, you see. Uncrumple paper and stick it on your grid, using leftover cookie icing stuck to fur. Three numbers at top tell you where it should go. That a lot of nines. Maybe nine is for cookie? In only five rows where there are same number of C’s and 9’s (including 9’s that were in grid when you started, if still visible), erase all of both. Ooh, two-thirds of remaining C’s look like tasty top and bottom of Oreo, but with no cream. Fill in three squares between them with . . . you don’t know, more nines, you guess? Seem to be thing all kids doing.
  • Tartuffe 4: You notice that during your most recent step, the dim character wearing the red shirt wrote a number on the wall. Perhaps the instruction they want to follow. I suppose they’d like that, wouldn’t they? Instead, carry out each character’s step numbered one LESS than the number on the wall. After doing that, you notice that two of the characters shouted things totaling seven letters, and six of those letters can be rearranged to a form a generic name for a house of worship, the sort of place you claim to go every Sunday, but naturally never do. Write the seventh letter on the table in front of you. You wouldn’t want someone to come to your home and write on your tables, but you are nothing if not a hypocrite.

Al Capone replaces the middle row with 1-0-1-0-1-0-1-0-1, and does the same to the middle column. Then he removes the rightmost three columns of his grid and throws them at Cookie Monster.

Cookie Monster sticks the three columns from Al Capone on top of the rightmost three columns of his grid (since the 6-7-8 matches). The rows with equal numbers of C’s and 9’s are the third, sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth (note that the second row has four 9’s because of square 9), so he erases the contents of those rows. Then he fills in 9-9-9 in the three squares to the right of square 11.

Since Algernon wrote a 3 on the wall in the last step, Tartuffe carries out Step 2 of the chicken konundrum (see below). CAT and HELP anagram to CHAPEL with an extra T, so he writes a T on the table.

  • Blastoid 2: The natives of Zyzzlvaria Alpha were not at all helpful and frankly quite rude. Landing the Brass Rat on their imperial palace was an honest mistake that shouldn’t have warranted such foul language. Zyzzlvaria Beta, then? You really have no idea where that is, but maybe it’s on Scotchy’s map, which you check before he has a chance to write anything on it during his current instruction. Yup, there’s a B, so write a B in the same place in your grid. Before you pilot the ship there, Leah called you to report a few mapping errors you should correct. In two of the nine 3×3 squares, you placed two digits in opposite corners of the squares, and apparently those digits should be moved to the OTHER two corners of those squares, with the higher digit farther to the left than the lower digit in each instance. Now in three of the rows containing digits, the digits have the same sum. For each digit N in the other non-empty row, command the chicken to toggle the device corresponding to the Nth color of the rainbow. You will be departing shortly.
  • Scotchy 2: Ye canna help but notice that there are only two across entries for which (a) one has an entry number that’s double that o’ the other, (b) both have no letters entered, ’n’ (c) the entries dinna touch each other. You think o’ two words that differ by only their third letter: one is a verb form o’ the function o’ the robot ye stole from the Planet Express (very useful when ye need an L-shaped pipe), ’n’ the other is the wee unit of sweat that forms on yer face during a long shift in the boiler room. Write the alphabetically first o’ the words in the second o’ the grid entries, ’n’ vice versa. This has been a hard day o’ work, so ye could use a bonny drink. Go ’n’ toggle the beer tap. Ach, it’s on now but no beer is coming out! This is the most dire o’ emergencies! Scream “Help!” ’n’ hope for the best!
  • Algernon 2: You’re on a roll, so carry out the next step in your konundrum. Oh boy, it involves left and right. You have trouble with those sometimes. What was the trick Ernie taught you? Something about holding out your thumbs and index fingers? Huh, Scotchy’s yelling a word. Are we all yelling our answers now? Okay. You yell the word you got proudly! You’re pretty sure it’s right. It has an A in it.
  • Kidz 2: You did such a good job adding! Now let’s practice reading backwards! Start in the lower right corner of the grid, and read from right to left until you’ve seen three letters! Can you read that word? Do you know what it means? You’re right, it’s a friendly animal! Great job!

Captain Blastoid writes a B in the leftmost square in the second row. Leah’s erratum refers to the bottom-left and bottom-right boxes; the 8 moves up two squares, the 4 down two squares, the 7 left two squares, and the 3 right two squares. Three rows sum to eleven, leaving the fourth row which contains a 1 and 2, so the chicken toggles the Clipbuckle and Starprism.

Scotchy fills BEND into 12-Across and BEAD into 24-Across. Then he toggles the Beer Tap and screams “Help!”

Algernon carries out Step 2 of the Kidz’ Konundrum, but because he confuses left with right, he gets the answer CAT, so he screams, “Cat!”

The Clipbuckle, Kappavent, Negative Laser, and Beer Tap are all on, and the other devices are off.

Grid status at the end of this phase:

Phase 3

  • Economist 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.
  • Linguist 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.
  • Chemist 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.

The Economist writes a 17 next to a 5 and 12, an 11 next to a 3 and 8, and a 27 next to an 8 and 19, putting all the new numbers in the fourth column. They also replace the top three numbers in the first column with 11-17-27 in order from top to bottom. They discard the Orange Pilsner and have the turkey bring them the Red Shandy.

The Linguist fills NDEF in as 11-Across, and to accomplish the alphabetization ask, she erases the H-I in GHIN and writes an A and B in squares 2 and 3. The turkey brings her the Blue IPA (which also stands for International Phonetic Alphabet).

The Chemist lowers the Green Stout into the duck konundum and then carries out Step 5 (see below), since GREEN has five letters. Since Tartuffe shouts “94,” The Chemist writes down “2.”

  • Capone 5: Given the paranoia you’re already feeling about potentially getting tossed in jail for life, you don’t react very calmly when you see a giant hand and bottle emerging from the ceiling. THIS IS NOT OKAY. Gotta keep covering your tracks. Find the nine 9’s in your grid that are orthogonally adjacent to 1’s, and replace all of them with 2’s so that the contrast will stand out less. After completing these adjustments, you notice the color of the bottle above; if that hand likes to grab items of that color, things are not looking good. On the nearest item of that color, cross out the first word on the label, and replace it with that word reversed. Then identify the item in the room labeled with a word almost identical to the new word, and tell the duck to deliver that item to the konundrum guy. That should get the heat off you.
  • Cookie 5: What that in sky? Is that COOOOKIEEEE?!? No, is just bottle. That no interest you. You no imbibe. Instead you focus on matter at hand. You wearing two very fashionable sashes right now, and you notice that on one of them, you can (and do) cross out one letter so that sash contains name of website where you recently entered search phrase “Are cookies delicious?” and then answer it gave you (as if there any doubt). In five grid columns containing letters, replace topmost letter with copy of letter you crossed out on sash. Then, since no cookies around, you eat other sash you wearing. Yum! It perfect! Not too hot, not too cold.
  • Tartuffe 5: You have little if any belief in a higher power (contrary to the character you play in your scams), and you have to admit that your disbelief is a bit shaken by the fact that a giant hand from above just handed you a bottle of something. As much as you’d like to partake, one must keep up appearances . . . And anyway, maybe you can use this as bait. As you’re thinking of a plan, the local duck brings you an unsolicited sash. You tie it around the neck of the bottle, and you lower it into the konundrum. Then, waiting until after he begins eating, you count the number of letter C’s in the monster’s crossword grid, and follow that number step for each konundrum character. Drat, the little brat got away. Whoever lowered the bottle probably wants to know what number he shouted. You shout it, but just to cause trouble, you multiply it by forty-seven first.

Al Capone replaces the nine 9’s adjacent to 1’s (two in the first row, two in the third, two in the fourth, two in the seventh, and one in the ninth) with 2’s. The nearest green item is the green sash Capone is wearing, so he replaces “ROYAL” with “LAYOR.” The violet sash has the word “MAYOR” on it, so the duck brings the Violet Mayor of Normalville sash to Tartuffe.

Cookie Monster crosses out the letter Y on the Red Googly Eyes sash so that it says “Google yes.” He replaces the C’s immediately below squares 2, 3, 4, 12, and 14 with Y’s and eats the blue sash.

Tartuffe ties the Violet sash around the Green Stout and lowers it into the chicken konundrum, and then carries out Step 4 (see below). Since Algernon shouts “2,” Tartuffe shouts “94.”

  • Blastoid 4: You were pretty confident about the location of Zyzzlvaria Beta before, but two things have shaken your resolve: one is the fact that Scotchy wrote two more B’s on his map during the last instruction, and the other is the bottle on a sash dangling from somewhere beyond the ceiling. Onward to Zyzzlvaria . . . Um. You don’t know the Greek alphabet past beta. You don’t especially want anyone to find out about this, so maybe you can make the initial stages of the journey last longer. Move the number 1 in your grid to a different square such that (a) it moves in a straight line orthogonally without encountering any other letters or numbers, and (b) given that constraint, it ends up as far from the 2 as possible. And now tell the chicken to toggle . . . everything? Yeah, sure, everything. That’s right. You totally know what you’re doing.
  • Scotchy 4: Aye, what glorious manna from heaven! It’s the bloody bottle o’ beer ye’d been prayin’ for! Obviously ye canna trust poor innocent Algie to know what to do with magic alcohol, so ye rush over and grab it from him. As you enjoy yer beverage, ye notice that if ye replace one letter in the grid with the first letter o’ the color o’ the bottle ye’re drinkin’ from, it creates a bonny two-row rectangle that spells out the name of the part of the starship that ye probably shoulda fixed before ye took off. There’s one letter touchin’ the rectangle, so go ahead ’n’ delete it, ’n’ then delete the other two instances o’ it elsewhere in the grid. Then toggle the devices whose colors match yer blessed new bottle ’n’ Algie’s new sash. Ye saw the cap’n send the chicken to do a lot o’ togglin’, so ye best look busy.
  • Algernon 4: Ooh, something shiny coming from the sky! You touch it and are about to hold on to it with just enough force that you wouldn’t manage to pull it loose but would definitely be lifted into the air if something malicious tried to grab you, when Scotchy runs over, yanks the shiny thing down, and runs away with it. Aw, nuts. Well, at least you got this super-cool sash, which you wear with pride. Back to the next step of the konundrum! No, actually, the next step looks way too hard, so you skip it and try the step afterward. Well, that doesn’t make any sense, all those numbers look like they’re the same size . . . after all, they all fit in the same-sized squares! Maybe you should say the same number you wrote on the wall earlier. No, they wouldn’t do the same one twice! Find that number in the grid, and shout out the number immediately to its right. Keeping in mind how awesome you are at remembering left and right, of course. Oh, and you think you saw Scotchy toggle two devices, so you tell the chicken to toggle those same two devices. You want to help!
  • Kidz 4: Now, let’s see if you can subtract numbers too. What do you get if you subtract the smallest number in the grid from the biggest number in the grid? I’ll give you a hint . . . it rhymes with “dive.” That’s it, I knew you could do it!

Captain Blastoid moves the 1 four squares to the left, and the chicken toggles all seven devices.

Scotchy takes the Green Stout and replaces the D in BEND with a G to form the word (in two rows) ENGINE. A B touches the rectangle, so he deletes the three B’s. Since the bottle is green and the sash is violet, he toggles the Fluxglobe and Beer Tap.

Algernon avoids abduction and puts on the Violet Mayor of Normalville sash. He skips Step 3 of the Kidz’ Konundrum and carries out Step 4 instead. Since he wrote 3 earlier and he confuses “left” and “right,” he yells out the number “2.” He also has the chicken toggle the Fluxglobe and Beer Tap, undoing what Scotchy did.

The Starprism, Flashwave, and Fluxglobe are all on, and the other devices are off.

Grid status at the end of this phase:

Phase 4

  • Economist 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.
  • Linguist 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]
  • Chemist 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.

The Economist erases from each box (in order, row by row), 27, 8, 11, nothing, 21, 9, nothing, 27, and 18. In the center square of the lower-left box, they write a 14. Since 9 + 1 = 10 and N is the 14th letter of the alphabet, the turkey brings The Chemist the Red Shandy and a beer with a 10-letter name ending with N, the Yellow Hefeweizen.

Because U would complete the word CHUG in 16-Down, The Linguist writes a U in the square immediately to the right of square 23, which is adjacent (orthogonally and diagonally) to two E’s, and forms the word NU reading downward.

The Chemist mixes together the Red Shandy and Yellow Hefeweizen, two colors that would combine to create orange. The Orange Sash says “Distinguished Visitor,” so X is 13 and Y is 7. Since she wrote down the number 2 earlier, she carries out Step 2 of the duck konundrum, replacing the first number in the Al Capone instruction with 7 and the first number in the Cookie Monster instruction with 13 (see below). Tartuffe’s table says “T2” on it, which has the subtitle “Judgment Day,” so you note the number 3, the number of letters in DAY.

  • Capone 2: The glass police have come and gone, so it’s probably safe to bump up your totals. Find each of the 6[this 6 becomes 7]’s in your grid (there are two of them) and increase the number above each of them by nine. There should now be exactly one two-digit number in the grid; in every square that shares a row or column with that two-digit number, replace the contents with a copy of that two-digit number. Just to check that everything’s on the up and up, for each of the 3×3 boxes that doesn’t touch the top or bottom of the grid, the center square multiplied by the sum of the squares to its immediate left and right should give a very familiar number. That’s more like it. Now have the duck bring you the only untouched sash that had no indirect effect on this instruction. Because dammit, you are armed, and you are fabulous.
  • Cookie 2: Sash you ate before was tasty, but you still so hungry. You no can help but think of . . . mmm . . . chocolate chippies . . . yum . . . ginger snaps . . . [lip smack] . . . and . . . SNICKERDOOODLLLLES!!! You need make room to stash cookie in grid. Erase all letters and numbers in 15[this 15 becomes 13]-Across and write word SNICKERDOODLE instead (spelled calm way, not way when you very hungry with extra L’s). Oh wait, that no fit. Cut off as many letters as need from beginning of word to make fit. If number of letters removed is N (yes, of course Cookie Monster know algebra), also put Nth letter of alphabet in square marked with number N. Ooh, that second occurrence of that letter in that column! That good checksum. Also you erase letter in middle square of grid. Square ask you for reason, but reason just because.
  • Tartuffe 2: Your meddling in the actions of others doesn’t seem to be accomplishing the desired effect . . . Things keep coming together nonetheless, and most troublingly, you’re failing to profit from the results. You decide to follow the steps of your konundrum immediately before the ones you followed last time for each character, but to ignore any word that starts with the same letter as the character’s name (keeping in mind that one character’s name includes her job title). Still shouting out numbers, are we? You write that number to the right of the letter you wrote on the table earlier, because property damage is the one sin you seem to be able to execute without interference. Maybe this would have gone better if you’d have spoken in rhyme.

Al Capone replaces the 0 above the 7 in the second column with a 9, and the 9 above the 7 in the sixth column with an 18. Then he replaces every number in the sixth column and eighth row with an 18. 9 times (1 + 1) and 1 times (0 + 18) are each also 18. Since the instruction was altered using information from the Orange sash, the duck brings him the Indigo Miss Congeniality 2 sash.

Cookie Monster erases all of the letters in 13-Across and writes KERDOODLE instead. Since SNIC has four letters, N is 4, and he writes a D in square 4. He also deletes the Y in the center square of the grid.

Tartuffe carries out Step 3 of the chicken konundrum, ignoring all words starting with C in Captain Blastoid's instructions, starting with S in Scotchy’s instructions, and starting with A in Algernon’s instructions (see below). When Algernon shouts “2,” Tartuffe writes “2” after the “T” on the table.

  • Blastoid 3: And now there are no B’s on Scotchy’s map at all. You’re beginning to think maybe you shouldn’t make your navigation decisions based on the ship engineer’s class notes. Fortunately, Leah phoned in and verified most of your crossword placements; you just need to tweak the seventh colored row. Move each of the two numbers in that row one space orthogonally so that there are exactly five empty corner squares between them. Now you should finally be ready to take credit off again. Order the . . . um . . . bird to toggle every device with a color name that includes the fourth letter in “Captain Blastoid,” and draw a straight line on your grid from Zyzzlvaria Alpha to Zyzzlvaria Beta. You intend to supervise this mission personally, and awfully closely.
  • Scotchy 3: Aye, now that ye’re pleasantly pissed, it’s high time that ye did a bit o’ additional grid maintenance. There’s a five-letter Spanish word readin’ across the fourth row with no breaks, which is a thing ye could count for a given secondary planet. Take the total o’ these that are known for Uranus, Saturn, ’n’ Mercury, and deduct the total for Earth ’n’ Mars. In the bit o’ the grid marked with the result, write the Nth letter o’ the alphabet, where N is the sixth number on the cell where ye first deleted a letter in the last sash instruction (before ye deleted two others). Ach, that’ll do it. Now order the chicken to toggle the clipbuckle, starprism, and kappavent. All ready! Things seldom go wrong on yer watch.
  • Algernon 3: That was pretty exciting! Scotchy seems much more relaxed now. Time to keep solving your konundrum. What step were you on? Four? Five? Numbers can be so tricky. You just do step six, keeping in mind that weird changes to your instructions don’t go through to your konundrum’s instructions. Hmmm. You don’t really understand this code that they’re explaining, but they gave you this four-digit number, so the solution must come from that. Once the chicken’s done carrying out your crewmates’ orders, count the number of devices set to "off," then shout out the digit immediately before that number in your super-secret number. You have this weird feeling that you unknowingly outwitted someone’s plan to interfere with this step. Awesome!
  • Kidz 6: Now let’s learn how codes and ciphers work! Here’s a code where each number stands for the letter right below it. If I sent you the super-secret message “4523,” what would that mean? That’s right, it’s another animal! You’re so good at this!

Captain Blastoid moves the 8 one space to the right and the 3 one space to the left. The fourth letter in “BLASTOID” is S, so the duck toggles the Starprism, Flashwave, and Negative Laser. Captain Blastoid also draws a line connecting the A to the B.

Scotchy finds the word MOONS in the fourth row. Uranus and Mercury have (27 + 0) moons, and Earth and Mars have (1 + 2) moons, so the total is 24. In square 24, Scotchy writes an L since the first letter deleted was in square 12. The chicken toggles the clipbuckle and kappavent.

Algernon carries out Step 6 of the Kidz’ Konundrum and fails to translate the number 4523. After Captain Blastoid and Scotchy are done, three devices are off, so Algernon shouts out the number “2.”

The Clipbuckle, Fluxglobe, Kappavent, and Negative Laser are all on, and the other devices are off.

Grid status at the end of this phase:

Phase 5

  • Economist 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.
  • Linguist 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.
  • Chemist 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 Economist determines that the answer to their puzzle is S, because 19 is the largest number in the grid.

The Linguist determines that the answer to her puzzle is M, because it completes the word BELGIUM reading diagonally through the center square.

The Chemist carries out Step 3 of the duck konundrum (see below). She determines that the answer to her puzzle is U + BPROBL + E = UBPROBLE.

  • Capone 3: Mystery Hunt puzzle solving is turning out not to be as lucrative as racketeering. Who woulda thought. Wait! You see the answer to this puzzle! Your impulse was to try to make the numbers as big as possible, but it’s really about subtlety. Focus on the 3×3 box in which the nine numbers have the lowest total. Color in all of the squares in that box that are tied for highest value, and then look at the uncolored squares. Their shape forms a letter, and that’s the answer! You might want to let the rest of the team know. Secrecy or not, you’re in this together.
  • Cookie 3: Meal from earlier starting to give you heartburn. Maybe you should have eat balled-up paper instead. Wait! You see answer to puzzle! Back at beginning you put favorite letter all over grid, but after editing only one remain . . . and right next to it, puzzle answer written in standard Mystery Hunt encoding! No, not Morse or Braille or semaphore. (Yes, Cookie Monster know all those. This not Cookie Monster’s first rodeo.) You share answer with puzzle friends, and then go to bake COOOOKIEEEE! You make note to use kosher salt. It very important to use kosher salt.
  • Tartuffe 3: This mayhem isn’t even fun any more. You glance over at the glutton’s grid, note the two letters that are tied for appearing most often, and angrily scrawl those two letters (in uppercase) onto your konundrum. Then you execute the first step for all the characters in your konundrum. Then you sulk. 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. But before sharing your answer with anyone else, you decide to reverse the order of the six letters. Muhuhuhahaha! Now you just hope some money rolls in from your time-travel side hustle.

Al Capone determines that the answer to his puzzle is U, because the box with the lowest total is the left-center box, and the non-9 squares form a U.

Cookie Monster determines that the answer to his puzzle is E, because the squares next to the only C contain 1-0-1, which in alphanumeric binary represents an E.

Tartuffe writes Y and D on his konundrum and carries out Step 1 of the chicken konundrum (see below). He determines that the answer to his puzzle is LB + OR + PB = LBORPB, but he maliciously reports it as BPROBL.

  • Blastoid 1: The ship’s ready to go, but you’re still not totally sure where you’re going. This is bad. You can’t get demoted again. First Officer Blastoid isn’t catchy at all. Wait! You see the answer to this puzzle! You just need to mark the galactic trade routes! Draw a line from Outpost 1 to Outpost 2, from Outpost 3 to Outpost 8, and from Outpost 5 to Outpost 7. That along with any previous lines you’ve drawn should create the mirror image of something associated (maybe more in the 20th century than afterward) with a five-letter word that has a two-letter abbreviation, and those two letters are the answer! Call a meeting with the crew and let them know the good news.
  • Scotchy 1: Ach, the hangover’s startin’ to set in already. If only you could drag an answer out o’ this bloody grid o’ letters. Wait! Ye see the answer to this puzzle! Ye started with the names of a bunch o’ beverages, but the true nature o’ the puzzle is to analyze their constituent elements. A close inspection of the grid reveals that one o’ the only complete entries is the full name o’ a chemical element. Yer answer is the wee symbol o’ that element. Let yer crewmates know so that they’ll leave ye alone, and ye can focus on maintainin’ the shields and damagin’ yer liver.
  • Algernon 1: Your head’s starting to hurt from all this reading and thinking and narrowly avoiding being kidnapped. Wait! You see the answer to this puzzle! It’s a trick question that has nothing to do with the puzzle and everything to do with the two giant letters on the ceiling! (Have those been there the whole time? Sure, probably.) Only one of them appears on the sash you’re wearing, and your answer is the two letters immediately to the left of that letter on the sash. You don’t see any obvious reason that would be the answer, but it feels like it should be and that’s good enough for you. Tell your friends!

Captain Blastoid determines that the answer to her puzzle is LB, because the A-B line (drawn in the last step) along with the 1-2, 3-8, and 5-7 lines form a pound sign, and the abbreviation for “pound” is LB.

Scotchy determines that the answer to his puzzle is PB, because his grid contains the word LEAD (at 24-Across).

Algernon determines that the answer to his puzzle is OR, because of Y and D (the letters written from above by Tartuffe), only one appears in MAYOR OF NORMALVILLE, and since he consistently confuses left and right, he actually takes the two letters to the right of the Y.

And Finally . . .

As noted by the solvers of the duck and chicken konundrums, the answer to any Turducken Konundrum is the sudoku answer followed by the konundrum answer followed by the crossword answer. For the turkey konundrum, which you’re solving in this Mystery Hunt, that answer is S + UBPROBLE + M = SUBPROBLEM.