by Dan Katz
Problem: Pi Day Town/​Bloomsday Town

Each of the pairs of pictures at the bottom of the puzzle clues a movie franchise, sorted alphabetically by title (as they appear in the film titles, ignoring leading articles). Some pairs clue the franchise title, while others may clue elements of the plot or characters. The franchises, in the order depicted, are:

  • 3 Ninjas
  • Air Bud
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks
  • American Pie
  • Austin Powers
  • Before
  • Bourne, The
  • Children of the Corn
  • Crow, The
  • Cutting Edge, The
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid
  • Dragonheart
  • Fifty Shades
  • Friday the 13th
  • Hellraiser
  • Ice Age
  • Land Before Time, The
  • Ma and Pa Kettle
  • Mad Max
  • Mirror Mirror
  • Nightmare on Elm Street, A
  • Police Academy
  • Resident Evil
  • Revenge of the Nerds
  • Road to
  • Sharknado
  • Spy Kids
  • Starship Troopers
  • Substitute, The
  • Terminator
  • Transformers
  • Tremors
  • Twilight
  • Underworld
  • Wishmaster
  • X-Men

The flavortext refers to “series” and notes that the Pi Day Town residents “only know their neighbors on a surface level.” In addition, the title of the puzzle consists of the last three letters of “before” and the first three of “after.” Each of the fractions in the first three and last three rows of the table is sandwiched by two trigrams that are the end of a “before” item and the beginning of an “after” item; specifically, these are the end and beginning of the subtitles occurring before and after a particular film in the series.

For example, the “(4/7)” in the upper left represents The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, which occurs between New Moon (ending in OON) and Breaking Dawn, Part 1 (starting with BRE). ECLIPSE has seven letters, and the fourth of these is I, so the fraction can be replaced by the letter I. The 36 letters generated this way are as shown:

OON (4/7) BREECLIPSEITwilightNew MoonBreaking Dawn Part 1
ISE (3/6) MIDSUNSETNBeforeSunriseMidnight
ACH (13/14) MISCITY UNDER SIEGEGPolice AcademyAssignment Miami BeachMission Moscow
NGE (9/13) DREDREAM WARRIORSRNightmare on Elm Street, AFreddys RevengeDream Master
LNO (8/10) GLO4TH AWAKENSESharknadoOh Hell NoGlobal Swarming
IOR (7/17) FURBEYOND THUNDERDOMETMad MaxRoad WarriorFury Road
IES (4/20) PROBEYOND THE GATES OF HELLOWishmasterEvil Never DiesProphecy Fulfilled
UEL (8/11) ROACHIPWRECKEDCAlvin and the ChipmunksSqueakquelRoad Chip
AMP (3/9) BETNAKED MILEKAmerican PieBand CampBeta House
LEN (6/13) AGEDARK OF THE MOONFTransformersRevenge of the FallenAge of Extinction
DAY (14/17) SALRISE OF THE MACHINESITerminatorJudgment DaySalvation
VES (1/8) JASNEW BLOODNFriday the 13thJason LivesJason Takes Manhattan
ELS (5/9) WICSALVATIONACrow, TheCity of AngelsWicked Prayer
CKS (9/16) LEGBACK TO PERFECTIONRTremorsAftershocksLegend Begins
URS (11/16) COLCONTINENTAL DRIFTLIce AgeDawn of the DinosaursCollision Course
ARM (7/9) ONVAT THE FAIRAMa and Pa KettleBack on the FarmOn Vacation
ASS (9/16) APODAYS OF FUTURE PASTTX-MenFirst ClassApocalypse
OUT (1/14) FAIWINNER TAKES ALLWSubstitute, TheSchools OutFailure Is Not an Option
ION (13/15) AWARISE OF THE LYCANSAUnderworldEvolutionAwakening
BAR (5/7) UTOMOROCCOCRoad toZanzibarUtopia
ING (7/14) BATSORCERERS CURSEEDragonheartNew BeginningBattle for the Heartfire
REY (3/6) FREDARKERRFifty ShadesOf GreyFreed
EST (5/9) FIEGATHERINGEChildren of the CornUrban HarvestFields of Terror
AMS (6/8) ALLGAME OVERVSpy KidsIsland of Lost DreamsAll the Time in the World
ISE (7/14) NERNEXT GENERATIONNRevenge of the NerdsNerds in ParadiseNerds in Love
DER (6/8) TRAINVASIONIStarship TroopersMarauderTraitor of Mars
PSE (2/10) AFTEXTINCTIONXResident EvilApocalypseAfterlife
OLD (11/15) FIRCHASING THE DREAMDCutting Edge, TheGoing for the GoldFire and Ice
RLD (4/11) JUDREVELATIONSEHellraiserHellworldJudgment
ERY (9/15) GOLSPY WHO SHAGGED MEAAustin PowersInternational Man of MysteryGoldmember
ITY (8/9) ULTSUPREMACYCBourne, TheIdentityUltimatum
NCE (2/6) REFVOYEUROMirror MirrorRaven DanceReflection
OCK (10/15) BIGSTONE OF COLD FIRELLand Before Time, TheSecret of Saurus RockBig Freeze
PUP (14/18) SPISEVENTH INNING FETCHFAir BudWorld PupSpikes Back
LES (5/7) LONDOG DAYSADiary of a Wimpy KidRodrick RulesLong Haul
ACK (6/9) HIGKNUCKLE UPL3 NinjasKick BackHigh Noon at Mega Mountain

Once these 36 letters are filled in, there are now six more pairs of trigrams surrounding fractions, reading down each column. No clues are given for these franchises, but they are intentionally six of the most successful film franchises of all time, which will hopefully have seemed conspicuously absent from the initial set:

ING (5/9) RETTWO TOWERSOLord of the RingsFellowship of the RingReturn of the King
OCK (8/10) FINVOYAGE HOMEOStar TrekSearch for SpockFinal Frontier
ARL (5/13) ATWDEAD MANS CHESTMPirates of the CaribbeanCurse of the Black PearlAt World’s End
ACE (6/17) REVATTACK OF THE CLONESKStar WarsPhantom MenaceRevenge of the Sith
NIX (12/15) DEAHALF BLOOD PRINCEIHarry PotterOrder of the PhoenixDeathly Hallows Part 1
COL (6/11) FALROGUE NATIONNMission ImpossibleGhost ProtocolFallout

The resulting letters, OOM KIN, form one more pair of trigrams from one more unclued franchise: the Indiana Jones film series, in which the phrase appearing between TEMPLE OF DOOM and KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL is LAST CRUSADE, the answer to this puzzle.