by Chris Morse
Problem: Christmas Town/​Halloween Town

This puzzle is a series of clues, each of which yields a one-word answer. The clues themselves start with an acrostic that states USE THE NUMBERS ON THE FIRST NAMES TO SOLVE. If you search or have read the books, as clued by the “book” in the flavor text, you can find that these are all surnames of characters in the Skulduggery Pleasant books by Derek Landy. If you use the numbers associated with each clue and index into the unique first name that goes with each last name, you get the cluephrase WHAT SKULDUGGERY MIGHT UNLOCK A DOOR WITH. Because Skulduggery Pleasant is the skeleton detective, he might use a SKELETON KEY which is your final answer.

Clue Answer/ Surname First Name Index Letter
Ulrich horror vehicle (1) SCREAM WILHELM W
Student residence hall on Mass Ave (2) RANDOM PHILOMENA H
Esteemed or honored deservingly (5) MERITORIOUS EACHAN A
Torment or annoy (4) VEX DEXTER T
Hung Christmas decoration (1) WREATH SOLOMON S
Eve’s eldest son (4) CAIN VALKYRIE K
Nub or gist (4) CRUX REMUS U
Uncommunicative (3) RETICENT ILLORI L
Make a payment (7) REMIT ALEXANDER D
Bard’s offering (8) ODE COTHERNUS U
Enormous book (3) TOME SAGACIOUS G
Role played by Tom Hardy (5) BANE DONEGAN G
Smoldering, glowing fire vestige (4) EMBER ROSELLA E
Optimistic or bloodthirsty (6) SANGUINE BILLY-RAY R
Natively-worshipped Egyptian beetle (4) SCARAB DREYLAN Y
Type of falcon (3) PEREGRINE EMMETT M
Harm or malign (2) WRONG FINBAR I
Engaged or claimed beforehand (1) BESPOKE GHASTLY G
Fraternity or society (2) GUILD THURID H
Inactive during the daytime (6) NOCTURNAL CHRISTOPHE T
Research university in Montreal (6) MCGILL TACITURN U
Sadnesses (4) SORROWS CHINA N
The lowest point (3) NADIR SILAS L
Not owned, like a cat (4) STRAY MYRON O
Ally of Katniss from District 11 (5) RUE SARACEN C
Material created from tanned hides (7) LEATHER VINDICK K
Easy to lift (2) LIGHT CAMERON A
Stood up (4) ROSE MURDER D
Tremble convulsively or streaming service (4) SHUDDER ANTON O
One card below a trey (2) DEUCE CORRIVAL O
Service performed during three days preceding Easter (3) TENEBRAE AURON R
One of genus Corvus (4) CROW MORWENNA W
Loathe or dismiss as unworthy (3) SCORN ELIZA I
Very auto-tuned Flo Rida/T-Pain hit (5) LOW TANITH T
Element with a German name symbol (3) TUNGSTEN EPHRAIM H