Solution to Fret Not!
Answer: SPOKEN WORD
by Cami Ramirez-Arau, Jakob Weisblat, Lennart Jansson
We're presented with an audio file of a person playing guitar and saying clues. The first thing we must do is transcribe the guitar sounds and the clues. The title of the puzzle suggests that the specific guitar fret each note is played on is relevant, so instead of (or in addition to) notating the absolute pitches, we notate the guitar fret used.
|C/G||335553||Certain strength exercises||KEGELS|
|A7add9/C#||977987||Companion to lox||SHMEAR|
|E57||020X00||He served with Richard||SPIRO|
|F7||101211||In a way, wrapped||VEILED|
|A°||56X875||It's a lake||HURON|
|C♯||986669||Kind of Blue tune||SOWHAT|
|C♯mm7||X42100||Like many arcade games||RETRO|
|F♯add9||X98699||Predecessor of “Messages”||ICHAT|
|AM7sus2/G♯||40X454||Prepares to cook, say||PEELS|
|B♭||653336||Red and green fruits||MANGOS|
|E♭/B♭||X11043||Some have deep pockets||PITAS|
|B♭||688766||Some Peet's products||MOCHAS|
|GM7/B||X20032||Trad climbing implement||PITON|
|D7/F♯||X97778||“Turn on the fan!”||IMHOT|
|G♯7||4X4544||You might hear them in court||PLEAS|
Due to the nature of the guitar, some of the 5-note chords could be played in multiple ways using different strings. An astute listener might be able to tell which string is sounding, but that is not necessary to solve the puzzle. For most of these, there only one feasible fingering (choice of strings and frets to play) unless your hands are enormous, but there are a few that need to be disambiguated by the next step.
The next thing we must do is solve the clues. This is complicated by the fact that several of them (e.g., taught/tot/taut) contain words that have several homophones.
Once we notice that the answers contain the same number of letters as there are notes in the corresponding chords, we might think to try to put the letters of the answers onto a guitar at the corresponding frets.
At this point, we can use the crossings to help us solve the rest of the clues. We may notice that most, but not all, of the letters are checked (clued by 2 clues). In fact, exactly one letter in each row is left unchecked, spelling the answer: SPOKEN WORD.