# Solution to Tunnels

#### by Anderson Wang, Charles Tam, Curtis Chou, Jon Schneider, Lewis Chen

```AFTER DARK
BRUTES
DRESSED
FLIP FLOP
FLOWER GIRL
HERB
HUMMED
IN PROGRESS
SPOKEN WORD
STUDENTS
THE INSIDE DOPE
ULTIMATUM
```

Each answer has a corresponding location in the projection device, as shown in the map on the round page. There are seven each of green circle and red octagon nodes, so this suggests matching them up somehow.

The main aha, which is slightly hinted at by the flavortext (“catacombs”), is that these answers form cryptic clues, where the red answers are the definition parts and the green answers are the wordplay parts. Another observation that can help with this aha is that the red answers are generally fairly short and could all be straight crossword clues, in contrast to the green answers. We match the answers up and solve the cryptics as follows:

SolutionDefinitionWordplayExplanation
ROSEMARYHERBFLOWER GIRLROSE+MARY
OGRESBRUTESIN PROGRESSprOGRESs (hidden)
WHIRREDHUMMEDSPOKEN WORDhomophone of WORD
PUPILSSTUDENTSFLIP FLOPreversal of SLIP-UP
CLOTHEDDRESSEDTHE INSIDE DOPECLO(THE)D

Now that we have a pairing between the green and red nodes, it’s natural to connect them with paths somehow. The length of the shortest path (measured in number of segments) between two nodes sometimes matches up with the corresponding cryptic clue solution, and is never longer than the solution itself. This suggests that we want to assign a letter to each segment so that we can read the solutions along their corresponding paths. This turns into a logic puzzle of sorts (a full solution is detailed in the appendix), with the following solution:

(Every answer starts from a green circle and ends at an red octagon, though this assumption is not necessary to uniquely assign the letters.)

We can read the answer to this meta by reading around the perimeter (which is shaped like a regular hendecagon) clockwise: DECRYPT THEM, which should hopefully make the tunnels less catacomb-like!

## Authors’ Notes

We originally did not intend to specify the directions of the words, which is why the logical solution doesn't use this fact. However, after some difficulties in testsolving we made the distinction between wordplay and definition answers clearer.

One of the construction ideas for this meta eventually became the seed for another puzzle in our hunt.

## Appendix: Walkthrough

Note: While this goes through all the steps logically, we expect that the actual solving process (with, e.g., missing answers) can involve additional helpful assumptions like all the words are written in the same direction, every edge has to be used, etc. and educated guesses.

This walkthrough will not assume that words must start from a green node and end at an red node, but will assume knowledge of all answer pairings with their cryptic clue solutions.

First, consider the path from FLIP FLOP to STUDENTS. There is only one path with 6 segments. In particular, this makes the middle two segments I and P in some order. However, SPOKEN WORD must escape using the same segment, and there is no P in WHIRRED. Thus we can place PUPILS and the start of WHIRRED as follows:

Likewise, the path between HEADLESS HORSEMAN and AFTER DARK is unique. This lets us place the G in NIGHT and have two options for the others:

Now, consider what happens to IN PROGRESS (OGRES) and MAD HATTER (THREAT). OGRES can use neither I or H and also cannot escape along the perimeter. Thus the edge between it and the center must be part of the path (and is O or S). Now, THREAT cannot use this path. The only way it can escape is by using the H in NIGHT, which resolves the direction of NIGHT. This also makes the resultant 6 letter path from MAD HATTER to ULTIMATUM unique.

This fixes the path of SPOKEN WORD to HUMMED as it cannot use the direct path from HUMMED to the center (now assigned an A).

FLOWER GIRL must be the start of ROSEMARY, and we can assign ROSEMA as depicted since it is the only way to escape to the center:

DRESSED must be the end of CLOTHED, and there is only one way to escape to the center using OTHED. We can therefore resolve the O/S pair as O. Also, there is only one way to get to the center from THE INSIDE DOPE in two segments, which lets us assign C and L as well.

This lets us assign the rest of the letters, as there is only one remaining path for OGRES, and then ROSEMARY uses the remaining perimeter segment, utilizing the R in WHIRRED, so we’re done!