Public Access

# Solution to Repetition and Variation

by Dahlia Schwartz
Art by Suzanna Roberts

## Flavor text

There are two parts to the puzzle: a short story and genetics logic puzzle. The quote above the short story serves as flavor text and is meant to hint at the following:

Title & a variation on the Universal Story
alludes to the idea of tropes
hid within the digits of my displays
hints at the A-Z:1-26 cipher in the numbers in the story & spreadsheet
Discover this message, and you will have learned what you need to proceed
suggests that once the cipher is decoded, it is time to do the Punnett squares
in the end, only the story points the way from chaos to order.
suggests that one must return to the story to order the tropes
take count of all that you see.
a hint to count the letters in the encoded message which in turn hints that they correspond to the squares in the chambers

## Story

Within the story, the digits encode in a A-Z:1-26 cipher the following words.

• ALIEN
• BIZARRE
• BUFFY
• CREAM
• DINOSAURS
• DISASTER
• DOMINOES
• EGG
• EXPOSPEAK
• ICE
• IMPLEMENTS
• KILLED
• KOAN
• MACGUFFIN
• NOODLE
• PHLEBOTINUM
• REPRODUCTION
• SPEAK
• THE

These words can be assembled into the names of 8 science fiction tropes, all of which are listed at TV TROPES as well as on other sites.

There are 8 sections of the story and 8 trope names. Each trope name is exemplified in one section of the story which provides the ordering for the list of tropes as follows:

1. NOODLE IMPLEMENTS
2. DISASTER DOMINOES
3. EGG MACGUFFIN
4. BIZARRE ALIEN REPRODUCTION
5. BUFFY SPEAK
6. PHLEBOTINUM KILLED THE DINOSAURS
7. EXPOSPEAK
8. ICE CREAM KOAN

The same AZ1-26 cipher is used on the spreadsheet in the table under the section "Excerpts from Lt. Vrolid's Notes." Decoded, the message provides instructions as to what to do with the ordered trope names:

CONCATENATE STORY ANSWERS AND ENTER ROW BY ROW ACROSS CHAMBERS

In addition, there are 128 letters in the trope names, and 16 x 8=128 spots in the 8 chambers. This suggests placing the letters in order in the chambers from left-to-right and then top-to-bottom as indicated in the text on the spreadsheet.

That is all the information that can be extracted from just the story.

## Punnett Squares & Logic Puzzle

The solutions to the Punnett squares and logic puzzle are below.

### Pod 1: MNSU x NTPU

MSMUNSNU
NPMNPSMNPUNNPSNNPU
NUMNSUMNUUNNSUNNUU
TPMTPSMTPUNTPSNTPU
TUMTSUMTUUNTSUNTUU

### Pod 2: MNSU x MTPS

MSMUNSNU
MPMMPSMMPUMNPSMNPU
MSMMSSMMSUMNSSMNSU
TPMTPSMTPUNTPSNTPU
TSMTSSMTSUNTSSNTSU

### Pod 3: MTSU x NTPS

MSMUTSTU
NPMNPSMNPUNTPSNTPU
NSMNPSMNSUNTSSNTSU
TPMTPSMTPUTTPSTTPU
TSMTSSMTSUTTSSTTSU

### Pod 4: MNPS x NTSU

MPMSNPNS
NSMNPSMNSSNNPSNNSS
NUMNPUMNSUNNPUNNSU
TSMTPSMTSSNTPSNTSS
TUMTPUMTSUNTPUNTSU

### Pod 5: MNPU x MTSU

MPMUNPNU
MSMNPSMMSUMNPSMNSU
MUMMPUMMUUMNPUMNUU
TSMTPSMTSUNTPSNTSU
TUMTPUMTUUNTPUNTUU

### Pod 6: MNPU x NTSU

MPMUNPNU
NSMNPSMNSUNNPSNNSU
NUMNPUMNUUNNPUNNUU
TSMTPSMTSUNTPSNTSU
TUMTPUMTUUNTPUNTUU

### Pod 7: NTSU x MNPS

NSNUTSTU
MPMNPSMNPUMTPSMTPU
MSMNSSMNSUMTSSMTSU
NPNNPSNNPUNTPSNTPU
NSNNSSNNSUNTSSNTSU

### Pod 8: MTSU x NTSU

MSMUTSTU
NSMNSSMNSUNTSSNTSS
NUMNSUMNUUNTSUNTUU
TSMTSSMTSUTTSSTTSU
TUMTSUMTUUTTSUTTUU

Solving the logic problem for each pod's Punnett square yields a single cell–the protozygote or progenitor–of a pod.

In some cases, the color of the chamber heading in the diagram indicates the progenitor phenotype; in others, it can be determined from the logic in the Notes section.

The progenitor squares are outlined in red in the Punnett square solutions above, and their row and column coordinates are given in the summary table.

Putting together the Punnett square solutions and the solution to the logic puzzle embedded in the notes gives:

Table summarizing Punnett square and logic puzzle solutions
chamber(row, col)cell eggsPhenoCrossPod
1(2, 3)This square is fuchsia3NSMNPU x MTSU5
2(0, 3)This square is red4NUMTSU x NTPS3
3(0, 0)This square is sky blue8MPNTSU x MNPS7
4(1, 0)This square is teal5MSMNSU x NTPU1
5(2, 0)This square is gray2TPMNPS x NTSU4
6(1, 1)This square is green7MUMTSU x NTSU8
7(2, 2)This square is blue6NPMNSU x MTPS2
8(2, 1)This square is gold1TSMNPU x NTSU6

### Same table, in POD order

chamber(row, col)cell eggsPhenoCrossPod
4(1, 0)This square is teal5MSMNSU x NTPU1
7(2, 2)This square is blue6NPMNSU x MTPS2
2(0, 3)This square is red4NUMTSU x NTPS3
5(2, 0)This square is gray2TPMNPS x NTSU4
1(2, 3)This square is fuchsia3NSMNPU x MTSU5
8(2, 1)This square is gold1TSMNPU x NTSU6
3(0, 0)This square is sky blue8MPNTSU x MNPS7
6(1, 1)This square is green7MUMTSU x NTSU8

## Final extraction

Given 8 chambers with a 4x4 grid and 8 Punnett squares with a 4x4 grid suggests superimposing the one on the other for an extraction mechanism.

Superimposing the Punnett squares on the appropriate chambers highlights one cell per chamber. With the letters of the trope names filled into the boxes in the chambers:

 N O O D L E I M P L E M E N T S D I S A S T E R D O M I N O E S E G G M A C G U F F I N B I Z A R R E A L I E N R E P R O D U C T I O N B U F F Y S P E A K P H L E B O T I N U M K I L L E D T H E D I N O S A U R S E X P O S P E A K I C E C R E A M K O A N

Ordering these by number of eggs, as hinted in the story, yields the answer CLAMBAKE.