Baking Bread

by Bryan Lee and Ivan Wang


We start by solving the descriptions of bread using the enumerations, each of which resolves to a nonsense phrase such as CROP PAUSES CASH or TRUMPS FROM JANE. Next to each description is also a picture of two or three actions used in breadmaking: mixing, kneading, and baking, in some order.

These phrases are in fact Spoonerisms of two or three words. The order of the actions depicts how to swap the sounds between words - for example, CROP PAUSES CASH turns into POP CAUSES CRASH. By applying the same sound swap to the puzzle title, we uncover another insight: each of these phrases refers to a Breaking Bad character.

This bread is made from a cultivated plant that momentarily halts money.CROP PAUSES CASHPOP CAUSES CRASHJANE
This bread was invented when we wrote on a keyboard to our beeper-using mother.TYPED PAGER MOMPIPED MAJOR TOMGALE
This bread uses a chili flavored by a piece of feces.STOOL PEPPERPOOL STEPPERSKYLER
This bread is made from dough with carefully woven diagonal ridges shaped like your family members.TWILLED KINSKILLED TWINSHANK
This bread hits you so hard, you'll want to wear one of your pal's newlywed wife's sleeveless jackets.FRIEND'S BRIDE VESTSVENDS FRIED BREASTSGUS
The recipe for this bread was first discovered on computers that would move bytes from the server onto a single pane in Chrome.LOAD THE TABTOWED THE LABCLOVIS
This bread comes with tools for autumn chores and is served in round, deep dishes.RAKES BOWLSBAKES ROLLSSAUL
This pastry is so soft that customers often lathered its churned cream on their skin to soothe a tingle.BUTTERED ITCHUTTERED BITCHJESSE
Special deal! This bread comes in sets of two for those who are gutsy, not wimpy.PAIRS BALLSYBEARS PALSYFLYNN
The secret ingredient in this pastry? It's full of mites and spherical green seeds.TICKY WITH PEASPICKY WITH TEASLYDIA
Enjoy this pastry with a game of cards -- you'll see spades (in spades!) played by a common Doe.TRUMPS FROM JANEJUMPS FROM TRAINTODD
The design on this bread looks like interwoven thread over a metal once used in paints.BRAID ON LEADLAID ON BREADHUELL
This bread is especially favored by a father of a hereditary social class.POP IN CASTECOP IN PASTMIKE
This bread is best served with hearty dishes made from a school of fish.SHOAL STEWSSTOLE SHOESMARIE
This bread is best enjoyed by a sister that enjoys ambulatory exercise.NUN WHO WALKSONE WHO KNOCKSWALTER

Looking at the flavortext, a few words have hidden meanings: cast, which refers to actors in a show, and iron and table, which refer to the periodic table. Each of the actors in the show has a chemical symbol in their name highlighted in the intro credits of each episode. (A list of the cast symbols can be found here; if a team did not have access to any streaming services during the hunt, HQ would have provided this list.)

The last step is to notice that the prices of the breads are very close to integer amounts in dollars. We can transcribe each price as a dollar amount and an offset in cents; for example, $1.99 is equivalent to $2 and -1¢, while -$2.01 is -$2 and -1¢. Using the dollar amount as a horizontal (group) offset and the cent as a vertical offset (period), we can move across the periodic table starting from each actor’s element to land on another element.

CharacterActor (cast symbol highlighted)Cast symbolOffset (h, v)Offset element
SKYLERAN[NA] GUNNNa$15.99 (16, -1)F
CLOVISTOM KI[ES]CHEEs-$7.01 (-7, -1)Nd
SAULB[O]B ODENKIRKO-$2.97 (-3, 3)In
JESSEA[AR]ON PAULAr-$0.97 (-1, 3)At
FLYNNRJ MIT[TE]Te-$0.03 (0, -3)O
LYDIALAURA [FR]ASERFr$11.95 (12, -5)B
TODDJ[ES]SE PLEMONSEs-$10.00 (-10, 0)Ac
MIKEJON[AT]HAN BANKSAt-$11.02 (-11, -2)Cr
MARIE[BE]TSY BRANDTBe$14.00 (14, 0)O

Reading the elements spells out our final cluephrase: IT’S FOUND IN A TOBACCO CROP. As chemistry has been a core theme of this puzzle, the answer is the well-known chemical found in tobacco, or NICOTINE.

Authors' Notes

Breaking Bad is hands down the best show on TV.