by Brian Shimanuki, Nishant Pappireddi, and Steven Silverman


This is a rose garden puzzle, with gears as roses. However, there are only two sets of gears instead of three, and the lines next to the row letters go up and down as they pass over the gray hexes.


ASpanish law firmGARRIGUES
BYogurt brandNOOSA
Type of ore in World of WarcraftDRACONIUM
A baker or a cat, for exampleKNEADER
CScottish instrumentDOODLESACK
DMore economical vehicle for transporting goods (3 wds)MINI CARGO VAN
Color on Captain America's shieldRED
EType of tie-breaking shotsPENALTY
Components of a home security system (2 wds)WIRED ALARMS
Org. Andrei Sator sabotagesCIA
FBeat in a hot dog contestOUTATE
GContainers lined up at the curb, perhaps (2 wds)FULL TRASHES
HFoot of a lion?REGULUS
With this, as in a formal documentHERETO
Czech lagerPILSENER
IUnderstanding of what you're thinking?TELEPATHY
Something that can be bear or bullMARKET
J__________           in one's beltNOTCH
Signal distorting phenomenonSTATIC
Button in an email clientSEND
KOld game console, for shortNES
Tagline for a Himalayan product, perhaps (2 wds)PUREST SALT
Locking mechanismDEADBOLT
LGenesis creatorSEGA
Fancy vacation houseVILLA

Dark Gears

A gender in GermanNEUTER
Anxiety or discontentUNEASE
Checked offTICKED
Decorative pattern formed from tiles or glassMOSAIC
Dolores Umbridge's HorcruxLOCKET
Having practical valueUSEFUL
In a prudent mannerWISELY
Interjection heard from a player on the field (2 wds)IM OPEN
Moana stacks theseSTONES
One of four postulated for Phantom StrangerORIGIN
People who live outside their native countryEXPATS
Strong insistenceAVOWAL
Thor's homeASGARD
Unreasonable delay, in lawLACHES

Light Gears

"__________           is not an advantage", per MycroftCARING
Braced oneself, as before a demanding situationNERVED
Car Ferris Bueller takesSPYDER
Cry in battle (2 wds)TO ARMS
Fluid produced and used in the mouthSALIVA
Forcefully removes offending entitiesPURGES
Old-fashioned spelling for sound compositionMUSICK
Piece of wood used in typesetting to space paragraphsREGLET
Respectable job for Gordon GekkoTRADER
Song or poem with a storyBALLAD
Stringy staple foodNOODLE
Western movie villainOUTLAW
Winning __________           and mindsHEARTS

While solving the grid, we realize a few things. First, each row passing through a hex leaves a letter there. Second, those rows criss-cross every time they go through a hex. Third, the gears turn (with light and dark turning in opposite directions) and the words for the rows appear in one of the orientations.

Here is the grid in the different orientations.

Click the arrows to rotate

Two letters go on each hex, one from each row that passes through it. If we order each bigram with the lower lettered row first, it spells DIAGONALISECHARS, short for “diagonalise characters.” The words for the rows appear in 5 of the 6 orientations. In the 6th unused orientation, if we look along the diagonals, we can find GOOD, LAWFUL, NEUTRAL, CHAOTIC, and EVIL, in approximately the right places for a character alignment chart.

There are no characters in the filled grids, but there are 9 characters that appear in clues. These can be placed into an alignment chart relatively neatly.

GoodCaptain AmericaThorMoana
NeutralMycroftPhantom StrangerFerris Bueller
EvilDolores UmbridgeGordon GekkoAndrei Sator

If we diagonalize their names in row-major order, we get CHARTSSET, or with formatting, CHART’S SET. The set of things in an alignment chart is ALIGNMENTS.

Author’s Notes

Gears felt like a natural component to try to utilize for the factory, and once I thought about how letters would fit on gears, it naturally started looking like a rose garden. This is the first rose garden I’ve constructed, and the choices of orientations for different rows made it seem too complex to use much tooling (like qxw), so this was mostly a manual process.

Most people seem to ask about the correctness of the plurality of the answer given the cluephrase CHART’S SET. Despite “Alignment” singular having the strongest association to the chart, the grouping of things in a set is a plural (e.g. the Integers), and thus the set in the alignment chart is “Alignments.”