This puzzle made the “top five” for the Mystery Hunt, and I didn’t see it during the hunt, so I thought I’d give it a shot.
Actually, I didn’t see any of the top five during the hunt, though one of the five was explained during the wrapup. I may try the remaining three later….
The puzzle is here and my solving log for my 55 minute solve is after the cut…
0:00:00: Opened it up and … it’s empty?
0:00:31: The title is odd enough, is that the whole puzzle? let’s compare HTML sources with other puzzles.. to be sure.
0:01:32: Yep, looks like it… ok, it reads like a palindrome… maybe we can swap things in/out to make it one?
0:01:53: I don’t like LASS, let’s onelook it. (“:lass”, of course).
0:02:38: DAMSEL could reverse to LES MAD(E LOVE)… though LES and JFK don’t seem too similar. Let’s keep looking at LASS, then we’ll look at building off DAMSEL
0:03:49: GAL can obviously be the end of palindrome, but isn’t more interesting than DAMSEL.
0:04:25: hmm, it’s SHAGS not SHAGGED. So DAMSEL’s not great anyway. Alright, what else could be going on.
0:04:50: multiple translations to/from different languages…
0:05:09: Let’s see what nicknames JFK had, just for kicks.
0:05:48: JACK… and that’s pretty much it.
0:07:40: Let’s put in synonyms… JACK SCREWS A FORLORN THIN GAL… not much better
0:09:22: using the anagrammer at oneacross.com… no C, so it can’t can’t anagram into a synonym (starting “JACK…”).
0:11:57: onelook’ing each word… also looking at “jack *” phrases…
0:13:11: doesn’t type interestingly on a qwerty keyboard… maybe it does on Dvorak and translates to qwerty or vice versa (why? I dunno)
0:14:41: dvorak->qwerty:…. screwed them both up, starting over
0:15:47: HUT ODAIO A OAE ONCM NAOO, no… and the other way gives semicolons. ok, not it.
0:18:07: Hmm, but they are all homerow… except for SLIM with makes a nice arrow pointing to .. semicolon
0:18:36: JFK has 7 steps, SHAGS 16, A 0… SAD 3 SLIM is that arrow, LASS 9…. so something like GPA C;I
0:21:35: Even fudged to compensate for A and SLIM, that looks like nothing. And why would it be keyboard? Okay, let’s get back to abstract.
0:23:53: Are they allusions to NATO alphabet letters?
0:25:09: There’s one LASS, but that doesn’t help me much
0:30:50: Hmm. it uses every homerow key. plus I and M. Makes an arrow/sword shape… odd…
0:32:48: Putting into decrypto just in case. Nothing promising. Now Hal’s…
0:39:41: No good replacements for S. doesn’t seem to work.
0:41:32: Hmm, 11 letters with frequency 6,4,2,(8x1). 20 letters, 18 in the home row. Why these 11 letters?
0:42:42: Let’s anagram just the 11.
0:43:08: None for ADFGHIJKLMS
0:48:07: Tried translating the locations of the letters into letters… tried putting them into 4x5 and 5x4 rectangles…
0:49:42: Hawaiian has 13 letters, not 11. Didn’t think that was it.
0:51:42: Maybe foward along the homerow is dash and backward is dot (and we ignore SLIM for now)
0:51:56: JFK=A, SHAGS=C, A=E (we’ll say for now, maybe word break), SAD=A. SLIM=D (maybe) LASS=R?
0:53:37: That didn’t work well, ignoring the fact that the letters came out ACEADR. Hmmm
0:54:26: Okay, at this point I would guess SEMICOLON. That looks like an arrow. If that turns out to be right, I want credit now.
0:55:11: Actually, they’re all shifted. I would also guess COLON.
0:57:45: okay, I did a wget on the solution page. I grepped for SEMICOLON, nothing.. I grepped for COLON, and it’s there!
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