Report to the Wizarding Academy immediately! (Cryptex Hunt 2022)

Report to the Wizarding Academy immediately!
Cryptex Hunt 2022
Author(s)Sarah Willson

Report to the Wizarding Academy immediately! is a maze-based word puzzle and the third puzzle of the 2022 Cryptex Hunt. It is presented as a series of images and letters connected via lines to form a web-like maze.

Solve Paths

While the puzzle does provide some flavortext (at the bottom), it's not actually too useful until the second half of the puzzle. Instead, solvers should focus on following the instruction at the top to "Find A Path With [their] Spells". Taking note of the symbols of the listed spells, there is exactly one path from the green space (the start) to the red space (the end) that uses all six spells (in the order CHAR, DRAIN, FEATHER, WIND, LIGHTNING, HAND). That path goes through five letters, providing the final answer.}}

Part 1 Final Answer: Click to revealTWIRL.

Now solvers should turn to the flavortext at the bottom, which has several words in it that have been bolded for seemingly no reason. Reading just those words gives the instruction "CUT ONE LETTER FROM EACH SPELL TO MAKE A NEW PATH". Between certain spaces on the maze board being completely unique and not very magical (such as the car), and the six spells being phrased very particularly, solvers should be able to start applying the instruction to form a similar path to the first using new spaces. Each spell can in fact have one letter removed to form a new word, which then describes an image that wasn't used in the first path (such as CHAR dropping the H to become CAR). This time taking the spells in order, solvers can take the path along the new words (RAIN, CAR, LIGHTING, FATHER, OLD, WIN) to spell their new answer with the letters on the path.}}

Part 2 Final Answer: Click to revealCREST.

Puzzle Elements

Part 1

• Marked Letters - Letters crossed by the path in the maze spell the answer.}}

Part 2

• Marked Words - In the text at the bottom, particular words are underlined, which ends up spelling...
• Hint in Flavortext - ...an instruction for the next step, "Cut one letter from each spell to make a new path."
• Letter Removal - Removing a single letter from each spell word gives a new word.
• Repeated Mechanic - While other puzzles all have other ways of reaching a second answer, this puzzle uses the same mechanic (extracting letters along the maze path) twice, just with a different maze solution.