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Extraction elements are, as the name would suggest, elements relating to the extraction process. Specifically, they include any methods that can and have been used to extract an answer, clue phrase, or instruction in a hunt puzzle. While there are certainly many ways of doing so, extraction elements only become so after having seen sufficient (as in two or more times) use.
Core Characteristics[edit | edit source]
It's much easier to determine what can be an extraction element than what is exclusively an extraction element. This is because there is ample opportunity for what would normally be considered an extraction element to be used in a non-extraction format. However, focusing on what is primarily used as an extraction mechanism allows for a bit more picking-and-choosing for inclusion.
An extraction element must be capable of extracting a word or phrase, either as a whole or letter-by-letter (or in rarer cases, segment-by-segment). However, with the wide range of things existing that are capable of mapping to the alphabet or particular words/phrases, some elements have to incorporate the more specific methods, such as any number-letter substitution being filed under Alphanumeric Substitution Cipher.
It's also important that an extraction element does not need to be used to extract the final answer in a puzzle in order to be considered for inclusion. Since extraction as a concept extends to things like intermediate/final clue phrases and intermediate puzzle instructions, the criteria for extraction elements must extend to them as well.
Subtypes[edit | edit source]
Extraction elements can primarily be broken up into groups based on the method by which they extract.
Decryption[edit | edit source]
Decryption extraction involves deciphering a code or cipher, or at least something that can easily map to letter or words in a given language. That means that not only are 'traditional' codes used to obfuscate information (like the Caesar cipher) members of this category, but systems for regular, open communication are as well (such as flag semaphore).
Visual Extraction[edit | edit source]
Visual extraction involves systems that result in some kind of image or visual representation of one's final piece of information. This includes both actions taken to generate an image (such as playing Charades) and ways of expressing an image (such as bitmaps).
Letter and String Extraction[edit | edit source]
Letter and string extraction involves taking specific portions of words and phrases based on various criteria. That criteria can be the position of them within the strings, an outside value or marking that indicates what to take, or a relationship to another string.
Other Extractions[edit | edit source]
As not all extractions fit neatly into the other three categories, the miscellaneous ones will be lumped into this category. These include things at both extremes of the puzzle-involvement spectrum, from heavier-than-normal (odd-one-out), to the minimal (extraction by reward).
- Extraction By Reward - Rather than extracting from a puzzle directly, solvers are required to complete a task. If done correctly, the hunt organizers reward them with the answer.
- Instructional Extraction - When a puzzle explicitly explains how to extract its final answer.
- Odd-One-Out - When given a series of items, solvers have to identify a quality common among all but one of them, extracting the one that doesn't share that quality.
- Unclued Information - When a puzzle, when solved, fills in a space where everything present should be clued in some way, but one part appears to have manifested out of the blue. For example, a crossword where one entry in the centre is completely unclued, and inevitably is either used as the final answer or helps to extract the next step.
- Unused Information - Since most information in hunt puzzles is used during the solving process, unused information near the end of a puzzle is suspicious. Sometimes, an answer can be extracted directly from it.