Firefly & Mr. Freeze (QoDE Puzzle Hunt)

Firefly & Mr. Freeze
QoDE Puzzle Hunt
Gotham City (Round 2)
Mr. Freeze and Firefly from 2004's The Batman cartoon.
Author(s)Scott Handelman & Jonah Ostroff (ft. Adam Maresca)
Statistics
No. solves52
No. total guesses90

Firefly & Mr. Freeze was the last-unlocked metapuzzle of the 2021 QoDE Puzzle Hunt. Like the other metapuzzles from the latter half of the hunt, this puzzle was both themed after and named for villains from the Batman series, but is notable in that it uses two otherwise polar-opposite villains in one.

As the 2021 QoDE hunt utilized meta-matching for its second half, the puzzles that contribute to this meta have been spoiler-tagged.

Solve Path

Initially, solvers will see two things: a series of red and blue thermometers, paired up and with varying heights, and the following flavortext:

```It seems you've found yourself in an extreme showdown. With the pair of
villains armed and in hot (and cold) pursuit, you'd better get out of
there!
What will stop Firefly and Mr. Freeze?
```

Beyond clarifying that the two villains as hot- and cold-themed, respectively, this flavortext doesn't do too much to help. Instead, solvers should turn their attention to the answers they've been collecting throughout the hunt, of which they need to figure out a set that goes to this particular metapuzzle.

One thing that they need to notice is that certain answers seem to pair up together. Assuming that they have all of their feeder answers at this point, the most obvious of these pairs is Click to revealMONTREAL CANADIENS and Click to revealFLORIDA PANTHERS, both Click to revealNHL teams. Whichever pair solvers actually discover first, combined with the paired nature of the thermometers, should be enough to prompt them to find a total of 6 pairs of answers to go with this puzzle.

• MONTREAL CANADIENS/FLORIDA PANTHERS - NHL Teams.
• OTHELLO/JULIUS CAESAR - Plays by William Shakespeare.
• HEY YOU/COMFORTABLY NUMB - Songs from Pink Floyd's The Wall.
• SHELL GAME/RAT RACE - Games on The Price Is Right.
• THE DEEP END/DOCTOR STRANGE - Movies with Tilda Swinton in them.
• ZILLAH/CLARA - Names from The Gashlycrumb Tinies.

Now that solvers know what answers this metapuzzle uses, they can look back at the thermometers. The notches measuring height are a good equivalent to word/phrase length, but unfortunately none of the pairs of answers fit in a given pair of thermometers, and even when split up, certain answers won't fit in any of them. Additionally, the +/- numbers at the base of each one seem like they'd be useful for indexing or picking out a particular letter, but it's also unclear as to what to index into or count from.

If solvers are particularly well versed in any of the answer topics, or just do a bit of research into them, they might notice some additional connections between them and the Hot/Cold theme, particularly that there are other members of those categories that are particularly hot or cold.

• NHL teams - COLORADO AVALANCHE and CALGARY FLAMES
• Shakespeare plays - THE WINTER'S TALE and A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM
• The Wall songs - THE THIN ICE and RUN LIKE HELL
• The Price Is Right games - FREEZE FRAME and HOT SEAT
• Tilda Swinton movies - SNOWPIERCER and BURN AFTER READING
• Gashlycrumb Tinies children - WINNIE (embedded in ice) and RHODA (consumed by a fire)

Notably, each of these pairs can actually fit in the thermometers! The only problem left is figuring out how to extract letters from them using the +/- numbers. Indexing from start or end depending on the sign doesn't produce anything useful, so there's clearly something else that needs to be used, likely in the original answers as there is otherwise no reason to use those particular members over any other. In fact, the one connecting factor is that each answer contains either exactly one H or exactly one C, allowing solvers to pair them up with the thermometers as well (H for the Hot answer, C for the Cold answer), as well as giving a starting point for the indexing. For example, as Click to revealHEY YOU has H as its first letter, one should start at the first letter of the phrase in its thermometer (Click to revealRUN LIKE HELL), and take the letter 9 forward from it (from the thermometer's +9). This extracts an L.

Doing this for each thermometer in order from left to right results in the final answer, and something that can stop both fire and ice..

Element List

• Metapuzzle (Shell)
• Meta-Matching

• Pairing Up
• Common Categories
• The Price Is Right
• Pink Floyd
• Shakespeare Plays
• Tilda Swinton
• The Gashlycrumb Tinies
• NHL Teams
• Indexing (Particular Letter Position)
• Index Shifting

Award Date of Ceremony Category Result
Bravo Awards January 13, 2022 Best Metapuzzle Nominated
Puzzlvaria Favorites of 2021 December 29, 2021 Top 10 Metapuzzles #1