# Connections (Silph Puzzle Hunt 2021)

Connections
Silph Puzzle Hunt 2021
Round 1
Author(s)Level 51
Statistics
No. solves242
No. total guesses376

Connections is a puzzle from Round 1 of the 2021 Silph Puzzle Hunt. Solvers are presented with a 3x3 crossword grid, and a clue for each row and column. Below, there is a list of clues in a lefthand column, alphabetized in groups of 2-4, and in the righthand column, an alphabetized list of similar clues.

## Solve Path

The 3x3 grid at the top can be solved with the clues given for it, yielding a 3x3 grid of letters. This will not prove to be useful for a while, but is needed nonetheless.

There are the same number of entries in either column of clues, hinting that the solver is meant to pair the lefthand and righthand clues together. This fact is further clued by the title of the puzzle.

As solvers fill in answers for the crossword-like clues below the 3x3 grid, they may notice a connection between words answered in the left column and words answered in the right column. Answers in the right column correspond to answers in the left column, minus their first and last letter.

Pairing up each answer in the left column to another answer in the right column and subtracting the letters yields a two letter bigram for each clue. Alternatively, this is just the first and last letter of the lefthand clue, but the lefthand clues are ambiguous enough that a righthand clue pair is often needed to confirm the center letters.

Each of the two letters in the bigrams extracted from the clue pairs is represented in the 3x3 grid solvers filled out at the beginning of the puzzle.

Solvers are meant to draw a line connecting the two letters extracted from each clue on top of the 3x3 grid. Doing so for each group of clues given in the puzzle yields a pictographic representation of a letter. There are 8 groups of clues in the lefthand column, yielding an 8 letter answer.

TO DO