If You Give... (Silph Puzzle Hunt 2021)

If You Give...
Silph Puzzle Hunt 2021
Round 1
Author(s)mstang
Statistics
No. solves306
No. total guesses611

If You Give... is a puzzle from Round 1 of the 2021 Silph Puzzle Hunt. Solvers are presented with a series of clues that seem to describe how somebody or something might react to some unknown thing, and each clue starts with an ordered pair of the form (X,Y).

Solve Path

The first thing solvers may note is that the sentence format is taken from the popular children's book If You Give A Mouse A Cookie. In other words, if solvers start with the puzzle's title and read each sentence in turn, they'll get very similar sentences to those from the book, albeit missing both nouns from the first half. This connection isn't the most important, however, and only really informs one bit of the puzzle.

Each clue has a duple that is meant to be read with the word a in between. For example, with the first clue, it should be read as If you give your A a B, he'll appreciate the opportunity.... In each clue, a single word replaces the letters of each duple, making a punny sentence that puts the "reaction" in context. In addition, the letter string AaB always forms a new word.

These clues can be solved in any order. One potential break-in is the clue with the dupe (O,P). Stewie and Chris are brothers from the television show Family Guy, who have a sister named MEG. The rest of the clue talks about seems to clue to Meg getting a PHONE. When read out, solvers may then hear it as the word MEGAPHONE.

Knowing the fact that valid words will be made from the duples with the letter a in between can help the solver to fill any remaining clues they may have unfilled.

Turning to the string at the bottom for extraction, solvers are meant to index the number next to each capital letter into the word that letter represents (i.e. O3 indicates to take the third letter of word O [MEG], resulting in a G). Doing so yields the cluphrase EATS OR SONGBIRDS EIGHT, which is to be read as EATS OR SONGBIRDS (8). The answer to this clue is the final answer to this puzzle.

Puzzle Elements

• Literature (Children's Literature) - Theming. The book "If You Give A Mouse A Cookie" has a particular sentence structure that appears multiple times, and is mimicked in this puzzle.

• Word Compounds - The primary mechanic of this puzzle is concatenating two words together (with the letter a in between) to form a new word, such as MEG and PHONE creating MEG(A)PHONE.
• Indexing - The puzzle's extraction is fairly straightforward. Indexing into labelled words via noted numbers may not be the simplest way to index, but with no other interfering aspects, at least this last step isn't too complex.
• Final Clue Phrase/Enumeration - EATS OR SONGBIRDS EIGHT. The enumeration is baked into the words of the clue, rather than being presented outside, as part of the puzzle.