Kids These Days (Silph Puzzle Hunt 2021)

Kids These Days
Silph Puzzle Hunt 2021
Round 1
Author(s)Level 51
Statistics
No. solves296
No. total guesses483

Kids These Days is a puzzle from Round 1 of the 2021 Silph Puzzle Hunt. The puzzle presents a list of facts and a description of what the solver is trying to order - There are nine children, four boys and five girls, standing in file, each holding an integer from 2 to 10. Some of the logic clues are odd, and the solver might not know what to make of them at the start of the puzzle, such as One of the girls was responsible for damage to an insect living space.

Solve Path

There are two avenues of attack at the start of this puzzle - solvers may look to the logic clues and start finding information about the order and held number of the children, or they may do some external research on the children's names and odd clues. As it turns out, the logic puzzle is not fully solvable without understanding those weird clues.

Clued at from the title, flavortext, and various clues in the logic puzzle, these children are all protagonists in books whose title follow the form The [Boy / Girl] Who (Blank). There are multiple potential break-ins for this step, but one of the stronger ones is by searching for the character Lisbeth, who is the protagonist of the popular Millennium series. The book that this puzzle is referencing is The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest with the clue One of the girls was responsible for damage to an insect living space. The name Lisbeth is unique enough that Google confidently directs to the correct book series.

After each kid in the list is associated to a book, the weird clues in the logic puzzle section will make more sense. Using this new information, the logic puzzle can now be solved.

Below is an example of how one might break into the logic puzzle

For simplicity's sake, clues will be referred to by number, where 1 is the first clue on the page and 13 is the last.

• Clue 3 places two girls on the outside, who hold numbers 4 and 9 by clue 1
• Clue 10 is referring to two boys. They can not hold 2/4 or 4/8 from clue 1, or 3/6 from clue 5, so they must hold 5/10
• Clue 2 now means the other two boys hold the remaining even numbers, 2 and 8. Clue 12 now says Sammy is next to a Boy, which is the only boy-boy adjacency.

Once the logic puzzle is done, each kid is associated with an integer between 2 and 10, inclusive. Hinted by the flavor text not exactly on a first-name basis, solvers are meant to obtain the last names of each of these children, and index the number they hold into that name. Doing so yields the final answer.

Puzzle Elements

• Zebra Puzzle - A classic example, using names, positions, and held numbers. Unfortunately, it doesn't provide a grid to use, but it's easy enough to make oneself.

• Literature (Book Titles, Characters) - The logic puzzle isn't solvable (at least not without a lot of guesswork or luck) without figuring out who the vague descriptions are about. The key to it is that each kid is the protagonist of a book titled "The Boy Who X" or "The Girl Who X", with X being what is hinted at by the descriptions. This allows for replacement of the descriptions with actual names, which makes the puzzle solvable.
• Reordering (Positional) - One of the factors that is determined by the logic puzzle is the order in which the kids are standing. Keeping this order afterwards lets solvers extract their answer correctly.
• Hint in Flavortext - At this point in the puzzle, it should be time to extract, but from what? The flavortext mentions not being on a first-name basis with the kids, implying that the important part to use is the kids' last names.
• Indexing - Indexing into the kids' last names by the number they're holding results in a final (fitting) answer for a bunch of kids asked to do a complex task.