Opening Ceremony (Silph Puzzle Hunt 2021)

Opening Ceremony
Silph Puzzle Hunt 2021
Round 1
Author(s)Level 51
AnswerClick to revealBEGINNING
No. solves366
No. total guesses426

Opening Ceremony is the aptly-named first puzzle of Round 1 of the 2021 Silph Puzzle Hunt. Solvers are presented with a grid of letters with some squares blank, and beneath, a list of pairs of crossword-like clues. There is no flavor text, so the only other information the solver has to work with is the title.

Solve Path[edit | edit source]


After filling out answers for the crossword clues and searching for those answers in the grid, solvers may see that most of a word is present, but some letters seem to be missing. A potential break-in is solving the clue Bridge in San Francisco (6 4) to GOLDEN GATE, and seeing the letters GOLD*TE in the grid, where * is a blank square.

As it turns out, every pair of clues cross the same blank square. In the example above, GOLD*TE goes diagonally up left through a blank square, and the paired clue, Souvenirs (9) clues the word MEMENTOES, which goes horizontally right through the same blank square as M*OES, missing the letters EMENT. This fact is meant to be found out naturally, through solving both clues in a row and placing them in the grid. Once this fact is known, it can help solve the remaining clues - if one clue in a pair is solved, the blank square the other travels through is now known, greatly reducing the possible words that could fit.

Concatenating the missing letters from the clues, in order of clue phrase, comes close to spelling a word. Specifically, a ceremonial word. The previous example omits the letters ENGA and EMENT, which is one letter off the word ENGAGEMENT.

The additional letter is the needed piece of information from each clue pair. Filling in each missing letter into the corresponding blank square in the puzzle, then reading top-to-bottom, left-to-right, spells the final answer.

Puzzle Elements[edit | edit source]

  • Wordsearch - The large grid of letters looks quite a bit like a wordsearch, despite the gaps in the array.
  • Crossword Clues - The actual first step to start solving, since it's hard to solve a wordsearch (especially a gimmicky one) without knowing what to look for. Some of the clues are unambiguous because of the given enumeration, such as Bridge in San Francisco (6 4), but others are more ambiguous and the solver is meant to use the wordsearch as aid.
  • Missing Information - As it turns out, each clue answer crosses one of the gaps, with some number of letters missing from the entry in the wordsearch. In fact, each clue pair's answers cross at a gap, meaning they each lose letters at the same point. Reading all of the letters at a given gap (in the order that the clues are arranged in each pair) almost leads to types of ceremonies.
  • Recursion - Each ceremony is once again missing something. This time, it's only one letter per gap, letting solvers read them off in order to get their final answer.