Solution: Meta 1: Fairground
Answer: TACO CART
Written by aki and Jonathan
There are 3 separate meta puzzles taken from the normal puzzle round. After solving the prepuzzle, we have found that Waldo went back to three scenes in his very first book. Subsequently, we visit 26 locations, each of which belongs to one of the three given scenes.
|Concert Stage||HEADLINE ACT|
|Drop Tower||SUFFERING PROCESS|
|Haunted House||IRRATIONAL FEAR|
|Refreshment Stand||ACAI LUNCH|
|Roller Coasters||MOVING PLATFORM|
|Animal Show||RAT DISAGREES|
As clued by the flavor text, we should split the two words from each answer, and pair them by answer length.
|Length||Left word||Right word||Extracted letter|
Once paired, we notice that each pair of words has exactly one common letter in the same position. Extracting this letter from each pair, we obtain the first location where Waldo can be found, the TACO CART.
Meta 1 was the very first puzzle that was written for this hunt! The hunt started out as an 8-puzzle, 1-meta hunt themed around losing Waldo at the amusement park. However, somehow as we wrote more puzzles, we started getting more inspired and eventually, the hunt became a 3-meta, 26-puzzle hunt. At the very start, I (aki) really wanted the meta to be a “pure” meta, that is, there was no other element other than the puzzle answers. Thus, we thought of as many things as we could that involves just letters of words. After coming up with the idea of pairing words and extracting common letters, we began writing the first version of the hunt with 8 puzzles.
Later on, as we began expanding the hunt, we started brainstorming more meta ideas. Given meta 1 was pure, we thought it would be somewhat out-of-place to have the other metas not themselves be pure metas. At that point, I suggested to Jon, what if we have all three metas consist of the same concepts of “splitting” and “pairs”, and for all of them to share the same flavor text? Taking it one step further, what if all the metas were on the same page? (This last idea was eventually rejected by testsolvers.)