Solution: Accept Cookies
Authors: Alison Chang, Melissa Yuan
Each of the images refers to an Oreo variety, which is clued by the title “Accept Cookies” and the fact that the flavor text refers to these as treats despite include things like chicken, Android, and Lady Gaga. When correctly identified, the flavors start with letters A-M.
The answer to each clue is a four letter word where the first and last letters are the same, just like the word OREO. The clues are given in alphabetical order. Each clue is also four words long, and there is exactly one word in the clue that is four letters long.
If you sort the flavors alphabetically and then index into the answers using the position of the four-letter word in the clue, you get MARKDOWNEIGHT. This solves to DISCOUNT, which answers the question in the flavor text.
|Flavor||Clue Phrase||Answer||4-letter Word Position||Extracted Letter|
|Android||CHARACTERS IN GAME SERIES||SIMS||3||M|
|Birthday Cake||THE JETS ARE ONE||GANG||2||A|
|Cool Mint Creme||NOTABLE LAKE IN AMERICA||ERIE||2||R|
|Double Oreo Chiara Ferragni||PAIRED GEAR FOR SPORT||SKIS||2||K|
|Easter Egg||DANGEROUS PART OF KNIFE||EDGE||2||D|
|Filled Cupcake||UNSUCCESSFUL FILM NOBODY WATCHES||BOMB||2||O|
|Good Humor Strawberry Shortcake||PLANTS OR FARM ANIMALS||SOWS||3||W|
|Hot Chicken Wing||SOMETHING TO IRON OUT||KINK||3||N|
|Ice Cream Oreo Rainbow Shure Bert||IN KITCHEN, MAKE READY||PREP||3||E|
|Jelly Donut||COMMON VERB IN OBITUARY||DIED||2||I|
|Kettle Corn||HE HOSTED TONY AWARDS||HUGH||3||G|
|Lady Gaga||STATE WITH CARDINAL SYMBOL||OHIO||2||H|
|Marshmallow Crispy||STRESSORS FOR HIGH SCHOOLERS||SATS||3||T|
We wanted to write a puzzle about food, and Melissa suggested an Oreo theme. We wanted the Oreo aha to be necessary to solve the puzzle, since that realization helps with recognizing the letter pattern and word length of all the answers (as well as emphasizing that the number 4 comes into play for both clue word count and the occurrence of a single four-letter word). To do this, we intentionally chose some flavors that are recognizable by picture as well as those that are more unusually named and would require the aha to identify. We also made sure to choose some odd flavors that would not immediately qualify as treats, to hopefully push solvers to look up flavors together. (Shout out to Darren for suggesting the A-M flavor scheme which hopefully helped the sorting step feel more compelling).
During the hunt, this puzzle tripped up more teams than originally anticipated due to requiring a number of separate observations. We still hope though that it doubled as a crash course for a variety of puzzle mechanics (especially for newer teams), such as noticing patterns in clue answers (or clues themselves), identifying collections of things in external references, or even how to interpret crossword style clue phrases, all of which we got plenty of questions around in the hundreds of hint requests we received.
The biggest challenges of this puzzle were probably 1) dealing with the lack of organized Oreo flavor documentation on the internet (in fact, we originally thought there was nothing starting with an E and thought about petitioning Nabisco, and we even had to do some light Wikipedia editing) and 2) repeatedly getting distracted by Oreo cravings while writing.
This puzzle is not sponsored by Nabisco.