Solution: Magic Ear
Answer: KRIS KRINGLE
This puzzle is meant to be a ‘sensory’ play on Magic Eye images. Magic Eye illusions involve manipulating a repeating pattern to hide a secret image. Thematically, this puzzle does something similar with audio, thus the name Magic Ear.
Teams are presented with eleven audio files. Each audio file is exactly 125 seconds long and is composed of the same twenty-five-second audio clip repeated 5 times. The first 25-second segment is an excerpt from a song. Each subsequent repetition is that same song clip with some buzzing overlaid on top. We can start by identifying each of the songs. The first words of these song titles reveal the clue phrase SUBTRACT TWENTY-FIVE SECOND SHIFT CREATE PNG AT DIRECT MUSIC DOT MESUBTRACT TWENTY-FIVE SECOND SHIFT CREATE PNG AT DIRECT MUSIC DOT ME.
Using this phrase and the flavor text, teams are now expected to generate a 100-second audio file by taking the difference between the first 100 seconds (0:00 to 1:40) and the last 100 seconds (0:25 to 2:05). This can be done in Audacity by trimming two copies of the audio file to the correct intervals, inverting one, and then mixing them. The remaining audio file will be 100 seconds of buzzing.
The next step is to turn this audio file into an image file. The clue phrase points you to an online tool that converts wav files into png files. Plugging your buzzing audio clip into this website will produce an image that looks like the same base image repeated many times. These images are Magic Eye illusions that are hiding a clue to the final step. If you struggle to visually decipher Magic Eye images there are many websites that will extract the hidden picture for you.
Each of these hidden images clues a word or phrase that when prepended with the word “Magic” is the title of a song. (We’ve gone full circle from audio to visual back to audio.) These songs contain lyrics that match the blanks given in the original puzzle. If you fill in all of the blanks, the first letters of the words spell the final answer, KRIS KRINGLE.
|Original Song||Magic Eye Image||Extracted Image||Clue Word/Phrase||"Magic" Song||Missing Lyric|
|Subtract You by Zebrahead||link||link||FINGERS||Magic Fingers by Frank Zappa||KAPOK infested|
|Twenty-Five Miles by Edwin Starr||link||link||STICK||Magic Stick by Lil’ Kim||RAKIM made hits|
|Second Hand News by Fleetwood Mac||link||link||BUS||Magic Bus by The Who||INSPECTOR have no fear|
|Shift by Grizzly Bear||link||link||CHICKEN||Magic Chicken by The Aquabats||drinking SNAPPLE|
|Create in Me a Clean Heart by Keith Green||link||link||TO DO||Magic To Do by Stephen Schwartz||KINGS and things|
|PNG by Kali-D x Kronos||link||link||CARPET RIDE||Magic Carpet Ride by Steppenwolf||RIGHT between|
|At Last by Etta James||link||link||MAN||Magic Man by Heart||played INSIDE|
|Direct Address by Lucy Dacus||link||link||DANCE||Magic Dance by David Bowie||NOBODY knew|
|Music by The Coverbeats||link||link||PIE||Magic Pie by Oasis||an extraordinary GUY|
|Dot by Destiny’s Child||link||link||ROAD||Magic Road by Al Green||LOSE control|
|Me and My Broken Heart by Rixton||link||link||HOUR||Magic Hour by Jhené Aiko||EVERYTHING’s beautiful here|
The idea for this puzzle started with bats at the Lincoln Park Zoo, and the notion of asking solvers to perform echolocation. The technical requirements to do so are a little beyond the scope of Huntinality 2.0, however. One component that could be retained is the idea of subtracting offsets in audio, which called to mind old Magic Eye puzzles. From there, and after a few iterations, we ended up with the puzzle in its current form, which can be solved using Audacity and online tools.
For converting a wav into a png, we’ve pointed to a tool created by DJ Joseph Lyncheski, aka Direct. Originally it was more difficult to find and might have required a longer clue phrase. We contacted Direct directly, and he graciously added the link to the tool to his front page, which was a big help to us. Thanks Direct!