Solution: Q&A with Eleqsa


Authors: Darren Lee, Caroline Zhou

Solvers are provided with 12 audio clips, 3 sets of enumerations, and flavortext about a voice assistant named Eleqsa whose hearing isn’t so good.

Solvers will need to find 3 phrases, clued by the 3 enumerations associated with each pair of audio clips:

  1. Question Phrase (QP): the phrase in the question that was static’d out.
  2. Answer Phrase (AP): the nonsensical phrase that Eleqsa misheard.
  3. Answer to Question (A2Q): the weird thing that’s clued in the question.

QP and AP are ultimately punny homophones (they sound similar). In all cases, QP is a movie or TV show that is vaguely clued with context clues, and fully resolvable by considering AP. For example, in the 4th conversation, the show Paw Patrol is referenced by “heroic dogs,” but Eleqsa mishears this as “Papa Troll,” describing what she heard as a “daddy bridge guardian.”

A2Q is seemingly unrelated to either QP or AP, but a unique answer can be searched and filled in that fits the 3rd enumeration.

Ultimately, the common factor between all of the A2Q phrases is that they all have a relatively uncommon letter: Q. In fact, they have exactly 1 Q and 1 A, in this order. This aha is clued by the title “Q&A” and Eleqsa’s name, which also has exactly 1 Q followed by 1 A.

To extract:

  • Index the position of the Q in A2Q into QP, the Question phrase (movie/show).
  • Index the position of the A in A2Q into AP, the Answer phrase (punny mishearing).

For example, in the 4th conversation:

  • Q is the 2nd letter of EQUIFAX, so we take the 2nd letter of PAW PATROL (A).
  • A is the 6th letter of EQUIFAX, so we take the 6th letter of PAPA TROLL (R).

Doing this for all 6 conversations yields bigrams NI CK YT AR OB AE, which can be re-spaced to spell NICKY TARO BAE.

Suggested by the (5 4 3) → (4 1 7) clue at the bottom, solvers should “do-it-again,” interpreting this nonsensical phrase as a mishearing of an actual phrase.

Answering the flavortext, the person that can help debug these use cases is thus NICK E TARABAY, an actor on Spartacus and The Expanse.

Question (Hey Eleqsa, …)Answer (I’m sorry, I don’t know what you mean by ...)Question Phrase (QP)Answer Phrase (AP)Answer to Question (A2Q)Extraction
On The [*static*] Show, which Puerto Rican gold medalist sailor did the host interview?"Jack of all trades" RickmanelleN degeneresalan the generalIstenriQue figueroANI
In [*static*], what ball game does Gru play with his girls in a court divided into quadrants?That particular fermented cucumber Vietnamese sandwichdespiCable methis picKle banh mifour sQuAreCK
In [*static*], what 1903 disaster did the doctors save patients from?Admiral Hopper's angry with yougreY's anatomygrace is mad aT meiroQuois theAtre fireYT
In [*static*], what company do the heroic dogs use for credit reporting?Daddy bridge guardianpAw patrolpapa tRolleQuifAxAR
In [*static*], for what health-related college in Yuzhong district does Ethan conduct reconnaissance?Taurus impersonator disappearedmissiOn impossiblemissin' imposter BullchongQing medicAl universityOB
In [*static*], which book by Jonathan Schell did the founders of Pied Piper read?Ludicrous sultan's attendantsilicon vAlleysilly khan valEtthe unconQuerAble worldAE

Authors’ Notes

  • Any resemblance to real voice assistants, popular or obsolete, is purely coincidental.
  • This puzzle was originally inspired by the following comic, and the subreddit r/BoneAppleTea.
  • Once we stumbled upon the fantastic “This pickle is me,” we knew we had to make this work. Voice assistants felt like an excellent fit for this mechanic, and for the intro round theme of new technologies. Additionally, NICK E TARABAY had a very interesting name, and helped solidify our puzzle by centering it around movie/show puns.
  • There has been some debate on whether Eleqsa’s voice is human or machine. What do you think?