Solution: The Believable Untruth
Authors: Pichusuperlover, Dan Simon, Alison Chang
This puzzle is inspired by “The Unbelievable Truth,” a BBC radio panel show.
The bulk of the puzzle is composed of lectures made entirely of lies. The names of the host and contestants clue 5 categories that make some of the lies close to true if you perform a transformation. In each lecture, there is 1 sentence that falls into each of these categories.
The categories are as follows:
Anagram (Anna Gram): Anagram a word or phrase in the sentence
- Before they went extinct, T-Rexes were dinosaurs that hunted with their arrested fangs. (Arrested -> Serrated)
- Onions are sometimes prepared alongside metas—how delicious. (Metas -> Meats)
- In Spain, for example, Dota rams wave crimson capes (Dota rams -> Matadors)
- One of the classic Christian traditions is “March Sits.” (March Sits -> Christmas)
Misconception (Miss Conception): Identify a common misconception
- The other is when Joseph-Ignace Guillotin was executed by one of his own inventions.
- You might know nicotine as the main thing that makes smoking unhealthy.
- Tetanus bacteria only occur on rust.
- Marie Antoinette famously said “Qu'ils mangent de la brioche.”
Off by one (Oph Bai Won): Change a number by 1
- Fennec foxes are on average 1.2 meters tall. (1.2 -> 0.2)
- Most twins come in a set of one. (One -> Two)
- As a baseline for comparison, there are 27 letters in the English alphabet. (27 -> 26)
- Walking is a process commonly done with 3 limbs. (3 -> 2/4 [both work])
Outdated (Ott Dated): The lie used to be true but became false over time
- For example, carrots are mainly cultivated for their leaves and seeds.
- For example, the iceman's wagon is a common way of cooling down food in kitchens around the globe.
- This is why tattoos are legal in every state other than Oklahoma.
- Spectacles can only be gotten through a vending machine though. (Referencing Snapchat’s Spectacles)
Substring (Sue Bestring): Take a substring of letters in a word/phrase
- A group of crabs is called a Lancaster. (Lancaster -> Cast)
- For example, in 2020's Breakfast Menu puzzle, “war gentleman” appears on numerous occasions. (War Gentleman -> Argent)
- As an example from books, Hester Prynne is a Wisconsin nerd who dons a crimson glyph. (Wisconsin Nerd -> Sinner)
- Female ostriches are called “heathen slayers.” (Heathen Slayers -> Hens)
Each of these lies happens to have exactly one word/phrase that is also a topic from a past season of the Unbelievable Truth:
|Anagram||19. Dinosaurs||15. Onions||12. Spain||21. Traditions|
|Misconception||20. Inventions||9. Smoking||15. Bacteria||14. Marie Antoinette|
|Off by one||9. Foxes||19. Twins||14. Letters||20. Walking|
|Outdated||1. Carrots||16. Kitchens||16. Tattoos||5. Spectacles|
|Substring||20. Crabs||9. Breakfast||20. Books||5. Ostriches|
If we take the season where each topic appeared and convert the number to letters A=1->Z=26, we get the phrase “SOLUTION ISN’T APPETITE,” which is a lie, much like this entire puzzle up until this point.
Gluttony gives the clue “If you are having an episode you might want to look for nearby food”, and provides a table the same shape as ours. Overlaying these marks 6 of the topics and gives us an order to sort them in. If you go to each of those episodes you will find each features a food, which are in order:
- Tattoos (16x01) -> Milk
- Bacteria (15x02) -> Water
- Ostriches (05x05) -> Toast
- Spectacles (05x05) -> Toast
- Foxes (09x03) -> Bread
- Kitchens (16x02) -> Breakfast Cereal
Indexing into these using the number of the episode they came from gives us “MATTER”, which is the sinful solution.
I enjoy lying through my teeth, so I decided a puzzle was a perfect opportunity to do it without questions of morality. Eventually I remembered that the Unbelievable Truth exists, but I deemed 20 truths to be too much for my tastes, so I got rid of those and made an alternate universe version where nobody can score any points and the show always ends in a tie. Which isn’t really that far fetched given how little panel shows care about scoring.