# Sunday Morning Puzzle # 27

It’s less than a week to go until my vacation, and I’ve never needed time off more than I do now. I’ve become absent-minded and indecisive from all the work this summer. In fact, this week I’ve written 2 nearly complete puzzle stories, and I can’t decide which one to use. So I guess I’ll use both. Each story is complete save for a single word (and it’s NOT the same word for both stories). The stories begin in an identical fashion but then take different paths.

You know how these puzzle stories work. Each sentence has something in common and the challenge is to discover that common factor. Each tale has only one word that will fill in the blank, complete the story, and have all the sentences follow the pattern.

What is the word that completes story #1?
What is the word that completes story #2?

If you are having trouble figuring out the proper words and need some hints, I recommend you use Hint #1, Hint #2, and Hint #4 from Sunday Morning Puzzle #24. Hint #3 from that puzzle will not work for this one. However, if you change Hint #3 to read “License (5)”, you’ll have four good hints.

By the way, if you do solve this puzzle you’ll also be able to solve Sunday Morning Puzzle #24. It’s been over a month and I really want to know what happens to Bossy, Babe, and Martin van Buren.

Story #1

“Expd Admin Asst Wntd” had read the classified ad in the tattered Sunday newspaper. Jay hated to have to apply for this kind of work, but in these difficult times, what were his options? However when he climbed the stone steps and pushed open the wooden door, he was unprepared for the view that met his eyes.

Sitting on a decrepit stool, quite close to the farthest paint-peeling wall, sat Betsy Ross. In her hands she held an absurdly long needle, a spool of bright neon-green thread, and a nearly finished flag. Jay watched her hand move rapidly up and down as Betsy sewed the mysterious banner. Suddenly, waving the needle and thread in a menacing manner she said, “Well, if you’re here to assist, then assist!”

“My suggestions for this flag would be to eliminate that silly sword in the corner, to delete the coiled serpent in the middle, and to replace those pukish-green moons with stars,” Jay answered.

“Then I’ve no need for this green thread at all,” Betsy sneered as she threw the spool across the room. “But you’re not here to criticize my flagmaking, you’re here to ________ the Betsy Ross Newsletter.”

As Ms. Ross reached for more thread, Jay was happy to see that the only colors she had left were red, white, and blue.

Story #2

“Expd Admin Asst Wntd” had read the classified ad in the tattered Sunday newspaper. Jay hated to have to apply for this kind of work, but in these difficult times, what were is options? However, when he climbed the stone steps and pushed open the wooden door, he was unprepared for the view that met his eyes.

Ten men, who stood neatly lined up in a row, were guzzling (and not in moderation) ten giant fizzing alcoholic beverages. What struck Jay most about this quaffing queue of sots was that they were all dressed in priestly attire.

One of the potted priests bellowed out,“It is time for the black mass to begin now that our assistant has arrived!”

Jay made a move for the door and stammered, “Umm…maybe this job is not for me.”

Then the priests yelled in unison,“Halt the black mass, we’ve another quitter on our hands!”

Though shaken by this bizarre incident, Jay went home and ate a __________.

Warning!!

SPOILER

I’m heading out on 10 days vacation tonight, and I’m trying to tie up a few loose ends before I go. This puzzle has remained unanswered for 4 days. I suppose I’ve been guilty lately of putting out too difficult a Sunday Morning Puzzle (though, gosh, this one doesn’t seem THAT difficult). Because I won’t be around to respond should any solutions come along, I’m going to break one of my sacred rules and post the answer to the puzzle. I hope this helps folks to see that these things aren’t really so hard.

First off, let me apologize for yet another typo. In the second story, second sentence, the word “his” was typoed in as “is”. I’m sorry. But fortunately, as you will see, this did not effect the puzzle.

The puzzle calls for fill-in-the-blank answers to complete two stories. Here are the answers:

The answer to the first story is “EDIT”. Jay has to EDIT the newsletter for Betsy Ross. I guess she doesn’t have time because she’s always sewing those strange banners.

The second story puzzle concerned Jay and some drunken and possibly satanic priests. After he turns down the priests’ job offer, Jay goes home and eats a “PRUNE”. This works particularly well in the story as the dried plum is an excellent breakfast food, and most job interviews are early in the day.

So that’s it. My girlfriend is making me promise not to spend too much time at the beach trying to devise new puzzles (she says it’s a “sickness”). We’ll see. Goodbye to you all for a short bit!

[challenge] Hey aseymayo, Peregrine, Euty, McMurphy, and other puzzle lovers…where were you all this week? This wasn’t too hard a puzzle for you all, was it? [/challenge]

Dearest Biotop,

I am feeling quite let down. I have worked on many a SMP and have solved quite a few. I have yet, however, to figure out these types of puzzles of which you seem to be so fond. Sure, I read the earlier “example” of how they work, and even read thread responses, but I don’t seem to “get it”.

So today, I see this thread and check it out. Then, to my great surprise and anticipation, I see that you are goint to post the answers. Elation! Finally, I will get to see an answer (posters in other puzzle threads are good enough not to post answers and spoil the fun for others) and an explanation of same.

Imagine my emotion when I read the answers but see no explanation as to WHY they are the correct answers. Sure, Jay has to EDIT the newsletter, but why? Why can he not PROOF the newsletter? Why not “RED-INK” it? And just why does he eat a PRUNE? Why not a DATE (another dried fruit whose name is different from the original, more hydrated fruit)? Why not DRIED APRICOTS or DRIED FIGS?

I am missing something here, and it seems to be a sense of closure.

Enjoy your vacation, knowing that I am as lost as before - adrift in a sea of edited prunes.

Flummoxed,
Spritle

Yeah, what Spritle said.

And then, could you please post and explain the answer to Puzzle 24? It’s been sitting there for over a month, and I think everyone’s given up on it.

Where was I? WHERE WAS I?! I WAS BENT OVER A BUNCH OF SILLY STORIES, THAT’S WHERE I WAS!

I gather that the second puzzle is “right” in the same way the first one was “left”, but where does that get me?

Tree(6): timber, poplar, spruce, willow, cherry, tupelo, walnut, locust, laurel, ginkgo. ???
A vacation sounds like a good idea.

[sup][sub]“It won’t do, Watson!” said he, with a laugh. “Let us walk along the cliffs together
and search for flint arrows. We are more likely to find them than clues to this problem.
To let the brain work without sufficient material is like racing an engine. It racks itself
to pieces. The sea air, aunshine, and patience, Watson – all else will come.”[/sup] – The Adventure of the Devil’s Foot[/sub]

Arrrrghhhh. I looked for this thread because I wanted to plead with Bio to give us the answer to Puzzle 24 before he left on vacation, but I see I’m too late. I don’t know how much more of this I can take - I’ve taken to shrieking a bit every time I hear the word “cow.” (Not that I hear the word “cow” all that frequently, but my cat makes a sound very like “cow” and I think he’s intentionally taunting me about not getting Puzzle 24. Or he could want food.)

Bio, may you get a sunburned nose the first day out and I hope it peels!

My god. I got it. I finally got it. Bio wasn’t kidding when he said it was right in front of us.

Don’t go any further if you want to work it out yourself.

SPOILER

(Wait for it)

“Expd Admin Asst Wntd” had read the classified ad in the tattered Sunday newspaper. Jay hated to have to apply for this kind of work, but in these difficult times, what were his options? However when he climbed the stone steps and pushed open the wooden door, he was unprepared for the view that met his eyes.

Sitting on a decrepit stool, quite close to the farthest paint-peeling wall, sat Betsy Ross. In her hands she held an absurdly long needle, a spool of bright neon-green thread, and a nearly finished flag. Jay watched her hand move rapidly up and down as Betsy sewed the mysterious banner. Suddenly, waving the needle and thread in a menacing manner she said, “Well, if you’re here to assist, then assist!”

“My suggestions for this flag would be to eliminate that silly sword in the corner, to delete the coiled serpent in the middle, and to replace those pukish-green moons with stars,” Jay answered.

“Then I’ve no need for this green thread at all,” Betsy sneered as she threw the spool across the room. “But you’re not here to criticize my flagmaking, you’re here to edit the Betsy Ross Newsletter.”

As Ms. Ross reached for more thread, Jay was happy to see that the only colors she had left were red, white, and blue.
Puzzle 27-1 lists the Admin Options at the bottom of the thread page; 27-2 is the Admin Options at the bottom of the forum topics page. Puzzle 24 lists the Forum Rules seen at the bottom of each page. * Forum Rules: Who Can Read The Forum?*, etc. 58 words long. I’m going to go now and kick myself for awhile. Then I’m going to think about horrible tortures to visit on Bio when he returns.

And I still don’t know what “cow, bum, gone” has to do with it.

Wow. Many thanks for the explanation, aseymayo. Closure at last. With the aid of hindsight, I can now be pretty certain about the meaning of the clues, as well.

Cow(5) = steer
Bum(6) = bottom
Gone(4) = left

Trying to tell us to check the bottom left corner. I assume that Tree(6) = corner, but I can’t follow the logic in that one. Gah. And here I was trying to figure out something interesting about the bottom left part of the paragraphs, or the letters themselves, for all this time. Forest for the trees.

Mind gamer: according to my dictionary, one definition of the word “tree” as a verb is “to put into a position of extreme disadvantage: CORNER; esp: to bring to bay”. So “tree” as a clue for “corner” works just fine.

I had given up on these puzzles, figuring that there would be some nonsensical answer that made sense only to Biotop. I figured there couldn’t be a simple and elegant answer. I was wrong. Good job, Biotop. And congratulations, aseymayo.

thanks, aseymayo!! Now I see how they work.