Solutions for Act III Scene 1 - Puzzle Page Part 1


The Act III series of puzzles was designed to look just like the puzzle page of the Sydney Morning Herald. Each Part was distinguished by the numbers labelling each sub-puzzle (which are used to represent the running total of each puzzle type in the SMH's puzzle page).

In order to make this set of puzzles look similar enough to the puzzle page Sydneysiders are familiar with, some liberties were taken with our usually tight rules regarding extraneous red herrings, but hopefully none of these (namely the puzzle instructions and comments on past and future solutions) tripped anyone up.

Finally, to give a reason for tying these four puzzles together, the solutions to each consecutive Part were deliberately made to relate to each other somehow. These relationships are explained at the end of each appropriate solution page, so don't read past the answer extraction step if you don't wish to be spoiled on the other Parts!

The Puzzle

Part 1 here referred to the only puzzle labelled with a 1, the (unusually long) Wordwit. The rules here are straightforward: we want to find answers to the clues that are each 2 letters long (unless otherwise indicated). In almost all cases the implied answers should be unique, resulting in the following list:

OD (overdose), ER (emergency room), IM (instant messenger), AF (audio frequency), OS (operating system)

UT (Unreal Tournament), OK, NM (never mind/no matter), AZ, AK

JK, LM (lumen), NO, PQ (pro querente)

RH (Rhesus factor), SI (yes in Spanish), TA, UP, PH

SC (Schmidt number), TI (Thursday Island), V (versus), CR (credit), MN

IX, VL (visceral leishmaniasis), XC

QU, AJ, ZM (NZ radio network), WI (West Indies)

IS, EA (Electronic Arts), ID, EUM, EAM (external auditory/acoustic meatus)

The next step is to realise that each of these sets is a sequence of some sort (the third one in particular being obvious). Once these are discovered, we can naturally work out what comes next in each sequence.

Sequence Explanation Next in sequence
OD, ER, IM, AF, OS Solfege notes spelled backwards AL (La backwards)
UT, OK, NM, AZ, AK US states in order of statehood date HI (Hawaii)
JK, LM, NO, PQ The alphabet in pairs RS
RH, SI, TA, UP, PH First braces of letters of the Greek alphabet CH (chi)
SC, TI, V, CR, MN Periodic table's transition elements FE (iron)
IX, VL, XC Pairs of increasing Roman numeral letters LD (50 and 500)
QU, AJ, ZM, WI Equidistant pairs on a computer keyboard SK
IS, EA, ID, EUM, EAM Declension of "he/she/it" in Latin ID

Stringing these implied pairs together gives us the message "Al Hirschfeld's kid", whose name is NINA.

Hirschfeld was well known for hiding his daughter's name in many of his comics and drawings. The practice became so well-known that the term "nina" is now used in crossword jargon to describe a message hidden in a completed crossword (often along the unchecked letters). In Puzzle Page - Part 4, the answer is ultimately found by detecting two unconventional ninas. Furthermore, the answer to Part 4, "Ximenes", is another name that has since been appropriated for crossword jargon (in this case, the adjective "ximenean" describing clues adhering to strict properties).

The connection to Puzzle Page - Part 2's solution, "Snoopy", is as follows: Just as Hirschfeld hid his daughter's name in his comics, Schulz hid his dog's name (Spike) in his Peanuts comic strip, namely as one of Snoopy's brothers. Furthermore, Part 2 is solved by finding hidden words amongst comics, referencing how Nina's name was too hidden in comics.

The answer is: nina