Update 1: Hidden Puzzle in the Snake Pit

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See this PDF for the full week of Snake Pit puzzles from Carl Worth.

If you noticed anything unusual about the puzzles this week, it probably wasn’t an accident. Carl has hidden an additional puzzle within the six Snake Pits. Find and solve that puzzle to determine some counsel he’d like to share with you, perhaps something to use when approaching puzzles like these.

The final answer to the hidden puzzle consists of eight characters (specifically four CAPITAL letters followed by four numbers). Nothing outside of the six Snake Pits has any bearing on the hidden puzzle, including this text.

  • Todd says:

    This was very fun! Thanks for the nice set of puzzles along with the meta.

  • Carl W says:

    You’re quite welcome, Todd. I’m really glad you enjoyed these.

    (I was frankly a bit nervous that some of the necessarily-larger puzzles might feel like too-much-of-the-same-thing by the end of the week. Hopefully there were some unique surprises along the way to reward the work.)

  • Bryce Herdt says:

    This isn’t a contest, is it?

  • Hmmm. When solving I recognized something was being spelled out to me but assumed the puzzles had simply been reordered for difficulty. Having heard there’s a meta here, I’m prepared to resort to another interpretation. I also “necessarily” observe an approximately alphabetically large range to the snake lengths, and there are various sigils (end circles, clue line locations) that one might hang stuff on, but…

    …no, I’m not seeing it. Any chance of a rot13ed hint?

    • Bryce Herdt says:

      Chmmyr N bhtuga’g arrq avargrra pvepyrq.

      • Thanks, pushed me to do something that now seems obvious and make progress.

        But because the path I’m now considering seems it would take a while (I certainly didn’t keep a detailed record of solution steps) can you confirm whether “bqq barf” means “erqhaqnag pvepyrq pyhrf”?

        • Carl W says:

          Hi Anthony,

          I’m glad that Bryce’s nudge got you moving again. But, no, his insight is not a necessary part of the puzzle here. As for the correct referent of the BARF (really?, what a word!) I don’t think you’ll need any of us to actually spell it out for you.


          CF. Abg ntnva ng yrnfg.

    • Bryce Herdt says:

      Also, keep your solutions for reference!

  • Vraal says:

    Strangely, I still can’t figure out how to get the answer boxes to come back.

    This includes on my iPhone…

  • Adam Thrasher says:

    I suck at these sorts of metapuzzles that don’t have explicit parameters. Could someone please feed me an artless clue on how to get from “pbhag gur bqq barf va fbyhgvbaf” to the 8-character answer?

    • Avatar photo drsudoku says:

      Fully artless:

      Pbhag gur ahzore bs fanxrf bs bqq fvmr va rnpu fbyhgvba. Pbaireg gur svefg srj pbhagf vagb yrggref.

      • FoxFireX says:

        Finally catching up here, and couldn’t understand why my counts weren’t lining up. Now I understand.

        V jnf pbhagvat gur bqq barf (qvtvgf) va zl fbyhgvbaf. Nf ragrerq va gur Fbyhgvba obk.

  • Adam Thrasher says:

    I did try exactly that. Recounted several times; I am pretty sure my counts are correct. I just can’t seem to get letters that work.

  • Adam Thrasher says:

    Yes, that’s what I got. I’m sorry for being so dense. I don’t know what to do after I have converted the first four numbers to letters. I can’t make a word out of them, or an acronym that makes any sense. I think I’ve entered all 24 permutations into the answer box.

  • Adam Thrasher says:

    Okay, just got it by brute force. The final answer appears to be a reference to something I know very little about.

  • For what its worth, I also found the meta path too obscure for my tastes. I had gotten to the same point as Adam, was similarly blocked, and tried a lot of other approaches. Only the confirmation just now that no mistake had been made along the way and that there was some force there to be bruted eventually provoked this many-year gmpuzzler to Google guess and register to use the solution checker for the first time.

    (I still want to express how much I loved the initial mess of wriggling puzzles, though.)

    • Carl W says:

      Anthony, I’m so glad you enjoyed the original puzzles. Thanks for sharing that.

      And my apologies to you and to Adam and to anyone else who found the meta too obscure to be satisfying. Here is how I was hoping it would play out for solvers:

      Gur svany zrffntr vf vagraqrq gb or ZNGG GRA FVKGRRA, n ersrerapr gb n irefr va gur ovoyr (Znggurj puncgre gra, irefr fvkgrra) juvpu ernqf (va ng yrnfg bar genafyngvba): “V nz fraqvat lbh bhg yvxr furrc nzbat jbyirf. Gurersber or nf fuerjq nf fanxrf naq nf vaabprag nf qbirf.” naq gur ersrerapr gb fanxrf gurer jnf vagraqrq nf pbasvezngvba bs gur pbeerpg nafjre.

      V jnf ubcvat guvf jbhyq or snve nf n cerivbhf uvqqra chmmyr ba guvf fvgr nyfb raqrq jvgu n ersrerapr gb n Ovoyr irefr. V unq irevsvrq gung n Tbbtyr frnepu sbe gur rvtug-punenpgre
      nafjre (jvgu fcnprf nqqrq va gur nccebcevngr cynprf) jbhyq yrnq gb gur rkcrpgrq irefr. Fb V jnf ubcvat gung jbhyq yrnq crbcyr gb gur evtug cynpr rira jvgubhg fcrpvsvp snzvyvnevgl jvgu gur Ovoyr.

      Ohg purpxvat abj, V frr gung frnepuvat jvgubhg gubfr fcnprf qbrf nqq n ybg bs abvfr gb gur frnepu erfhygf. Naljnl, cher ybtvp chmmyrf yvxr guvf qb znxr vg snveyl uneq gb uvqr zhpu vasbezngvba sbe n zrgn-chmmyr. Ubcrshyly, V’yy qb orggre gur arkg gvzr V gel.

  • Carl, thanks for responding. It remains a beautifully constructed set of puzzles woven neatly around the meta and it does look like plenty of solvers did manage to follow your intended plausible path at the end. As our host here touched on within https://www.gmpuzzles.com/blog/2013/04/ask-dr-sudoku-13-puzzle-hunting/ discussion, I think we do have to accept that meta will sometimes require a little shared context or history outside the pure logic of the puzzle – and I reckon you shouldn’t let the compromise that entails (or the occasional frustrated note from one of its casualties) put you off. 🙂

    • Avatar photo drsudoku says:

      Vg’f vagrerfgvat gb frr gung Pney pvgrq gur cevbe rknzcyr bs Wbua’f zrgn gb senzr uvf nccebnpu. V sbhaq gung bevtvany nafjre zrffntr cnegvphyneyl uneq gb cnefr (nal zvk bs jbeqf naq ahzoref vf n ovt evfx) naq vg jnf bar varyrtnapr V jnagrq gb rqvg vs gur zrgn jrer zber syrkvoyr. Jvgubhg fcrnxvat hc gura, Pney sbyybjrq n fvzvyne cngu va uvf bja zrgn naq jung V erprvirq qvq abg unir n ybg bs syrkvovyvgl gb rqvg sebz gur vavgvny fhozvffvba.

      Creuncf zl nccebnpu va gur shgher jvyy or gb jnea pbafgehpgbef gb fcbvy zr ba gurve zrgn vqrnf orsber znxvat nal chmmyrf gb rafher jr ner trggvat n snve zrpunavfz naq erfbyhgvba va cynpr sbe bhe zhygv-angvbany nhqvrapr.

  • JohnJBulten says:

    I think after years of trying it alone, with Carl’s help I am finally victorious over the snakes. I did not get to enjoy the hidden puzzle in situ when it came out, but imho the theme is eminently fair and suitable for the site, and what I did deduce before reading the details indicated I had a good chance of finding the theme unaided. All the hints and hidden indicators were sufficiently placed for fairness. Bravo to Carl for such brilliantly involved themework.

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