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Fukui San

TV Puzzle from the MIT Mystery Hunt

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I'm a member in a team that participates in the MIT Mystery Hunt, which wrapped up it's 2016 edition today.  It's a weekend long puzzle hunt with incredibly difficult puzzles of every kind.  It's such a huge hunt any one person will only work on a fraction of the available puzzles, and I sometimes like to go after the actual hunt ends to look at other puzzles.

 

This one is a TV themed one that people who like Extra Hot Great's Game Time might also like.

 

http://randolph-carter-sdgmfkqraw.muttsteryhunt.com/puzzle/the_tv_puzzle/

 

The entire text of the puzzle is here:

 

 

The Marcus Beaton Squash Paradox
    Chuck Versus His Nazi Grandfather
    Epistemology 532: Münchhausen Trilemma
    Seattle to Los Angeles
    The One Where Kyle Learns The Blues
    The Mike Ito Coast
    Chef Défoncé
    The Gang Watches Kickpuncher
    eps1.18_fram3d-c4r-cra5h.avc
    Leslie's Baby Shower
    The Case of the Left Behind Screwdriver
    In Which Sheldon is Grafted to a Tree
    Inside Steele Mountain
    My Opera Visit
    The Hepatitis Scare

At this point I do not know the answer to the puzzle, nor can I look it up. It's always a word or short phrase. Each line appears to be a mashup of two (or more?) TV shows. Some lines use TV episode naming conventiosn like "the One Where" for Friends and "The Gang" for It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.  The second part seems to refer to specific episodes in recent TV history.  The first and second parts do not seem to match shows.  

 

Somehow this short bit of TV gibberish will yield a recognizable phrase. Is anyone here interested in hashing this out?    This seems relatively simple, but given where it comes from it may actually result in hours of frustration. Consider yourself warned.

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It looks like each show used is there twice - once for the title convention, once for an event.

 

The Marcus Beaton Squash Paradox [big Bang Theory title convention; Gossip Girl character]
Chuck Versus His Nazi Grandfather [Chuck title convention; ??? event]
Epistemology 532: Münchhausen Trilemma [Community title convention; ??? event]
Seattle to Los Angeles [???]
The One Where Kyle Learns The Blues [Friends title convention; ??? event]
The Mike Ito Coast [Gossip Girl title convention; obscure one-episode Remington Steele character]
Chef Défoncé [???]
The Gang Watches Kickpuncher [it's Always Sunny in Philadelphia title convention; Community film-within-a-show]
eps1.18_fram3d-c4r-cra5h.avc [Mr. Robot title convention; ??? event]
Leslie's Baby Shower [???]
The Case of the Left Behind Screwdriver [???]
In Which Sheldon is Grafted to a Tree [??? title convention, possibly Private Practice; Big Bang Theory event]
Inside Steele Mountain [Remington Steele title convention; Mr. Robot setting]
My Opera Visit [scrubs title convention; ??? event]
The Hepatitis Scare [???]

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Parks and Rec episodes don't have themed titles though, which means it's probably something else.

 

TV Tropes has a page for "Nazi Grandpa". The first entry under the Live-Action TV tab? It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. That would get us to this:

 

The Marcus Beaton Squash Paradox [big Bang Theory/Gossip Girl]
Chuck Versus His Nazi Grandfather [Chuck/It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia]
Epistemology 532: Münchhausen Trilemma [Community/???]
Seattle to Los Angeles [???/???]
The One Where Kyle Learns The Blues [Friends/???]
The Mike Ito Coast [Gossip Girl/Remington Steele]
Chef Défoncé [???/???]
The Gang Watches Kickpuncher [it's Always Sunny in Philadelphia/Community]
eps1.18_fram3d-c4r-cra5h.avc [Mr. Robot/???]
Leslie's Baby Shower [???/???]
The Case of the Left Behind Screwdriver [???/???]
In Which Sheldon is Grafted to a Tree [???/Big Bang Theory]
Inside Steele Mountain [Remington Steele/Mr. Robot]
My Opera Visit [scrubs title convention/???]
The Hepatitis Scare [seinfeld/???]

 

If all of that's right, then we still need to work out the references to events from Chuck, Friends, Scrubs, and Seinfeld, plus both title conventions and events for five other shows. A quick Google search for "The Case of..." episodes suggests that's from Perry Mason (of all things), which seems really unusual compared to the rest.

 

I'm thinking out loud here, but once we get this part sorted out, the header has two linked hearts and the index page is themed around Pam Ewing, who married into the Ewing family on Dallas, so maybe to get the final answer weddings are involved somehow? Like maybe there's a common character name on both shows in a pair and we have to find who one of those characters married?

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The "In Which" reminds me of the original Winnie the Pooh books, but I don't know if that was adopted by any other shows.

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OK so... if only most of our guesses for the first show are correct then they're in alphabetical order. And the fact that it's almost alphabetical order makes me think that we're wrong on the ones that throw it off... does that make sense? Also Fukui San's right and I'm wrong, it's Perry Mason not Bloodhound Gang (which, I do know wasn't really a show in and of itself but part of 3-2-1 Contact because me = an old). 

 

The Marcus Beaton Squash Paradox [Big Bang Theory/Gossip Girl]
Chuck Versus His Nazi Grandfather [Chuck/It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia]
Epistemology 532: Münchhausen Trilemma [Community/???]
Seattle to Los Angeles [???/???]
The One Where Kyle Learns The Blues [Friends/???]
The Mike Ito Coast [Gossip Girl/Remington Steele]
Chef Défoncé [???/???]
The Gang Watches Kickpuncher [It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia/Community]
eps1.18_fram3d-c4r-cra5h.avc [Mr. Robot/???]
Leslie's Baby Shower [???/???]
The Case of the Left Behind Screwdriver [Perry Mason/???]
In Which Sheldon is Grafted to a Tree [???/Big Bang Theory]
Inside Steele Mountain [Remington Steele/Mr. Robot]
My Opera Visit [Scrubs title convention/???]
The Hepatitis Scare [Seinfeld/???]

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In Which Sheldon... almost definitely refers to Private Practice.  Not sure which of the column B's refer to Private Practice. Maybe the car crash.avc?

If Seattle to Los Angeles isn't an Amazing Race title, having it "Seattle" makes me think Frasier because of the setting.  Not sure what "to Los Angeles" refers to.

Parks and Rec would work for the first show in "Leslie's Baby Shower".

Edited by Fukui San

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Munchausens trilemma is a quote from Sheldon on BBT. It is long and complicated and about him moving out.

 

Kyle could be South Park. Or possibly a show called Party Down where a Kyle learns about the blues. 

Edited by Machiabelly

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Party Down's title format (the events the titular catering company is catering) also fits "Leslie's Baby Shower". But The Amazing Race uses quotes from episodes as their titles, so that's not where Seattle to LA comes from. (Frasier fits alphabetically, but didn't have a title convention and only used "Seattle" in a few episode titles.)

 

Urban Dictionary has "Défoncé" as a French slang term for a man (not a woman) who's either extremely drunk or who has been drugged, if that helps anyone.

 

The Left-Behind Screwdriver reference is really bugging me. It sounds so familiar. But a quick Google for all of the shows we have suggests it comes from whichever show gave us "Seattle to Los Angeles".

 

The Marcus Beaton Squash Paradox [Big Bang Theory/Gossip Girl]
Chuck Versus His Nazi Grandfather [Chuck/It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia]
Epistemology 532: Münchhausen Trilemma [Community/Big Bang Theory]
Seattle to Los Angeles [???/???]
The One Where Kyle Learns The Blues [Friends/Party Down]
The Mike Ito Coast [Gossip Girl/Remington Steele]
Chef Défoncé [Hannibal/???]
The Gang Watches Kickpuncher [It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia/Community]
eps1.18_fram3d-c4r-cra5h.avc [Mr. Robot/???]
Leslie's Baby Shower [Party Down/???]
The Case of the Left Behind Screwdriver [Perry Mason/???]
In Which Sheldon is Grafted to a Tree [Private Practice/Hannibal]
Inside Steele Mountain [Remington Steele/Mr. Robot]
My Opera Visit [Scrubs/???]
The Hepatitis Scare [Seinfeld/Scrubs]

 

Chuck and Seinfeld both had opera visits, so I'm hesitant to list either show there until we can nail either of them somewhere else. The show's we're still missing events for are Chuck, Friends, Perry Mason, Private Practice, and Seinfeld, plus whichever show is responsible for the "X to Y" title convention.

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OK so... if only most of our guesses for the first show are correct then they're in alphabetical order. And the fact that it's almost alphabetical order makes me think that we're wrong on the ones that throw it off... does that make sense?

From what little I know of the Mystery Hunt, having read through the archives but never actually competed, this fact is a sign we're looking in the correct direction.

 

Looking at the results so far, my guess for the next step after matching all the shows, would be to re-order the list.  The first way that strikes me is to connect the pairings.  There's one large chunk and some small ones to start with.

 

Chuck Versus His Nazi Grandfather [Chuck/It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia]

The Gang Watches Kickpuncher [it's Always Sunny in Philadelphia/Community]

Epistemology 532: Münchhausen Trilemma [Community/Big Bang Theory]

The Marcus Beaton Squash Paradox [big Bang Theory/Gossip Girl]

The Mike Ito Coast [Gossip Girl/Remington Steele]

Inside Steele Mountain [Remington Steele/Mr. Robot]

eps1.18_fram3d-c4r-cra5h.avc [Mr. Robot/???]

 

The One Where Kyle Learns The Blues [Friends/Party Down]

Leslie's Baby Shower [Party Down/???]

 

In Which Sheldon is Grafted to a Tree [Private Practice/Hannibal]

Chef Défoncé [Hannibal/???]

The Hepatitis Scare [seinfeld/Scrubs]

My Opera Visit [scrubs/???]

 

The Case of the Left Behind Screwdriver [Perry Mason/???]

Seattle to Los Angeles [???/???]

 

So then the answer might be something that would complete the circle.

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I think I have the loop complete, with a bit of help from Professors Google and Wikipedia. "Seattle to LA" seems to fit Private Practice's main character moving from Seattle (and Grey's Anatomy) to LA in the pilot. Brainstorming shows that fit in between Community and Friends and trawling their episode summaries reveals that the screwdriver is from Desperate Housewives, which I guess is supposed to make "Seattle to LA" a Sondheim reference somehow? The opera visit has to be Chuck, since Seinfeld is already paired with Scrubs and that would mean those two are linked to each other twice. That leaves us only one way to finish the loop, but checking just to be sure, Friends had an episode with Jon Lovitz playing a chef who was on drugs, and Perry Mason apparently has an episode where the case of the week is someone being framed for a car crash. Which would make the finished loop:

 

The Marcus Beaton Squash Paradox [big Bang Theory/Gossip Girl]

The Mike Ito Coast [Gossip Girl/Remington Steele]

Inside Steele Mountain [Remington Steele/Mr. Robot]

eps1.18_fram3d-c4r-cra5h.avc [Mr. Robot/Perry Mason]

The Case of the Left Behind Screwdriver [Perry Mason/Desperate Housewives]

Seattle to Los Angeles [Desperate Housewives/Private Practice]
In Which Sheldon is Grafted to a Tree [Private Practice/Hannibal]

Chef Défoncé [Hannibal/Friends]

The One Where Kyle Learns The Blues [Friends/Party Down]
Leslie's Baby Shower [Party Down/Seinfeld]

The Hepatitis Scare [seinfeld/Scrubs]

My Opera Visit [scrubs/Chuck]

Chuck Versus His Nazi Grandfather [Chuck/It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia]

The Gang Watches Kickpuncher [it's Always Sunny in Philadelphia/Community]

Epistemology 532: Münchhausen Trilemma [Community/Big Bang Theory]

 

But how we get from there to a solid answer, I have no idea.

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I guess is supposed to make "Seattle to LA" a Sondheim reference somehow?

Apparently, it's a song from "Gypsy".  Near the end of the first act.

 

Anyway, I've tried a couple of other reindexings.  Ordering alphabetically by the second show didn't seem to do anything, nor did a list alphabetically by title.  So the next though I have is try using the episode numbers to extract letters from the titles or the other show name.

 

Fukui San, I meant to ask earlier.  Any Duck Konundrums this year?  Those are a favorite of mine.

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Apparently, it's a song from "Gypsy".  Near the end of the first act.

 

Anyway, I've tried a couple of other reindexings.  Ordering alphabetically by the second show didn't seem to do anything, nor did a list alphabetically by title.  So the next though I have is try using the episode numbers to extract letters from the titles or the other show name.

 

Fukui San, I meant to ask earlier.  Any Duck Konundrums this year?  Those are a favorite of mine.

I'm not sure. There are so many puzzles it's hard to say, and the organization of the web site wasn't ideal this time around. I'm not even sure what "Duck Konundrums" are, actually.

 

But how we get from there to a solid answer, I have no idea.

Typically on a puzzle like this, we index numbers into some of the text. For example, we can find each of the particular episodes referenced, get the titles, and perhaps use the numbers of the season or episode number to find the corresponding letter in the episode title (or show, or something else) to get a phrase.  So far, I don't see anything that seems likely.

Trying to paste my google spreadsheet contents doesn't seem to work. Here's a link to it. ANyone can edit it: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/10W0zT-VFBVdZ7ure7wyq_NalxDZSV9xOaXocbX9yaFE/edit?usp=sharing

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GOT IT. I figured there had to be a clear starting point, and after staring at the page for a bit I realised the title "The TV Puzzle" also fit the Seinfeld title convention, which would suggest that's where the chain starts. And then it struck me that all of the events are from really early in each show's run - the first 26 episodes, in fact. So if we were to use the "A=1, B=2" code to get a letter from each answer, we end up with:

 

Leslie's Baby Shower [Party Down/Seinfeld] O

The Hepatitis Scare [seinfeld/Scrubs] U

My Opera Visit [scrubs/Chuck] T

Chuck Versus His Nazi Grandfather [Chuck/It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia] F

The Gang Watches Kickpuncher [it's Always Sunny in Philadelphia/Community] O

Epistemology 532: Münchhausen Trilemma [Community/Big Bang Theory] R

The Marcus Beaton Squash Paradox [big Bang Theory/Gossip Girl] T

The Mike Ito Coast [Gossip Girl/Remington Steele] H

Inside Steele Mountain [Remington Steele/Mr. Robot] E

eps1.18_fram3d-c4r-cra5h.avc [Mr. Robot/Perry Mason] S

The Case of the Left Behind Screwdriver [Perry Mason/Desperate Housewives] E

Seattle to Los Angeles [Desperate Housewives/Private Practice] A
In Which Sheldon is Grafted to a Tree [Private Practice/Hannibal] S

Chef Défoncé [Hannibal/Friends] O

The One Where Kyle Learns The Blues [Friends/Party Down] N

 

Or, to put it another way, the answer is OUT FOR THE SEASON.

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Very nice, SnideAsides!  I would have tried to index the episode numbers into the titles until the end of time before figuring out to index it into the plain old alphabet. Want to be on our team next year?

 

There is some chance that OUT FOR THE SEASON isn't the final answer but the final hint, as they're typically one or two word phrases.  You'd get all excited and call it in, and get rejected and have to think what "out for the season" means?  In this context, it might be CANCELLED.  I'd say it's a 50/50 chance that OUT FOR THE SEASON is in fact the final answer.

 

If people had fun with this there is an extensive back catalog of puzzles I could pull from from the Hunt's history.  Probably dozens of TV related puzzles.

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Maybe ON HIATUS, then? Or SPRING BREAK? (Sorry, that was a terrible pun.)

 

I went through a phase a few years back where I was into Japanese-style logic puzzles (think, like, Sudoku and Kakuro, but not actually them because they're overrated and tedious; decent examples are here and here), but puzzle hunts are normally out of my wheelhouse. I just got lucky this time.

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Damn.  I tried that going off of Fukui's spreadsheet, but I didn't get to that solution.  I'd guess that some of the episode numbers on that sheet are wrong.

 

And I'm pretty sure that OUT FOR THE SEASON is the final solution for this puzzle.  One way to be sure, besides attempting to submit it, would be to compare it to any of the other answers in that set of puzzles.  Because that answer will be part of the puzzle for the meta-puzzle.  So a form of backsolving.

 

I love the archive of the puzzle hunts.  Here's the puzzles with the Keyword TV Shows.  Sometime soon, this puzzle will be on that list.  Although, if we do decide to play some of those puzzles, there's one from 2005 that we might need to skip

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I love the archive of the puzzle hunts. Here's the puzzles with the Keyword TV Shows. Sometime soon, this puzzle will be on that list. Although, if we do decide to play some of those puzzles, there's one from 2005 that we might need to skip

ROFL!

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That's an awesome find, SVNBob.  Spare the Snark, indeed.

 

If people are interested in another one, this one looks good to share.

 

http://web.mit.edu/puzzle/www/2007/puzzles/it_could_be_worse/

 

In this one the answer will be viewable on the "Check Answer" link on the upper right, so don't click it if you want to try to help solve. Or if you do see it, don't contribute to the discussion. 

 

I'll let everyone get started. I haven't seen the answer either.  Have fun!

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This one does look good.

 

To start, each paragraph of text makes reference to some movie or TV series.  The titles of those probably match up with the lines of boxes below, but probably not in the same order.  The number of paragraphs and lines of boxes match at 14 each, which adds to this conclusion.

 

Going by traditional puzzle rules, the black boxes would indicate spaces, and the grey boxes are highlighted letters we'll need to put together in some order for the solution.

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Having worked at it a bit, I've got a lot of the titles based off the paragraphs.  And as we saw in the last puzzle, they seem to be in alphabetical order.  Which should help with some of the gaps I still have.

 

Thus far I have:

  • Battlefield Earth
  • Desperate Housewives
  • ??
  • Happy Gilmore
  • Might Morphin Power Rangers
  • My Little Pony?
  • My Mother The Car
  • Pokemon
  • ??
  • Snakes on a Plane
  • ??
  • ??
  • Where's Waldo (or Wally)
  • WW(E/F) Royal Rumble

 

I haven't yet put these in the boxes at the bottom, so I don't know what the key letters are yet.

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Any chance the group screwing it up for others may reference The Mole?

Useless socialites doing regular work...The Simple Life

Edited by Machiabelly

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OK, I think it's time to try to plug these into the boxes at the bottom.  Placing them in assuming black squares are spacing and grey squares are highlighted, I'll put the highlighted letters in CAPS.

 

the Simple life - S

pokemOn - O

the royaL rumble - L

desperate housewiVes - V

my mothEr the car - E

snakes on a plaNe - N

my liTtle pony - T

gilligans iSland - S

_ _ _ _ / _ _ _ _

wheres / waldO - O

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ / _ _ / _ _ _ / _ _ _ _ _ _

battlefield  eArth - A

happy gilmore - G

mighty morphin powEr rangers - E

 

SOLVENT S _O_ AGE

 

So... "Solvent Storage"?  That doesn't ring any bells to me.  Solve NTS_O_AGE

 

The two original clues left unsolved are these:

 

 

The Hunt is divided into exactly four rounds, each relating to one of the worlds of which Earth is composed, because four is the supreme number. Three rounds or five rounds is stupid and evil. Puzzles will be deviously hard to solve, especially for students, because you have been educated stupid.

 

Divided into twelve rounds of puzzles (each representing a "chapter"), many of the metapuzzles in this year's Hunt reveal a character's affair, surprises ranging from a pastor's gay lover to a midget. In addition to puzzle solutions, solvers can use subtle clues in the flavortext (such as one character's allergy to cherry pie) to try to figure out what the hell is going on, although frankly the odds are against them.

They need to fall into these letter spaces:

_ _ _ _ / _ _ _ _

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ / _ _ / _ _ _ / _ _ _ _ _ _

 

And their first word has to be between "Snakes" and "Where's" alphabetically.

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God damn it.  It got worse.

 

The latter one is Trapped in the Closet.  That video series by R. Kelly.  Key letter on that line is R. 

So the other now falls between Snake and Trapped alphabetically.  With the first letter being the key.

 

T is the only logical solution.  And googling 4 worlds leads to one thing: the insane Time Cube theory.

 

Making SOLVENT STORAGE the solution.   Which is apparently a location on the MIT Campus.

Edited by SVNBob

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Looked at the answer and it is indeed SOLVENT STORAGE.  Good work, everyone!  One of the easier Mystery Hunt puzzles that you'll see, btw.

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How about another one?  This one also from 2007 (but much later in the Hunt) looks promising.  It's called "Episodic Disorder", which may have some relevance.

 

At first glance, it seems a bit like the first puzzle we did.  It appears that there's a lot of crossed dialogue, with specific events from one series are being talked about (in character) in a different one.  And there appears to be a chain.  I've got a few links together

 

The characters in The Sopranos are talking about the death of Chuckles the Clown from The Mary Tyler Moore Show

Mary and the gang are going through "the contest" from Seinfeld

Jerry sees the 4 lights from Star Trek: TNG (with a minor House digression from George)

Picard and Data are talking about the Thanksgiving promotion from WKRP.

 

The Ingalls from Little House are talking about events from near the end of MASH

Hawkeye is referring to the season without Bobby Ewing that all turned out to be a dream from Dallas...I think.

 

The debate coverage (is that from The West Wing?) refers to Cliff going on Jeopardy on Cheers.

 

Lucy, Ricky, Fred, and Ethel are probably referring to "Once More With Feeling" from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Buffy's staking vamps talking about the walnut episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show.

 

That's all I've got so far.

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I'm down! I'm going to make a list of numbers and corresponding characters/shows I can identify. Then go to quotes? Make sense? 

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I left the numbers as they were on the pictures because they have to mean something since there are two number 1s. The first one for the Deadwood pic has a star around it (noted here as 1*) and I'm adding in SVNBob's and my ideas about what the quotes refer to below the quotes. (Bob's are italicized, mine are bolded)

 

1* Picture show is Deadwood.
Quotes are: Bill “I wouldn’t advise the veal sheriff” Bullock “I’m gonna put a bullet in that rodent cocksucker!”

 

13 Picture show is Seinfield.
Quotes are: Jerry “I mean what is the deal with those lights” Kraimer “Woah! There are totally four of them” Elaine “There’s no way there’s four you maroon” George “Ow my chest! Is it lupus?”

Jerry sees the 4 lights from Star Trek: TNG (with a minor House digression from George)

 

15 Picture show is Brady Bunch.
Quotes are: Cindy “Oh Greg does something with numbers I think” Jan “Maybe he’s an accountant” “Marcia Marcia Marcia” Marcia “Guess what, I’m pregnant”

Friends episode (the one with the game maybe?)

 

4 Picture show is MASH
Quotes are Radar “Major Houlihan triggered a bomb that some nurse put in Major Burn’s tent” Hawkeye “And here it felt like I’d been showering for a year”

Hawkeye is referring to the season without Bobby Ewing that all turned out to be a dream from Dallas...I think.

 

18 Picture show is Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Quotes are: Buffy “Don’t make me stake you Danny Thomas” The Gentleman “I want your thumbs”

Buffy's staking vamps talking about the walnut episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show.

 

14 Picture show is the X-Files
Quotes are: Mulder “Scully, there’s a horde of alien opossums inside that train! And they bite!” Scully “There has to be a more rational explanation than opossums, Mulder”

 

13 Picture show is the Simpsons
Quotes are: Marge “So what should I call myself, Homey? Gay or lesbian?” Homer “mmmmm, lesbians... “ Bart “Dude, what’s a…” Homer “Quite boy!”

 

10 Picture show is the Sopranos
Quotes are: Paulie Walnuts “Hee Hee. Sorry T. I can’t help it” Tony “It’s ok, he woulda wanted you to laugh”

The characters in The Sopranos are talking about the death of Chuckles the Clown from The Mary Tyler Moore Show

 

17 Picture show is I Love Lucy
Quotes are: Ethel “We can’t stop singing, ain’t that right, Fred” Rickey “I bet it’s a demon you crazy redhead” Lucy “I was so much happier when I was dead”

Lucy, Ricky, Fred, and Ethel are probably referring to "Once More With Feeling" from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

 

8 Picture show is The West Wing
Quotes are: Vinick “Who are three constituents who have never been in my campaign headquarters” Santos “No, I’m sorry, you lose the election”

The debate coverage (is that from The West Wing?) refers to Cliff going on Jeopardy on Cheers.

 

5 Picture show is Friends
Quotes are: Eric “Sniff. She said she’d dress like Planetary Ann, and she lied” “It’s ok Planetary Andy, we’ll scare the crap out of her new boyfriend in the basement”

 

3 Picture show is WKRP in Cincinnati
Quotes are: Les Nessman “This just in! You’ll go blind because of your scarlet fever, Fever!” Johnny Fever “Eh, could be worse. You’ll still be looking at Tarlek’s suits”

 

9 Picture show is Ellen
Quotes are Ellen “Some goshdarn time, a woman needs to stop goshdarn crying and stop being something she goshdarn isn’t. Sorry, is that okay?”  Guy who’s name I don’t know “Let’s play poker, tree girl”

 

10 Picture show is Home Improvement
Quotes are Tim “I’m gonna caulk that Russian good… once we figure out where he’s hiding” Wilson “Well, good neighbor, that’s a bit of a pickle. Ketchup packet?”

 

15 Picture show is Little House on the Prarie
Quotes are Pa “Oh my, Mother! It wasn’t a chicken she smothered! It was a baby!” Ma “The hens will be relieved to hear that”

The Ingalls from Little House are talking about events from near the end of MASH

 

12 Picture show is the Mary Tyler Moore Show
Quotes are Ted “America wants to know! Are you still the chief of your chateau?” Murry “Yup, man of the house, that’s me” Mary “Can I say something please? Um, I was in this cab with Ted Kennedy…”

Mary and the gang are going through "the contest" from Seinfeld

 

6 Picture show is (I think) the Dick Van Dyke Show
Quote is: Sally “He’s cancelling because I got hit in the face! I knew I chose the wrong man…

 

1 Picture show is Fawlty Towers
Quotes are Polly Sherman “My heavens! The Major’s been shot! What will we do now?”  Basil Fawlty “Oh lovely! Now all the guests will be annoyingly reminiscing about how they met him! Gah!” Manuel “Que?”

 

21 Picture show is Cheers
Quotes are Carla “Everybody buy out and go this Tanquestolivodkagin” Sam “I think you’re supposed to drink that from a spoon”

I Love Lucy vitameatavegamin episode?

 

20 Picture show is Dallas
Quotes are JR “If you’re so psychic little brother, how do I die?” Bobby “Y’all don’t”

 

5 Picture show is Star Trek The Next Generation
Quotes are: Data “Captain, the turkeys have ceased functioning. Oh, my lack of humanity” Picard ”Mr. Data, doesn’t the Prime Directive say turkeys can fly?”

Picard and Data are talking about the Thanksgiving promotion from WKRP.

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#13 the dialogue is from "The Puppy" episode of Ellen

 

#20 the dialogue is an X-Files reference from the episode "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose"

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Good additions, and they seem to confirm the links between shows.  And I was deliberately ignoring the numbers until more or all of the links had been found.  The star makes me think it's the starting point for the chain.

 

Let's make a smaller table.  And given the title of the puzzle, I'm putting in the episode name of the referenced show.

 

  • 1*      Deadwood 
  • 13     Seinfeld                       ST:TNG                  "Chain of Command (Part 2)"
  • 15     The Brady Bunch         Friends                  "The One with The game"  ?
  • 4       MASH                           Dallas                    "Blast from the Past"  ?
  • 18     Buffy                            Dick Van Dyke        "It May Look Like a Walnut"
  • 14     X-Files                         Simpsons                "Marge vs. the Monorail"
  • 13     Simpsons                     Ellen                       "The Puppy Episode"
  • 10     Sopranos                     Mary Tyler Moore    "Chuckles Bites the Dust"
  • 17     I Love Lucy                  Buffy                        "Once More With Feeling"
  • 8       West Wing                   Cheers                      "What Is... Cliff Clavin?"
  • 5       Friends 
  • 3       WKRP  
  • 9       Ellen  
  • 10     Home Improvement
  • 15     Little House                 MASH                       "Goodbye, Farewell and Amen"
  • 12     Mary Tyler Moore        Seinfeld                    "The Contest"
  • 6       Dick Van Dyke
  • 1       Fawlty Towers
  • 21     Cheers                       I Love Lucy                "Lucy Does a TV Commercial"  (the vitameatavegimin episode)?
  • 20     Dallas                         X-Files                       "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose"
  • 5       ST:TNG                      WKRP                        "Turkeys Away"

 

 

Looking at this, there are 7 shows pictured that we don't have episode references for yet:  Deadwood, Brady Bunch, Home  Improvement, Little House, Fawlty Towers, Sopranos, and The West Wing, with a question on I love Lucy's placement. 

 

And there's a couple episode references we're not 100% sure of, including the aforementioned Lucy episode.

 

I've looked at indexing the number into the episode title, but that won't work.  Neither will indexing it into the referenced show.  The failure point is the Mary Tyler Moore/Seinfeld image.  The number there is 12, but Seinfeld is 8 letters, and "The Contest" is only 11.

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The Deadwood dialogue is from Fawlty Towers, and the Fawlty Towers dialogue is from The West Wing, and the Dick Van Dyke dialogue is The Brady Bunch.

 

The "boyfriend in the basement" dialogue from the Friends photo could be Home Improvement (which I think had one of the kids living in a bedroom in the basement?), but like most sane people I've blocked a solid 95% of that show out so I really have no clue there.

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I added in the new info and edited the Friends episode title (I had it wrong before). Changes bolded. 

 

  • 1*      Deadwood                   Fawlty Towers        "Basil the Rat" 
  • 13     Seinfeld                        ST:TNG                  "Chain of Command (Part 2)"
  • 15     The Brady Bunch       Friends                  "The One With The Embryos"  ?
  • 4       MASH                           Dallas                    "Blast from the Past"  ?
  • 18     Buffy                             Dick Van Dyke        "It May Look Like a Walnut"
  • 14     X-Files                          Simpsons                "Marge vs. the Monorail"
  • 13     Simpsons                     Ellen                       "The Puppy Episode"
  • 10     Sopranos                     Mary Tyler Moore    "Chuckles Bites the Dust"
  • 17     I Love Lucy                  Buffy                        "Once More With Feeling"
  • 8       West Wing                   Cheers                      "What Is... Cliff Clavin?"
  • 5       Friends
  • 3       WKRP                           Little House on the Prairie        "I'll Be Waving As You Drive Away"
  • 9       Ellen 
  • 10     Home Improvement
  • 15     Little House                   MASH                       "Goodbye, Farewell and Amen"
  • 12     Mary Tyler Moore        Seinfeld                    "The Contest"
  • 6       Dick Van Dyke              The Brady Bunch       "The Subject Was Noses" 
  • 1       Fawlty Towers               The West Wing                ??
  • 21     Cheers                            I Love Lucy                "Lucy Does a TV Commercial"  (the vitameatavegimin episode)?
  • 20     Dallas                             X-Files                       "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose"
  • 5       ST:TNG                           WKRP                        "Turkeys Away"

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Had an idea that turned out to be a bust.

 

I thought that since the indexing was failing at MTM/Seinfeld, that maybe we needed the title of the matching episode of quoted show, instead of the quoted episode title.  But the 11th episode of the 4th season of The Mary Tyler Moore show ("The Contest" being the 11th episode of season 4 of Seinfeld) is titled "Just Friends".  And that is also too short for an index of 12.

 

So that's not the line of reasoning to go down.

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I took Lisin's list and arranged it to link the shows together, and I also looked at the numbers (appear below). 

 

  • 1*      Deadwood                   Fawlty Towers        "Basil the Rat" 
  • 1       Fawlty Towers               The West Wing                ??
  • 8       West Wing                   Cheers                      "What Is... Cliff Clavin?"
  • 21     Cheers                            I Love Lucy                "Lucy Does a TV Commercial"  (the vitameatavegimin episode)?
  • 17     I Love Lucy                  Buffy                        "Once More With Feeling"
  • 18     Buffy                             Dick Van Dyke        "It May Look Like a Walnut"
  • 6       Dick Van Dyke              The Brady Bunch       "The Subject Was Noses" 
  • 15     The Brady Bunch       Friends                  "The One With The Embryos"  ?
  • 5       Friends

 

  • 10     Home Improvement

 

  • 10     Sopranos                     Mary Tyler Moore    "Chuckles Bites the Dust"
  • 12     Mary Tyler Moore        Seinfeld                    "The Contest"
  • 13     Seinfeld                        ST:TNG                  "Chain of Command (Part 2)"
  • 5       ST:TNG                           WKRP                        "Turkeys Away"
  • 3       WKRP                           Little House on the Prairie        "I'll Be Waving As You Drive Away"
  • 15     Little House                   MASH                       "Goodbye, Farewell and Amen"
  • 4       MASH                           Dallas                    "Blast from the Past"  ?
  • 20     Dallas                             X-Files                 "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose"
  • 14     X-Files                          Simpsons                "Marge vs. the Monorail"
  • 13     Simpsons                     Ellen                       "The Puppy Episode"
  • 9       Ellen

 

Underlines have no shows that quote them, bolded indicate shows we can't figure out who they're quoting, Home Improvement is orphaned on both counts.

 

Regarding the numbers:

  • 1,5,10,13,15   appear twice
  • 2,7,11,16,19   Never appears
  • 3,4,6,8,9,12,14,17,18,20,21   Appear once
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By logic, Ellen can't be quoting Sopranos.  That would create a sub-circle.  Which leaves that as quoting either Home Improvement or Deadwood.

 

Same logic means Friends can't be quoting Deadwood.  So that's quoting either Home Improvement or Sopranos.  And I agree with SnideAsides that it's probably Home Improvement.  I vaguely remember a Halloween episode that would seem to fit the quotes.

 

That leaves Ellen quoting Deadwood (poker, "cursing"), and Home Improvement quoting Sopranos.  Which completes the circle and locks Lucy into place.

 

  • 1*      Deadwood                   Fawlty Towers        "Basil the Rat"
  • 1       Fawlty Towers               The West Wing                ??
  • 8       West Wing                   Cheers                      "What Is... Cliff Clavin?"
  • 21     Cheers                            I Love Lucy                "Lucy Does a TV Commercial"
  • 17     I Love Lucy                  Buffy                        "Once More With Feeling"
  • 18     Buffy                             Dick Van Dyke        "It May Look Like a Walnut"
  • 6       Dick Van Dyke              The Brady Bunch       "The Subject Was Noses"
  • 15     The Brady Bunch       Friends                  "The One With The Embryos"  ?
  • 5       Friends                      Home Improvement                     ??
  • 10     Home Improvement     Sopranos                                   ??
  • 10     Sopranos                     Mary Tyler Moore    "Chuckles Bites the Dust"
  • 12     Mary Tyler Moore        Seinfeld                    "The Contest"
  • 13     Seinfeld                        ST:TNG                  "Chain of Command (Part 2)"
  • 5       ST:TNG                           WKRP                        "Turkeys Away"
  • 3       WKRP                           Little House on the Prairie        "I'll Be Waving As You Drive Away"
  • 15     Little House                   MASH                       "Goodbye, Farewell and Amen"
  • 4       MASH                           Dallas                    "Blast from the Past"  ?
  • 20     Dallas                             X-Files                 "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose"
  • 14     X-Files                          Simpsons                "Marge vs. the Monorail"
  • 13     Simpsons                     Ellen                       "The Puppy Episode"
  •  9       Ellen                           Deadwood                          ??

 

We're still missing a few episode titles and aren't fully sure on a couple others (in italics).  And still no clue on what the numbers mean.

Edited by SVNBob

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Finally had a chance to look at this. Assuming "Pine Barrens" is right, indexing the numbers into those titles gives us this:

 

B?LLINBM?NINNELLSROO?

 

That seems kind of promising. Starts with "Bill" or "Bell" or "Billing" if something was off.  Could end in "Room" or "Roof".

 

The number associated with Mary Tyler Moore is 6 and not 12 I think, btw.

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If it helps, the West Wing ep referenced by Fawlty Towers is "In the Shadow of Two Gunmen"  (Season 2, Eps 1 and 2).

The Home Improvement ep referenced by Friends is "The Haunting of Taylor House" (Season 2, Episode 6)

 

I'm pretty sure the Deadwood ep Ellen is referencing is "Here Was a Man" (Season 1, Ep 4)  "- Some goddamned time, a man’s due to stop arguing with hisself, feeling he’s twice the goddamn fool he knows he is, because he can’t be something he tries to be every goddamn day without once getting to dinnertime and not fucking it up. I don’t wanna fight it no more. Understand me, Charlie? And I don’t want you pissing in my ear about it. Can you let me go to hell the way I want to?"

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Yeah, the numbers for Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore got switched.  And having a 6 to try to index into Seinfeld or "The Contest" works out a lot better.

 

So fixing those numbers, and adding in the new titles:

 

  • 1*      Deadwood                   Fawlty Towers        "Basil the Rat"
  • 1       Fawlty Towers               The West Wing        "In the Shadow of Two Gunmen"
  • 8       West Wing                   Cheers                      "What Is... Cliff Clavin?"
  • 21     Cheers                            I Love Lucy                "Lucy Does a TV Commercial"
  • 17     I Love Lucy                  Buffy                        "Once More With Feeling"
  • 18     Buffy                             Dick Van Dyke        "It May Look Like a Walnut"
  • 12     Dick Van Dyke              The Brady Bunch       "The Subject Was Noses"
  • 15     The Brady Bunch       Friends                  "The One With The Embryos"  ?
  • 5       Friends                      Home Improvement          "The Haunting of Taylor House"
  • 10     Home Improvement     Sopranos                   "Pine Barrens"
  • 10     Sopranos                     Mary Tyler Moore    "Chuckles Bites the Dust"
  • 6      Mary Tyler Moore        Seinfeld                    "The Contest"
  • 13     Seinfeld                        ST:TNG                  "Chain of Command (Part 2)"
  • 5       ST:TNG                           WKRP                        "Turkeys Away"
  • 3       WKRP                           Little House on the Prairie        "I'll Be Waving As You Drive Away"
  • 15     Little House                   MASH                       "Goodbye, Farewell and Amen"
  • 4       MASH                           Dallas                    "Blast from the Past"  ?
  • 20     Dallas                             X-Files                 "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose"
  • 14     X-Files                          Simpsons                "Marge vs. the Monorail"
  • 13     Simpsons                     Ellen                       "The Puppy Episode"
  • 9       Ellen                           Deadwood                     "Here Was a Man"

 

Indexing the number into these titles in this order gives us:

 

BILLINAMANINNELLSROOM

 

Bill in a Man in Nell's Room.  Any ideas?

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"A Man in Nell's Room" turns out to be an episode of "Gimme a Break"... and the character Bill was played by Danny Glover.

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Checked the answers on that page, and Danny Glover is indeed correct!  Good work everyone.

 

I'll post the next one, which is one I actually worked on live a few years ago.  My team did not solve this during the weekend, much to my frustration.  Afterwards I checked the answer and when you do that your reaction is usually either, "Oh, that makes sense, but I just missed it!" or "Oh, fuck you puzzle designer!"  This one was one of the former. And it is TV related.

 

http://web.mit.edu/puzzle/www/2012/puzzles/a_circus_line/revisiting_history/

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