Introducing Puzzle Fantastica


Nash Fig01B

Tetrosomus Gibbosus


Dave Ng says:

We consider this an online mystery, and a blogging experiment of sorts. Essentially, we have presented five seemingly unrelated clues (three images, one video, and the start of a novel) that should effectively converge to a solution we have in mind, and we've been inviting readers to postulate and hypothesize on what that answer could be.

What's interesting is that, so far, the conjecture produced has been pretty intriguing, with rational linkages that suggest the answer to be as varied as Jamaica's Independence Day, the year 1962, Minister Koizumi, the number 42, evolutionary theory, and James Joyce. This happened with our limited readership, so we were basically curious to see what would happen if 100s or even 1000s of folks participated. It could really boggle the mind to see such a collective response, or we suppose it could also fall flat — but we are curious nevertheless.

In some respects, we've treated it as a blogging carnival, except that there is no theme, or rather the point is, to figure out the theme. This, we think, is a first, much like an experiment – being science types, we like experiments.

Dave's collaborator, Benjamin Cohen, says:

"Puzzle Fantastica #1: Fish-Cow-Elvis" began surreptitiously, lurking at the sidebar of The World's Fair blog. It then, from the watchful gaze of visitors, came into light as something to be addressed. There was a puzzle being revealed, but we dared not step closer. We left that to you. The puzzle was soon bigger than us, and so we stood back and offered the rest of it for the world. There was more, and a few more clues have made their way into visibility. What is the puzzle? What is it a puzzle of? What did a fish, a food-factory cow, and an Elvis cover mean? And of the video and the novel's beginning?

Fire away. The solution, which indeed exists, has yet to be revealed.

First posting was here (where we teasingly warned: "do not click unless you are of reasonable intelligence").

Follow-up clue (a video clip) came here.

So-called Final Clue was dropped here.

With follow-up commentary and an explicit update here.

There *is* a solution — many early contributors thought we were simply toying with them, which is not true. And although I say this from the comfort of one who knows the answer, it's actually not as complicated, in answer form at least, as many have suspected. We've had a lot of very fascinating approaches to solving it, and many good and laudable attempts, but nothing that's nailed it yet.