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Petey and the Word Search Puzzle


by shamboo5

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It had been several months since Petey Pteri and Professor Edgar Eyrie had had their altercation. More precisely, it was ten Lenny Conundrums later (#214 - #223). Most Neopians counted the passage of time in months, Month of Relaxing, Month of Swimming, and so on, but Petey and the Professor, unbeknownst to each other, arranged their calendars by Lenny Conundrums, and what a fine group of Conundrums they had been.

There were lots of mathematical ones, but perhaps the most memorable was a word search puzzle, Lenny Conundrum #220.

In an effort to be in the first 250, many Neopians entered codestones as soon as they discovered the theme, only to later learn that if they had crossed off all the appropriate letters, the remaining letters anagrammed codestone.

"Singular." "No, plural." "No, singular!" The words echoed throughout Neopia all that week.

Petey's experience was different. Petey had been intimidated by the Battledome after being the only combatant in Neopian history to lose to Punchbag Bob. Poor Petey. He had therefore accumulated only one codestone, a TAI-KAI, which he haplessly acquired in a something has happened random event. Unfamiliar with VUX and VO and the others, Petey immediately recognized the one he knew, TAI-KAI, diagonally up the center, and correctly sent in codestone as the answer.

There was some jealousy among his former classmates who had answered quickly and gotten it wrong, but Petey was the kind of a bird you just couldn't be mad at.

###

Petey had matured a little. He now insisted everyone call him "Pete" and styled his feathers with magic goop from the grooming shop; nothing too dramatic, but everyone seemed to love the way his new blond highlights went with his green feathers.

He missed his mentor, Professor Edgar Eyrie. Although Petey had not been the brightest in his class at the Lenny Conundrum School of Puzzles, there was a steadfastness about him that had caught the Professor's eye. Not having a natural aptitude for puzzles, Petey nonetheless loved them and was content to be outshone by the brainiacs in the class. He never got the glory prize, but the satisfaction of solving a difficult puzzle had its own intrinsic reward.

If only Petey... er... Pete could think of a way to make up. He thought maybe a present of some customisable clothing, but those were way beyond his means. (Pete still visited the soup kitchen on a regular basis. He'd slither in, wearing a pair of novelty glasses, or occasionally a pirate costume, and everyone pretended not to know it was him.)

Pete sighed as he picked up his copy of Techo Master Tactics, his most cherished possession, the prize for being in the first 250 correct answers in Lenny Conundrum #220. He had been so excited when he learned he had won, he squeaked. (It's a Pteri thing. When they get extremely excited and try to talk, all that comes out is a high pitched squeak, usually to the extreme embarrassment of the Pteri even though it's relatively common to the species.)

He feathered the embossed binding of the book and drew it close, his thoughts wandering back to the puzzle. That's it! A word search, a word search with a message to Professor Edgar Eyrie, anagrammed from the remaining letters, no, no, not anagrammed, reading left to right, top to bottom, from the unused letters.

Pete could barely contain his enthusiasm as he picked up paper and pencil and started sketching a grid of boxes. This puzzle was going to contain letters and numbers. Most word search puzzles are all letters, and he had seen a scattered few that were all numbers, but this would have letters and numbers. How unique! In the Lenny Conundrum School of Puzzles a unique assignment would most surely merit a B+, maybe even an A. This would certainly catch the Professor's attention and respect:

C O D E S T O N E 8
4 I E 0 6 3 2 5 4 3
2 M T S O N R 3 S 1
3 R N Y P I R O D F
K C U H C R A L O P
E S A 2 S G O R O M
I S H 6 S O Y O W U

###

Professor Edgar Eyrie's feathers had grown back now and seemed even softer and shinier than before the fight with his friend and former student, Petey Pteri, but there was a sadness about him now.

He sat at his desk in the library of his neohome, grading papers. He wore his smarmy monocle as he went through paper after paper, when his attention was diverted by a piece of paper being slipped under the door. What's that? he wondered as he stepped over to the door to pick it up. Back at his desk, monocle in place, he studied the configuration of letters and numbers, immediately recognizing that it was a word search puzzle.

As a professor at the Lenny Conundrum School of Puzzles, he knew best how to approach a word search puzzle. First he read left to right across each row. It was impossible to miss the word CODESTONE smack across the first line. Then he took a pocket mirror and held it up to the puzzle, letters now backwards but configured left to right. Aha! A petpet! Similarly he checked the columns down, then up, finding a pet species. Finally he took a ruler as he studied the diagonals.

The professor sat back in his chair and thought about it. Where have I seen this pet and petpet recently? he wondered. And what about the numbers? Why numbers? A smile crossed his face as he recognized the theme. It took him a few moments to check his list and circle the answers, but when he was done, Pete's message was easily read.

The Professor reached into the top drawer for a red felt pen, then literally flew to see Petey. (He was, after all, an Eyrie.) He found him on High Street at the very spot they used to meet for their weekly walks.

"Petey..." started the Professor as he handed him back the puzzle paper, a big bold red A+ in the upper right hand corner.

Petey wanted to tell him "It's Pete now," but all he could do was squeak.

Ah, well, that could wait until next week.

###

Solution:

OGRIN 52360 POLARCHUCK 26 HAUNTED WOODS

843 CODESTONE 831 6 324

(Lenny Conundrum solutions #214 through #223)

Message: I'm sorry Professor. Miss you.

List of Codestones for Conundrum Puzzle:

BRI EO HAR LU MAIN MAU ORN TAI-KAI VO ZEICUI KEW MAG SHO VUX ZED

 
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