Solution: Polar Sales Answer: CAST IRON

Written by Abigail Caron, Ian Osborn, and Robert Tunney

We are presented with a series of pictures, each with a sale tag and some numbers that look suspiciously like coordinates. By plugging the coordinates into a search engine, we find that each is somewhere in Antarctica. Unfortunately, Google Maps doesn't have any specific annotations for the locations given. We may notice that all of the points are along the edges of the continent, or reference a more detailed map of Antarctica, to realize that each marked point is a named ice shelf. The entries are ordered alphabetically (reading down the left column and then the right) by ice shelf to aid in identification.

Considering the associated images, we may now notice that each is a homophone/homonym of an arctic animal, for example TURN -> TERN. If we overlay the identified animal and ice shelf, we note that there is exactly one overlapping letter for each pair; N in the case of TERN and BRUNT. Ordering by the sale percentage, we get the answer: CAST IRON.

ImageSale %AnimalCoordinatesIce ShelfExtracted Letter
Charred Wood10Char-68.67, 152.5CookC
Hair20Hare-69.62, 14.75LazarevA
Wax Seal30Seal-77, -148SulzbergerS
Bunting40Bunting-66.67, 85WestT
Puffing Wolf50Puffin-75.1, -105.52ThwaitesI
Bare Feet60Bear-69.75, 71AmeryR
Guy Fawkes70Fox-81.5, -175RossO
U-Turn80Tern-75.67, -25BruntN

Author’s Notes

Immediately after mystery hunt several of us got to chatting about animal homophones. A few weeks later, GPH was officially Antarctic themed and Abby got mildly lost in a geology department, resulting in the discovery that antarctic ice shelves had names. These two ideas were pulled together by cluing arctic animals, and while there was some initial excitement about using Polar Coordinates in a clever way in the puzzle... polar coordinates applied to earth is literally just latitude and longitude. D'oh!