Act I, Scene 1

Story of a Corsair

279 solves / 908 incorrect guesses

Solution: THUGLYFE


Credits: Allen Gu

We are presented with a few pairs of images, where each image seems to clue for something. The first image depicts Snowy from the Tintin comics, whose barks are represented in the English language versions as "WOAH". The second image shows an arrow pointing halfway along a racetrack, suggesting maybe we are "halfway there". This alludes to a popular internet meme based off Bon Jovi's song Livin' on a Prayer, where pictures descriptively represent a phrase rhyming with the line "woah, we're halfway there".

This is exactly the case with the remaining eight pairs of images, where the second picture in each pair rhymes with "there". Even the title rhymes too! After identifying enough pictures, we note that both images in a par have the letter count indicated within the brackets. Furthermore, both images share the same initial letter. This can help us identify and disambiguate the remaining pictures. For instance, the first pair of images clues for "BARNACLES on BROWN BEAR".

Now that this is done, we need a way to extract letters. Recalling that this whole meme is about us being "halfway there", we should try indexing the centre letters from all images. This step is also achievable by noting that all images have odd-numbered lengths, which strongly hints at the importance of the centre letters.

Word length Image 1 Image 2 Letters extracted
9 BARNACLES BROWN BEAR AN
7 MISSILE MALWARE SW
9 UMBRELLAS UNDERWEAR ER
9 CONTINENT CROSSHAIR IS
9 MOUNTAINS MARCH HARE TH
11 FLUCTUATION FLYING CHAIR UG
9 THRILLERS TEDDY BEAR LY
5 SOFAS SWEAR FE

The extracted string reads "ANSWER IS THUG LYFE". The solution of THUG LYFE is itself a meme (although a variant spelling), and also alludes to the corsair's story from the title.

Author's notes

As someone at an age where internet memes are a huge part of my life, it was natural that we needed to include a meme-y puzzle in this Hunt. Furthermore, since internet memes are highly accessible to most solvers of all levels, we decided to make this puzzle into an easy warm-up for the Hunt.

The first iteration of this puzzle didn't include the very first image of Snowy, but I decided to include it in so we could have a complete image pair cluing for "Woah, we're halfway there" first line. Unfortunately, preliminary feedback suggested that many solvers didn't get the link between Snowy and Woah; in the end, Snowy turned out to be more of a distraction and it was probably a mistake to include him. Regardless, most waylaid teams were still able to get the rhyming pattern and solve the puzzle without figuring out the first pair.