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Ski Slopes

Scott Purdy

Each of the words, phrases, or word-like strings in the story occurs slightly alphabetically after each word of an original Mad Libs story. By identifying likely words, teams can recreate the story below, with the words from “their submission” in italics.

Ski Slopes 
It was a sunny day, but the air was cool. There was a thick layer of snow on the ground, so I decided to go skiing. I drove as fast as I could to my favorite ski resort. “Damn!” I said when I saw how long the line was to buy a pass and rent skis.

I got in the back of the line, which went fairly quickly. But soon this big guy wearing a scarf cut right in front of me!

Hey!” I said. “This is a line!”

“So what?” he said rudely.

“So that means you have to wait! If you don’t know what that means, you can look it up in Merriam-Webster!”

He poked me in the back. “Do you want to fight?” he said loudly.

I was calm. “No,” I said, “but how about we race? First one to get to the coffee shop at the bottom of the expert slope is the winner.”

“You’re on,” he said.

When we got to the top of the hill, he put some high-tech goggles over his eyes. “You’re gonna die!” he said. Nervously, I stretched.

“On your mark, get set, go!” I shouted, and we both took off down the slope. I dodged a rock, went by a pine tree, and picked up speed on the steepest part of the hill. He was just ahead of me for almost the entire time, but right before the finish line, he hit a stump and flew out of control! He went under a branch and crashed into some bushes. I had won the race! Too bad we hadn’t bet any money.

By examining the www.m-w.com search function (as suggested in the story), teams may notice some of the odder handout words in the Web site’s list of search terms. Although not every story word appears in the dictionary search concordance (e.g. Merriam-Webster), all of the handout words do (even such oddities as “the and” and “die dies”).

By using the browse function to get the distance between the story word and the handout word (putting the story word where it would fall, when necessary), teams can extract a long string of numbers. However, this string only changes at the submission words. For example, the first four numbers are all 3, and then the fifth through tenth numbers are all 12. Translating these numbers into letters gives the cluephrase CLARKE WROTE THEIR GUIDE TO NE HOMES. This refers to Brock Clarke’s book An Arsonist’s Guide to Writers’ Homes in New England. The answer is ARSONISTS.