Ouroboros (Solution)

by Derek Kisman

This meta is a slightly disguised jigsaw puzzle. The intertwined snakes aren't really contiguous; each outlined section should be cut out as a piece.

When reformed, the snakes form 9 different loops. 8 of them spell out the input answer words: DISCOVERY, FOREMAN, LOOKOUT, MOONWALK, MOUNTAIN, PLUTO, PULITZER, and TENNISCOURT. The words start from a random loop segment and read clockwise or counterclockwise (although always in the tail-to-head direction, which is important later). To help reduce the search space somewhat, the "1/2" marks show the segment (or pair of segments) halfway around the snake from the head/tail.

The 9th, which you should be able to assemble after you've found enough of the loops, spells out JOINORDIE. This refers to the famous woodcut by Benjamin Franklin showing a snake cut into 8 segments, labeled with the original American colonies (more or less).

In fact, the 8 answer snakes roughly match the shape of the 8 colonies. In order from tail to head, they are:

ANFOREM     - South Carolina
UTOPL       - North Carolina
WALKMOON    - Virginia (West Virginia didn't split off until the Civil War)
UNTAINMO    - Maryland
TTENNISCOUR - Pennsylvania
OOKOUTL     - New Jersey
ZERPULIT    - New York
OVERYDISC   - New England (4 different colonies at the time)

Now read the letters from the tail segment of S.C., the 2nd segment of N.C., and so on (the diagonal, above). The answer to this meta is ATLANTIS.