Solution - It Is What It Is

by Paul Melamud

Art by Paul Melamud (40), Aggie Johnson (17), Kadence Melamud (7), and Julia Jane McManus (7)

Answer: Click here to reveal

Note: Believe it or not, my seven-year-old daughter came up with the initial idea for this puzzle. The theme of this puzzle is one of her favorite Disney Jr. cartoons, Doc McStuffins, who doctors the illnesses of her and her friends' toys, drawing her diagnoses in her "Big Book of Boo-Boos". There are a couple wikis online that can help the solver once they identify Doc McStuffins as the subject matter.

Each picture represents two things: a (re-imagined based on the name) syndrome from Doc's Big Book of Boo-Boos, and a character (drawn faithfully to match the cartoon). The trick is that these two were not paired up in the show. When you identify both and chain them together (Toy A with Disease B, then Toy B with Disease C, then Toy C with Disease D… looping to Toy U with Disease A), and index the syndromes by the book page number, this helps resolve any syndrome-identification ambiguities, and create a message. The list of answers is below:

Page Illness Drawn With Who Really Had Extract
6 Nightmare Scary-Scares Serpent Sam Doc McStuffins M
5 Tummy-a-la-king Awesome Guy Serpent Sam Y
12 Righty-on-Lefty Syndrome Army Al Awesome Guy T
14 The Ready-to-Serves Bronty Army Al V
18 Stinky-Salami-Breath Kiko Bronty H
10 Weak-Muscle-itis Rita Kiko E
3 Beautiful-Spot-itis Teddy B Rita A
2 Prickliosis-in-your-tummius Sproingo-Boingo Teddy B R
21 Sprained Spring-a-mosis Syndrome Celeste Sproingo-Boingo S
1 Bead-Stuck-o-Lepsy Louie Celeste B
8 Super-Loud-Itis Sebastian Louie U
20 Ghost-stuck-in-a-Pumpkin Syndrome Boppy Sebastian N
15 The Pricklethorns Mitzi Boppy N
11 Pipe-a-cloggity-crackity-tentacle-osis Stuffy Mitzi I
16 Super-Soaked-Way-Wet Dragon Disorder DragonBot Stuffy E
19 Cardboard Jammie-Jams Professor Hootsburg DragonBot S
17 Squished-Flat-a-Tosis Mr. Chomp Professor Hootsburg I
9 Loose-Tooth-eosis Egghead Mr. Chomp T
7 Too-much-fun-in-the-sun-aplexy Niles Egghead H
13 Y.O.B. (Yucky-Old-Bandage)-Osis Wildlife Will Niles A
4 Missing-parts-a-tosis Doc McStuffins Wildlife Will S

You may have to rotate or flip-and-rotate your string, depending where you chose to start creating the message.

The symptom-like phrase, "MY TV HEARS BUNNIES IT HAS", has a punny answer: RABBIT EARS.

Note: I thought it would be fun to include Doc herself as one of the characters, and to give her a syndrome that caused numerous parts to be removed (not only bodyparts, her signature hairclip and stethoscope are missing). I gave her the honor of being the start/end of the message.

Note: The title might be re-parsed and re-punctuated as "It is what it is?", and the flavortext (a part of a quotation from a somewhat better artist than Doc, Edouard Manet) plays right into this as well.