by Jennifer Berk, Sami Casanova, Marisa Debowsky, and Jesse Gelles
Problem: Thanksgiving Town/​President’s Day Town

This is a logic puzzle in two stages: first identify all the spies’ characteristics, and then match them up and extract an answer. Pity you can’t make all their preferences work, but that’s why it’s a “compromised” best match. Thanks for working for Secret Admirer!

Identify the Characteristics

This is a standard grid logic puzzle using your matchmaking predecessor’s notes. An example path:

  1. The ten people are five who eat on the quad (1) and five who eat in the cafeteria (and served on a joint mission together) (2).
  2. Since the three college-goers did not go on the joint mission (3), they must eat in the quad. Two of the four who enlisted in the Army eat in the quad (5), so those three plus two are the five who eat in the quad. The remaining two who joined the Army plus the three who enlisted in the Navy (4) are the five who eat in the cafeteria and served on the joint mission.
  3. Evangeline is the acrobat (11), so they don’t read lips. They also don’t write poetry or hate rats in the air vents (11), so they eat lunch in the quad (2, 1). They either like crosswords or hate eating and driving.
  4. The college group (including Jefferson) hasn’t been part of a joint mission (3) so they all eat in the quad (2, 1). Jefferson doesn’t hate texting and driving (10) and is the bird watcher not the crossword solver (10), so they’re the technology specialist.
  5. The person who likes factoring large numbers in their head went to college and therefore eats in the quad (3, 2, 1). They’re not Alexandria or Isabelle (17) and not the tech specialist Jefferson who’s the bird watcher, so they hate people who eat and drive.
  6. The tango dancer who practices verb conjugations and served in the Army is Christopher or Demetrius (7, 5) instead of Alexandria or Isabelle, so they must eat lunch in the cafeteria.
  7. The person who calls HQ every 5 minutes must eat lunch on the quad, since the lip reader and either Christopher or Demetrius eat lunch in the cafeteria (5).
  8. Christopher doesn’t eat lunch with Demetrius, so they must eat with Broderick (13). Because Alexandria, Evangeline, Isabelle, and Jefferson eat lunch in the quad, Christopher and Broderick must eat in the cafeteria, and Demetrius must eat on the quad.
  9. By elimination, Fitzgerald eats in the cafeteria (2). They aren’t the lip reader (9), and they hate when their partner is late to the drop rather than rats in the vents (9), so they write poetry (2).
  10. Christopher eats in the cafeteria and doesn’t read lips (5) or write poetry (Fitzgerald does), so they hate rats in the vents (2). Recall that the tango dancer ate in the cafeteria and was either Christopher or Demetrius; since Demetrius eats in the quad, Christopher must be the tango dancer. By elimination, Broderick, who eats in the cafeteria, reads lips (2).
  11. The cafeteria lunch group includes the lip reader (2), the helicopter pilot (4), the covert ops specialist (12 since Broderick eats in the cafeteria), and Christopher the tango dancer, so it cannot include both the person with survival skills and the lock-picker, who eat together (6).
  12. Therefore the quad lunch group is, in some order, Jefferson the tech specialist (1), the martial artist (14), Evangeline the acrobat, the one with survival skills, and the lock picker.
  13. Demetrius, who joined the Army after high school, is not tech specialist Jefferson or the person who hates texting and driving and enjoys factoring large numbers in their head (3), so they enjoy crosswords (1).
  14. By process of elimination, Evangeline is the person who hates eating and driving and enjoys factoring large numbers in their head. They went to college (3).
  15. The quad lunch group includes (1) the crossword solver (Demetrius), the tech specialist (Jefferson) who is the bird-watcher, and the one who hates texting and driving (Evangeline) who enjoys factoring large numbers in their head. So remaining group members Alexandria and Isabelle in some order enjoy solitaire on their iPhone (13) and calling HQ every five minutes (5).
  16. The martial artist cannot be the tech specialist, the person who does crosswords (14), Evangeline the acrobat, or Isabelle (14), so they’re Alexandria. Either Alexandria or Isabelle went to college and hates frozen Microsoft Office (14, 3).
  17. The person who picks locks (and eats on the quad) cannot be the tech specialist, Demetrius (5), Evangeline the acrobat, or Alexandria the martial artist, so they’re Isabelle.
  18. That means Alexandria must hate frozen Microsoft Office (18, 3) and have gone to college, while Isabelle joined the Army out of high school. Isabelle is the person who enjoys calling HQ every five minutes (5), and Alexandria enjoys solitaire on their iPhone (13).
  19. By process of elimination within the quad lunch crowd, Demetrius has great survival skills and hates faulty hidden cameras (6)
  20. Since Isabelle picks locks, they must not hate holes in pockets (18). The person who hates holes in pockets must eat lunch in the quad (13), so that’s Jefferson the tech specialist. Then Isabelle hates dead batteries, since the person who does must eat in the quad instead of with Broderick in the cafeteria (12, 13).
  21. Turning to the group that eats in the cafeteria, the helicopter pilot cannot be Harriette (4), Gwendolyn (15), tango dancer Christopher, or the lip reader, so they’re Fitzgerald who enjoys writing poetry (2).
  22. Gwendolyn is neither Christopher nor lip reader Broderick, so they joined the Navy rather than the Army out of high school (5). They enjoy swiping left on dating profiles (4).
  23. Gwendolyn doesn’t hate getting blocked by grates in ductwork (15) or heels that make noise when you walk (8), so they hate those annoying people who recline their seats all the way into your lap on an airplane (12).
  24. The covert ops specialist isn’t Broderick or Gwendolyn (12) or tango dancer Christopher or lip reader Broderick, so they’re Harriette (2). By elimination, Gwendolyn has great night vision.
  25. Harriette doesn’t whittle (16) so Broderick does, and Broderick hates heels that make noise when you walk (8). By elimination, Harriette hates getting blocked by grates in ductwork and holds silent dance parties.

Table can be scrolled horizontally.

Deduced from the Grid Logic PuzzleTime WasterSolitaire on your iPhoneWhittle small animal figurinesConjugating verbsCrossword puzzlesFactor large numbers in your headWrite poetrySwipe left on dating profilesSilent dance partyCall HQ every five minutes to ask if we’re there yetBirdwatching
Pet PeeveWhen Microsoft Office freezesHeels that make noise when you walkRats in the air ventsFaulty hidden cameraseating and drivingPartner is late to the dropPeople Who Recline Their Seats All the Way Into Your Lap On an AirplaneGetting blocked by grates in ductworkDead batteriesPockets with holes in them
SkillMartial ArtsReading lipsDancing the tangoSurvival SkillsAcrobaticsHelicoper flyingNight visionCovert OperationsLock pickingTechnology Specialist
Used in unfolding the logicLunch locationquadcafeteriacafeteriaquadquadcafeteriacafeteriacafeteriaquadquad
Same streetYes!  Yes!Yes!     
Facts from their ProfileHeight5'3"5'4"5'3"5'0"5'6"5'8"5'6"5'3"5'5"6'0"
Hair Colorlong, blackspiky Atomic Turquoise (at the moment)short and naturally a mousy brown but has a flash of hot pinkused to be black, but now it’s salt-and-pepper, always in a bunstrawberry blonde pixie cutan unremarkable chin-length light brownshort, browndyed a very natural-looking henna, and cascades pleasantlyshort, curly, blackbright purple and waist-length
Languages SpokenFrench, Klingon, RussianArabic, Chinese, Hindi, RussianPortuguese, SpanishArabic, Hindi, SpanishLojban, RussianFrench, Hindi, UrduFrench, Hindi, Sindarin, TamilAtlantian, French, PortugueseGerman, Interglossa, Russian, SpanishChinese

Match Them Up

You may notice that each person’s three profile preferences refer to, in order, the explicitly requested solution characteristics in logic puzzle above, the extra characteristics you use in the logic puzzle along the way, and the “About Me” information from the profiles.

Table can be scrolled horizontally.

Name Alexandria Broderick Christopher Demetrius Evangeline Fitzgerald Gwendolyn Harriette Isabelle Jefferson
Preference #1
Pet peeves & Skills
a partner whose favorite pastime involves animals (real ones or fake ones) a partner who’s into dancing, either for fun or for work a partner whose hobby doesn’t revolve around their cell phone a partner whose pet peeve involves something somebody else does... hopefully I’ll seem great by comparison! a partner who doesn’t complain about ventilation-related mishaps a partner whose favorite activity involves games or puzzles a partner who doesn’t have a pet peeve related to something you wear a partner who won’t have to practice backflips or karate kicks when I just want to have dinner! a partner who doesn’t obsess over technical glitches a partner who has a way with words (and whose hobby revolves around them)
Implications from Preference #1 YES: BJ

YES: B (whittling)
YES: J (birdwatching)

YES: C (tango)
YES: H (silent dance party)

NO: A (solitaire)
NO: G (swipe left)
NO: I (call HQ)

YES: E (eating/driving)
YES: F (late to drop)
YES: G (recline seats)

NO: C (rats)
NO: H (grates)

YES: A (solitaire)
YES: D (crosswords)

NO: B (heels)
NO: J (pockets)

NO: A (martial arts)
NO: E (acro)

NO: A (MS Office)
NO: D (faulty hidden cameras)

YES: C (verbs)
YES: D (crosswords)
YES: F (poetry)
Preference #2
Clues in the Logic Puzzle
someone I’m already eating lunch with a partner who has served in the military someone who wasn’t in the Army someone who served in the same military branch I did knows how to participate in a joint mission someone who doesn’t live near other spies not somebody who’s part of my regular lunch crowd doesn’t root for the other team in the Army-Navy game will eat lunch outside with me has served in the armed forces
Implications from Preference #2 YES: DEIJ YES: CDFGHI YES: AEFGHJ YES: BCI YES: BCFGH
(This is the same as the cafeteria lunch group.)
Preference #3
Profile Facts
speaks a romance language speaks at least one foreign language that I speak black hair speaks Chinese or French long hair speaks a constructed or invented language hair color that is not found in nature not taller than me an inch or two shorter than me can be my translator on my next trip to Moscow

When you try to use all those characteristics, you quickly reach an impasse: no candidate makes another candidate completely happy. You’ll have to compromise. The best you can do, then, is that each candidate gets two out of three of their preferences met.

Here’s one potential solve path. Let’s define “you satisfy ⅔ of my preferences” as “I like you.” Then:

  1. A likes only D, I, or J. D does not like A back, and neither does J, but I does! It must be A & I.
  2. D likes only B, F, or G. F does not like D back, but B and G do! It must be either D&B or D&G.
  3. But if we pick the D&G pair, then E will have problems: the only people who like E are C, G, and I, and E only likes G among them. So we must have E & G, and then D & B.
  4. C likes A, D, E, F, H, and J; of those, A’s taken, D’s taken, E’s taken; that leaves F, H, and J. Of those, F doesn’t like C back, so C must match with either H or J. If C matches with H, then J has no partner. So C & J match.
  5. That leaves F & H, who, happily, like each other.

Extract the Answer

The compromised set of matches is what you fill into the extraction images at the bottom. After you fill in the three specific clues and their matches, you’re left with Broderick, Demetrius, Evangeline, and Gwendolyn. The only Navy veteran is Gwendolyn, so they go in the third match. Demetrius eats in the quad, so they go on the right-hand side of the last match to complete the ordering.

Now take the two-digit scores as indexes into each person’s name, and read off the answer (zeroes are spaces). The spies have given the Secret Admirer matchmaker PROFILES IN COURAGE.

In Summary

Name Skill Pastime Pet Peeve Lunch Location Post High School Match’s Name Letters
Christopher Dancing the tango Practice verb conjugations Rats in the air vents Cafeteria Army Jefferson PR
Jefferson Technology specialist Bird watching Pockets with holes in them Quad College Christopher OF
Alexandria Martial arts Solitaire on your iPhone Frozen Microsoft Office Quad College Isabelle IL
Isabelle Lock picking Call HQ every five minutes to ask if we’re there yet Dead batteries Quad Army Alexandria ES
Evangeline Acrobatics Factoring large numbers in your head Texting and driving Quad College Gwendolyn [space]I
Gwendolyn Night vision Swiping left on dating profiles People who recline their seats all the way into your lap on an airplane Cafeteria Navy Evangeline N[space]
Broderick Reading lips Whittling small animal figurines Heels that make noise when you walk Cafeteria Army Demetrius CO
Demetrius Survival skills Crossword puzzles Faulty hidden cameras Quad Army Broderick UR
Fitzgerald Helicopter flying Writing poetry Partner is late to the drop Cafeteria Navy Harriette AG
Harriette Covert operations Silent dance party Getting blocked by grates in ductwork Cafeteria Navy Fitzgerald E[space]