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Cocky Konundrum

Today is another beautiful day here at the University of South Carolina, and now we found ourselves in one of USC’s beautiful residence halls. Cocky is an RM here at USC, and is serving one of the residence halls with his sacred honor.

2/19/2015, 9:56pm: We have made some grammatical corrections to steps 6, 11, 14, 23, and 24 in order to help clarify our meaning therein.

2/19/2015, 1:00pm: To those teams who may have seen this puzzle before the takedown, be aware that we have made changes to points 6, 8, 16, and 26.

Cocky’s hall has a bunch of people, but let’s just focus on five residents. These five residents (along with Cocky), live in single rooms that are located on the same side of the hallway as Cocky. From left to right, these six rooms belong to Joshua, Lauren, Addison, Ben, Matthew, and Cocky. Since there is a hall bathroom, these rooms are only separated by a single wall.

These five residents in particular like bringing illegal objects into the residence hall. These five residents are all friends, and they all share a storage unit located off campus, where these objects can be located. Below are the 45 objects that can be used, and the five categories which they fall under.

AlpacaCharcoal GrillCave TorchBench from
the Horseshoe
Air Hockey Table
DuckDutch Oven
over Campfire
ChandelierC-Shaped DeskBasketball Game
FalconElectric Frying PanChristmas Lights
(without tags)
Double-decker CouchDartboard
Golden RetrieverHot plateGas LanternEnchanted WardrobeDJ Equipment
PandaHotel Waffle IronLava LampFireplaceHold 'em Table
ReindeerJapanese Restaurant
Table Grill
MenorahRacecar BedJukebox
SquirrelRotisseriePatio HeaterRotating BookshelfPinball Machine
TigerState Fair Deep FryerSpider LampWater BedPool Table
TortoiseToaster OvenSpotlightWine RackWater Fountain

(These are the official names of these objects. Use the names listed above to complete any survey of objects.)

It should be noted that besides sharing the same storage unit, they also can access each other’s rooms. This might include going into a room that isn’t theirs to get or leave an item in there.

The five residents also agreed to not have 3 or more items from the same category in any one room. This rule is never meant to be broken at any point, even during the middle of a moving day.

The residents are changing their rooms every day for the month of February, which has 28 days. During this entire month, you serve as a “gopher”. Instructions given will either be directives given by one of the five residents, or they are bulletins that will force you to work on several rooms at once. The former will be designated with quotation marks, while the latter will not be. You work as one of these two roles each of the 28 days.

At the end of Weeks 1 through 3, Cocky will do a sweep of the hall and collect some items that shouldn’t belong in the rooms. While yes, Cocky will be ignoring lots of objects that shouldn’t belong, he will take items away.

An object can either exist in 1) A residential room 2) The storage unit or 3) “Gone”.

When Cocky collects an item during his weekly visit, that item is “gone”, and will not be returned in any capacity to the residents. Residents also have the option to get rid of an item as well. Let’s just assume that these items are thrown into a dumpster, and the pets are given to a shelter.

At no point are we decorating Cocky’s room. Let’s just say he plays on the Xbox all day.

Each of these square rooms have four corners. The SW corner is designated “1”, the NW as “2”, the NE as “3”, the SE as “4”, and the centerpiece as “5”. There is a door on the south wall, between 1 and 4. There is a window on the north wall, between 2 and 3.

Note, hyphenated words count as one word, and “DJ” counts as one word.

Follow all of these instructions, and you should discover your answer.

  1. To start out this month, find the two items in the storage unit that don't share their first letter with any other item in the storage unit, and begin with the first letter of a resident. Put those objects in the residents' "3" spot.
  2. The remaining residents on the hall should find an item to put in their own room that begins with the same letter as their name. These new items should go as centerpieces. No category should be used twice today, and nothing should be stolen from another location (especially from a location on campus).
  3. "Man, one of my neighbors has an animal, and the other neighbor could serve a party of 6. Look for a heat-giving object in the only category not yet used and put it in a corner not near a door."
  4. "I need some lighting for my room, and my neighbor's religious lighting inspires me. Find a religious light and put in in the corner farthest away from my neighbor's light."
  5. "My centerpiece is really nice, but if I want to entertain guests, both "food" and "drink" should be represented. Find some furniture to fill the void to the right of the door, and lets have some tunes playing in the opposite corner. Just not tunes I need to hire another person for."
  6. "My room is so bare, and I think it's time for me to get my first college pet! I bet my neighbor would like a pet too. I'll get a one-word animal that featured on the Chinese zodiac for my room in the '1' spot, and I'll give my neighbor an animal that surprisingly NOT on the Chinese zodiac for his '3' spot.
  7. "Looks like Chile needs chili! (I appropriately named him Chile.) Grab the Dutch oven and put it in the only corner that has one object in it in the hallway. Then for good measure, take entertainment out of the room two doors down, and put it in the same corner where it was in the previous room."
  8. Week 1: Cocky will take object closest to the door unless that room contains an object that only uses one vowel, even if that vowel is repeated.

  9. "I can't believe he took my pet! That's crazy! Find an animal that has the shortest name of the animals to put in the same spot, and to accompany my new pet, find the only other object that features all the letters of my new pet, and put it on the wall nearest the RM's room."
  10. "Whew, my room is burning up! That's probably from the multiple things I've added to it. But let's make it steamier! Grab the three-word item that contains the three-letter word that best describes my room, and put in right smack in the center."
  11. "My room looks empty. Time to fix that. Looks like one of my hallmates has an item that shares its first letter with my item (and name!). Go get it, and let's put on the left side of the door. The storage unit should have one more object that has that same letter. Get it, and put in the opposite corner of the my room's newest object."
  12. "It looks like I've got almost one of each kind, and my neighbors can help me out with that! Grab both of the items, and rearrange my room so that it happens to be in both numerical and alphabetical order."
  13. "My room could definitely use some more South Carolina flair. Find an object that I see in Columbia every October, and object I see on my way to class each day, and how about a pet that is basically "the unofficial animal of USC". You shouldn't have to swipe anything from another room to get them. Put them in my room 1, 2, and 3 respectively."
  14. "My pet needs to feel at home, and I don't think he feels that way. Find a piece of furniture and an entertainment piece that would be appropriate for my pet. Be sure to put the quieter one closest to the RM's room, and put the other object in the opposite corner."
  15. "My neighbor has two of the same category object in his room. Take one of them, and put it in the same spot in my room."
  16. Week 2: Cocky will take any item that features a word in its name that is the same length in letters as the room owner's name.

  17. This hall needs some light! Grab the classiest light to put in the center of the room that doesn't already have a light. For the room that doesn't have a light but does have a majority category, grab the light that best fits that category, and put it in the room. And for the final room without light, grab a light, and then rearrange the room so each object is on a space that features the same number of words as in the objects.
  18. "My pet agrees, we have too much stuff in the room. Give one the objects in my room to my neighbor to the right so that it'll be in the same spot as before. Then, give another of my objects to the first neighbor to my left that can receive an object, but will also go in the same spot as it was in my room. My pet will feel better once some of this stuff is gone."
  19. "You know what really brings out a room? Felt. Grab the two most felt-y things in the storage unit, while simultaneously returning the object in my room from the same category back to the storage unit. Of my two new objects, put the one with a corner pocket in the corner pocket."
  20. "I need a centerpiece, but I don't want to repeat any categories. On my hall, grab the nearest current centerpiece that isn't already categorically represented in my room, and put it as my new centerpiece."
  21. "I know one my pieces is movie-inspired, but I'd rather it be TV-inspired. Switch it out with the item that was last used in December 2014."
  22. "I think my pet has had too much exposure to natural light, being right next to the window. Move my pet away from the window, but don't move anything else in my room."
  23. "I've had this thing since Day 1! Three weeks later, and I can't believe I still have it. Return it to the storage unit, and find me something there that has a word that ends with a double-letter to take its place."
  24. Week 3: Look at the very first letter and the very last letter of each object. Cocky will take away any items where those two letters are just one away from each other (e.g. A/B or B/A)

  25. It's time for a redistribution of material wealth. One person has all four corners of their room filled. It looks like a 1-2-3-4 can be found left to right, excluding the room with all the stuff. Put their 4 in that "1" spot, their 3 in that "2" spot, and so on. That'll show them for not getting their stuff stolen by Cocky.
  26. "I'd look a new pet, and it's time to change my lighting. My lights are currently against a wall that my neighbor has their lights, just on the other side. Switch out my light for theirs, and then in the last remaining spot, find the pet that best matches the lighting I just got."
  27. "Only my neighbor and I currently have a kitchen appliance in our room, and I've just about had mine from the beginning. Move that appliance to the remaining corner in my room, go get an item from the storage unit that features a palindrome to put in the new remaining corner, get rid of the item closest to the purpose of that newest object, and move my pet to the now open corner. And as a reward, go get an item whose second word features the same letter three times to put as the centerpiece."
  28. "If you think I'm going to get the item that is straight out of a Scooby-Doo mystery, you'd be right. Grab that item from the storage unit, and put it in the last corner of my room. However, to make room, remove the entertainment piece in the opposite corner, and remove the only other two-word item in the room."
  29. "There are still some cool entertainment items that I don’t think anyone has touched. Get two that’ll go next to the window, but make sure none of the items you grab have a word that can be spelled out using the centerpiece in my room. Make sure the quieter one is closest to the RM. Then grab a non-furniture item from storage whose second and final word is shorter in length than its first word to put in the '1' spot. And finally, grab a new pet that has repeating letters. That should just about do it."
  30. "As we close out this month, we realize that now all great things can last forever. Sometimes they move on to CBS. Take the object used for years by a South Carolinian, and just get rid of it. Brings a tear to my eye. Move the centerpiece to the corner that didn't just get opened up. Then grab an item from storage that contains a double-letter to put in the corner."
  31. "Imagine if the three items in my room closest to the door made up the vertices of a triangle. Rotate those vertices once counterclockwise. This way, my light source in the center of the room. Go to the storage unit, and grab the only item left that begins with the same letter as the beginning of my name, and switch it out for the object in my room of the same category. And finally, remove the centerpieces of the rooms to my right."

Cocky: "Well, after a month of rearranging their rooms, it seems that the time has come to see what they made. If you connect the dots alphabetically for each room, the items should spell what I was watching out for the entire time. Let's see what March has in store for us."