Phish Food
Answer: CHORUS
Robert Trosten

This puzzle replicates the sinking feeling you get when you read a recipe blog which yields no useful information or recipes at all! The author keeps talking about themself all the time and takes forever to get to the actual recipe. In fact, this puzzle is a set of four mini-puzzles which combine to yield a clue for the final answer. In the beginning section, there are some times, and the phrase "massive red flag". Note that some words have missing letters - these missing letters spell out "semaphore." Plotting the times on a clock and interpreting these as semaphore yields INTRO.

The first of the "advertisements" is ciphertext. The capital letters in the second one indicate that the first ad is a Vigenere cipher, with key NOTE. Extracting this yields VERSE.

The entire body text is useless, just as how many recipe blog pre-recipe texts are. The out-of-place capital letters, in fact, yield IGNORE BODY TEXT AND IMAGE CONTENT. That is, only the form of the body matters. With this in mind, note that the image shapes are dots and dashes! Yep, it's Morse code, which yields WHAT.

The recipe at the end has some very out-of-place temperature values, doesn't it? "Coordinate two ovens" indicates that the numbers here (degrees) are to be interpreted as coordinates. The New potatoes are in the first oven, meaning that the first oven's temperature is a coordinate (in degrees N). Similarly the Walleye is in the second oven, that is, the second oven's temperature is a coordinate (in degrees W). Plotting them for both sets of temperatures yields coordinates for the Golden Gate Bridge and the George Washington Bridge, i.e. BRIDGE in the context of the other clues.

So the full cluephrase is INTRO VERSE WHAT BRIDGE. This is song form - in fact, the actual form of the puzzle is a song! The final answer is CHORUS.


Author's Notes

Hi! It's me! The author! I first got the idea for this puzzle when I realized we were doing a spam-themed puzzlehunt. Phish Food has undergone so many iterations, as it kinda breaks many established rules of puzzling such as "stuff is supposed to have meaning." In the initial version, the structure was similar except IGNORE wasn't clued at all and INTRO was clued by being an intro; the cluephrase was INTRO VERSE WHAT. Actually, well before that, the main puzzle involved doing something with the rhythms of the fish dishes listed (it was a bit weird and clunky, to say the least). I'm very happy with the way Phish Food is now, and I also know that I'm probably never going to be able to get away with it again, haha. Hope it was as difficult but fun for you to solve as it was for me to create! Until next time! <3