when2meet
Answer: BUGS
Kevin Zhou (Kaz)

This puzzle has 4 timetables in the style of when2meet. We can tell who is available at a timeslot by hovering over it. The color of a cell tells how many people are available then; white means none, and dark green means many.


Subpuzzle 1: Letter-Writing Meeting

The timeslots when each individual number is available makes the shape of a letter. In order, the letters spell out STEP AUTH.


Orchestra Rehearsal (1985 platformer, 1991 fighting game)

The first part of each day in the timetable has a bunch of music notes, to the beginning parts of the Super Mario Bros overworld theme (a 1985 platforming game) and Guile's Theme from Street Fighter 2 (a 1991 fighting game).

Now, we must continue the melody, and take the characters where the melody plays. The thick black borders are a visual aid; they appear every 1 (or 2, depending on how it's counted) beat in each song. Sheet music resources like this (Mario song) and this (Guile's theme) can be useful. Here, we've highlighted the melody of each song.

MonTueWed
E5G4, C5, E5b
E5
G4, C5, E5b
E5F4, Bb4, D5
C5F4, Bb4, D5
E5G4, C5, E5b
G5
G4
G4, C5, E5b
F4, Bb4, D5
C5G4, C5, E5b
G4, C5, E5b
G4F4, Bb4, D5
F4, Bb4, D5
E4G4, C5, E5b
T
A4A
R
B4P
S
Bb4G
A4A
N
G4M
E5E
G5O
F
A5I
I
F5L
G5R
I
E5S
T
C5M
D5W
B4R
O
E
WR
TV
UD
H(
O4
R6
A)
T)
L
T
A
A
N
P
R
I
E
S
S
D
D
R
O
E
A
S
C
(
4
)
7
)

The cluephrase for the Mario song is WHAT A PRESS DOES (4), which refers to how the player presses A to JUMP in Mario. The cluephrase for Guile's theme is GAME FIRST WORD (6), which is STREET. Putting it together, our subpuzzle answer is JUMP STREET.


When2meet Meeting

The goal is simply to create the schedule in when2meet with the minimum number of clicks. On when2meet, one can click and drag to fill in a rectangle, or to make a rectangle blank (if clicking on a filled in cell). To be optimal, it turns out one must both fill in rectangles and remove some rectangles. This video shows a solution in 11 clicks. The answer to this subpuzzle is simply ELEVEN.

King's Meeting

This is a Hidato puzzle, where we fill the grid with letters from A through Z, such that consecutive letters are a chess king's move apart. The 26 timeslots with "__" are cells usable in the grid. The unique solution is given below, visualized with letters, and as a path.

To extract, we take the squares labelled "1st", "2nd", etc. to spell COVID.


To finish the puzzle, we note that each subpuzzle answer can have a number added to form a phrase (inspired by "when2meet"). Converting those numbers to letters by A1-Z26, we get the final answer.

Subpuzzle answerPhraseExtract
STEP AUTH2-STEP AUTHB
JUMP STREET21 JUMP STREET U
ELEVEN7-ELEVENG
COVIDCOVID-19S

Author's Notes

Huge shoutouts to Kiera for providing extremely valuable help with the javascript and html for this puzzle. My original thought was to have several when2meet links, but I realized they would be public and could get edited accidentally or maliciously by other puzzlers. So I tried to recreate when2meet's hovering function, which Kiera helped a lot with!

Our club uses when2meet often near the start of each semester to determine meeting times, which inspired this puzzle.

A comment on the orchestra meeting subpuzzle: The unused letters, spelled backwards, are "CARDINAL TROUT" and "VERMILLION SPRAT".

Also, for the when2meet meeting subpuzzle, the gas station is supposed to be confirmation of 7-Eleven. I didn't have any other ideas of what shape to draw, and it happened so that the nozzle shape was interesting.