M Puzzle: Squiggles
by Marc Moskowitz
As the flavortext suggests, this puzzle involves "enunciating clearly and speaking coherently" and the IPA--that is, the International Phonetic Alphabet. The squiggles are, in essence, an alphabet for writing English phonetically, of the sort George Bernard Shaw once devised. (There is an explanation of sorts in PDF or in PS.)
Appropriately, then, these are all quotes from his play Pygmalion:
- It is these little (graces) things that matter, Pickering. Take care of the pence and the pounds will take care of themselves is as true of personal habits as of money.
- Henry: you are the life and soul of the Royal Society's (receptions) soirées; but really youre rather trying on more commonplace occasions.
- You see, Eliza, all men are not (out-and-out) confirmed old bachelors like me and the Colonel.
- Why should she die of influenza? She come through (pneumonia) diphtheria right enough the year before.
- She doesnt belong to him. I paid him five pounds for her. Doolittle: either youre an honest man or a (devil) rogue.
- This ring isnt the jeweler's: it's the one you bought me in (London) Brighton. I dont want it now.
- If you had told me that Mr. Henry was not in a state it would have been more (eye-opening) surprising. Tell them to come up when theyve finished with the police.
- The (nobility) advantages of that poor woman who was here just now! The manners and habits that disqualify a fine lady from earning her own living without giving her a fine lady's income! Is that what you mean?
Each word in parentheses has replaced the word that follows it. The incorrect words are GRACES, RECEPTIONS, OUT-AND-OUT, PNEUMONIA, DEVIL, LONDON, EYE-OPENING, NOBILITY. Taking the first letters gives the gibberish "gropdlen," but taking the first sounds gives the answer, which is GROUND LINE.
The reference to mapping in the flavortext indicates that "Cartography" is the training puzzle to apply. Decrypting GROUND LINE using the code in that puzzle gives the trained answer, which is FISCAL YEAR.