Nagano

Jenn Miller, Jeff Barrett, Josh Randall

HINTS:
• "Look for the answers in more than one place."
• "Look for answers with something in common."
• "Japan hosted the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano."
SOLUTION:

There are seven circles, each with 60 letters. Some of the circles have recognizable words going in either direction, but those are red-herrings. The circles link together like the Olympic rings, but there are seven instead of five.

There are 32 clue phrases of varying difficulty. Some are easy, some are googleable. The easy clues are so people will realize they're on the right track once they see how to link the circles together.

The answer to "Smoothes out a bumpy road" is GRATER. The answer to "Whitney's machine input" is COTTON. Neither of these words are on the circles. But if you take the circle that has the letters GRATTON (clock-wise) and the circle that has the letters COTER (counter clock wise) and overlay them at the T, you get GRATER and COTTON reading from top to bottom (like in Japanese!) The words kind of form a > and a <, jumping from one circle to the next at the common letter.

So if you do that for all the clue phrases, you will find that there are pairs of answers that overlap at a common letter. As you start to lay out the circles so that they link together at the common letters, you will form a ring structure like the Olympic rings. Like so:

Reading the common letters across and then down (like in English!), you get T E N Z I N G N O R G A Y J O B, or "Tenzing Norgay Job," which is SHERPA. Tenzing Norgay was the famous sherpa who went to the top of Everest with Hillary.

Hand-held food processor _ _ _ _ _ _ (GRATER)
Whitney's machine input _ _ _ _ _ _ (COTTON)
Early gambling machine, with bell _ _ _ _ _ _ _ (LIBERTY)
Paid her tab _ _ _ _ _ _ _ (TREATED)
ELISA type _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ (SANDWICH)
eponymous canadian oil _ _ _ _ _ _ (CANOLA)
crazily dressed school teacher _ _ _ _ _ _ _ (FRIZZLE)
Barney e.g. _ _ _ _ _ _ (BOOZER)
It can sing and dance in CA _ _ _ _ _ _ (RAISIN)
Company's unwelcome suitor _ _ _ _ _ _ (MISERY)
Famous former mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea, first name _ _ _ _ _ (CLINT)
Underground mag _ _ _ _ (ZINE)
Cracked wheat grains _ _ _ _ _ _ (BULGUR)
Poser dance _ _ _ _ _ (VOGUE)
Consecrate with oil_ _ _ _ _ _ (ANOINT)
McDonalds's Olympic role _ _ _ _ _ _ _ (SPONSOR)
Like an animal with four stomachs _ _ _ _ _ _ (BOVINE)
preferred by gentlemen _ _ _ _ _ _ _ (BLONDES)
Magician, chariot, or hermit, e.g. _ _ _ _ _ (TRUMP)
Unit for sanity? _ _ _ _ _ _ (MARBLE)
Rotund and orotund _ _ _ _ _ _ (TURGID)
use mouthwash _ _ _ _ _ _ (GARGLE)
Acer _ _ _ _ _ (MAPLE)
Tinned herring _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ (SARDINES)
Stump _ _ _ _ _ _ (STYMIE)
funeral flame _ _ _ _ (PYRE)
Shenanigans _ _ _ _ _ _ _ (HIJINKS)
Protective warrior brand _ _ _ _ _ _ (TROJAN)
To make a shackling promise _ _ _ _ _ _ _ (BETROTH)
Countable energy _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ (CALORIES)
sometimes next to the chess puzzle _ _ _ _ _ _ (JUMBLE)
Mechanical man _ _ _ _ _(ROBOT)

CIRCLE LETTERS:

circle 1:

FIERIPMUMPSUOILIBEATEDICETNIZNISIMAESONOTTARGROVERMITNIAFFAB

circle 2:

AERBLOGSAMERCHFRIZERTNUROSNARMRAGOVULVALONASHIJOTSELBERTSAFK

circle 3:

COTERMINERAISERYBONDESMAERYTSUPERKYRGNUHSIFLOSSAUCEMALBATSUB

circle 4:

CANDWICHBULGUETURGLEANNIHTOLACNAJIHSULPMURAMORENILCOURTRERTY

circle 5:

STONESBLUBLASTERALFORMFRETSOHCELBORSENIDRAMTNIONOPSPIBOOZZLE

circle 6:

EIRBLENITROJINKSLUMBERAEHAGARTROPLUMIRGIBLAMEIMYPOORAEBLOVIN

circle 7:

SSAPLEVIJUMBOTHIMBLESSIKCALBEDDIEERFILMREGASEIRORTEBARDIGRAG