This is an image identification puzzle. Where needed, the distinction between actor and role is made with the choice of photo: an in-character shot clues the role. The people pictured are as follows:
|ALICE||ANNIE Oakley||ARCHIE Bunker||BETTY Boop|
|BLUTO Blutarsky||BO Derek||Punky BREWSTER||CALVIN Coolidge|
|CECILIA Bartoli||CHARLIE Chaplin||CLIFF Claven||DARRYL Strawberry|
|John DEE||DENNIS Kucinich||ERNEST Hemingway||Millard FILLMORE|
|FRANK Sinatra||GEORGE Washington||HAMISH Campbell||Nathaniel HAWTHORNE|
|HENRY Kissinger||Thomas HOBBES||JASON Alexander||JEN|
|JOEY Tribbiani||LINUS Pauling||LUCY||MARTHA Washington|
|MEGAN Mullally||MEL Gibson||ORSON Welles||Satchel PAIGE|
|PAMELA Anderson||POPEYE Doyle||SANDY Koufax||SHELDON Glashow|
|William SHERMAN||Will SMITH||Billy Bob THORNTON||VERONICA Mars|
|WADE Boggs||WANDA Sykes||Duke of WELLINGTON||ZOE Washburne|
|[Nameless hero of Hero]|
Each person pictured has the same name as a major character from a comic strip. To help disambiguate which name to use (the capitalized names above), the images are alphabetized by the comic strip character's name.
One character from each comic is numbered to give an ordering to the strips. Take the Nth letter of the name of each strip in this order, where N is the total number of images you have from that strip.
PILED HIGHER AND DEEPER: [nameless hero], Cecilia, Jen, Dee, (Prof.) Smith → D
FRANK & ERNEST: Frank, Ernest → R
PEANUTS: Charlie, Linus, Lucy → A
BREWSTER ROCKIT: SPACE GUY!: Brewster, Pamela, Cliff, Mel → W
CALVIN & HOBBES: Calvin, Hobbes → A
DENNIS THE MENACE: Dennis, Joey, George, Martha, Alice, Henry → S
POPEYE: Popeye, Bluto, (J.) Wellington (Wimpy) → P
BABY BLUES: Darryl, Wanda, Zoe, Hamish → Y
ARCHIE COMICS: Archie, Betty, Veronica → C
FOXTROT: Jason, Paige → O
SHERMAN'S LAGOON: Sherman, Hawthorne, Fillmore, Megan, Thornton → M
LITTLE ORPHAN ANNIE: Annie, Sandy → I
U.S. ACRES: Wade, Orson, Sheldon, Bo → C
This yields the phrase DRAW A SPY COMIC. After teams brought a spy comic to HQ, they were rewarded with the answer NEATIFY.
Some of the spy comics draw by teams can be seen here.
2006 MIT Mystery Hunt