Solution to The Tea Party Meta

Authors: Aaron Bader and Jonny Surick

There are 4 chair puzzles and 12 teacup puzzles. Of the teacup puzzles, there are four associated with the Mad Hatter and his tea, chinese oolong, four associated with the March Hare and his tea, moon tea, and four associated with the Dormouse and his tea, yule tea. The beast (Alice) has no puzzles associated with her -- just an empty saucer indicating that her puzzle is the meta.

The four characters are arranged around the table as follows, going clockwise: the beast, March Hare, Dormouse, Mad Hatter. While they can shift around seats, this order is always maintained. [This is stated clearly in the introduction text.]

The answers for each character are associated with three separate "calendars." The Mad Hatter (oolong tea) answers are associated with the Chinese Zodiac. The March Hare (moon tea) answers are associated with the Farmers' Almanac moons. The Dormouse (yule tea) answers are associated with the gifts during the 12 days of Christmas. The associations are as follows, and form an ordering from 1 to 12:

DormouseSUZANNE CROUGHPartridge in a Pear Tree[1]1st Day of Christmas
March HareNOREASTER BLIZZARDSnow MoonFull Moon of February (2nd month)
DormouseCOQ AU VINFrench Hen3rd Day of Christmas
March HareALECIA MOOREPink Moon[2]Full Moon of April (4th month)
March HareCHRYSANTHEMUMFlower MoonFull Moon of May (5th month)
Mad HatterRHINOCEROS VIPERYear of the SnakeYear 6 of Chinese Zodiac
DormouseNATALIE PORTMANSwans-a-Swimming[3]7th Day of Christmas
Mad HatterBELGIAN FAWNYear of the Goat[4]Year 8 of the Chinese Zodiac
March HarePEARL HOMINYCorn MoonFull Moon of September (9th month)
Mad HatterCHANTICLEERYear of the RoosterYear 10 of the Chinese Zodiac
Mad HatterGERMAN SHEPHERDYear of the DogYear 11 of the Chinese Zodiac
DormouseBUDDY RICHDrummers drumming12th Day of Christmas
[1] - Suzanne Crough is most noted for her role in The Partridge Family.
[2] - Alecia Moore performs under the stage name P!nk
[3] - Natalie Portman won an Oscar playing Nina in The Black Swan.
[4] - Belgian fawn is a breed of goat.

The solution to the four chairs are arranged around the table as follows:

12 o' clock:poTaTobeeTle
3 o' clock:sTraighTseTs
6 o' clock:TesTosTerone
9 o' clock:operaTorTesT

Each of these words is 12 letters long. In addition, the letter T occurs in each place from 1 to 12 exactly once. To extract the final solution phrase, for each word, identify the relevant number from the calendar, then use the chairs to find which chair the character was sitting in, the determine which chair the beast was sitting in. Finally, take the appropriate letter from that word (3, 6, 9, or 12) to spell out the final answer, GIVE HIM A HAND.

AnswerNumber/T word/ChairCharacterLocation of the beast
when character is on
associated chair
Index of the beast's
location into
answer word
SUZANNE CROUGH1/Testosterone/6 o'clockDormouse12 o'clockG
NOREASTER BLIZZARD2/sTraight sets/3 o'clockMarch Hare12 o'clockI
COQ AU VIN3/poTato beetle/12 o'clockDormouse6 o'clockV
ALECIA MOORE4/tesTosterone/6 o'clockMarch Hare3 o'clockE
CHRYSANTHEMUM5/potaTo beetle/12 o'clockMarch Hare9 o'clockH
RHINOCEROS VIPER6/operaTor test/9 o'clockMad Hatter12 o'clockI
NATALIE PORTMAN7/testosTerone/6 o'clockDormouse12 o'clockM
BELGIAN FAWN8/straighTsets/3 o'clockMad Hatter6 o'clockA
PEARL HOMINY9/operator Test/9 o'clockMarch Hare6 o'clockH
CHANTICLEER10/potato beeTle/12 o'clockMad Hatter3 o'clockA
GERMAN SHEPHERD11/straight seTs/3 o'clockMad Hatter6 o'clockN
BUDDY RICH12/operator tesT/9 o'clockDormouse3 o'clockD