### Solution: To a Monster (Phase 1 Object Puzzle)

Written by Kevin Wald

The clues in the body of the monster yield four-letter words which are alternate lines of a word ladder (a sequence of words each of which is different from the last in exactly one letter):

```? -> LECH -> ? -> YEAH -> ? -> TEAR -> ? -> TERM ->
? -> GERE -> ? -> MARE -> ? -> YALE -> ? -> RULE ->
? -> RIDE -> ? -> TIRE -> ? -> SITE -> ? -> CUTE ->
? -> CUES -> ? -> HOES -> ? -> LOTS -> ? -> LASS ->
? -> VAST -> ? -> NEST -> ?
```

The end words and in-between words have numbers corresponding to each of their letters; when these words are deduced, this will assign a letter to each number from 1 to 52. Using the surrounding words for each in-between word, the clueing to the first and last words in the opening poem (which is a pastiche of the first stanza of Robert Burns' To a Mouse, and thus hints at the Scottish LOCH NESS monster), and cross-checking between different occurences of the same number, the word ladder is deduced to be:

```LOCH -> LECH -> LEAH -> YEAH -> YEAR -> TEAR -> TEAM -> TERM ->
GERM -> GERE -> MERE -> MARE -> MALE -> YALE -> YULE -> RULE ->
RUDE -> RIDE -> TIDE -> TIRE -> SIRE -> SITE -> CITE -> CUTE ->
CUTS -> CUES -> HUES -> HOES -> HOTS -> LOTS -> LOSS -> LASS ->
LAST -> VAST -> VEST -> NEST -> NESS
```

And the assigned letters, read out in order from 1 to 52, spell:

EVIDENCE THAT SOME CREATURE USUALLY THOUGHT MYTHICAL IS REAL,
which is the object that must be supplied for the Phase 1 ritual.