Solution - The Professor

This is the metapuzzle, so it will use all of the answers from the nine puzzles. But first, the story text suggests that the suspects Layton has met are important. At the end of the prologue he says "I should start by rounding up the usual suspects," and at the end of this puzzle's story he says "Our suspects proved far more colorful than we imagined."

Looking back at the story in each puzzle, Layton encountered a suspect in six out of the nine locations he visited. Reading the story closely, the identity of the suspects can be gleaned. The story text that appears at the bottom after the puzzles are solved provides much stronger hints than the story at the top. Each suspect is a villainous fictional character that is associated with a particular color. The full list is below, with some of the key clues from the story that can be used to identify the suspect.

BarThe GrinchStory is written in Seussian rhyming style, stole things for Christmas
BookstoreWhite WitchAddressed as "Your Majesty", implied to not be human, Layton almost says her series has 7 books, carries a wand that turns people to stone with a Word
Country ClubWaluigiPlays tennis, lots of words that begin with WA/WAL, tall and lanky with overalls and orange shoes
Dance HallMystiqueIs female but looks like a man, morphs into a raven (Raven is her given name)
GallerySinestroFloats and has a thin pencil mustache, exhibit is about extra-terrestrial life in comic books, implied to not be human, needs to charge a lamp
OfficeCarmen SandiegoWears a wide-brimmed hat, references to world travel and items she's stolen, the word "acme" is mentioned

The six suspects are green, white, purple, blue, yellow, and red. These are the same six colors associated with the suspects in the board game Clue. This also fits with the fact that Layton is investigating a murder and he's at a mansion.

Layton says he's found something in one of the rooms; the Clue mansion has nine rooms and there are nine puzzles. Each puzzle answer has the same number of letters as a room in Clue, with exactly one overlapping letter. In addition, the puzzle title and answer are both thematically associated with the corresponding Clue room.

Mapping out the answers on the Clue board and reading the overlapping letters clockwise from the bottom spells BODYSALON, so Layton found the BODY in the SALON.

Author's Notes

  • Well, folks, this was the puzz that started it all. The first idea I had for the Potluck was that Professor Layton stumbles his way into a Clue murder mystery -- a connection and “theme switch” that’s left up to the solvers to figure out. See the wrap-up for more on this.
  • My initial thought was to have solvers find the killer first, then the room, then the murder weapon. This follows the classic Clue construction: “It was BROWN in the SALON with the QUILL.” I swapped the first two so that the room was up first, though, because I wanted to keep the existence of the murder a secret until the Professor meta, and it didn’t quite make sense to have the solvers look for a killer before they knew there was a murder afoot.
  • That’s why the answer to the Professor meta is BODY/SALON rather than just SALON -- I needed to establish that, yes indeedy, a murder has occurred. If I had revealed a dead body in the prologue, some solvers might have immediately jumped to Clue, faster than I intended.
  • In the narrative, our victim Dame Mortum went to a beauty parlor, as mentioned by the butler, Wadsworth. Was this a “hair salon,” perhaps? Maybe a “nail salon”? Certainly, no one expected it was actually a “BODY SALON.”
  • The answers to the round puzzles represent items or ideas that can be found in the corresponding room -- e.g. LAMP in the HALL, WEIGHTED BALL in the BILLIARD ROOM, etc. The one tricky point here, of course, is GALLINACEOUS in the CONSERVATORY. Sometimes, you just have to work with what you got.
  • At least one team pointed out that ducks are Anseriformes, not Galliformes. And I agree. Again, sometimes, you just have to work with what you got.
  • The idea was for teams to identify some or all of the suspects, realize that the suspects in the story match the Clue suspects, and figure out the meta from there. In testing, we found that sometimes teams got the Clue theme right from the jump and skipped identifying the suspects. If you were able to do that here, great!
  • Best Wrong Answers:
    Professor Layton found a…in the…Submitted by:
    Eggplant Parms
    CARDINALITYREJECTSCardinality Rejects
    PLEASEHELPPlease Clap
    WALUIGISMASHDuck Gizzards
    LUKEFRIENDS WE MADE ALONG THE WAYExtraction o'Clock at /r/PictureGame
    RAJEEVSHELFTuna Salad 🐟


  • 134 solves
  • 837 incorrect guesses
  • Most common incorrect guess: RAMEKIN / BAR (guessed 18 times)
  • First solve: Eggplant Parms in 3 hours, 25 minutes, and 35 seconds