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Dearest ACMEcorp employees:

We have noticed that some puzzles have been out for quite a while, but
that they have nevertheless been stumbling points for some teams.  We'd
like to offer a few words of advice.

First, some general advice: if you feel stuck on a puzzle, consider the
title and the flavortext.  ACMEcorp has done its best to offer hints in
one or the other, and sometimes both.  In many cases this can help you
through an "aha!" moment that you haven't yet found.

Specific hints:

1.3. "Pile of Letters": If you have a completed grid but don't know what
to do with it, consider the four #1 clues (black across and down, white
across and down) to see if it suggests any common sort of encoding.  If
you have done this and are still stuck, read over the last sentence of the
flavortext, in particular the parts in commas.

1.7. "Financial Report": you may have noticed a particular fact about the
images that helped you find the bigram "LL".  That fact was there *only*
to provide the bigram.  If at this point you have identified all twenty
images but do not know what to do next: look closer.  At the images and at
their sources.

2.6. "Stairway to Heaven": Many of you have a piece of music that you
cannot identify.  The title is significant (if oblique), and there is
another useful suggestion in the flavortext.  You are fairly unlikely to
recognize this piece of music by *sound*; however, many of you may have
*seen* this piece of music before.

Some more oblique hints for third-round puzzles:

3.5. "Titles": Really.  The flavortext isn't kidding when it says

3.9: "Unprecedented Discovery": We really hope this puzzle won't take you
four years to solve.

3.11: "Property of Others": Take the title seriously; it's not just a
description of the subject matter.

And a reminder that ACMEcorp found left on our desks, though we're not
sure what it means:

Don't forget to work on the "reality" puzzles and not just the "training"
and the "matrix" puzzles.  Working on those will help you explore further.

All information copyright (c) 2003 ACMECorp, Inc. All rights reserved.