Each track of the playlist consists of two popular Apple ringtones/alarms mashed together. The names of the ringtones/alarms can be found online and are also clued by the images below the track.
The titles of the tracks each clues to an apple variety. The key observation to make is the fact that each of these apple varieties are in fact hybrids made up of 2 distinct apple breeds, and that each of the base ringtones correspond to an apple breed itself. The mappings between the apple parent breeds and the base ringtones can be deduced by comparing where the ringtones and apple breeds both appear. For example, JONATHAN is a parent of both AKANE and MELROSE, both of which contains the NIGHT OWL ringtone. It can be deduced that JONATHAN must correspond to NIGHT OWL.
|Clue||Answer (hybrid)||Ringtone 1||Apple 1||Ringtone 2||Apple 2|
|2018 Steam game set in Mega-Tokyo (5)||AKANE||BELLTOWER||WORCESTER PEARMAIN||NIGHT OWL||JONATHAN|
|Oakland, MD festival celebrating fall (6 5)||AUTUMN GLORY||DUCK||GOLDEN DELICIOUS||HARP||FUJI|
|New York’s Crown City (8)||CORTLAND||CIRCUIT||MCINTOSH||REFLECTION||BEN DAVIS|
|2015 musical drama TV series featuring hip-hop mogul (6)||EMPIRE||CIRCUIT||MCINTOSH||RIPPLES||RED DELICIOUS|
|Rewards program for browser extension that auto-applies coupons (5 4)||HONEY GOLD||CHIMES||HARALSON||DUCK||GOLDEN DELICIOUS|
|Notable bonobo, also known as 太 (5)||KANZI||RADAR||GALA||TWINKLE||BRAEBURN|
|___ Place, preceded by 90210 (7)||MELROSE||NIGHT OWL||JONATHAN||RIPPLES||RED DELICIOUS|
|October gemstone (4)||OPAL||DUCK||GOLDEN DELICIOUS||TRILLS||TOPAZ|
|West coast ocean thorny flower (7 4)||PACIFIC ROSE||CRYSTALS||SPLENDOUR||RADAR||GALA|
|Feminine gin-based cocktail whose color comes from grenadine (4 4)||PINK LADY||DUCK||GOLDEN DELICIOUS||WAVES||LADY WILLIAMS|
Indexing into the apple breed with the number of times the ringtone appears in the image, and sorting by image order gives the answer: WRINGING ALARM.
|Ringtone Name / Picture||Apple Breed||# from image||Indexed Letter from Apple Breed|
This was one of our earlier puzzles written for this hunt, and one of my first puzzles I've ever written (I had written a few puzzles for a smaller audience, but never for a hunt of this scale). I tried to create a puzzle with properties that I personally value in ISIS (Identify, Sort, Index, Solve) puzzles:
Throughout the editing process, this puzzle did not see too many changes save for the presentation of the ringtone tracks and variations in the flavortext. I initially had too much hinting in the flavortext, then too little, and finally what we have now. We paid special attention to Android-using test-solvers to make sure that this puzzle was fair and solvable for non-iPhone users.
There was a similar puzzle from Inexact Hunt that made me think about pulling this puzzle, but we ultimately decided that it was different enough (e.g. usage of Apple ringtones, apple hybrids) to warrant keeping it.