In direct contrast to the first puzzle of Day 5, this puzzle strives to remain as minimalistic as possible, and so there really isn’t much information to glean from first glance — for all its bells and whistles, this is really just a puzzle comprising of a hint-y title and five images. That being said, the five images pack a surprising amount of information, so let’s dive right in!
When we inspect the images, a few key features should stand out:
If we consider each of these key features for each of these images, we might realise that these images actually correspond to sporting positions of other ball sports (hence the title).
The first image corresponds to that of basketball (reference image). The key features represented are as follows:
The second image corresponds to that of an NFL offense (reference image). The key features represented are as follows:
The third image corresponds to that of a baseball defence (reference image). The key features represented are as follows:
The fifth image corresponds to that of a netball team (a Google Image search for “netball positions” should yield this). The key features represented are as follows:
We can therefore construct some tables such as these:
|Position #||Position Name||Index on pool ball||Letter|
|Image 1: Basketball|
|Image 2: NFL Offense|
|reading fromleft to right||Wide Receiver||—||—|
|Image 3: Baseball|
|Image 4: Rugby Union|
|4||Lock / Second Row||—||—|
|5||Lock / Second Row||—||—|
|Position #||Position Name||Index||Letter|
|Image 5: Netball|
|reading fromtop to bottom||Goal Attack||8||A|
We now obtain the final clue phrase of MANKAD DISMISSAL. A quick Google search uncovers a reference to yet another team ball sport with funky position names, and we learn that a Mankad dismissal refers to a rather unsportsmanlike type of RUN OUT, made infamous by Indian bowler Vinoo Mankad.
The original iteration of this puzzle consisted of bird’s eye camera angles for all five images, and the use of string to make all of the relevant court/field markings. However, we felt as though that would be far too obvious for our solvers, so we decided to change things up a bit by incorporating the markings present on the pool table only, and by changing up the camera angles to make the sporting positions far less recognisable.
Another slight concern was the presence of the white cue balls in each of the images. While some teams may have been distracted by the decidedly fishy (think ‘whitebait’, rather than ‘red herring’…) cue balls, we argued in favour of their retention as we were, after all, attempting to simulate actual games of pool, and such games would make no sense without a cue ball.
A fun fact that I found out while constructing this puzzle is that “RUN OUT” is not only a cricketing term, which was something that I was familiar with, but it is also a term in cue sports meaning to make all of the required shots in a game without the opponent ever getting to the table or getting back to the table, making it a remarkably thematic answer to this puzzle.
And, finally, special thanks to Charlie’s Auto Museum for allowing us to use their pool table to stage this photo shoot — a great place to spend your time if you’re up and around Arthurs Seat on the Mornington Peninsula.