Hidden Verbiage is a Z-machine interactive fiction game written with Inform 7 and is © 2018 by Linus Hamilton. It was a participant in the 2018 Caltech Puzzle Hunt.
In this short wordplay game, you play as a someone sent by King Azaz to restore the cities of Reality and Illusion. Here, between the two cities, illusions are hiding things you need to FIND, and somehow reshaping a thing's absence into something else that doesn't quite belong. For example, why is a troll threatening to give you ab lace?
This solution is by David Welbourn, and is based on Release 1 of the game.
The wordplay used in this game is called Printer's Devilry. Some sentences in the game's room descriptions have had a sequence of consecutive letters removed that form a word. The remaining letters are re-spaced and re-punctuated as necessary to make what's left of the sentence make an odd sort of sense. The player must detect the awkward part of a sentence, and guess which word, if inserted there, would make the sentence make much more sense.
When you FIND the missing word, the sentence is repaired and you obtain an object representing that word!
For example, this sentence:
On the windowsill, a herb peeds some watering.
is hiding the word LANTERN by its absence:
On the windowsill, a herb pLANTER Needs some watering.
> x troll. x door. x ab.
> find key. x key.
> unlock door with key.
> x counter. x bait. x rope. x hole.
> find lance. x spear. s.
> x tone.
> find heater. x heater. d.
> x pie strap.
> find torch. x torch. x pit. e.
> x acre. x mecler.
> find airpump.
> x eclair —or— x bread —or— x crossiant.
> w. u. n. n.
> stab troll. (using the spear. The troll flees north.)
> x crow. find mac. x mac.
> give mac to crow.
> n. (The crow steals your spear!)
Road to Reality
> x ramp. e.
> x crow. x nest. x spear. x ear.
> find lens. x lens.
> examine nest with lens.
> w. w.
> x car. x AFL.
> find attire. x clothes.
> pump tire. x tire. enter car.
Drive to the balcony:
> e. s. s. s. s.
Now drive directly from here to and up the ramp. You want to drive from here so you can gain enough speed so the car can make the jump over the canyon.
> n. n. n. n. n.
> x car. x button.
> push button. (The ramp becomes a bridge.)
> x note. examine note with lens. (Passcode must be reversed.)
> s. s. s. s. s.
> burn rope. (with the torch; you hear a crash southwards)
> s. d. d.
> x orc. x woman. x stick. x musicians.
> find straw. x straw.
> put straw in clothes. x scarecrow.
> x woman. talk to woman.
> light heater. (with torch)
> give heater to woman. (The passcode is BANANA.)
> u. u. n. n. n. n. e.
> give scarecrow to crow. (It flees.)
> take spear.
> w. n. n.
> stab troll. (It flees.)
> say ananab. (The vault door opens.)
Cave of Truth
*** That's up to you. ***
To make sense of text on the plaque, "Kiss, pear, care, crown, glen. Skey's questor chair. Pump TV I.", remove the names of your final possessions (spear, scarecrow, lens, air pump, torch, key) from it. This leaves you with the secret phrase "KING'S QUEST VI".
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