Solution: A Thought On Musical Semiotics

The first task was simply to identify the artists of each song. The hint text mentioned the "artist" twice and makes no reference to the song name, which was irrelevant. The songs were chosen because they were all pretty famous so that identifying them would not be terribly hard. As I stated many times earlier, I wrote this game so as not to advantage teams with iPhones or other forms of mobile internet who could look up songs based on their lyrics. Of course, some of that happened anyways, but I don't think that anyone was terribly disadvantaged.

The key to this puzzle was to find hints of the encoding in the paper part of the clue. Teams should have noted the terms "fundamental" and "periodically." A lot of teams really kicked themselves when they saw that the the acronym for the title was A.T.O.M.S. All this should lead teams to consider the periodic table.

Eva from team Cardenawesome wrote about how her team really struggled until they noticed (with a lot of help) the title.

This clue tortured us. We were just so far off that it became ridiculous. Typing the song names into wingdings and trying to correlate the zodiac signs to numbers - crainess). I finally called Josh and begged for help. He told me to look at the title. It jumped out finally: ATOM – Maybe if I had noticed the words: Periodically and fundamental in the right way I would have connected that they wanted us to use the periodic table.

Each artist's name starts with the symbol for an element. Where it was ambiguous whether the element was the first two letters or the first one, it was always the first two (i.e. Beck is Beryllium not Boron). This yields:

Alanis Morrisette: Aluminum
Cake: Calcium
Beatles: Beryllium
Hansen: Hydrogen
Foo Fighters: Florine
Beck: Beryllium
Kanye West: Potassium
Pink Floyd: Phosphorous
Simon and Garfunkle: Silicon

Using the atomic numbers of these elements in number to letter correspondence yielded the final message:


or Mount Davidson.


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