Kominers’s Conundrums: Saving Private Island Adventurers

After two weeks of multiple health screens and asking everyone to quarantine, a bunch of well-known characters took a trip to a private island. They were hoping for a break from this abnormal year — just like some other celebrities, who will go unnamed. Unfortunately, the island was kind of cursed, and they got stuck there.

Rescuing them is a two-step process. First, identify our stranded islanders based on the clues below. After writing their names in the blanks we've provided, you'll see some letters that line up with numbers. Those numbered letters will give you this week’s answer — which is something we should do to help the islanders out.

  • Eponymous islander frequently seen with movie star, seafarer, and millionaire friends: 
Kominers’s Conundrums: Saving Private Island Adventurers
  • Lovelorn prince forced to carry sticks and speak in iambic pentameter:
Kominers’s Conundrums: Saving Private Island Adventurers
  • Manhattan teen whose friend Og tries to reinvent television cartoons:
Kominers’s Conundrums: Saving Private Island Adventurers
  • Lost anthropologist of questionable Dharma known for polar bear discovery:
Kominers’s Conundrums: Saving Private Island Adventurers
  • A real “nobody” with friends who were swine:
Kominers’s Conundrums: Saving Private Island Adventurers
  • Classic castaway who taught Friday religious lessons:
Kominers’s Conundrums: Saving Private Island Adventurers
  • Conch-toting elected leader of homegrown government:
Kominers’s Conundrums: Saving Private Island Adventurers
  • Reporter-detective who evaded Red Sea sharks but nevertheless had trouble reaching Sydney:
Kominers’s Conundrums: Saving Private Island Adventurers
  • Hunter who can’t sleep well until after he finishes off dangerous game:
Kominers’s Conundrums: Saving Private Island Adventurers
  • Crooked governess who was second to none:
Kominers’s Conundrums: Saving Private Island Adventurers

If those descriptions sound a bit opaque at first, it’s worth thinking about which words seem unusual or slightly out of place grammatically. Those are the most likely to be clues. Plus, you know you’re looking for people stuck on islands, which means you might be able to solve backwards a bit by first thinking of famous castaways and hermits.

Once you have enough of the names, you can start filling in the boxes here to work out the answer:

Kominers’s Conundrums: Saving Private Island Adventurers

If you figure out how to save our tribe — or if you even make partial progress — please let us know at skpuzzles@bloomberg.net before midnight New York time on Thursday, November 5.

If you get stuck, there’ll be hints announced on Twitter and in Bloomberg Opinion Today. To be counted in the solver list, please include your name with your answer.

Programming note: Next week, Conundrums will run on Sunday, November 8.

Previously in Kominers’s Conundrums …

We played “I Spy” in the Bloomberg Opinion Instagam feed, searching for emoji hidden in four previous posts.

They were pretty hard to find, but astute solvers found an eye at the base of a piano; a heart in some headlights; an electric guitar in a lapel; and a rolled up newspaper disguised as a cigarette. See the reveals on Instagram.

Combining those four emoji led to a rebus, which we had indicated would spell out the name of an “80s jukebox masterpiece.”

Kominers’s Conundrums: Saving Private Island Adventurers

And indeed, reading the emoji together as “Eye, Love, Rock, Roll” strongly suggested “I Love Rock 'N Roll” by Joan Jett & The Blackhearts — at which point you could see that “jukebox” was a confirmatory clue referencing an iconic line from the song: “Put another dime in the jukebox, baby!”

There were only two solvers: first Libby Leffler Hoaglin, and then my brother, Paul Kominers. Plus a special shout out/thanks to Jessica Karl and Lara Williams — Bloomberg Opinion’s Instagram extraordinaires — for their help in crafting the Conundrum!

The Bonus Round

Brown bears catching salmon; fire ants making art. If you can't wait for the Animaniacs reboot, there's always the Animal Crossing version. Hundreds of French toast flavors; hanger-on-head science (hat tip: Mike Nizza); Oregon Trail implemented in statistical software. Cola time-lapse; cockatoo manufacturing“Trump Fridge” or “Biden Fridge”? (hat tip: Zoe DeStories and Ellen Kominers); also Pokémon or Big Data?; and how Nintendo sold the NES. Plus inquiring minds want to know: What did the stegosaurus really look like?

Apologies. They turned out to be much harder than we intended, in part because insufficient levels of zoom were available on some mobile platforms.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

Scott Duke Kominers is the MBA Class of 1960 Associate Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, and a faculty affiliate of the Harvard Department of Economics. Previously, he was a junior fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows and the inaugural research scholar at the Becker Friedman Institute for Research in Economics at the University of Chicago.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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