GC to update day-of-game.
The teams are brought before a magic mirror. (Specifically, a one-way mirror with a screen behind it that will make things "appear" on the mirror.)
The mirror won't respond unless spoken to- it's a a talking bastard. (rhyming bastard?) These are its rules: (in the order that the mirror enforces them, and approximately the order the team learns them)
You must ask a generally coherent English question.
The question must be a rhyming couplet. (approximately the same length as the mirror's trochaic tetrameter, but the meter isn't strictly enforced)
You can't rhyme a word with itself.
If the rhyme includes a multi-syllable word, each individual syllable must rhyme with the corresponding one in the other line. (e.g. "no gain/domain" or "syllable/killable")
The question must contain a palindromic word with 2 or more letters.
Multi-word palindromes are not okay, but get a unique response to show you're on the right track.
Proper names/nouns are not okay.
Acronyms (radar) are okay, initalisms (LOL) aren't.
The palindrome must be at the end of either line.
You can't reuse a palindrome you've successfully used before.
When a rule is broken, a face will appear on the mirror and tell them what they did wrong, in a rhyming couplet that satisfies rule 2.
So the goal is to make rhyming couplets, that pose a question, where either line ends with a palindrome. For instance:
If I showed this to my dad
Would he think it pretty rad?
Some would say near, others say far-
What's the right distance for radar?
Each time they ask a question with a new palindrome, one or more symbols will appear on the mirror, eventually looking something like this:
The circle of symbols is just letters and their reflections- read counterclockwise (because mirror) to spell REFLECTION. The outer group of symbols is obviously Pigpen, but the symbols are reflected. Reading the reflected Pigpen counterclockwise starting from the top is DISNEY FILM WITH SONG. Combine the two parts of the phrase to make DISNEY FILM WITH SONG REFLECTION, which is MULAN.
At the beginning, teams might think they have to show something to the mirror, or use the book that's part of the meta. I added responses to discourage that if the operator sees them use it, but dissuade them if they call about it.
The hard rule to get is rule 3. ("Sadly I did not detect / Something on which I could reflect") If they call and ask about it, suggest that they ask the mirror what it wants- it has responses to questions about the rules. Alternately, think about what "reflect" might mean in a puzzle about language.
Rule 2b is tricky, but the mirror always follows it in its responses. (no gain/domain, detect/reflect, etc.) Teams might find it simpler to follow a slightly stricter version of the rule that only changes the first consonant sound. (no gain/Rogaine, reflect/deflect, etc.) They can do that, or the nuanced version of the rule, or just not bother and use single-syllable palindromes for the win.
REFLECTION is both a part of the answer phrase and a clue to how to interpret the Pigpen.
Here are the common rule-rejection responses. There's a more complete list here.
1) Not a question:
That approach will yield no gain
Questions are my sole domain
2) Not a rhyme:
I proclaim a dire curse
On those who would not ask in verse
2a) Rhyming a long word incorrectly:
That poetry is simply killable
For not rhyming on every syllable
2b) Rhyming a word with itself:
Your lyric skills are past their prime:
Two different words must form your rhyme.
3) No palindrome:
Sadly, I did not detect
Something on which I could reflect
3a) Multi-word palindrome:
That’s one fine palindrome I heard
But try one with a single word
3b) Palindrome must not be a proper name
That sort of rhyme goes down in flames
Don’t waste my time with proper names.
4) Palindrome other than end of a line:
I heard something I’d like to chase
But it’s not in the proper place.
5) Duplicate palindrome:
You will find that well depleted:
I’ve no more for rhymes repeated.