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Big Top Carnival

Weakest Carouselink

by Ian Tullis, Yar Woo
Answer: PINK SLIP

After playing in the trivia game, the players are rewarded with a set of the 35 questions used in the game, as well as a final enumeration of (4 4).

Solvers can partition the 35 questions into a set of 7 "rounds", with 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, and 2 players respectively. Note that these are not the rounds used in the actual game itself; they need to be reconstructed separately. In each of these rounds, the answers can be arranged to form a circular chain where the last letters of one answer comprise the first letters of the next answer. In each round, there is ONE pair where the number of overlapping letters is less than the others in the round. Extract these letters (the "weakest link") to get the solution phrase.

Round 1 (8 questions)

Questions:

What is the hyphenated first name of the author of The Age of Reason, Nausea, and No Exit?
JEAN-PAUL

The Basket of Apples and Pyramid of Skulls are works by which French post-Impressionist?
PAUL cezANNE

Who was the author of the work known variously as Het Achterhuis or The Diary of a Young Girl?
ANNE fRANK

What term for ordinary workers can also be used to describe a chessboard row and column?
RANK and FILE

In networking, what do the letters FTP stand for?
FILE transfer protoCOL

Often appearing on the page to the left of the title page, what "C" is the part of a book containing information about the publisher?
COLoPHON

In a mid-2010s ad for Sprint, each customer on a rival's plan used an implement like a sword or chainsaw to cut through what unwelcome and expensive two-word item?
PHONe BILL

Which Michael Jackson song is said to have been inspired by a letter from a woman who claimed that Jackson fathered one of her children?
BILLie JEAN

Weakest Link: COL

Round 2 (7 questions):

Questions:

Which Greek mathematician from Cyrene was the first to calculate the circumference of the Earth?
ERAtostheNES

In the Tintin comics, what is Captain Haddock's butler's name, which he shares with a wise king from The Odyssey?
NEStOR

What specific type of scientist might study pipits, godwits, and bananaquits?
ORnithologIST

What common four-word rhetorical question concerns pontifical faith (rather than ursine defecation)?
IS The pope cathoLIC

What kind of organism is a symbiotic association between a fungus and an alga or cyanobacterium?
LICHEN

Which persnickety professor is told by his exasperated pupil that he can go to Hartford, Hereford, and Hampshire?
HENry higgINS

What two-word invention has become nearly synonymous with the company that popularized it, Polaroid?
INStant camERA

Weakest Link: OR

Round 3 (6 questions):

Questions:

From the Greek for "joint" plus "watching", what is the one-word name for the procedure also known as keyhole surgery?
ARTHrosCOPY

Which term referring to an open distribution license is symbolized by a circle surrounding a backwards letter C?
COPYLEFT

The cover art for which 2008 zombie shooter features a hand missing a thumb?
LEFT 4 DEAD

What is the term for the five cards held by a fellow who was shot in the back of the head by Jack McCall in 1876?
DEAD man's HAND

Which word fills in the blank in A _______ of Darkness, the first hardcover book by Philip K. Dick?
HANdFUL

What "F" is a clay substance that was used by premodern textile workers, and is nowadays used, for example, to soak up oil?
FULler's eARTH

Weakest Link: FUL

Round 4 (5 questions):

Questions:

Introduced in 1950, what game show first hosted by Bud Collyer is the ancestor of programs such as Minute to Win It?
BEAT the cLOCK

What is the one-word term for the sometimes-illegal practice—a favorite hobby of Richard Feynman's—that may entail using tension wrenches and bump keys?
LOCKpicKING

Give the title and name of the man who famously placated a group of angry barons with his signature in the early 13th century.
KING JOHN

Which man directed the music video "Black or White" and the movie The Blues Brothers?
JOHN lanDIS

What is the full title of the fourth book in Sue Grafton's Kinsey Millhone series, which concerns a disreputable man who fails to pay up?
D IS for deadBEAT

Weakest Link: DIS

Round 5 (4 questions):

Questions:

According to legend, which Egyptian ruler dissolved a pearl in vinegar—and drank it—just for the sake of conspicuous consumption?
CLEopaTRA

What six-letter Greek word meaning "wound" is often used in English to denote psychological damage?
TRAUMA

Named by a chemist in 1908, which flavor sensation arises from the presence of glutamates?
UMAMI

What "M" is the seven-letter title of a 2004 movie about the US men's ice hockey team in the 1980 Winter Olympics?
MIraCLE

Weakest Link: MI

Round 6 (3 questions):

Questions:

Which telecommunications provider ran commercials in the early 2000s where their primary spokesperson was continually asking, "Can you hear me now?"
VERizon wireleSS

Which famous fictional watercraft left Honolulu in 1964 on what was supposed to be a three-hour tour?
SS minNOW

What three word quasi-alliterative phrase, also the title of a 2017 Halsey song, completes the following Alan Bennett quote: "Sometimes there is no next time, no timeouts, no second chances, Sometimes it's…"
NOW or neVER

Weakest Link: SS

Round 7 (2 questions)

Questions:

Incorporating a Latin word meaning "food", what two-word term describes a system that includes the pharynx, the ileum, and the cecum?
ALImentary canAL

In chemistry, cesium is an example of what type of metal, which can also be described as "Group 1"?
ALkALI

Weakest Link: AL

Solution Phrase

The final phrase is COLORFUL DISMISSAL. The enunmeration on the final card, (4 4), leads to the final answer PINK SLIP.