Some familiarity with puzzle hunts should allow for the realisation that the back half of each clue refers to an annual puzzle hunt. (The title, ‘Search’ -- a synonym for 'hunt' -- serves as confirmation of this theory.) Once you check the corresponding hunt for each indicated year, you’ll find that the start of each clue refers to a puzzle within that particular hunt.
|2013||Smaller and Smaller
(Decreasing in size)
(camera firm's Australian R&D centre)
(Expelled from the legal profession)
(Splitting or joining central organs)
(half-cooked in Italy)
|2017||Puzzle of the Day
(Conundrum of these twenty-four hours)
(related to the Milky Way, for instance)
What else should we be looking at? The bottom list begins with the heading ANSWER: -- so we need to look at the solutions to these puzzles.
A key realisation is that the top and bottom lists do not correspond; the solutions must be reordered. If you’ve tabulated enough information, you should notice that each puzzle comes from a different day of the hunt. (To reduce noise, the puzzle’s position within each day is the same as the day number: Puzzle of the Day is the first puzzle of day 1, Telephone is puzzle 2.2, etc.)
Rearranging the answers in day order and indexing accordingly, we get the thematic answer POINT.
|Day/Puzzle number||Puzzle||Answer||Extracted letter|
|1||Puzzle of the Day||FLAT EXPANSE||P|
|3C||Smaller and Smaller||MINOR||I|
|Act IV Scene 4||Disbarred||CROSSEXAMINED||N|
I thought it would be fun to give a shout-out to other puzzle hunts just before the beginning of our own. If you’re new to puzzle hunts, it’s well worth checking out their archives!