# The Sage

Solution: (Winston) CHURCHILL

The obvious first step here is to answer the questions.

TIC-TAC-TOE
PENSACOLA
REBEL YELL
GERALDINE (Ferraro, the first female vice-presidential candidate for a major political party)
THREE SONS
GILLESPIE
MICROCHIP
FOUR-H CLUB
SOUTH PARK
TOUCHTONE

The first and last clues both mention 3x3 squares, and all of the answers have exactly nine letters. Thus, the next step is to arrange the letters of the answers in 3x3 squares, thusly:

`TIC  PEN  REB  GER  THR  GIL  MIC  FOU  SOU  TOUTAC  SAC  ELY  ALD  EES  LES  ROC  RHC  THP  CHTTOE  OLA  ELL  INE  ONS  PIE  HIP  LUB  ARK  ONE`

The flavortext indicates that the differences between the words are important; marking the spots where the letters change between each pair of words yields the name of the eighth Mage, CHURCHILL, like so:

`XXX  X X  X X  XX   XXX  X X  XXX  X    XX    XXX  X X  XXX  X    XXX   X   X X  X XXXX  X X  XXX  X X  XXX  X X  XXX  XXX  XXX`

Author’s Notes:

This was the sixth puzzle I designed, and by far the most devious. The original flavortext had only the first two sentences; the rest has been added for clarification.

After Solving The Sage:

“Winston Churchill? A Mage?”
BWOMP!
“What, is that so hard to believe?”
“Well, wouldn’t the history books mention something like that?”
“The history books leave out an infinite number of things. Shall we be off?”
“Quite.”

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