He-Who-Hears Says

By Pam Berkeley

The title of this puzzle, He-Who-Hears Says, is a reference to the game Simon Says (as the name Simon means “he who hears”).

You were provided with 14 sound files that all had odd noises alternating with instructions given by Text-to-Speech voices. If you follow all the instructions provided in each file, your hand will move through a series of ASL letters, ending by forming the following:

  1. L
  2. O
  3. G
  4. S
  5. P
  6. E
  7. C
  8. T
  9. R
  10. O
  11. G
  12. R
  13. A
  14. M

Taking the final position of your hand after following each set of instructions, you arrive at the intermediate clue phrase LOG SPECTROGRAM. When you generate the log spectrogram of the sounds in each file, you find that there are images of two "speakers" in the sounds in each file - one Simon, and one non-Simon. The images both fall within some category. The following are the Simon/non-Simon pairs from each file (click on the name to see the original image):

1Simon CowellPaula AbdulAmerican Idol judges
2Simon de MontfortJean-Baptiste Colberthistorical lawgivers with bas reliefs in the chamber of the United States House of Representatives. Fun fact: this Simon is the one who "Simon Says" is supposedly named after
3Simon TamJayne CobbFirefly characters
4Simon gameRubik's cubegame toys named after people
5Carly SimonCarly Rae Jepsensingers named Carly
6SimonAlvinChipmunks characters
7St SimonSt MaryProminent saints
8Simon (from Simon's Cat)Jon Arbuckle (from Garfield)owners of famous cartoon cats
9Simon BolivarGeorge WashingtonAmerican liberators
10Simon the able seacatSmoky the terrier war dogwartime animal companions
11Anne SimonDana ScullyX-Files affiliates
12Lidia SimonCaster Semenyalong distance runners
13Simon phoneiPhonesmart phones
14Simone SimonAudrey Tatoufamous French actresses

When you follow only the instructions that Simons say, you end each file forming the following letters:

  1. C
  2. O
  3. U
  4. R
  5. T
  6. R
  7. O
  8. O
  9. M
  10. S
  11. T
  12. A
  13. F
  14. F

(If you had trouble on some of the Simons, all of the Simons used the same TTS voice, and all the non-Simons used a different TTS voice) Again taking the final position of your hand after following the instructions of only the Simons, you arrive at the final answer: COURTROOM STAFF.

Fun facts: Spectrograms are typically used to analyze which sounds the deaf and hard-of-hearing can hear. ASL interpreters are part of the staff in a typical courtroom.