We asked each of the first twelve teams to be accepted to encode a specific word in their team photo (the photos bordered in red), and we supplied a grid of letters, numbers, and symbols. Each of the words that was encoded had a synonym that included an x and a y. (This was hinted at by the words FIND and SYNONYMS in the grid, as well as by the five elements [earth, air, fire, water, love] forming an X and a Y [kind of].) By using the positions of x and y in each synonym as Cartesian coordinates pertaining to the grid, and ordering the letters alphabetically by the original clued word (the first letters of the words ran in order L through W) a message was spelled out.
Thanks to Team Snout for making such a nice chart and letting us use it!
The origin of the letter grid is (1,1) in the lower left corner (letter "C").
|Grover Cleveland Steamer||
H Q P 2 L P W H R A
F Y E . % O F $ I 8
I I L A C I V R Z S
N N B 5 R & G E P Y
D A * E B T I T V N
K R A U 7 L H A 3 O
# : B A P @ N W C N
I A L R X S M P H Y
L 6 G 9 Q F I G D M
C R F U J T $ I K S
|ALBANY BULB @ 9|
|Briny Deep||MP3 audio||MARRRRRIMBA||xylophone||(1,2)||L|
|coed astronomy||JPEG image||NEBULA||galaxy||(5,6)||B|
|Blinded by Science||JPEG image||O2||oxygen||(2,3)||A|
|Here Be Dragons||JPEG image||PRECISELY||exactly||(2,7)||N|
|Mystic Fish||JPEG image||QUINTESSENTIAL||exemplary||(2,9)||Y|
|The Longshots||JPEG image||SUBSTITUTE||proxy||(4,5)||U|
|Blood & Bones||animated GIF||TAILBONE||coccyx||(6,5)||L|
|Flying Taxi||PDF doc||VOICEBOX||larynx||(6,4)||@|
|Snakes On A Plane||JPEG image||WILDCAT||lynx||(4,2)||9|