|The bob-omb that opens the cannon in the first level, it took me so long to find that for some reason, even though it wasn't very hidden at all...|
I never noticed the blue block right next to the boo level before... and watching raocow's video of this level showed me that it's actually what you need to get the star from the caged up rabbit in the courtyard.. it's pretty hard to get there in time though. you have to do a triple jump up a very high steep slope...
Then I went to that really hard snifit level that I gave up on earlier... This time I managed to beat it without too much trouble. to my surprise the pipe didn't lead to a bowser fight. instead it took me to another difficult platforming area where a bowser portrait taunted me and then I had to kill 5 giant piranha plants. when I die it starts me off at the pipe at the end of the first area, so that wasn't too bad.
I checked out the area inside the tower (has comet observatory music). saw two paintings, a music room where you can probably jump into the giant music sheet, and a room with a pipe.. one of the toads there tells me about the secret area hidden above the chandelier, which takes a tricky long jump to get to. it's a sandy slide level. there's a red coin star and a time trial star here... for the red coins, you sometimes have to get off the slide and do some platforming on the side... it's tricky but not too bad... the time trial star was easy.
After that I went back to the ghost level to give it an honest try, and I super cleared it entirely without any help.. it was actually not that hard once I learned my way around. this level actually helps you out quite a bit by adding certain platforms depending on which star you are on. it's just a matter of finding what is different from last time... I never figured out what that caged up pipe with a tunnel was about, that ended up being a red herring i guess?
I also figured out how to get the secret star in the blue switch palace. those spotlights that appear after you hit the switch, you have to go to those places and jump, and a number will appear. go to all 5 spotlight locations and the star will appear.
Now have 39 stars... the only ones before the inner tower that I'm missing are the "other entrance" star in world 4 (the chuckya level), and two stars in world 3 (the ruins level).. and honestly i have NO idea how to get them.