Thursday, October 01, 2009

Off-Day Grand Slam Puzzle Finale (#19): Norway or Bust!

When we last left our beloved Cub, he had just reunited with true love Jasmine in the pastel forest. We pick up their story from there, switching to second person (second bear?):

"Jasmine my love!" you shout as you run into each other's arms. "We must go to Norway!" you continue, not bothering to explain yourself. Nonetheless, she does not question it.

Just then, the you both look up to see your old friend the Owl fluttering above. He lands on a nearby rock and again begins jawing.

"Congratulations Cub on deciphering the forest's unspoken message and revealing your next destination. However, before you embark, I shall grant you a gift for you to carry with you on your journey."

"How kind, dear Owl," you reply. "What might this gift be?"

"Now Cub, it is not a gift given merely out of affection or generosity. It is a gift of necessity. I cannot tell you exactly what role it will play in your upcoming quest to find your father, but I will say that at some point it will be critical to your survival."

"Furthermore, it is a gift you must choose among four possibilities."

Intrigued, you glance over at Jasmine. She is beaming, presumably at the prospect of choosing a gift.

The owl continues, "your four choices are:"


1) a satchel of dirt

2) a folding fan

3) a matchbook
4) a water canteen

You glance back at Jasmine. She doesn't seem so excited anymore.

"You can only choose one of these items, and you must choose wisely. If you select the wrong one, you will be doomed in your quest. Fortunately, you needn't make your decision immediately - I will give you until midnight PT tonight to make your selection. Hopefully before then, you can figure out which item you will need."

"Also, remember this," continues the Owl. "As you embark on the next segment of your journey, you will encounter familiar faces of both friends and enemies. The friends will help you if they can. The enemies will most certainly hurt you. Avoid the latter."

Suddenly, the Owl's tone becomes stern. "Now close your eyes."

As per usual when interacting with the Owl, you are confused. Yet you do as he asks and close your eyes, as does Jasmine. You begin to feel dizzy, and just as you are about to pass out you hear the Owl's parting words: "ha det bra, og lykke til!" Then everything goes black.

You awaken with Jasmine by your side. As you both groggily get to your feet, you look around and notice you are no longer in the forest. You are in some sort of room with no ceiling, with green walls that extend more than twelve feet in the air. Soon you realize you are in a hedge-maze! Or at least a room whose walls are made of hedges. And you see three doors leading out of the room, one on the North wall, one on the South wall, and one in the Southeast corner.

"Which way should we go?" Jasmine asks. As you consider your options, Jasmine then asks, "and did you hear the Owl's parting words? What did they mean?"

You are not sure how to answer either question, but you decide to focus your energy on the immediate decision - figuring out which way to go. Which exit do you take?:

(Incidentally, you notice each exit is marked "one-way ". This is the case with all doors/exitways in the hedge labyrinth).

Hint #1 (10:59am): Map it out.

Hint #2 (11:13am): Ignore the numbers that are the titles of the post. They were used to construct the puzzle but are irrelevant to the solution. Hope nobody spent too much time trying to figure out what they meant.

Hint #3 (1:33pm): In most but not all cases, the date and time of each room's post is irrelevant.

A Hidden Bonus Hint #4 added 2:07pm in the relevant place within the maze.

Hint #5 (3:25pm): If you're traveling to a foreign country...learn the language!

Hint #6 (5:35pm): There are 5 steps:

  1. map out the hedgemaze;
  2. find the "key" room;
  3. figure out what the 2nd poem in the key room means and do as it says;
  4. figure out the missing words in the 1st poem in the key room (step 3 helps with this immensely), and finally
  5. figure out what the completed 1st poem means and do what it says.
Hint #1 corresponds to step 1 above. Hints #3 corresponds to steps 3 and 4. Hidden Bonus Hint #4 is in the key room and corresponds to step 5; and Hint #5 also corresponds to step 5.

Solution: click here.

Two Puzzle Notes:

  1. Please comment only in this master thread, not the other posts that comprise this puzzle, as otherwise I will probably never see your comment. I believe I have deactivated commenting in the other posts to enforce this, but may have missed one.
  2. I think I double-checked the intricate web of links, but if you find a broken link in this puzzle, please comment here or email us to let me know.

Puzzle Rules: The answer to the puzzle is one of the four gift options - the satchel of dirt, the folding fan, the matchbook, or the canteen of water. Comment freely in the thread, but if you have the solution, please don't give it away to everyone in the comments section. Instead, do the following:

  • Email us with the correct gift option along with your reasoning. Submitted answers without the correct reasoning, even if correct, will count for participation credit only. And please include your screen name somewhere in the email; and
  • Post a comment simply saying you have emailed your solution attempt. I may not be able to reply to your original email promptly, so please be patient and check back on the comment thread for the latest news; I may confirm correct answers there.
  • As a Grand Slam Puzzle (the finale!), this one is worth 150 points. And no succubus!

You have until midnight PT tonight to submit your answer, as per the Owl's words. Good luck!

Not familiar with SoSG's off-day puzzle competition? Read up here. And join the fun!

74 comments:

Eric Karros said...

Hmmm...no apparent activity thusfar...is anyone working on it?

Ubragg, how is hawaii?

Mr. Customer said...

Sporadic activity here.

That owl is kind of a dick.

J. Steve said...

It's fun going from room to room and seeing familiar faces. I wish the cub didn't have so many scorned lovers!

Eric Karros said...

Does anyone want a hint? Are people stuck anywhere in particular?

QuadSevens said...

I'm ready for my frustration finale! Time to read the puzzle.

Ubragg said...

StIll dark in Hawaii... Made good progress but have to leave now... Will try to find more time later today.

Dusty Baker said...

Oooohhh...got some mojo working now. Alas, work calls. No hints yet!

Josh S. said...

I'm just getting started now, though I explored the links a bit before I left for work.

I'm not sweating points on this one. The fun appears to be in the solving.

karina said...

I'm getting a kick with the links, no ideas yet.

Wicks said...

I'made two big break throughs but i'm still missing something!

Eric Karros said...

Ok, I'll hold off on the hints for the time being, maybe a bit later depending on collective progress...

DunkHawk said...

Seems like I'm really close, but must be missing something...

karina said...

Doubts sent in

QuadSevens said...

Have I mentioned how much I hate this owl?

Josh S. said...

E-mailed a question.

Eric Karros said...

Karina, Josh, your emails have been replied to.

fanerman said...

It's not a hedge-maze. It's a Norwegian Wood!

DunkHawk said...

Answer sent!

Josh S. said...

Dang. I know what I'm looking for, but I'm trying to make the search less needle-in-a-haystackish.

Eric Karros said...

We have our first solver! Excellent job DunkHawk, no hints needed:

1. DunkHawk

QuadSevens said...

Amazing DunkHawk!

I'm still lost in the maze.

rbnlaw said...

I'm on this. Don't know why but I think I know which Dodger is the answer. *coughIrish Meuselcough*.

I kid.

I am working on it.

Josh S. said...

Sent my progress and another question.

Golem said...

Answer sent.

Eric Karros said...

I posted a hint. I hope it's helpful to some...if folks tell me where you're stuck, I may be able to post a better one...

Eric Karros said...

Well done Golem! Solver #2 is ID'd:

1. DunkHawk
2. Golem

QuadSevens said...

Question sent in. I feel a big shift in the top 10 coming.

Eric Karros said...

Another hint posted (thanks golem for the suggestion). And I replied to your email Quad -

Josh S. said...

Answer sent!

Dusty Baker said...

Just want to send a big FU for making me think about those irrelevant numbers! ;-)

Love,
Dusty

QuadSevens said...

I'm starting to feel the frustration finale wash over me as I desperately search for answers.

Eric Karros said...

Josh S is in! I'll post another hint shortly (but I'm not sure where people are stuck...)

1. DunkHawk
2. Golem
3. Josh S

Eric Karros said...

Another hint posted.

J. Steve said...

Had a breakthrough, but now I'm stuck... I emailed my progress to see if I'm on the right track.

Eric Karros said...

Another hint posted...

rbnlaw said...

I think I'm on track, but sent out a lifeline anyway.

berkowit28 said...

Hmmm. I didn't have time today until an hour ago. I enjoyed mapping it out (actually mapped the whole thing out althiugh I found the good room fairly early on). I then checked the later clues. I thought I knew what to look for, but now I'm stuck. I checked the dates and times of the relevant rooms only, but I can't find words of wisdom as expected.

Eric Karros said...

Replied to your query rbn.

Also, I accidentally put the 5th hint after the border separating the puzzle from the rules...hopefully nobody missed it because of this. I've corrected it.

QuadSevens said...

I'm super close...sent in my progress to make sure.

QuadSevens said...

Answer sent! Woohoo!!!

Eric Karros said...

Quad is in!:

1. DunkHawk
2. Golem
3. Josh S
4. QuadSevens

drewdez said...

At the Indians-Red Sox game trying to figure this thing out (and struggling). On the upside, I'm explaining to my British co-worker why NL-style baseball is far superior.

Based on my room in the maze, I guess I should comment more often, and maybe even pick an avatar.

Eric Karros said...

major hint added.

And drewdez, the comment in your room had no relation to you...I was just bored writing the same thing over and over and over in each room so I decided to add a few extra words, especially since there was no picture.

And I'll be way impressed if you solve it while at a game...

Erin said...

While I really appreciate being a part of this puzzle, clicking on the various links is all I can manage today. I don't have the time (or, let's face it, the ability) to complete the puzzle.

J. Steve said...

Finally!

Eric Karros said...

J Steve is in!:

1. DunkHawk
2. Golem
3. Josh S
4. QuadSevens
5. J Steve

Hey Erin...your room in the puzzle is actually somewhat significant (though it's not the 'key' room).

Mr. Customer said...

I'm off to the Fjords! Answer in!

Mr. Customer said...

It's funny, I briefly considered doing something similar to this for my guest puzzle, but couldn't figure out away to engineer the path. I guess it helps if you run the place.

Mr. LA Sports Fan said...

This is too much for me.

Ubragg said...

And I'm in!

Thanks for the PCS guys, it has been a blast.

Eric Karros said...

The minstrel (Mr Customer) is in! And, unlike some folks, UBragg has clinched! Congratulations gentlemen:

1. DunkHawk
2. Golem
3. Josh S
4. QuadSevens
5. J Steve
6. Mr Customer
7. UBragg

Now get back to the hula dancing and mai tai's, UBragg.

fanerman said...

You guys are insane!

(Answer sent)

Ubragg said...

I'm on it, EK. I just need a couple more Dodger wins now before I can fully enjoy the rest of my time in paradise. :)

Eric Karros said...

The F-man joins the solvers club:

1. DunkHawk
2. Golem
3. Josh S
4. QuadSevens
5. J Steve
6. Mr Customer
7. UBragg
8. fanerman

fanerman said...

That was a truly epic puzzle.

drewdez said...

Answer sent!

berkowit28 said...

Any clue to help understand the second poem? I know the route, the only Son speaking is you, counting numbers of words as contained in the date and time doesn't lead to anything significant or useful in the first poem. I tried digging in the archives for game threads and post-game threads where a Son might have commented at the exact date and time, but no luck there either. And, yes, I know the translation too but can't make use of that yet either.

rbnlaw said...

My map of the maze sucks ass. . . obviously.

Eric Karros said...

Drewdez is in!

9. Drewdez

Berko, I think you have gone astray at your interpretation of the 1st half of the 3rd line of the 2nd poem.

berkowit28 said...

I guess you're right. And thanks for the the hint. I had also checked their profiles and no Son speaks there, nor at their own blogs.

berkowit28 said...

OK, got it (that step). Moving on soon.

Dusty Baker said...

This is hard as fuck to map. Am I playing Zork? Damn you!

Mr. Customer said...

*dusty baker has been eaten by a grue*

Dusty Baker said...

*get leaflet*

Mr. Customer said...

Ah, squandered adolescence, I remember it well...

Josh S. said...

*kill dragon*

With what? You bare hands?

*yes*

Congratulations! You have just slayed a dragon with your bare hands!

Dusty Baker said...

Mr. C-

We can never get it back.

Not can I get back the time I've spent on this puzzle. It's really pissing me off now. Didn't get back from work gig until about 30 mins ago, so haven't had enough time to spend. Made it through most of steps, but the last step is a doozy.

Keven C said...

Coincidentally, I am also in Hawaii. But unlike our champion, I don't have the time to complete today's grand slam. I do want to offer many thanks to the Sons for all the great puzzles this season.

Let's blast this thing (the NL West) and get outta here!

Mr. Customer said...

@dusty

I got to the last step about 1p, then sat in a 3 hour meeting doing nothing but trying to figure it out.

berkowit28 said...

Answer sent! At long last.

Josh S. said...

Oh ho...drewdez got in. My path to #2 is now not as clear as I thought it might be.

Dusty Baker said...

I give up. I need to get back to real life (e.g., masterful insight/snark on this blog). And oh, talking to my wife. Great puzzle but just didn't have enough time.

Dusty Baker said...

Woke up to get a glass of water and thought I'd post a derogatory hand gesture your general direction as I'm unable to sleep now - still thinking about the puzzle. Hope you're happy.

drewdez said...

Not positive, but I think you've got me, Josh S.

It was a bad day to be super busy at work.