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:
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.
- map out the hedgemaze;
- find the "key" room;
- figure out what the 2nd poem in the key room means and do as it says;
- figure out the missing words in the 1st poem in the key room (step 3 helps with this immensely), and finally
- figure out what the completed 1st poem means and do what it says.
Solution: click here.
Two Puzzle Notes:
- 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.
- 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!
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