Friday, October 02, 2009

Off-Day Puzzle #19: Solution

Of all the possible uses for excel, creating this puzzle has got be one of the best. The answer to yesterday's puzzle is the matchbook.

So here are the steps you must take:

  1. Map out the floorplan of the hedgemaze as you roam around. It should look something like the following:

    (click image to enlarge)

  2. The key room is the one where Brandon lurks. There are two notes found in this room. The first has a poem with a bunch of missing words, and the second hints at how to find those words. Let's focus on the second note first.
  3. This note says:

    The route taken here you must heed,
    For lined it is with those you need.
    For in their homes a Son did speak,
    The 12 missing words that you now seek.

    If you retrace the steps that took you to Brandon's room (outlined in green in the map above), you'll see you traversed Erin, Quad, MSTI, and Brandon, in that order. "In their homes a Son did speak" means that in each of these readers' blogs - Robots Took My Medicine, Bet As Bogus, Mike Scoscia's Tragic Illness, and Reflections of Blue, respectively - one of the SoSG Sons commented. To tell you which comment thread to look for, use the date that the readers' respective room post was made. For example, Erin's room was posted July 10, 8:47pm, so if you look on her blog on that day and time you'll find this post and thread, in which SoSG Orel commented. His comment had three words in italics, which correspond to the first three blanks in the 1st poem (the italics were clued in by the missing words being italicized in the poem).

  4. If you proceed thusly for all four blogs (this thread from Bet As Bogus, this thread from MSTI, and this thread from Reflections of Blue), you can find the 12 missing words: cut, walls, south, east, portals, step, first, those, meet, tell, gave, need (three from each blog). Fill in the missing words in the 1st poem in order, and it will read as follows:
    Cut through the walls to the south east
    Four portals deep, and step through each
    The first letters of those you meet
    Translated tell which "gave" you need.
  5. Also, you must be aware that to solve the puzzle, you gotta get your Norwegian on. The owl clues you in on this via his last words "ha det bra, og lykke til!" which is Norwegian for "goodbye and good luck," at least according to online translators. Also, "gave" is "gift" in Norwegian. So if you do as the poem says, it will tell you which gift you need.
  6. Thus, using the map, do as it says; cut through the walls to the southeast, four portals deep (four portals means five rooms, inclusive of the starting room). Starting from Brandon's room, this will lead to rbnlaw, Alejandro Pena, Nic J, and Neeebs' rooms (in blue in the above map).
  7. Using the first letters of "those you meet", it spells "BRANN".
  8. Again translating from Norwegian to English, Brann = Fire. Each gift option corresponds with one of the basic elements, earth, wind, fire, and water. The matchbook corresponds with fire. That's your answer!

A big congratulations to DunkHawk and golem, who solved it before any hints were posted. They were followed by Josh S, QuadSevens, J Steve, Mr Customer, UBragg, fanerman, Drewdez, and Berkowit28. Well done gentlemen!

And one note - I apologize I wasn't able to include all regular readers in the puzzle, and particularly all regular puzzle participants. That was my original intent, but in the end I know I wasn't able to as it got just too unwieldy. It ended up being pretty arbitrary who I included and who I didn't, but I apologize to those I missed!

Final standings and prizes to be revealed soon!


Kyle Baker said...

Great stuff. I was riiiiiight there but didn't know where to start cutting SE. Even given that, I was looking for the literal translations of the four gifts within the puzzle.

Now I'm feeling all North by Northwest.

Great work setting this up. Now let's get back to this one.

Steve K said...

I thought the puzzle was great! I liked the use of your readers' blogs, too.

Got a question for Quad... Did you have any clue that they had posted a clue on your blog? It looked to me like the guys did a good job making their comments as inconspicuous as possible...

QuadSevens said...

I was just about to comment on that J Steve.

I remember getting the email alert about a comment a couple weeks ago. But I hadn't posted anything on my blog for a while and didn't really read the comment as well as I should have. If I had read it, I think I might have had an idea something was up. Even after I figured out that I had to look at the different users blogs to find the missing words, it still didn't hit me that my blog was one of them! Great puzzle all around! Lots of fun to work on and solve.

rbnlaw said...

I'm surprised I got as far as I did. I had the poem, and I had one of the letters for the final clue. Like I said in the PT, my map sucked.

Well done, EK. I'm usually not a puzzle person, but these have piqued my interest.

Oh, and glad I was finally part of the solution, not the problem.

Josh S. said...

The online translator I used translated the owl's message as "Good luck, and best of luck!"

Guess he really wanted the cub to be lucky.

I assume that, since the cub still has not reunited with his father, this puzzle story will continue next season.

Orel said...

Holy smokes, what a puzzle! Congrats to EK and all the puzzlers.

Alex Cora said...

Great puzzle EK!!! Like those old choose your own adventure books!

MR.F said...

I really enjoyed the puzzle. I only wish I could have been part of the solution.

berkowit28 said...

Very fine, and fun. I wouldn't have got it without some of the hints, including the bonus hint about including the key room )Brandon), that suddenly came to mind. I was stuck on "rann" for a long time, especially when I discovered that "ransel" in Norwegian means satchel.

I like puzzles that require you to be thorough, like this one, and not (just) good at inspired guesses. I had found the key room after only a few steps, for for some reason (the way I am) just kept going with the mapping until I had established all the squares. I thought to myself that I was being absurd and wasting time. So I was inordinately pleased at the end when I had to plow through the maze, more or less requiring that it be completed (already done).

I was stuck longest trying to work out where the dates and times came in (a hint said they did), and where the Sons were speaking. I went into SoSG archives, and found the very same "room" posts on the dates and times indicated if using a Search - no help. I checked game posts and post-game posts on the pertinent dates, but no comments were made at the right time. I even checked the correct blogs, but first time around didn't check that there were actual posts at the correct time and date. (And got a bit blindsided by the fact that MSTI's link led to his old blog, not noticing the year there was 2007.) EK's reminder to me to look at the poem line which referred to the room residents' "homes" made me look again, and this time I looked far enough. That's the sort of thing I usually miss without help. Congrats to the guys who got the whole thing with no hints.

Erin said...

Great puzzle. Sorry I didn't have any time to devote to it. I remember reading Orel's comment on my post a while back, and assuming it would mean something to me one day. Guess this was the day. Nice planning, guys.

Brandon said...

Glad I could contribute in a Legend of Zelda dungeon kind of way. Alas, I failed to find the big key.

Neeebs (The Original) said...

This was a great puzzle, even for a small brainer like me.

I got as far as Brandon's room, but then realized I was in way over my head.

Good job on the solvers. You guys have BIG brains.

Kyle Baker said...

Erin said: "I remember reading Orel's comment on my post a while back, and assuming it would mean something to me one day."

Yeah, maybe some of my comments will actually mean something one day, too. *eye roll*

Steve Sax said...

@Dusty, if you start italicizing random words in your comments, you'll at the very least freak us out that it's part of a future plan.

Mike Scioscia's tragic illness said...

Ingenious. I wish I'd been around to take part. I saw that I had an SOSG comment recently, but that happens every now and then so I didn't think anything of it.


berkowit28 said...

Hmmm. What would you SoSG guys have done if you found that one of the blog comments you were planting did not allow HTML italics to be inserted by commenters? Did that actually happen on someone else's blog? Did you have to move it over to another blog? Or did you - oh so thoroughly - test out italics in "real" comments some time earlier?

Or were you just lucky?

Kyle Baker said...

@ berkowit28

Today, EK considers himself the luckiest man on the face of this earth. *ballpark echo*

Josh S. said...

Brandon's inclusion was almost my undoing. I didn't recognize the pic as an avatar, and his "room" didn't say anything about an individual. It was quite some time before I thought to click on the pic.

Kyle Baker said...

@ Josh

Yeah, me too. I god damned near kick the cat by the time I figured that out.

Next time, I'm working on these in a rubber room where I can't hurt myself or others.

Nostradamus said...

@Josh S.

Op. cit.

Kyle Baker said...

Is it so wrong that I find myself idly wandering through the hedge even though the game is over?

> get all
brown sack: Taken.
glass bottle: Taken.

karina said...

This was a great puzzle to end the PCS season 2. I made a diagram, had no problem recognizing Brandon as a use...i even made a map but i never understood the hints.

Maybe i'll post my map later, i'm too tired now.

p.d: for things like this, i'm madly in love with this site :)

Kyle Baker said...


I really want to see your map. It can't be worse than my original one (the one before my 11:39PM attempt, which ended up being quite good).

Eric Karros said...

Hey thanks everyone, glad you enjoyed the puzzle. It was fun to conceptualize but somewhat painful to actually make. And thanks to Orel and Sax for helping set it up with the blog comments. I haven't done the rankings yet but plan to do so this weekend.

Enjoy the offseason. The puzzle-offseason, that is.

And yes, I want to see that map Karina (and yours too, Dusty).

Kyle Baker said...

Shitty map sent. It's hilarious because you can see the evolution from a couple of sets of lamely drawn squares with some jibberish and squiggles to the more refined map which, unfortunately, was completed around 12:39 AM.