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stepurhan 04-04-2012 10:39 PM

For single digit numbers, there are only three, 3-letter choices. One, Two and Six. No duplicates so all 3 must be in the code.

The first two digits adding up to 10 must therefore include at least one of these. The other digit must be either 9, 8 or 4. Given we don't have any of these yet, whichever is correct must be the missing fourth digit.

That means the last digit being twice the first can only be achieved using 1,2 and 6. The only combination that works is 1 and 2.

The combination is therefore 1962.

TimovieMan 04-05-2012 07:14 AM


Originally Posted by WitchOfDoubt
(Well-reasoned! You might wan to recheck the last two moves, though.)

Whoops! How careless of me, I went too fast in my posting. It's Ann Wesser, of course, not Weser.
That makes it N-N-W-E-S-S-E instead.

I fully endorse Stepurhan's solution of 1962 for the padlock.

If it's a clue towards the records, then I assume we're looking for a song released in 1962. The first 9 have already been ruled out, so that leaves:

Neil Sedaka - Breaking Up Is Hard to Do

The Shirelles - Mamma Said was close, though. 1961.

Fantasysci5 04-05-2012 11:28 AM

Fantasy spontaneously combusts. :crazy:

UPtimist 04-05-2012 12:04 PM


Originally Posted by Fantasysci5 (Post 606449)
Fantasy spontaneously combusts. :crazy:

UPsie hopes Fantasy makes room so that UPsie may join her (as he has been doing all along this thread (I mean, the spontaneous combustion... Nevermind... I think this shows something about my skill level :P))

WitchOfDoubt 04-05-2012 10:07 PM

For a brief moment, the spell of the Witch of Secrets flickered, and with it, the world flickered as well. The reality of Humans asserted itself over the reality of Witches, and L. V. and Walter were standing in front of the safe with the rest of the group, as if nothing had happened.

"Woah! Listen to this!" said L. V., playing the record of "Breaking Up Is Hard to Do":

"Down, dooby-doo down down,
Come-a, come-a down, dooby-doo down down,
Comma, comma down, dooby-doo down down..."

The backup singers repeated that refrain again and again, subtly matching the first part of the clue:

Then the spell of the Witch of Secrets snapped back into place. L. V. was inside a ghostly laboratory, unaware of what had just happened, frantically punching in the four-digit combination to the western door. As he punched in the last digit, the pursuing demon burst into the laboratory, roaring with terrible anger, the door slid open with a metallic swish, and L. V. leapt through, the monster in close pursuit.

The tunnel took L. V. to a new set of ghostly surroundings - a bustling bistro, staffed by ghostly waiters. Again, the door slammed shut behind him, giving him valuable moments to solve the riddle of this room.

As he looked for the exit, his attention was drawn to a table where three people sat, both of whom he recognized. One was his mother, far younger than he had ever known her. The second was a very familiar man, a businessman - Nat Foreman. And the third was the undergraduate he'd seen in the laboratory, Bruce.

It was with a start that L. V. realized that this Bruce could have been none other than his father - his mother's first husband, who'd died when he was only a boy. Yet although he had more to say than he could possibly put into words, a voice in the back of his mind warned him that the ghosts before him were nothing more than illusions. Tricks.

L. V. shot a contemptuous look at Nat before moving to the east door. It was sealed tight with no visible means of opening it, but on the table next to it sat an eight-by-eight chessboard and a box of pieces. Although these pieces resembled ordinary chess-pieces in outline, each was topped with a witch's cap.

Spurred by the sounds of scratching at the door he had come from, L. V. hurriedly read the note on the exit:

A Witch in a chess game’s a powerful thing;
It can move like a bishop or move like a king.
How many such Witches, one way or another,
Can fit on this board without threatening each other?

stepurhan 04-06-2012 02:52 AM

Best I can achieve is 10, though I've found several combinations for that. Any advance on 10?

TimovieMan 04-06-2012 07:13 AM

Since they move like a bishop, you can use both the white and black diagonals to "almost" their full potential. The max number of bishops you can place on a chess board is 14.
Because witches also move like a king, they can reach one square horizontally or vertically as well. This hinders the bishop solution by forcing us to have at least one single square between them (horizontally or vertically, that is).
I managed to fit 13 on a chess board. I'm convinced this is the maximum amount.

Like so:

WitchOfDoubt 04-08-2012 03:19 AM

(Fantastically done! Double update today.

I encourage readers to speculate as to what's going on, who the boy in the 2021 banquet is, and what the Sapphire Witch is trying to do.

There's more of a mystery here than simply the puzzles that are presented explicitly, and even readers who have trouble with number/word/code puzzles can still try to understand the heart of this story.)

As L. V. placed the last Witch piece on the board, the door slid open. He wasted no time in running through, even though the demon had given up trying to follow him. Something else was driving him forward now...

The next chamber was not a chamber at all. L. V. stepped out of the tunnel into a gazebo surrounded by a verdant rose garden. Rain hammered out a rhythm on the roof, while his mother and Nat Foreman sat by a glass table, huddled in long raincoats and playing a curious variant of chess.

In this variant, captured pieces could be returned to an opponent in exchange for certain advantages, such as the ability to convert a Bishop into a Witch. It was a wild and unbalanced game, so Nat and Ann found themselves changing the rules quite often.

They never missed a match, no matter what, much to a young L. V.'s displeasure.

"Your son hasn't really taken a shine to me," said Nat, moving his Witch forward one square to allow it to jump on the white diagonals. "Not what I'd expect... I'd think Bruce'd be the jealous one."

Ann laughed. Jealousy was no more in Bruce's nature than social grace was. "He's your best friend, Nat. He knows we wouldn't - oh, check! L. V. just doesn't like businessmen; he sees them as the bad guys on TV. I think he's going to be a Communist spy when he grows up."

All of this ghostly conversation barely distracted L. V. as he sought a way out. Outside, red and blue roses, bright in their natural colors, dripped with rain. But although they were within reach, he couldn't touch them, blocked by what felt like invisible glass, cold and unyielding. Finally, he found an opening in the south side of the gazebo and rushed through.

As he left, he failed to notice the two children hiding in the bushes and spying on Nat and his mother. This spared him the uncomfortable sensation of looking into his own eyes.

An image of the Witch of Secrets, summoned by the presence of her Human counterpart in this scene, barred L. V.'s exit for a moment. However, he solved her riddle - a mere trick of language - and she stepped aside. Can you do the same?


I abide with the Dear and departed above
At the start of a breath
, and the closing of Love.
I've the power to separate heart
, soul, and mind --
Beware! As you meet me
, Death follows behind!

- - - - -

A - N - N - W - E - S -

(Theme - The Funeral Smile)

As soon as L. V. crossed the threshold of the gazebo, he heard the sound of organ music. As his eyes adjusted to the dim light, he recognized the scene in front of him - the funeral of his father, his real father.

Something was wrong with this memory, though. The man reading the eulogy wore a long robe that concealed his face. That hadn't really happened, had it? His words were halting with grief, filled with pain and loss.

Driven by an instinct he could not fathom - morbid curiosity? - L. V. hurried to the coffin at the south end of the room. But as he passed by on the way to the south end of the room, L. V. saw undehood. And even while the eulogy, the robed man smiled. Was mere acting, a scripted grief, a play put on for his mother's benefit?

A riddle was set into the lid of the coffin:

The Heir Apparent

He speaks in foreign voice,
And thinks in spoken thought;
His famous choice is not a choice --
He is, and he is not.

- - - - - -

TimovieMan 04-16-2012 08:00 AM


WitchOfDoubt 04-16-2012 12:05 PM

In 2021...

"Shall we take this as a sign that the Human Side has lost?" sneered the Witch of Secrets.

"But you said that the Human Side couldn't lose unless they stopped thinking!" said the boy at the end of the table, leaping angrily to his feet. "How could you know we've stopped trying?"

With a sigh, the Sapphire Witch replied. "In the absence of even incorrect guesses, the game must draw to a close. The tale of Witches shall overwrite the tale of Humans, and the events of that night will remain shrouded in darkness."

The boy couldn't accept this. But the Human Side had stopped guessing... so what argument could he possibly raise? A clock ticked quietly in the background.

"Hold it! I call Sphinx's Second! 'II. Any fair riddle must contain the information needed to solve it, and no "false clues" that mislead.' But there's no way that L. V. was really chased by demons."

The boy tried to rally the others at the table to an act of defiance.

"How's the Human Side supposed to figure this out if you lie? It's... it's like reading a mystery novel where the answer could be magic and the narrator is insane."

Slowly, Dudeney, that genteel Animate of the Witch, began to speak. There was something at once harsh and jarring, yet familiar and comforting, in the rhythms of his voice.

"The Human Side's final answer cannot involve the supernatural," he explained. "If the Witch side is playing fairly, it follows that there must be an explanation without magic."

"There are no false clues in this account," said the Sapphire Witch. "Only metaphors, illusions, and outright lies. When all of the clues have been seen, it will be possible to solve this story."

"Wait, what? How's an 'outright lie' not a fake clue?" said the boy, but some of the anger was out of his voice, replaced by a mixture of confusion and curiosity.

"Think about it this way," said Dudeney gently, pinching the ribbon at his chest as he spoke. "If a man says 'I am not the one who stole the ring,' you learn nothing, for he may be lying.

But if he says, 'I am not the one who stole the ring; it was Luke Skywalker,' you know that he's either lying or crazy. A lie can point to the truth."

Miss Cox spoke next, her voice a scratchy whisper. "You ought to ask yourselves: 'Who reported these events? Who is the viewpoint character right now? Can I trust the narrator at this time?' There is at least one character whose story is reliable."

"And," said the Sapphire Witch, "the words in Red speak only the truth."

The boy resumed his seat and sighed. Never stop thinking. At length, he said:

"The answer to the first riddle is 'Death.'"

The Sapphire Witch laughed. That was more like it. "Ha ha! It is nothing like that - not Death, not a funeral, not a wound, not Saint Peter, neither Heaven nor Hell! The answer to the first riddle can be found within the riddle itself. Come, mortals, guess again!"

Intense Degree 04-17-2012 02:09 AM

Intense Degree awoke suddenly feeling a sharp pain in his ribs and found himself under the baleful glare of Timovieman!

How had he fallen asleep? Certainly not through boring subject matter, clearly preoccupation with other things had caused him to doze.

He frowned at the present riddles...


Originally Posted by WitchOfDoubt (Post 606855)

I abide with the Dear and departed above,
At the start of a breath
, and the closing of Love.
I've the power to separate heart
, soul, and mind --
Beware! As you meet me
, Death follows behind!

- - - - -

Hmm, a scythe like thing separating other things and, which death follows behind? Perhaps a COMMA?


The Heir Apparent

He speaks in foreign voice,
And thinks in spoken thought;
His famous choice is not a choice --
He is, and he is not.

- - - - - -

The famouns non-choice puts Intense Degree in mind of Hobson's choice, and the reference to a play above leads intense degree to a wikipedia page. Unsure of the first line, the second may refer to soliloquys within the play so the audience can hear what the character of thinking.

The answer might be Hobson, but the title of the riddle, heir apparent, may suggest Will Mossop, a character who, according to wikipedia, marries Hobson's daughter and takes over his cobblers business. Maybe that is the answer, although lines 1 and 4 are enough to make Intense Degree doubt that he is on the right track?

Maybe others will help him.

TimovieMan 04-17-2012 08:18 AM


Originally Posted by WitchOfDoubt
I encourage readers to speculate as to what's going on, who the boy in the 2021 banquet is, and what the Sapphire Witch is trying to do.

I just went over the entire thread again.

The 18-year old boy at the 2021 banquet is most likely Mark, the young boy at Mrs. Ye's side in 2011. He's probably the son of one of the participants from 2011, my guess would be Dr. Alicia Tressler, who became Alice, the Witch of Connections.

We know that something happened in 2011, with people disappearing, and the Sapphire Witch being ruined if the events went public.

Somehow I feel that the Sapphire Witch was set up in 2011. Most likely culprit is L.V., but that's what you'd want us to think, so I'll guess Batsheva Ellis instead (the least suspicious of the three without a fire alarm alibi).
Unless of course there's two culprits... :D
We just don't have enough info yet.

As for now, perhaps Mark was supposed to "win" in 2011 and the Sapphire Witch is trying to play the same game again, again with Mark as winner. But in the meantime the events of 2011 should be revealed, also revealing who set her up in 2011 and exacting revenge on them.

But I could be well off, of course... :D

As for the Heir Apparent, another 6-lettered person with a famous choice is Kafka's Josef K. (from The Trial). Doesn't really fit the rest, though...

WitchOfDoubt 04-17-2012 10:23 PM

(TimovieMan: Interesting thoughts! I think you're starting to think about this in the right way, at the very least - looking for patterns in the relationships between characters and thinking about motivations.)

"Then we are done." said the Witch of Secrets. The chessboard of the Witches materialized before her, floating at waist-height. "These pieces have been amusing, but..."

"Come, now," said the Sapphire Witch, fingers knotted together. "Give them a little more time."

Ignoring the request entirely, the Witch of Secrets raised her crimson scythe high to reap the board of 2011 and claim it forever. And then -


Perhaps a COMMA?
With a crash, the scythe-blade shattered into a spray of ruby crystals!

For a second, the Witch of Secrets gaped with shock. Shock gave way to anger, and then to a sneer, and finally to an unreadable frown. "Do you know how long it takes to create such an intricate spell?" she said, with a blandness worse than obvious malice. "I'm impressed."

She did not sound impressed.

It was now obvious, in light of Intense Degree's answer, that the comma separated the words 'heart', 'soul', and 'mind,' but Miss Cox took it upon herself to explain the remainder of the solution:

In a letter, the 'Dear' and departed above
Have a comma, and so does the closing of 'Love'.
In speaking, a comma's a pause for a breath,
And in those very lines, one is followed by 'Death.'

But Intense Degree wasn't done yet. He began a second line of attack against the other spell of the Witch of Secrets.


Unsure of the first line, the second may refer to soliloquys within the play so the audience can hear what the character of thinking.
The tension gathered, and the Sapphire Witch nodded almost imperceptibly


The answer might be H
The Witch of Secrets attempted to look nonchalant, but involuntarily held her breath...


The Witch of Secrets smiled. "No, not it at all. I do believe that the Human Side has run out of tricks!"

Intense Degree 04-23-2012 01:51 AM

Upon further consideration (not least of all of plays beginning with "H"!) Intense Degree remembers HAMLET. The famous soliloquy of the "choice" between madness and death, "To be, or not to be."

Also as son of the previous king and nephew of the present one, Heir Apparent seems to fit too.

Still a trick or two up human sleeves (at least after extra clues!)

TimovieMan 04-23-2012 08:03 AM

@ Intense Degree: nicely done! Hamlet fits the bill perfectly. Good thing you came through, because I was stumped...

WitchOfDoubt 04-23-2012 06:30 PM

Just as the Human Side seemed defeated yet again, Intense Degree made another guess!


Upon further consideration (not least of all of plays beginning with "H"!) Intense Degree remembers HAMLET
The Witch of Secrets frowns, less shocked this time than the last, and grudgingly completes the rhyme:

He wanders through a castle
That is and isn't his;
He almost always is a Dane,
But almost never is.

A - N - N - W - E - S - S -

The coffin slid open and then, without hesitation, L. V. leapt inside -- and fell through an endless void.

Images flickered past him like shards of broken mirrors, until he landed in the bedroom he grew up in as a child. The ceiling was covered with glowing stars, a full moon haunted the window, and a tape deck played a familiar song - one that his late father had recorded for him. He felt a shiver as he looked down at his own sleeping form, small and translucent under the sheets, and turned away from the sight of the tear-stained pillow to peer into the room's darkness.

Serpents of darkness flickered and waved their forked tongues from the shadows of an elm outside the window. In the corner, a skeletal figure stared out at him from the dark. Had these things always watched him while he slept?

In bed, for the seventh night in a row, the ghostly boy distracted his mind with a puzzle. Quietly, L. V. tried excuse himself through the bedroom doorway to the east, only to find that it was somehow locked with a keypad. A note was crudely scribbled on the wall in red marker:


HINT: Yes, get in NE exit!

TimovieMan 04-24-2012 08:19 AM

I don't know about Intense Degree (or any others), but this particular human side is losing... :frown:

Intense Degree 04-25-2012 08:41 AM

I'm with you, I just can't seem to make head or tail of that somehow

In the hope of getting more clues I'll have a spurious guess:

Four digits: presumably numerical.

In the last paragraph, 7(th) is mentioned and L and V in roman numerals are 50 and 5 respectively. Therefore my “guess” is 7505! :D

TimovieMan 04-26-2012 08:44 AM

Lol, best I can come up with is "get in NE" = "N in E" = nine = 9
And because NE = any, my four digits are 9999. :D

Seriously, "clutching at straws" is an overstatement... :P

Intense Degree 04-27-2012 01:38 AM

I tell you what though, anagrams are the way forward! You can get:


Add to that that the last two "Human Counterattack" tunes were posted by Umineko Anime and googling that leads to a Wikipedia page which talks about a Japanese visual novel which "takes place primarily in the year 1986"...

I'm going for 1-9-8-6

Firstly, I would never have got that without your "N in E" Timovieman.

Secondly, I am astounded at how well thought out and clever that riddle is - much more so that the answering process was in my case!

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