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TimovieMan 04-27-2012 07:16 AM

Nicely done!


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

That's true not only for that riddle, but for the entire thread, imo. Layers upon layers of well though out riddles...

WitchOfDoubt 04-27-2012 08:01 PM

(Thanks for the compliments.

Also, I thought you might guess that...)

Having finally worked out the trick to playing Witch's Chess, the Human Side made a series of quick guesses, each one drawing them closer to the answer. Finally, after a bit of teamwork, Intense Degree put forward a guess:


In response to this guess, the letters on the page moved about, ink shifting and rippling, until they read:

NIneTeEN eigHttY six

"Almost perfect," said Miss Knox. "But not quite. In this particular magic, spelling counts."

TimovieMan 04-28-2012 02:33 AM

To make the spelling work (and remove that redundant t in eightty), we could rearrange the letters to nineteen sixty eight - 1968.

Wouldn't know about the significance of that number, though...

WitchOfDoubt 04-28-2012 08:45 PM

Hurriedly, L. V. punched in the four-digit code, flung open the door, and stepped through... only to find himself in square stone room, very much like the one that the maze had begun in.

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

"Dude..." he said, exasperation. "Now what?"

As if in response, Walter Sexton slid into the room through a long chute, having found a different route. As L. V. helped him to his feet, he brushed the dust off of his trousers. "Where the devil did you get to?" asked Sexton.

"Hey, I'm not the one who split when -"

L. V. was cut off by the sound of growling drawing near. "Uh-oh."

The two scanned the room for any kind of exit, and it was then that L. V. saw the carved 'R' on the floor. "Quick!" he shouted. "Get on that tile!" He dragged the old man with him just as the demons burst into the room, and the moment that their feet touched the tile...

The world was rewritten;
the truth of the Human Side stood triumphant
(for the moment, at least)
over the illusion of the Witch of Secrets.

"Howdy," said L. V., as the two security guards turned the corner.

"What are you doing back here?!" said Sal Lucas, eyes narrowed.

Having heard voices coming from the maze of old hallways and disused rooms that filled the back areas of the Club, Maria and Sal had headed back to investigate. Now they eyed the pair of guests suspiciously. Walter shrugged, and L. V. gave his best 'aw-shucks' grin.

"Oh, we were talking about something private," said Walter.

"Just looking for the bathroom," said L. V., simultaneously.

"Hmm," said Maria, unconvinced. "You should go back with the others. You don't have permission to be back here, you know."

"Will do," said L. V. "I think I know the second song to open that music safe, anyway."


A palpable excitement bestirred the Humans of 2021. "Did we just win?" "I don't think so." "Now what?"

"The Human Side has recovered from its setback," said the Sapphire Witch. "With the darkness of the maze illusion lifted, they now have the clue they need to complete the riddle of the music safe."

"If they can," added the Witch of Secrets, a shade mockingly.

As the Humans considered the final puzzle of this chapter, an unseen servant brought a tray bearing a teapot and cups to the table, as well as a black leather suitcase.


* "Kaze wo Atsumete"
* "I've Got Dreams to Remember"
* "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic"
* "Suspicious Minds"
* "Hey Jude"
* "Amor, No Gracias"
* "People Get Ready"
* "There Are Bad Times Just around the Corner"
* "Rhapsody in Blue"
* "Superstition"
* "Respect"
* "Breaking Up Is Hard to Do"
* "Take on Me"
* "The Riddle"
* "Mamma Said"
* "Here I Go Again"
* "Twilight"
* "Ruby Tuesday"

By elimination, the guests soon worked out that the answer to the second clue was one of the first 10 songs.

TimovieMan 04-29-2012 03:36 AM

Of those first 10 songs, two songs were released in 1968:
- Otis Redding - I've Got Dreams to Remember
- The Beatles - Hey Jude

Will need help for the link with the "down-comma" schedule...

WitchOfDoubt 05-06-2012 06:58 PM

(The other board where this game was running just miraculously was restored, after many months when everyone was convinced that the data were lost.

So now it looks as if -- rather fittingly, given the themes of this story -- there will be two alternative versions of the game running simultaneously.

I'm going to have to ask that people in this thread resist the temptation to look up the answers to any puzzles there! If you do, please don't spoil them for others...

For one thing, some of the story is different, and for another, there may be traps.)

The Human Side had hit another impasse. Both the Humans of 2021 and of 2011 had found the second clue on the page to be truly baffling. They had narrowed the answer down to two possibilities, but further progress eluded them.


Sodium11 --> Sodium has an atomic number of 11

If what's between brackets needs to be 17, then the blurred word should be Carbon (which has an atomic number of 6).
Just as TimovieMan had speculated, the humans of 2011 pulled out a periodic table and looked for clues. But the atomic numbers seemed to be a dead end - carbon had nothing to do with the answer.

Then, looking at the table, Ocean Zweidler saw the answer. "Of course... ah! Why didn't I think of that?"

MollyMae 05-06-2012 07:40 PM

Respecting the wishes of WoD.. Sry.

TimovieMan 05-07-2012 08:13 AM

TimovieMan awakes from his slumber and realizes he may need to look at this with a fresh perspective. Why hadn't he looked at the lyrics of those two songs yet? The answer for that "down doobie-do down down, comma comma down"-thingy was in the lyrics, so maybe this time it'd be in the lyrics again.

And lo and behold: the lyrics to 'Hey Jude' contain a lot of "na na na"-singing. We've already established 'Na' as being the symbol for 'Sodium' on the periodic table, so the key is to be found in the last few minutes of 'Hey Jude'...

TimovieMan has obviously been focusing too much solely on the relationship between the "down-comma"-segment and the "[Sodium11...]17" segment, and not focusing enough at all on the songs themselves. There is no link to be found between those two hint-segments. The first part is simply for the first song, the second for the second song.
It all makes perfect sense now!

Before a 'Hey Jude' is sung in the song, there are exactly 11 na's to be heard, so the crossed out word should be "hey Jude".

But we also need something that equals 6, or 17, and that's really nowhere to be found. There is however one instant in the song where the lyrics are:

Na na
Na na na na
Na na na na
Hey Jude
(Jude Jude Jude Jude Jude)

That makes 11 na's and 6 Judes. Perhaps this section of the song is the key? TimovieMan surely hopes so, because otherwise, he's out of ideas again...

WitchOfDoubt 05-08-2012 09:11 PM

L. V. explained his idea. "After you play the Sedaka song," he said, "try 'Hey, Jude.'" It was one of his favorites, reassuring and life-affirming.

As soon as the guests retrieved the record from the box, another slip of paper fluttered out - an introduction to Walter Sexton.

"Why," wondered Ocean aloud, "do these pages refer to us as 'pieces?' Pieces of a puzzle, perhaps? Or chess pieces?" But no answer was forthcoming.

But when they played both records on the phonograph in succession, the safe door didn't budge, even after the Beatles finished their three-minute final chorus of "Na, na na, na na na na, na na na na, hey Jude!" repeated seventeen times. Instead, the microphone in the door crackled to life.

"A Century of American Music," it intoned, in a sexless voice filtered to a state of unrecognizability. Hurrying over to the bookshelf, Ms. Ellis pulled down the volume in question and paged through it rapidly until an index card fell out. The card read:

Turnabout is fairplay?


(5 x 5, no Q)

Otto turned to Kenichi. "Think this one's for you."


Meet the Pieces (Part 7 of Many)

Walter Sexton
Profession: Patent Attorney

Quote: "I never said that young people are dense as a rule. Some of the brightest minds I know are young! But the bright young people are all silly, and the sensible ones are all dense. Youth, intelligence, good sense - choose two."

Background: Raised in Oxford, sole son of a Latin professor and a nurse, Walter Sexton always seemed older than he really was. As he matured from a dour and cynical child to a moody teenager, his parents prophesied that he should be an old man by the age of twenty. This was true, in a sense. But with his keen mind for precedent and legal argument, he found a career in patent law that gave even him little cause for complaint. As the years went by and he had a little more time for his own pursuits, he mastered the construction of crosswords in the cryptic British tradition. Ever traditional in his tastes, a lover of illuminated manuscripts and fishtail lamps, Sexton is unlikely to be amused by the strange and wild turns that this tale is bound to take.

Random Fact: Walter spends much of his time in a hothouse tending tropical orchids.

Sample Puzzle: While reading in the Club, Sexton was asked to construct a tutorial for new Club members on how these puzzles worked. With a show of grouchy reluctance, he set to work.

"We begin with the types of clues," he wrote. "The most common type of clue consists of an answer expressed two ways. In the beginning or the end of the clue, the answer is defined. In the remainder, the answer is expressed through wordplay. The number of letters in the answer will usually be given in parentheses..."

Cryptic Clues: A Tutorial

* The Double Definition. This is the simplest of clues, in theory. The answer is simply defined twice.

"Cannon shot marine armour (5)"


* The Homophone. A word is replaced by its homophone; clues to this include "to the ear", "sound of", "heard", "in conversation," and so on.

"Sounds like Mark turned white about the temples (6)"


* Anagrams. Indicated by such words as "broken", "mixed", "wrong", and so on.

"Lack of scattered thread (6)"

(Note that certain words such as "of", "is", "in", "for", "by", "and", and so on may be present in a clue in addition to its wordplay, indicating the equivalence of the two halves. However, these words may also be part of the wordplay itself.)


* Charades: The answer is assembled from multiple words.

"Monster concealed flower (6)"


* Reversals: A word is read in reverse.

"Star running back curses! (4)"


* Containers: One or more words are placed inside another. Clue words include "in", "about", "without", "around", and so on.

"Everyone surrounded by lousy song (6)"


* Hidden word: The answer is hidden inside the clue itself, often across word boundaries.

"SPECTRE is tough, ostracized, concealed (5)"


* Deletions: A word or set of letters is removed from another word.

"Paladin loses boy, bringing grief (4)"


* More than one of the above. Clues frequently involve combining the above tricks, along with abbreviations, acronyms, roman numerals, and so forth.

"I speak of a barrier brief and unknown, with a great weight (6, 6)"


Learning these tricks would eventually prove critical.

TimovieMan 05-09-2012 12:02 PM

Oh, Christ, cryptograms... :crazy:

"Cannon shot marine armour (5)"
"Shell" ??? A shell is an artillery projectile (cannon shot), and a protective cover, but specifically "marine armour"???

"Sounds like Mark turned white about the temples (6)"
This one baffles me, no idea whatsoever.

"Lack of scattered thread (6)"
"dearth" - it's the word 'thread' but scattered (i.e. an anagram), and it means "lacking".

"Monster concealed flower (6)"
"orchid" - a hidden orc is a concealed monster, and an orchid is a flower.

"Star running back curses! (4)"
"rats" - it's 'star' backwards, and it's a curse word.

"Everyone surrounded by lousy song (6)"
"ballad" - everyone (or 'all') surrounded by lousy (or 'bad') gives 'b-all-ad', which is a song.

"SPECTRE is tough, ostracized, concealed (5)"
"ghost" - a spectre is a ghost, and the word ghost is concealed in tough ostracized.

"Paladin loses boy, bringing grief (4)"
"pain" - removing a boy (or 'lad') from the word 'pa-lad-in' gives 'pain', which is grief.

"I speak of a barrier brief and unknown, with a great weight (6, 6)"
This one baffles me, no idea whatsoever.

Some of my explanations for the cryptograms deserve a

As for the index card, my guess is that "Turnabout is fairplay" is a cryptogram itself. Turnabout may refer to it being an anagram, and fairplay is an anagram for 'Playfair'.

Playfair is a type of cipher that uses a 5x5 grid, and uses letters in blocks of two - which is just what the index card holds.

Thank you, National Treasure: Book of Secrets, for telling me about the Playfair cipher, and thank you, Wikipedia, for teaching me how to use the Playfair cipher.

Typically, a Playfair cipher uses a keyword, and all the letters of the alphabet except the J (because I and J are interchangeable). Here, however, we get a "no Q" hint, so this one probably DOES use a J, but no Q.

We'll be needing a keyword to decipher "AT IF BS PG OT", though, because without one, I get gibberish ("DP HJ CR RF NU"). Anybody have any ideas what the keyword could be???

(Those who want to help, there's a Playfair cipher decoder here. And it gives us the option to omit Q instead of replacing J with I.)

WitchOfDoubt 05-09-2012 09:39 PM

Most of the guests gathered around the cryptic clues page - not Walter Sexton, who simply gave them a glance and returned to the Playfair Cipher with Kenichi. But certainly most:


"Hey, hey, look!" said Batsheva. "That one has a 'spectre' hiding inside of it!"

"SPECTRE (is) / tough, ostracized, concealed (5)" : GHOST (Spectre = concealed by touGH OSTracized)


"RATS," said Nat, pointing to the fifth clue, grinning. He was getting the hang of this.

"Star running back / curses! (4)" : RATS (STAR running back = curses!)


"There's the anagram," said Alicia. "Dearth. Not bad."

"Lack (of) / scattered thread (6)" : DEARTH (Lack = scattered THREAD)


"Monster's an orc," said L. V. "See?"

"Monster concealed / flower (6)" : ORCHID (ORC + HID = flower)


"Oh! That one's a pun. Like a cannon shell or a seashell!" said Batsheva, pointing to the first clue:

"Cannon shot / marine armour (5)" : SHELL (shell = shell)


"I see. So we remove a 'boy...'" said Ocean.

""Paladin loses boy, / (bringing) grief (4)" : PAIN (PALADIN - LAD)


"And the opposite case is adding a word, yes?" said Otto.

"Everyone surrounded by lousy / song (6)" : BALLAD (ALL surrounded by BAD)


Only two cryptic clues remained. Grumbling, Walter slouched over to take a look at them. With a moment's glance, he said, "First one isn't talking about the name Mark. It's a different kind of mark. Second one's a proper name. Homophone and charades." Then he went back to the cipher.

Kenichi had tried a number of likely keys, and concluded that while the cipher was likely a Playfair, it was probably modified in some way. Maybe "turnabout is fairplay" was a clue to the alteration?

"We should guess good keys," he said. "Too short to crack by analysis. Have we seen any clues to a key?"

Whatever the word is, thought Walter, it must be important. I don't think she'd have chosen an irrelevant one.

He tried to recall all of the clues they'd found.

(Hint: Whatever the key is, it can't be a clue that was found only in the maze of the Witch of Secrets. Now that you have mended the story, the humans of 2011 have no memory of that sequence.)

WitchOfDoubt 05-13-2012 09:29 AM

You seek the truth in what we tell;
You seek a word to break the spell.
The answer's cloaked and spun around --
Without the key, it can't be found.

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