The Clock Without A Face

clock without a face cover

The Clock Without A Face


The Clock Without a Face by Gus Twintig (a pseudonym for Scott Teplin, Mac Barnett and Eli Horowitz) is an unusual armchair treasure hunt book, though its peculiarities are also a source of annoyance if you want to solve it all from the comfort of your living room.

Immediately catching the eye with its strangely pentagonal shape, this chunky board book is stuffed with amusing, colourful pictures. Each page shows a different floor from a 13 storey apartment block. The building’s residents have their different quirks, from the hoarder with her piles of toasters and cupboards of nuclear missiles, to the mime with his minimalist black and white decor and a secret, grimy “speaking room”.
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Merlin Mystery Solution: Part 5

Merlin Mystery cover

The Merlin Mystery

Go to the Merlin Mystery Solution Index.

This is Part 5 of my solution to The Merlin Mystery (“MM”) by Jonathan Gunson and Marten Coombe.

This post provides the complete solution to the Cone mini-puzzle.

In part 3, we established the chain of objects that links the Cone to the spitfires and the Merlin symbol (“Mer”). We also saw that there is an ambiguity since the Cube is also linked to Mer.

This part goes through the clues that explain the meaning of the spitfires and how this resolves the ambiguity between the Cone and Cube links to Mer.

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The Great Global Treasure Hunt on Google Earth

book cover

The Great Global Treasure Hunt

For a treasure hunt book with such a long title, the publisher provided a surprisingly short time to solve it. The Great Global Treasure Hunt on Google Earth by Tim Dedopulos was published in September 2011 and the competition to win €50,000 closed in March 2012.

There were nevertheless 77 correct entries received with the winner chosen at random.

After that, the publisher quickly lost interest. A series of videos were recorded by the author revealing clues to the solution on each page of the book, but only the first six were posted to YouTube. Perhaps the escalating obscurity of the solutions started to grate because, I’m sorry to say, this is a treasure hunt that infuriates rather than intrigues. Where did such a great idea go wrong?

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Merlin Mystery Solution: Part 4

clock

Prague Astronomical Clock

Go to the Merlin Mystery Solution Index. This is Part 4 of my solution to The Merlin Mystery (“MM”) by Jonathan Gunson and Marten Coombe.

This post provides the complete solution to the Pyramid mini-puzzle.

In part 3, we established the chain of objects that links the Pyramid to the Nimue symbol (“Nim”). This part goes through the clues that in turn link the Nim symbol to the zodiac signs and the witch hats. These sets of symbols provide the first step to solving the puzzle.
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Merlin Mystery Solution: Part 2

Merlin Mystery cover

The Merlin Mystery

Go to the Merlin Mystery Solution Index.

This is Part 2 of my solution to The Merlin Mystery (“MM”) by Jonathan Gunson and Marten Coombe.

This post introduces all the important symbols used in the book and my shorthand notations for them.

MM is filled with symbols. An important step to solving the puzzle is to be able to recognise them and know which of several different categories they fall into.

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Masquerade by Kit Williams: The Solution

Artwork from Masquerade

Page 1 of Masquerade – Click for larger version

Masquerade is the quintessential armchair treasure hunt book: beautiful to look at and filled with many small, easy puzzles as well as one large one that is nigh impossible to solve.

This post goes through some of the little puzzles in the book (as much as can be covered in a single blog post). It also gradually reveals hints to how the main puzzle works, before giving away the full solution. Skip to the end if you want, or try to work it out for yourself once pointed in the right direction.

The clues start right on the title page: “To solve the hidden riddle, you must use your eyes, / And find the hare in every picture that may point you to the prize”.

Indeed, there is a hare hidden on every page, and hunting them down is the first bit of fun to be had in the book. But this clue has two deeper, double meanings: eyes are important, and the hares point, literally, to the answer.

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The Ultimate Quest

Ultimate quest book cover

The Ultimate Quest

The adage of never judging a book by its cover was never truer than with The Ultimate Quest by William Lynhope. The forest scene daubed in primary colours creates an expectation of something similar on turning the page.

The harsh reality of the interior is 50 pages of unremitting grey text as a grey man meets with a grey lawyer and his blonde assistant. Make it through the story to the clues that supposedly lead to the Holy Grail and you’re rewarded with grey photos of a Michelin road map of France and a copy of The Burlington Magazine. My excitement is barely contained!

Published in 2001, The Ultimate Quest is the search for the Grail. The first person to locate the Grail Keeper and answer his questions three (no, five!) would receive a “priceless” replica of the Grail itself. In 2011, the publishers admitted defeat and closed the competition, never revealing the solution.

The puzzle is a combination of code-breaking and cryptic clues. A little searching on the Internet reveals that nobody has much idea of the solution and the pieces that have been decoded hint at a level of ambiguity that probably renders the puzzle impossible.

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Untitled Bee Book by Kit Williams

Bee Book cover

Untitled Bee Book by Kit Williams

A few years after Masquerade‘s hunt for the golden hare came to an end, Kit Williams produced a new puzzle book featuring a golden bee.

Having learned from experience that inciting people to dig up England wasn’t a wise move, this time the puzzle was a postal competition: work out the title of the book, represent it artistically and mail it in within the 1 year time limit. Kit chose his favourite solution and awarded the prize of a mahogany box containing a titled copy of the book on a special edition of the Terry Wogan show in 1985.

As with Masquerade, the art is gorgeous. Rather than straight paintings, Kit Williams shows off his marquetry skills with beautiful and imaginative frames, set with gems and carvings. Sometimes, as on the cover, the painting itself is only a tiny part of the whole work. Everything is beautifully photographed to show off how 3-dimensional each piece is.

The story is whimsical and timeless, though lacking the quest narrative impact of Masquerade.

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