Warming Thoughts as Winter Closes In

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“The warm sun thaws the benumbed earth and makes it tender”¬†
– The Spring by Thomas Carew (1595-1640)

I have been trying out some Adalogical Aenigmas at Pavel’s Puzzles over the past couple of weeks, and the quote above popped out as an answer to one of them.

I’m sharing it here since, with winter closing in, I’m sure many people must yearn for a little warm sun and a little tenderness at the moment. Winter is coming, but it perforce gives way to the Spring.

Here’s the full poem:

Now that the winter’s gone, the earth hath lost
Her snow-white robes, and now no more the frost
Candies the grass, or casts an icy cream
Upon the silver lake or crystal stream;
But the warm sun thaws the benumbed earth,
And makes it tender; gives a sacred birth
To the dead swallow; wakes in hollow tree
The drowsy cuckoo, and the humble-bee.
Now do a choir of chirping minstrels bring
In triumph to the world the youthful Spring.
The valleys, hills, and woods in rich array
Welcome the coming of the long’d-for May.
Now all things smile, only my love doth lour;
Nor hath the scalding noonday sun the power
To melt that marble ice, which still doth hold
Her heart congeal’d, and makes her pity cold.
The ox, which lately did for shelter fly
Into the stall, doth now securely lie
In open fields; and love no more is made
By the fireside, but in the cooler shade.
Amyntas now doth with his Chloris sleep
Under a sycamore, and all things keep
Time with the season; only she doth carry
June in her eyes, in her heart January.

The Room and Other Computer Game Puzzles

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The Room

The Room came out back in 2012 and won enough awards to get its own Wikipedia page. I decided to give it a whirl to see what the fuss was about. It can be picked up cheaply as a mobile game, or for a few pounds on Steam in a revamped desktop incarnation.

It’s a short game, possible to complete in an evening. It’s also easy to see why it’s popular as it’s beautifully presented, accessible and contains nothing taxing enough to cause severe frustration.

But all the way through I spent more time thinking about other games, and the numerous problems with computer puzzle games as a genre. Problems that have rarely been solved.

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Maze: Finding The Path

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Maze by Christopher Manson

Maze by¬†Christopher Manson is, according to the cover, “The World’s Most Challenging Puzzle”. True to the claim, nobody correctly solved it during the two years between publication in October 1985 and the close of the competition in September 1987. The $10,000 prize money was instead split between several people who all got closest to the solution.

The puzzle has several parts. The first step is to find the shortest path in and out of the maze. Then there is a cryptic riddle to find at the centre of the maze. Finally, the solution to the riddle is solved by finding clues hidden along the shortest path.

This post takes a quick look at the book and provides the solution to finding the shortest path. You can also download an interactive map that keen Maze-solvers may find useful.

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Enigma Escape, London

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Enigma Escape

Escape Rooms are popping up everywhere. Locked into a confined space with some friends, you typically have one hour to find clues, solve puzzles, crack codes and escape. They’re an unusual experience that brings point-and-click puzzle computer games into the real world.

I visited Enigma Escape in London in early 2016. At the time, they had only a single room available, The Killer. Since the entire point of the experience is mystery and surprise, I promise this is a spoiler-free review.

The set-up for The Killer is that you and your friends are gassed during a visit to the cinema and wake to find yourself in a locked cage. Can you escape before the killer returns to deal with you? Thus begins a tense hour trying to break free.

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Son Et Lumiere, a puzzle

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Son Et Lumiere puzzle

Can you solve this fiendish picture puzzle which emerges from The Dreams Of Gerontius? Click the image for the full size version.

Your only clues are:

Pairs point to a wheel of colour circling five tones.
The true answer leads to a road of sound and light.

The table on the right is there to help those who are colour blind.

Good luck.

Leave a comment if you get the answer. I’ll let you know if you’re right but will edit out spoilers for those who come after.

 

 

 

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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A Collection of Riddles

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Voices, The First Book

I have in my collection of books a series of anthologies called “Voices”, put together by some chap called Geoffrey Summerfield in the late 1960s.

The books contained a mix of obscure, anonymous poems as well as lesser-known scribblings by famous writers. Among them are various riddles, some ancient, some modern.

The answers are written in “white text” under each riddle. Highlight the text to read it.

 

Decapitations by ‘C.C.’

Behead a small animal
and find a river in England

Answer >> (M)ouse <<

Behead a loud call
and find a plaything

Answer >> (W)hoop <<

Behead a stream of water
and find a bird

Answer >> (B)rook <<

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The Egyptian Jukebox

Egyptian Jukebox book cover

The Egyptian Jukebox

The Egyptian Jukebox is an intriguing puzzle book and certainly worth a read, though it is not one that you are likely to return to time and again.

Written by Nick Bantock in 1993 the titular jukebox is a cabinet having 10 drawers, each associated with a different Egyptian God, and all lovingly photographed. Every drawer is stuffed with creepy knick-knacks, coins and postcards from around the world. A short, often ghostly story accompanies each drawer and gives context to the contents.

The creator of the jukebox poses a single riddle: “Where do my worlds join?”. To help solve it, cryptic clues have the reader running around each drawer like a rat in a maze.

This is an enjoyable and solvable puzzle. Small clues scattered throughout the book must be pieced together to find the correct path through every drawer. It’s nicely structured so that the reader can see that they’re making progress, but different stumbling points present themselves on each page and require a slightly different approach to solve.

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