Here are the nitty gritty basics to interpreting Maze:
1. The “Guide” is not your friend. Throughout this book I have put the word “Guide” is in quotes to remind readers of this fact. With a few rare exceptions everything the “Guide” suggests is wrong.
2. Clues in the text can come from any source, things the visitors say, things the “Guide” says, things the “Guide thinks to himself, or simple descriptions of the room. Even the interplay of words between all four of these sources.
3. Forget cryptography. While a few of the riddles require simple anagramming, words as pictures, basic math, and the like, only a few solutions require even basic cryptography of the cereal box decoder ring variety.
4. The riddles are mostly language based.
5. The ones that aren’t language based mostly make use of analogy, metaphor or inference. These abstract solutions require really stretching your expectations of what a solution should look like but when you find one you will jump up and shout, Ah Ha!
6. The solutions, a third of the time, are door numbers. Finding these numbers does not require numerology or complicated mathematics. One room requires multiplying numbers and the need to do so is indicated clearly by the illustration. The only other math required is simple addition of no more than three numbers.
7. Despite the description on the back of the book red herrings are rare. A red herring is a false clue, something that is deliberate, and can be interpreted. Maze does contain a few such actual red herrings but they are rare. The red herrings in MAZE are not just dumped here and there – they are either indicated by an adjoining riddle or placed in a pattern that over time becomes recognizable. Concealing “fluff” is present in many rooms but is usually easy to recognize by the artwork. Real clues are solidly defined and usually prominent in the illustration while the concealing aspects are more muted, usually at the back or on the periphery of the illustration. Often providing ambiance, like pieces of stone, glass on the floor, or a bit of decoration on furniture.
8. Once you figure out a riddle or two you will be tempted to try to find the same type of riddle elsewhere. While there are some basic common principles, specific riddle patterns occur only once or twice…amazingly.
1. Don’t trust the “Guide.”
2. A clue in the text can be in any part, or parts, of the text.
3. If it is getting overly complicated, it is wrong.
4. Look for words and phrases.
5. Look for combinations of simple concepts.
6. Look for numbers but not usually math.
7. Red herrings are rare, fluff is common.
8. Expect every room to present a unique challenge.