Room 14

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…one of the biggest rooms in the House. All three doorways were dark.

“Afraid to go out?” I asked.

Since they tried to think of themselves as adults, they didn’t care for my question.

“Not really,” said the thoughtful one, “but that doesn’t mean we have to go running around out there just to prove something to you.”

I knew she would bear watching.

“Choose then!” I cried, as if my feelings were hurt. “Pay no attention to anything I say.” I knew they couldn’t afford not to listen to me entirely…they were so easily led.

Turning around, the group took a path that completely surprised me after all, and I followed them to…

 - Images and text copyright 1985 by Christopher Manson
used with permission. [Purchase MAZE from Amazon]


Room Type:  LOOP     Doors: 10  24  43


● The Guide makes note that the visitors are “easily led” – the target next to door 43 and the paper clip and string coming from door 24 both lead to the incorrect doors. [Independent Credit: Hello Gregor | White Raven]

● The correct door is 10. The rings on the table leg stabilizer suggest zeros. [Credit: White Raven]  The medallion on the leg forms a zero. [Independent Credit: david gentile | White Raven] The ball at the end of the table leg suggests a zero. [Independent Credit: "Anchorperson Smith" AKA vewatkin | White Raven] The table leg itself may suggest a one. The bulls-eye is a bunch of zeros and the paperclip a bunch of ones. [Credit: "Anchorperson Smith" AKA vewatkin]

● The Guide taunts them by saying, “Afraid to go out?” The thoughtful one replies by saying they didn’t need to go “out there” to prove something. A response which irks the Guide. “Out” refers to away from door 10 (the correct door, which is the door the group entered from), out from under the table, toward the wrong doors. The room is subtly shaded to emphasize the difference between safe under the table, where the group entered from (slightly darker) and unsafe “out there” (brighter). This is a rare case of darkness being preferable to light. [Independent Credit: vewatkin | White Raven]

● In the phrase, ”…that doesn’t mean we have to go running around out there just to prove something to you,” are the words “around out there” a likely reference to the target and the paperclip when taken as “a” “round” “out there.” Given that this phrase is said by the thoughtful one and the phrase already indicates the correct door (see above), it is fair to say this is the flip side, pointing out the incorrect doors. [Credit: vewatkin]

● The grain of the wood in front of Door 10 is straighter than the other doors, perhaps suggesting this is the correct door. [Credit: unknown]


103 thoughts on “Room 14

  1. WR has said that the remaining thing in here is something to do with “turning around…”

    1. The 10 sign is the one that is the most tilted — I guess you could say “turned” — of all of them.

    2. “Pay” and “afford” in the text suggest money. This, together with “turning” in the text plus the number 10 gives you “turn on a dime” — an expression meaning a tight turn, which is what you have to execute to get out of here.

    • The room is signalling a U turn! The shapes of the doors and the paperclip especially, but also the string, the fringe, the electrical wire, the feathers or scales on the hand — all those U shapes. The word “you” in the text, not unusual, but still, it’s at the end of a sentence about running AROUND. The phrase “turning around” at the end of the text. U turn.

  2. Has this been said before? The doorway to 43 and bullseye make a pretty good “no.” (Don’t take this door; don’t come out here.)

    “Pay NO attention…”

    • Or put the no with the outlet to tell you: “no outlet”! The wire connects 43 and 24 to the outlet.

    • Also, the electrical cord, plug, and shadow together look like a noose stretching over the two baaad doors.

  3. In addition to “turning around” in the text, there are at least three things cluing “reverse your direction” in here!

    There’s the paperclip, which is a straight wire bent in on itself several times — the wire goes back and forth, back and forth.

    Then there is the fringe on the stool or whatever it is — the fringe is made up of a bunch of single strands of yarn or cord that have (clearly from the drawing) been FOLDED OVER as well as twisted. Because of that fold, the strands go one way and then another.

    Most fun for me is the electric wire. In houses, even this House, one assumes, the kind of current delivered to outlets is AC — alternating current. The current is constantly SWITCHING DIRECTION — 60 times per second in North America. (This room suggests extreme sizes, so why not think extremely small — even as small as an electron?)

    Side note: if you don’t already know about Edison and Tesla and the War of Currents, it is a story well worth Googling.

    • Wow, OK, also, if you look at a graph of voltage vs time for alternating current, it takes the shape of a sine wave, a shape that the string holding onto the paperclip and also the shadow of the outlet and wire seem to be echoing.

  4. It’s got to be significant that the live wire (danger) is visible over 24 and 43 but is insulated from the viewer by the wooden spindle. There’s even a progression, with 24, the worst room, being closest to the source of the electric current.

  5. So over on the left side of the room we have a lathe turned object, the spindle, paired with the sign for 10. “One” and “a” can be synonymous, and zero is round. 10 = around, therefore. So the turned object and sign for 10 can be seen as matching “turning around” in the text, which, it’s been pointed out already, is the only way to turn around in here anyway.

  6. Here’s a hidden number one that I know EVERYONE is going to love.

    5 in shadow of plug and wire
    + hidden in 4 of 24, also “ad(d)ult” in text
    5 in shape of string coming from 24
    = 10

  7. Okay, this one’s a little out there:

    The way the hand is holding the ball is reminiscent of skee ball, where you roll the ball into bullseye shaped hoops for points. I forget how the scoring worked exactly, but I’m pretty sure 10 was the easiest, least-risky hoop.

    And where did every kid in America go to play skee ball in the 1980s? Chuck E Cheese…which explains the mouse holes. And the need for a power supply.

  8. How about the wood grain on the floor? It is nice and straight in front of 10, then real knotted in front of 24. Take the straight path out instead of the knotted, messy route in 24.

    • Scroll down a bit, Shelley, and you’ll see this idea has been suggested (by 515) and “liked” (by me).

      (It’s also a ridiculous — yet strong — contender in the “Ask Manson” question competition.)

    • But it’s interesting, you know… knotty wood… a knot on the paperclip, “Not really” and “not to listen” in the text. (Could “listen” clue a homophone?) It’s a problem though because these clues seem to warn you away from not/knot, but there is a “naught” in the correct door.

    • Here is another solution which I don’t think is necessary correct but I am apparently out-voted on. It looks to me to be just a variation of drawing the wood. In front of door 43 the grain almost straight with just one line of burls. In front of door 10 the wood grain is curvy but not quite to the degree that there are burls. Drawing curves in wood grain at such an oblique angle is difficult, I think Manson just drew it straight to save time. Nonetheless, I am clearly out-voted and so I am adding it to the solution summary.

    • Don’t count yourself outvoted yet–you can always rely on me for a thumbs down!

      And to be clear, the seven-hour discussion about wood grain that Manson and I are going to have has nothing to do with this solution.

    • Thank you Vewatkin. My interest in this 7 hour wood grain discussion just went up.

    • I don’t think I ever mentioned specifically the differences in wood grain pattern. My point was that the phrase in the text “would bear watching”, about the thoughtful one, could be translated to “wood bare,” referencing that the wood slat leading to 10 was the only unobstructed path available.

      I mean, I like seeing my name on the big board as much as the next guy, but my only thought about the wood grain is that they are drawn differently to accentuate the fact that there are different slats.

    • 515,

      Thank you for your honesty. I will do a little research and get the credit right.

    • Interesting. I’m pretty sure the straight grain solution does not appear on this page prior to Shelley’s comment (I read though the comments twice), perhaps this discussion took place elsewhere?

    • I mentioned it on April 25, 2015 but didn’t really expand on it. I’m remembering way more discussion about this but obviously it took place elsewhere.

  9. Obvious observation- this room makes us appear miniaturised. Giant furniture, giant plug, giant paperclip. Fringe and cushion-like stuff at the top of the page above the table leg seems to me like this is a chair rather than table. The arm-like table leg looks to me like the arm in the Orson poster in a different room, the one which (presumably) reminded the Guide of his/her old neighbours. The doors are like little mouse-holes with the numbers above them written on Post-It notes. I don’t know what the miniaturisation represents, but it could be that the guests are small like small children as suggested in the narrative. The fancy chair reminds me of the chair in the Hare room, but I can’t check that right now. I will check later for rooms that have both a plug and a chair, although the plug could be hidden by the chair. I think that this room could be a tiny part of another room, for example, in the other room, this room is too tiny to be seen under the chair, but in this room, we are made tiny somehow and emerge under the chair in the other room. That was a rather confusing explanation, but i hope you get what I mean.

  10. I have a few thoughts on this one, in order of likelihood of meaning something:

    The guide practically yells the right answer. “Choose t(h)en!” And “Pay no at-ten-tion”

    The left-most seam in the wood floor and the ball make a pretty convincing 10.

    “I knew she would bear watching.” Wood bare? The only plank of the floor with nothing on it leads to 10.

    “Tried to think of themselves as adults”… Only 24 and 43 are adult ages, while 10 is not.

    The plug above 24 = no outlet? Plug backwards is Gulp, as in swallow you up.

    The way the hand is holding the ball and the wood floor makes me think of bowling. Although the 10 pin would be on the right in bowling.

    There is a ball and socket on this page… which make a joint. Don’t know what that would mean.

    • Here is what I had for “10″s in text:

      The correct exit is 10 and we can find “ten” a number of times in the text . The guide says “I knew they could not afford not to listen to me entirely”. This indicates we should listen to part of what he says. If we take his text in this room we have, “To go out choose ten, ten I say” (majority credit to vewatkin). Also, “entirely” unscrambles to: “I rely ten”. Listen probably coincidentally contains a ten.

    • 515 wrote, ” “Tried to think of themselves as adults”… Only 24 and 43 are adult ages, while 10 is not.”

      As a solution this sort of works but I am not yet convinced. If the visitors like children are easily led by the villainous Guide then shouldn’t the safe number be an adult age?

    • I also really like the “would bear” = “bare wood” thing. That plank is the only one with a straight grain, also.

  11. Room Theories:
    1. The claw & ball is a common furniture leg style. It is the foot of a Griffin: a griffin is a very large mythological bird with the body of a lion and the head and front legs/claws & talons of an eagle. Statues & pictures of the griffin are featured with the griffin perched or holding a ball/sometimes a crystal ball. Narrative: “one of the biggest rooms in the House. The griffin is a very large flying creature and would need a big house for it to fit into. The paper clip is bait, a shiny metal that would attract crows/magpies/eagles-they love shiny objects and could be lured into Room 24, the trap room. Are the visitors following the guide here “little crows” to be led into the trap? “Running around out there” from Room 10 and presenting themselves to the griffin, the visitors would surely be “afraid” to do if they were yummy tender baby crows or baby mice…either is an eagle’s delicacy.
    NOTE: Griffin is the name of the Invisible Man, Dr. Griffin.

    2. Paper clip/shiny metal/silver-Eagle. Narrative: “pay” & “afford”/money. Wire & plug/current/currency. Could be the Silver Eagle Coin which weighs 1 Ounce = Door #10. They go back through the same door they entered from Room #10.

    3. If we want something for the children working this puzzle they could certainly spot a Jawbreaker/gumball with the doorways looking suspiciously line gumball retrievers and of course the machines take coins. Baby crows are called chicks-Chiclets are gum. Narrative: Choose.

  12. They are coming from a mouse hole. “They tried to think of themselves as adults”. Are they men or are they mice? Only 10 leads to 14. To go back is “not to go out”. To go forward is to go out. Both choices that lead forward are wrong. To go out is to run out from under the protection of the table.
    “…that doesn’t mean that we have to go running around out there (out from under the table) just to prove something to you.” The best course is to be afraid to go out, to go back, to stay under the protection of the table, to go back.

    • You hit the nail on the head with this one. This solution has already been discussed, but if you came up with it independently then that was good work.

    • Turning around would be going back. So instead of taking the hidden numbers 12 and 2 to make 24, I would take 12 minus 2 to get 10.

  13. Hmm, thoughtful one also balks at running “around”–an indicator against 43, maybe against 24 (with the twisting paperclip)?

    10 is–subtly–darkened in comparison to the other doors. An odd case of darkness being good–probably on account of “out there,” out from the hole you came from, being bad.

    • Vewatkin,

      Correct about the dark=(safe), light=”out there”!

      Great catch on “around” being related to the target and paperclip. I am sold. I am assuming you are interpreting “around out there” as “a-round (which is) out there.”

      [Note: This is the point where you take it all back and hate the idea. Bring it on, I don't care, it is a great solution. It rings true of Manson's construction style for supporting riddles.]

      White Raven

    • Haha, sounds like you have my MO down; although, I don’t want to insult any solutions unless you can then follow up by telling me that Manson already confirmed them.


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