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]


116 thoughts on “Room 14

  1. 8 CAN ONLY BE ADDED TO MAKE 24, NOT 10 OR 43.
    24 IS A MULTIPLE OF 8. TAKE 24.

  2. I’m pretty sure this is not one of WR points, and it relates to what I just researched to reply to Hidden Mystery, so I’m just going to post it. The frequency of the word “to” is higher in room 14 than in any other room. It happens 9 times. 3 is the expected frequency based on other rooms. A Poisson distribution is the correct way to check the probability of this event. 9 or more “to”s should not happen in a typical room sized text 99.4 percent of the time (yes 14′s text is slightly longer than average, but this is approximate). But is it meaningful? Well…if you take your fingernails and cut off the top and bottom of a lower case “t” it looks like a 10, and that’s the correct exit…

    • One could argue, however, that across 45 rooms, there is about a 17% change that this would occur once. So if we are using a strict 95-percetile cut-off, we’d reject this one, based on that, until we ask the question “what are the chances it occurs where 10 is the correct exit”? And then we are good again.

      But this is a really weak signal indeed. 7 “to”s is what we would expect to be the natural max in one of the 45 rooms, and it does indeed happen – room 1 has 7 of ‘em. Conclusion is that the 7 occurrences in room 1 should be attributed to normal randomness, and the 9 occurrences in room 14 should be considered intentional. But…geez…you really need serious academic tools to proof that. I only even noticed because I build a concordance for Maze.

  3. You think maybe the hand in front of 43 is indicator of being “caught”?

    We haven’t really come up with a reason why that’s a human hand instead of an animal claw, which would be the typical design for a bull-clutching furniture leg. I don’t know whether it’s a puzzle reason or an aesthetic reason, but it seems like a big and obvious and noteworthy thing, and it would be odd if it meant nothing.

    I wonder whether it’s just something of a role reversal, in the sense that in a human-sized world reproductions of the claws of lower animals are used to decorate the furniture; here, whatever lives in this kind of giant room uses reproductions of the hands of humans to decorate their furniture. I.e. we’re the animals here. But that’s not a great fit, because we don’t use huge versions of tiny animal claws for our furniture, whereas this reproduced human hand is gigantic by our standards.

    Or we’re REALLY far away from the holes and being shown a low angle?

    • I try hard to not think of harpies when I try to figure out the reason for the weird leg design, but I usually fail.

  4. The electric wire runs towards door 10. maybe there is light that way at the end of the dark tunnel?

  5. Ah. it’s nor that the leg looks like a 1. It is one visible leg on the ground like in 15 and 34. Yes that’s better. At least for me. Lol.

  6. I’m happier if the 1 and zero are the same size and grouped. Paper clip and target work. Lines and circles in medalian work. Screw. Major table components don’t do it for me. Well bars on table and circular supports are same size. So I guess the leg as a one does not seem right – that’s the only one I still think is fishy.

    • Paperclip and target, I agree, that’s your best bet. Same general location, size, number (four circles, counting the bullseye, and four straight-line pieces to the paperclip). Additionally, it helps explain why a paperclip is there at all (not exactly the ideal material for a lure); also, the target overall, and the paperclip overall, are a plausible 0 and 1 independent of their constituent circles and lines.

      The one table leg thing, meh, I don’t know, but kind of like alphanumeric coding, the potential use of furniture legs to indicate door numbers seems to happen in so many places that I’m not going to dismiss the suggestion.

    • True. We to have number of legs on things as meaningful in a couple other rooms…so OK

      Clip – Yes, on overall together 10, I was thinking that. And then same number of wires and rings sort of seals that one. Clip also serves as one of two “wires” for me as well.

      And with one screw here, and four in the box in 11, and a similar symbol on the wall in 40, I’m good there.

      So yeah, all good.

      Regarding ball and fingers. I wonder if WR thinks this is an incomplete bit of something or not something at all.

  7. More Tales from the Man Who Forgot to Think in Two Dimensions:

    The thoughtful one describes a disinclination to go running around “out there,” which I previously took as a suggestion that they never left the hole they came from. However, looking at the room two-dimensionally, the doorway to Room 10 is under the table, and “out there” probably means out from under the table.

  8. The 1s and 0s are the weakest clues in this room but they are no doubt present. Which ones are intended and which ones are not is hard to say but I’ll put the stronger ones on the solution summary.

    • Not a fan of these. The screws look like the symbol for room 10 on the wall in 40 so pretty sure about that. And the medalian I’m more inclined to see as 10 parted than just round. But ok all straight lines and circles counted. Time to look for something else it seems.

  9. “Turning around…”

    I wonder whether this refers not only to going back the way we came, but “turning around” 14 to make 41, the room we should head to once we get to 10.

    • Oh, strengthening that considerably: the text refers to the group taking a “path” that surprised the guide. A “path” is specifically described by the directions as something indicated by clues in a series of rooms.

      I think maybe we should take a look at other usages of the word “path” with this in mind…

      This could also suggest that the bullseye is meant to suggest the bullseye back in 41, which does indicate the correct door there–but it’s a little hard to square with the bullseye being a trap here meaning that it’s the correct choice in 41…

      Maybe the paint in 10 was recently used to paint the bullseye here in 14?

    • “Turning around…” could also refer to the ballerina we saw outside the door before coming to 14.

    • There may be something to that, the idea of using human fingers on the ball-and-claw-style leg as a suggestion of a human being’s ten fingers. Important then would be not the actual numbers of fingers or hands that we see or can imagine to be on this piece of furniture, but just the fact of a human being having ten fingers and a human hand being here where normally there would be a claw.

      On the other h–on the flipside, the number “three” is mentioned in the text, we see three fingers on the hand, and, oh, I don’t know, there are three staples holding that plug to the wall. There seems to be a bit of false three-cluing going on here, presumably to mislead you into Room 43.

    • I kept waiting for someone to do that dirty work here, but then I forgot about it.

      I, uh, I still don’t really want to list the things in the room that could be ones and the things that could be zeroes. I think we’ve mentioned the eyes in every room connected to 10; let’s just sugGEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSST that the bullseye here is a series of 0s and, I don’t know, the paper clip is a bunch of ones, or the table leg is a one, or the leg and ball is a 1 and 0…

      This solution, if accepted, should be credited to, oh, let’s say Anchorperson Smith.

  10. Oh, you know, we’ve commented elsewhere about how 34 and 41, two other rooms connecting to 10, have the eye imagery, but we left out Room 14! The bullseye here completes and interesting trio, and maybe someone wants to take that ball and run with the idea of the circles being zeroes in this room.

    Interesting, 41 ALSO has eye imagery, on the idol and the doll and the frog. Man, what’s going on there? Its door to 10 is the wrong door, but it sure is interesting that all roads to 10 are full of eyes.

  11. Can we do something with the idea of a plugged outlet? Grrrrrgh, you really want it to somehow be a warning of “no outlet,” but it just doesn’t work, does it?

  12. OK and here is your “uber” soultion to “10″ made up of the only things that did not go into the first 5 solutions or into the uber-guide-Raven puzzle.
    By my count we have
    1) Odd one out – avoid the false clues
    2) 10 on “real bullseye”
    3) “all fingers”
    4) “Go out 10, 10 I say”
    5) entirely = I rely 10
    6) They try to think of themselves as adults, but they are often “children” in the MAZE. “I cried as if my feelings were hurt” = child. The paper clip and the electric cord are “wire”. “Question” is still unused, and it means to “enquire”. Children – child = “(r)…en”. Enquire – wire = “en”. And in that last unused fragment of sentence we have “since They Tried To Think of Themselves as”. And of course “T + EN = TEN”.

    • And the whole business of them turning around – and the guide following them out. That’s 7 “solutions” or arguments for 10 as the right exit. And it seems White Raven does not like any of them…

    • I like the first one – the ever so slight implication to listen selectively and the phrase “Choose then” = “Choose ten.” I’m not convinced but I am looking for something solid to hang my hat on. It feels right and I want it to be true, but I am rigorous in regards to vetting debatable solutions.

      White Raven

    • Seems only two things should be needed to me. 1 it gives you the right answer obviously
      2 whatever it is clearly would be highly unlikely to just randomly give you the right answer. If it meets both of those he placed it there whether it is a good puzzle or not.

    • Well ok maybe one other point. Sometimes a good solution can be made better by refining it. Then whatever you found was only approximately what he intended

  13. In neither opposition for support to the narrative “ten” solution:

    There’s certainly something appealing about being told by the narrator that you (the children, whatever) can’t afford to disregard everything he says, and then find two instances of the word “ten” in the words of that paragraph, and arguably a third within the word “then.” But it’s hard to say whether something like that is really deliberate, or just the kind of things that happens by accident.

    I don’t know whether this helps anyone decide (it leaves me about where it found me) but I did a text search through the whole book for instances of the letters “ten.” I only searched for those letters in a row; I didn’t look for words that had t-e-n with other letters in between. The results are:

    The following had no instances of “ten”: Directions, Prologue, 1, 2, 5, 6, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42.

    The following had one instance of “ten”: 3, 4, 7, 9, 45

    The following had two instances of “ten”: 14, 26, 36.

    14, of course, is the room we’re after.

    26 uses the word “intentions” twice in quick succession.
    36 uses “listen” and “listening.”

    So, what?

    Keep in mind, I’m not insanely suggestion that doing all this is somehow part of the riddle. I’m just suggesting that by looking at the frequency with which “ten” occurs in Manson’s writing, we can try to determine whether the “ten”s in 14 were deliberate or accidental. But your mileage may vary on how much any of this really means.

    “Ten” occurs only eleven times in the entire book. In each room in which it appears, it is either a single word that contains “ten,” or two instances of the same word (or forms of the same word). The only exception is 14, in which “attention” and “listen” are used in back-to-back sentences. “Ten” is the correct answer to the room, the paragraph in which the “ten”s occur is the same one in which we’re entreated to pay attention to part-but-not-all of what the guide is saying, and there’s possibly a third “ten” if we allow pulling the “h” from “then.” (But if we open that door, there are certainly going to be lots of examples from elsewhere in the book where you could do the same thing.) The use of the word “listen” is slightly awkward, as if forced into the text. (I.e. the negation-stacking “They couldn’t afford not to listen to me entirely” instead of “they couldn’t afford to ignore me entirely.”)

    On the other hand, the “ten”s in the book aren’t THAT rare, there aren’t more of them in 14 than in 26 and 36, and the words used in 14 are common words that occur (in some form) in other places in the book as well. The text is talking about paying attention and listening, two related concepts that just happen to be describable by words containing “ten.” Anywhere in the book where Manson decided to state that the children needed to pay attention and listen, we would get a double “ten.”

    I need outside evaluation to determine whether there’s anything here.

    • There certainly is the “omit freely” rule here because of the connection to the uber-puzzle of the Raven/guide. And here is the other thing missing – yes they are here with somewhat high frequency. But they are also in parts of the text that until that poing have no specific reason for existance. AND they hapen to give us a solid argument for door 10. THAT won’t happen by coincidence.

    • vewatkin,

      I am both impressed and not convinced.

      The only types of clues that are common to more than one room are objects that share common meaning and object trails. The indication that we should drop H, if it exists, will be found somewhere in this room.

      Even if the indication to drop a letter is not here anywhere “Choose ten” could still be correct. It is just not as clear cut as most of Manson’s riddle solutions.

      White Raven

    • Well, I was putting the h-dropping aside there, just discussing the straight -ten- as it occurs in some words.

      As I say, it’s not far-fetched enough for me to dismiss entirely, and not solid enough to hang my hat on.

    • Although, maybe I’m not seeing the trees for the forest here. Imagine that this room was nothing but three nondescript doors bearing the numbers 10, 24, and 43.

      Done? Imagine further that the only text was:

      “Afraid to go out?” I asked.
      “We don’t have to prove anything to you,” said the thoughtful one.
      “Choose then!” I cried. “Pay no attention to anything I say.” I knew they couldn’t afford not to listen to me completely.

      If that were the entirety of the room, would we contest that the internal tens are the solution, or would we think them unfair? It seems like a fair solution–actually, a bit too easy when you strip away everything else that’s going on in the room.

    • But there IS an indicator to drop the “H” He tells us to listen to only part of what he says.

    • Yeah, it’s certainly not arbitrary. But I would say that if Manson intended then–ten, I don’t think “attention” slipped through by accident. On the other hand, if the intended clue was “attention,” I could see him overlooking t and e and n occurring in some word in that order.

    • It’s not just the word “ten” that you find. You can make a whole sentance that makes total sence and tells you to take exit 10 by dropping out parts of what he says. If we take his text in this room we have, “To go out choose ten, ten I say”
      “listen” is probably an almost accidental ten. It does not hurt that it is there though.

  14. Clean up = He tells us in effect to listen only partly to what he says. “Choose t…en…ten… I say”

    • Yeah, and there’s another “ten” in his “…they couldn’t afford not to lisTEN to me entirely.”

      It seems less of a stretch at least. There are three tens in the three sentences in which he’s suggesting they need to listen to part of what he says.

    • We can go to what he said earlier too. “To go out…Choose t…en…ten…I say”. And now I predict Raven will like this.

  15. The text never says they left the hole 10 where they entered. As has been noted the text says “turning around” And after he says they are easily led he follows them. And is surprised. This puts him at the back of the group when he was at the front – telling us they turned around.

  16. The target has 4 dark circles and 3 light. 43. There is our complete 2nd false clue I think. So we have our “poor man’s” solution.

  17. Hmm, bit of a stretch here, but tel me what you think or improve it:
    The narrative says:

    “Pay no attention to anything I say.” I knew they couldn’t afford not to listen to me entirely…

    Right before this, the narrator exclaims:

    “Choose then!”

    Alright…ugh…man…I hate to even offer this, but the import of the Guide’s words is that they need to listen to some part of what he’s saying.

    Choose then –> Choose t_en

    I would like this solution a lot more if there were any specific justification for omitting the letter H other than getting the result we want.

    • Well I agree. Yes you need more I think. there are lots of tens in the text but they can be organized I’m sure. Also betting this is not what Raven is looking for…

    • vewatkin,

      “Choose then!” = “Choose ten!” I’m not sure. It seems both plausible and implausible at the same time. I really like the idea of it, and it is certainly Manson’s style of clever, but it doesn’t seem like him to include this riddle without a rationale. I would be thrilled with it if, like you said, we had reason for removing the H, but Manson is not perfect (I assume) maybe this is all it is.

      The “lisTEN” thing is a stretch. The letters “TEN” are very common in English. Let’s hope for a little further confirmation.

      White Raven

    • Well, you know I don’t like it either.

      The thing about the word “listen” there, though, it’s sort of unnaturally crammed in. “I knew they couldn’t afford not to listen to me entirely” is both ambiguous (is he referring to them entirely disregarding what he’s saying or just failing to listen to the entirety of what he’s saying) and less natural a phrasing than, say, “I knew they couldn’t afford to ignore me completely.”

      Of “then,” “attention,” and “listen,” “attention” is the only word that actually has a pronounced “ten” in it, not that Manson is confined by the reality of whether the children could listen to the guide say “ten” or not.

    • Raven, he does give us reason to remove the h. He knew they could not afford to ignore everything he said. Only some of it. Also notice he says “He knew she would bare watching” It gives us liberty to do the same with her speaking. Ignore part. “We have to go around to prove something” yes I’m almost there.

    • Hello Gregor,

      Bumping it up one! Four to go…

      White Raven

    • Hurrah!
      I’m frankly surprised that the “Turning Around” solution wasn’t correct. I found it elegant and convincing.
      Looking at the text, the paperclip/fishingline seems like a trap laid by someone who believes his prey is “easily led”.
      The line preceding the elipse is more compelling to me. I take it to mean that the solution is in the text, assuming the right bits are voided.

    • Hello Gregor,

      Bumping it up to two for the “easily led” paper clip connection! Go HG!

      The “Turning around” solution mentioned below is not incorrect…it is incomplete.

      White Raven

    • I’m not sure whether this makes it any more complete, but it fits the theme that the narrative suggests they never leave the mouse hole that opens up on the room. The Guide’s and children’s statements about going out, running around out there, really only make sense from the perspective of someone in the holes looking out into the room.

    • Can we get a confirm or deny on this suggestion of vewatkin’s? I think it rounds out the “turning around” idea well, and it’s hard to imagine that there could be much more to that particular puzzle.

  18. Again, I’ll begrudgingly give credit to Dave Gentile, despite his insatiable appetite for conjuring up the letters in “CHRISTOPHER MANSON” out of every single word and image in the book, for proposing the most elegant solution to this room I can think of:

    The only way to enter this room is from room #10. #43 contains no passage to this room, and as for #24… So when the group enters this room during an actual playthrough of the book, they have always just emerged from #10. It’s a fact easily overlooked if you’re simply leafing from cover to cover, but it’s important when you consider the final sentence:

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

    Gentile suggests that Manson has given us the solution right there. The only thing to do is turn around and go back the way you came in — to room #10, which will bring you within one room of getting back on the PATH. The other two exits are traps. Moreover, it really is specifically plausible, not just opaquely flavorful, that the host would be “completely surprised after all” by the group’s decision to reject the new rooms and beat a retreat.

    That’s the best I’ve got for this room, there’s just not a lot here and I don’t see anything else that could be taken to point to #10. I’m more interested in what the “out” is that the host and the thoughtful visitor discuss: “Afraid to go out?” “…running around out there…” I’m pretty sure that when I first read this as a preteen, I took that to mean that the visitors had immediately taken to hiding underneath the giant table, and were continuing to cower under there in fear of being spotted by whatever monstrous colossus would actually need a table and outlet that size.

    Yeah, let’sl stick with that.


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