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…room number 30. “What a beautiful door…the others are so plain,” said one.
“It’s meant to influence our decision,” said another.
“Perhaps this has been done so we will not choose this door,” said the thoughtful one.
They wanted to know what the letters meant. Obviously they meant something, and I said so.
“Yes, but…why ‘O’ and ‘U’? What special significance can they have for us?”
The more confused they became, the more I enjoyed it. No matter how many times I’ve been through this I’m always fascinated.
Leaving the room and all that it contained behind us, we entered…
- Images and text copyright 1985 by Christopher Manson
used with permission. [Purchase MAZE from Amazon]
Room Type: PATH Doors: 5 15 26 34 42
Solution Summary: [COLLECTION CURATED BY WHITE Raven. SEE COMMENTS FOR ADDITIONAL SOLUTION PROPOSALS.]
● The correct door is 42. [Credit: Unknown - during the 1985 contest.]
● The part of the Riddle of the Path in this room is “you” derived from the text “Why “O” “U”? Why/O/U = Y/O/U [Credit: Unknown - prior to 1990.]
● Anagrams point to all three incorrect doors. The sign IF NO EVE can be rearranged to say ONE FIVE (one&five=15) but it is pointing at room 5. [Credit: Beth Kinder] “ONE FIVE” can also mean “there is one five” meaning “5″ and thus points to both 15 and 5. [Credit: David G | White Raven] The watch with a hour hand pointing to the “F” which is leaning against a fake tree can be read as “tree” and “F-hour.” (We know it is the hour hand because the longer minute hand is on the floor next to the watch.) Moving the “H” from “hour” to the word “tree” the words read as “three” and “four” – door 34 is another of the incorrect doors. [Credit: Owen Hammer] Perhaps, reinforcing this, the last letter of the ABCDEFGH sequence (the H) is the letter which must be moved to make the anagram work.
● The text (and the decoration in the illustration) draws attention to door 34, and there are arrows pointing to 5 and 15. The non-indicated door is 42, which is correct. [Independent Credit: Kyle Stedman | Beq S.]
● The “IF NO EVE” and apple tree recall the story of Adam and Eve from the book of Genesis. The hand on the clock laying on the ground looks like a male symbol, combined with the “IF NO EVE” suggests “Adam”. Thus in front of each wrong door is a reference to Genesis: 34=apple tree, 5=eve, 15=male/Adam. [Credit: Maze Podcast 06]
● The F on the watch indicates the number 6, the watch and the “times” in the text indicates multiplication, the watch points to the letter “F”, in the text are 7 occurrences of the letter “F”. 6 x 7 = 42 the number of the correct door. [Credit: vewatkin]
● The items in the middle of the room form a simple equation. The watch has letters instead of numbers suggesting alphanumeric substitution. The hand of the watch points to the F which equals 6 in alphanumeric substitution. [Independent Credit: Beelzebibble | White Raven] The other hand of the watch is on the floor pointing at door 15. If we put the two hands together this equals 21. [Independent Credit: Mantis | White Raven] The large watch leaning against the flat tree suggests “times” which is reinforced by the word “times” appearing in the text. [Independent Credit: Beelzebibble | White Raven] The tree is not a real tree but a two-sided (or two dimensional) cut out of a tree. [Independent Credit: Bertrand | White Raven] If you times (multiply) the watch (21) by the two-sided tree (2) this equals 42, the number of the correct door. Watch hand 6 + watch hand 15 * flat tree 2 = 42. [Credit: White Raven][Credit with a hint: Mantis] Additional support is lent by the IF NO EVE sign. If there is no Eve then it is just Adam which sounds identical to Add’em. Suggesting addition. [Independent Credit: Janice | MAZECAST Visitors in Podcast 06] Also IF NO EVE then the apple would not have been taken at all. Suggesting we ignore the apples. [Credit: White Raven] Further, in the Genesis story the taking of the apple is a sin – this also suggests we ignore the apples. [Independent Credit: Aria | White Raven]
I’d like to add my solution here, which hasn’t been mentioned:
The key realization here is that the crown atop clock in the center of the room indicates that it’s an ANALOGUE STOP WATCH rather than a CLOCK.
Analogue stopwatches were common at the time this book was written, and, while not completely standardized, they generally were organized around 60 for both hands, rather than 12, since they were measuring elapsed minutes and seconds rather than hours in the day.
When viewed with this realization, we can see that the little hand on the clock points almost exactly to the 42nd minute position. The big hand would have only added ambiguity if included, but it is left in the frame to make sure it’s clear that this is indeed a stop watch (which most commonly all have exactly two hands, and never have just one afaik)
I really believe the tree, the sign, and the clock letters are red herrings, and OU are only for the path riddle. A theme of the relationship between guide and visitors, is that the visitors are characterized as being obsessed with symbolism and the guide often looks down on them for pursuing deep symbolism over obvious clues. He attempts to guide them towards the trap by validating their incorrect assumptions and emphasizing red herrings.
In this case, they’re interested in letters in this room and the narrator says “Obviously [the letters] meant something, and I said so,” he then immediately experiences even more pleasure from their ensuing confusion. This is an indicator to me to ignore the signs and letters.
It does look like a stop watch. I don’t get how you see the little hand pointing at 42, though. It looks to me like it’s pointing directly at F, which is midway between the points on the clock that would correspond to 30 and 45–so, about 37 and a half. (The time intervals marked by the letters would correspond to 1/8 of 60, or 7.5, because there are only eight letters.) It’s actually closer to 34 than 42, but it isn’t mistakably close to either position.
I have an alternative solution for this room, which may also solve room 5 which is interconnected here. Much of this work has already been done previously by others in the comments.
However, I have two additional points to make…
1. The watch in the center of the room does represent an equation using alphanumeric substitution. So the object means… watch (TIMES) F (#6 in alphanumeric substitution). The connecting clue here is the minute hand that has fallen off, pointing to room 15. This means we go into room 15. Room 30 is interconnected to room 42, 5, and 15 and allows two-way movement. As we move into room 15, the door leading back to 30 has the letters SVN or “SEVEN”. So we go back to 15 and have the solution… SVN (7) TIMES 6 equals 42.
2. The other clue that been deciphered here in text and picture is the phrase why|O|U… IF NO EVE (signifies ADAM) or “YOU ADD THEM”. I do not believe this applies to the solution for room 30, but refers to using alphanumeric substitution in room 5, since the sign IF NO EVE directly points us in that direction. Since room 30 and 5 allows two-way movement. When we enter room 5 there is a sign on an easel with these words….
The underline next to the last FORTH would suggest addition. Using alphanumeric substitution, we add the “fourth” letter of WITH, RIGHT, and WARD, which becomes H(8)+H(8)+D(4) equaling 20…the solution for room 5.
One of the original goals of MAZE was to find the shortest path to the center and then back out. However, this doesn’t necessarily imply the clues or solutions must be self-contained within each room. Like a real maze, it may require us to move across multiple interconnected rooms and backtrack collecting clues along the way. Finding the shortest path could have been a separate puzzle onto itself.
There’s an idea Aria can have some fun with!
I agree with your last paragraph, and that has been a significant shortcoming in most of our attempts to understand the book: We looked at things one room at a time. We’ve made an effort to look more at interconnectivity now, but I think we’re still somewhat locked into thinking about rooms individually.
Honestly, if I learned anything from our little Loop-crunch, it is that connecting clues across rooms is one of the most frustrating undertakings in this entire book when it isn’t linear. It’s like the confusion of a bunch of tangentially related objects in one room but EXPONENTIAL.
It might not be linear, but I still think there is a method to the madness. My Hunch for solving the rooms this way is because I believe Manson has a set of “rules” for his visual puzzles. I think others may have pointed this out—a couple of ideas…
1. Objects visually clustered together relate to one another. So the fake tree and watch are clearly connected.
2. Objects that overlap or are pointing to one another are connected. The fake tree overlaps with the letter O in this room, which told me they’re part of a related puzzle. The pointing of objects can also span into other rooms as long as a pathway back exists (since it is a maze). This is the reason why I looked into room 5 and 15 since they connect back to 30. (*Also room 42 connects back here to 30,5, and 15. There could overlapping clues for all these rooms..my brain hurts)
3. Objects on or near doors are related to the room the door leads to. So the “SVN” on the door in room 15 applies to what’s happening in room 30.
4. Objects can also be thematically related spanning across multiple paths of the MAZE. I think this is the most striking idea about MAZE. The fake tree in the center of room 30 seems to be related to the real tree in the visual center of room 5. This is what got me thinking that room 30 and 5 are connected somehow. Also, the fake tree is a stage prop that could be related back to the theater scene in room 26. (Not sure if there is a deeper meaning there or it simply indicates room 26 to 30 is the “correct path”)
It’s hard to confidently postulate puzzle rules that Manson followed in constructing Maze, because 1) we have too limited an understanding of most of the book to know how robust an observed tendency is, and 2) it’s similarly difficult to falsify suggested rules, because even instances of apparent rule violations might turn out to follow the rule if we understood the puzzle better.
I think it makes more sense to talk about Manson having tendencies than having rules. I think these suggestions here are all fine, though #1-#3 demonstrably do not apply in some places, and #4 by its own terms only applies where it applies. An especially valuable suggestion, I think, or at least one that seems most plausible and least widely explored, is that things in front of doors relate to the rooms on the other side of the door.
I have to agree with your points. Ultimately, we don’t know unless we had some verification from Manson himself. As I’ve been going through the MAZE, I do feel there are “rules” here, but tendencies are probably a better description. It prevents the headache of trying to force every room into fitting some kind of pattern.
I feel the rooms in this book act as a “visual maze”. It requires our eyes to move throughout each room over connected objects, including looking in other rooms as long as there exists a clear connection. Granted, that could be subjective!
Truthfully, I like the no-pointer (red herring) and add em solutions F O U here best.
Mine was a lot faster and simpler though, involving only the clock:
F alphanumerically 6
F in clocks Position where the 7 usually would be
Clock showing time(s)
That’s how I got my 6×7=42
Simplistic, I know …
The No Eve means Adam or Add them as said earlier. The clock points to “F” which is 6 in alpha numeric. The “O” is 15 and the “U” is 21. 6+15+21=42. Baddah Bing, baddah boom! Add ‘em up and go thru 42!
This solution was already posted by Dave Gentile in June of last year:
“If you take the “F” on the clock and the “O” and the “U” and add the numeric values for these letters you get 6+15+21=42.”
Sorry it was already mentioned, you may now post freely.
This is exactly how I came up with 42.
I feel like this deserves to be mentioned here, not just deep in a comment thread on the welcome page:
Owen Hammer worked out something that looks like a great solution to me, pointing out that “F HOUR TREE” is an anagram for “THREE FOUR.”
I think that’s probably it. It’s the same anagram structure as the obvious “ONE FIVE,” and if you’re Manson trying to clue a “THREE FOUR” anagram, this is both a plausible anagram to come up with and a plausible way to depict it.
So we’ve got digit-spelling anagrams for every door except the right one. This fits with the idea that “odd one in” is meant to be a general Path principle.
I’m assuming “ONE FIVE” is doing double duty for 15 and 5, but there might be some other means of hiding “FIVE” elsewhere, I guess.
This is pretty exciting. Room 30′s never felt like it had a good solution behind it before. Great work, Owen!
I reacted with a lot of excitement in response to the original post, and I’ll do it again here. This is the kind of real, solvable puzzle that I hold out hope for. I’m blown away! This is right up there with the best known solutions in the book. It makes much of our best efforts seem paltry and reminds us what a real solution looks like.
My only complaint: Owen, you’ve ALWAYS thought that’s what this puzzle meant? Why are we only hearing about this now?!
Owen Hammer (and friends),
I like your solution better than any of the other solutions posted for this room. Sensible and consistent with Manson’s style.
Another bit which may be in support of this is that the last letter in the ABCDEFGH sequence on the watch is the one we need to move from “f-hour” to “tree.”
Your solution bumps the one I just did a hint for down the totem pole. We need a title for someone who takes a room from 5 to 5+… “Cluemaster in Chief” maybe?
I posted this once before years ago, but it ended up getting buried. Honestly, I’m a little confused about how these comment threads work.
…got any more?
Okay I had an idea. Not a completed idea but maybe the start of something?
IF NO EVE? Then it is just Adam. Adam sounds the same as “Add’em” as in add them up. The arrow pointing to 5 could mean that 5 is one of the numbers to add and the watch hands are pointing to 15 and F (6). 5+15+6 adds up to 26 which doesn’t mean anything. That’s where I am now. Ideas?
The Adam/add ‘em suggestion was made by a couple during the first Visitors in the Maze video we made, with non-MAZE people going through MAZE for the first time. I believe they added the alphanumeric coding of EVE to the 10 apples to get to 42; this wouldn’t be noteworthy result-oriented problem-solving except that they did this without even knowing that was the result they were trying to get! They went the wrong way anyway.
I thought this was Gentile solution, but Gentile credits it to the Visitors episode on his site, and I trust his memory on that.
I meant to say “a couple people,” not just “a couple,” but who knows, maybe that episode becomes more interesting if you interpret it the the latter way.
I am not surprised to find that I was not the first one to get to think add’em. Crazy that it was first timers! Maybe there is a good solution in here somewhere?
Well, I think the most plausible addition solution involves alphanumerically encoding O, U, and F, and adding them together. This is one of a few places in MAZE where you see spot-on alphanumeric coding solutions that are nevertheless a little hard to feel confident about, just because there’s nothing suggesting this is what we’re supposed to do here and this kind of thing would have to happen by chance some amount of the time.
I think that idea is out of this world!
Like an “orbit rock”? Maybe there’s a Room 3 connection here!
Yeah the alphanumberics of UFO are really amazing, it gives me pause. I doubt it was intended by Manson. Perhaps it was put there by aliens…like the pyramids. :)
There is actually a pretty good 7 made by the support for the tree and the shaded part of the curve of the watch on the left side. Put this together with the times from the watch (and text) and F = 6 and you get 42.
Which I already pointed out in June. Never mind!
In Morse Code O is 3 dashes and U is 2 dots and one dash. 4 dashes and 2 dots. 42.
Welcome to The Abyss!
Amazing observation but it could be a coincidence, perhaps there is a compelling reason to be looking for Morse code hidden in this room somewhere?
The apples on the tree make an two arrows pointing to door 42.
(Give or take two apples…)
The word NO is related to three of the doors.
The door to room 34 has the word no straddling it (the no is upside down).
The door to room 5 has the word NO related to it because you can anagram NO and FIVE out of IF NO EVE.
The door to room 15 has the word NO related to it because you can anagram ONE FIVE (15) out of IF NO EVE and you can take NO off of the sign as well.
This isn’t necessarily anything new, but I wanted to point out that all three doors except for the correct one (42) have the word NO related to them.
It occurred to me while watching tonight’s MazeCast that there are 7 Fs in the room as well as in the text, at least in a manner of thinking:
iF no eve
F (on the watch)
I’m not convinced that’s deliberate but it’s interesting. Brent also noted that 34, 15, and 5 are all associated with the word “no,” which we have all realized forever (“ou” upside-down is “no”) but never put together as an odd-one-in solution. Not to mention that “no” seems like a reasonable deterrent on its own, even without the odd-one-in principle. I’m nodding in agreement with that one.
The combination of “no” with the theme of forbidden fruit seems pretty reasonable here too. This would be very satisfying if the watch could be worked into the theme as well.
This might be completely off, but maybe the F refers to one of the doors that starts with F (forty two, five, fifteen), perhaps as an indication to not take thirty two, at very least.
I know there are MANY complicated theories about the F clock, but there’s mine!
The letters O and U are five letters apart in the alphabet. Sad..
“Be fruitful and multiply…”
You can make a decent letter “B” out of 7 of the apples — that’s the ‘”B” fruitful’ part. Then you multiply the 7 by the F = 6 on the watch.
If you’re just looking for a 7, there’s a semi-decent one made up of the prop holding up the tree and the EFGH edge of the watch…
Here’s another one, in case you thought my apple-dappled “B” was not far-fetched enough.
“Be fruitful and multiply” is apparently one of the Lord’s favourite sayings, and it appears also in Genesis 9, when he’s chatting with Noah and his sons after the flood, I think. It’s called the COVENANT OF THE RAINBOW and the rainbow is popularly considered to have SEVEN colours.
We even have a rainbow shape over door 34; also 3+4 = 7; and there is a semi-respectable 7 in the top and left-hand doorframe of door 34.
So you get fruitful and multiply the 7 cued in various ways by door 34 by the F = 6 on the watch and you get 42.
It would be nice if you could get a good multiplication (X) sign out of the apples. You kind of can but it’s not very satisfying.
NO MORE WATER THE FIRE NEXT TIME
You know, that rainbow shape over 34 even has 7 different strips on its front face — depends on what you choose to count, of course, but you can easily get 7.
Just for fun… both “40″ and “2″ are important numbers in the Noah’s Ark story. It rains for 40 days and 40 nights; Noah collects all of the animals 2 by 2.
(Too many animals for a proper house!)
(It may rain where we’re going… bring the bumbershoot!)
The dial is at the F hour = verbal FOUR. Also verbal counting down as the minute hand has fallen “down” = 4, 3, 2 = Fourthreetwo = verbal = 4T2 = Room 42.
(both the “FOUR & HOUR contain the O & U.)
Narrative: “What special significance can they have FOR us.
Someone find a 7 in that tree to multiply by the F…or G.
Don’t know if this helps, but here are some bible verses from Genesis 30:
(Genesis 30:5): When her husband had gone in unto her,
conceived and bore a son.
(Genesis 30: 15):She answered: Dost thou think it a small
matter, that thou hast taken my husband from
me, unless thou take also my son’s mandrakes?
Rachel said: He shall sleep with thee this night,
for thy son’s mandrakes.
(Genesis 30: 34): And Laban said: I like well what thou demandest.
(Genesis 30: 42): 2 But when the later coming was, and the
last conceiving, he did not put them. And those
that were lateward, became Laban’s; and they
of the first time, Jacob’s.
Gotta love those mandrakes.
Do u c a solution here?
I just figured you posted this for some reason.
We can’t post website addresses in here without significant delay. Send me an email at vewatkin at gmail dot com and I will show you things
What special significance can “O” and “U” have for us?
I got this one, woke up at 5 am, and finally figured it out.
Wow, you woke up and then read the 14-year-old posts on John Bailey’s site? Or did you read the solution on this very page? Good sleuthing, either way.
Hidden Mystery, everyone here is either honestly doing their best to solve the book or is a real fan of the book like me. Empty boasts are worse than spam. And we have seen some of your sort of solutions and they are mostly idiotic. Please go away.
Has anybody mentioned (someone must have) that the frame of door 34 (with the tree blocking out a segment of it) looks like a “blocky” 7, the type one would find on a calculator. That could be the elusive 7. or maybe the 7 days of creation…
So you mean like a calculator might have displayed in say the 1980s?
No one to my knowledge has mentioned that. Looks good to me.
6 and a fraction apples fall inside the “7″ frame as well.
Er…well…maybe exactly 6 apples,
Tick, tock, apple clock
Would not go if I were YOU
Time is broken, Eve?
So if the “‘em” that you “add” are the 3 and 4 in 34 (that doorway being not only significantly emphasized by decoration and text, but also associated with the tree the watch is leaning on), then we get “6 X” from the watch and then, by association between the tree and 34 and “add ‘em,” 7? Everything is right there in front of 34…
I know I’m putting that together from various offered solutions, nothing about it is original, but has all been put together before?
Episode 06 is online. Link to follow, most likely.
I thought the best takeaway here was Vince’s theory that the apple tree binds to room 34 (by partially covering it), “Eve” binds to room 5, and the fallen minute hand forms a male symbol suggesting “Adam” and points to room 15, leaving 42 as the only room not signified in this Garden of Eden narrative. Let me add that the number 42 has a well-known association with a certain book writtten by Douglas Adams, a STALWART ATHEIST. COINCIDENCE????
Really, though, I like that odd-one-in theory much more than the arrows+text combo, since the thematic cohesion of the Genesis story ties these elements together more neatly. Odd-one-in solutions where the “red herring” markers don’t go together in some recognizable way (as they do in room 1) just seem piecemeal to me.
I’m still trying to tease out a 7 somewhere in here, though, for the purposes of the multiplication, so here goes: the fallen minute hand can spell 07, there are seven letters in “IF NO EVE”, drawing a line from the dial on the watch could separate seven of the apples from the lower left-hand three, and, what the hell, the tree starts with a singular trunk and splits off into six branches. None of those could possibly be winners, but I might as well toss ‘em in.
Oh, I forgot to complete the thought that the “no” may play into the forbidden fruit thing going on. BIG DEAL. I think it’s meant to be a pretty strong warning against 34; note that all the other doors at least keep you on the path.
MAZE by Christopher Manson  [The Triumphant R…: http://youtu.be/ZNMQXfNZwo4
Finally listened to podcast 6. Y’all convinced about the male/Adam, if no eve, apples over door reinforcement to the odd-one-in solution. Very well reasoned.
The word “special” occurs only here and in 41. The ladder up from 41 to 35 is the “special” piece of furniture.
There could be direction to get to 35 from 30 too, with some stretching. The yes (but no) bit could take us to 34. And then “Y” is alphanumeric 25 and that is the next door, then O+U=36 to which the closest door is 35. (stretch, as I said). Alternately, the door in front of us is the “I-door” and with all the “I” stuff in 41 the ladder could be an “I door” too in a way.
Starting to think there might be a bit more to the ladder than a path to the roof.