Room 33

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…the room with no floor. They crowded each other on the narrow ledge. The bold one ventured out to the center.

Realizing that they could see all of the signs only from the center of the room, several wanted to turn back.

With exaggerated caution, considering their predicament, they finally reached the door they wanted and eventually found themselves in…

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


Room Type:  LOOP     Doors:  3   7  17  35


● The correct door is 3. The correct door is suggested by the three sides of the triangles. [Independent Credit: vewatkin | White Raven]

● The line in the text, “Realizing that they could see all of the signs only from the center of the room several wanted to turn back,” can be edited to read, “- – - – see all of the signs only from the center – - – several – - turn back.” [Credit: White Raven] Over the available doors only door 3 does not have a mirror reversible image. (Door 35: flutes in a V. Door 7: dagger and crown) [Independent Credit: vewatkin | White Raven] [This solution is incomplete]

● The flutes in a V next to door 35 and dagger next to door 7 both point downward into the pit while the clarion in the doorway to door 3 points upward away from the pit. The triangle signs point up suggesting we look for an upward escape. [Independent Credit: vewatkin | White Raven] The sign over door 3 is the only sign for an available door not lit by the (hellish?) light from below. [Independent Credit: vewatkin | White Raven]

● The phrase in the text “turn back” – if the wagon went backwards, it would go toward 3 (the angle is accurate). [Credit: vewatkin]

● Some of the boards appear more flimsy than others. Perhaps the two best boards are to the drum door (from The Path, indicating a wrong move) and to Door 3 the correct choice. [Credit: Hello Gregor] The board to the drum door being on top of the board to Door 3 may suggest an order of preference or a route (from drum to 3).

● The violin/fiddle has no bow and cannot be played. The drum in the picture is playing but it is just a picture. The clarion, however, can be played. This suggests we take the door next to the clarion (door 3) and not the door next to the non-functional violin (door 33). It also perhaps suggests that the door associated with the drum (from 17, locked) was correct and a person coming from there took a wrong turn (cf. the crown in Room 25). [Credit with a hint: Moleman | Credit: White Raven]


307 thoughts on “Room 33

  1. How certain are we that that’s a bird on that ring? It looks like a bird…but when I start to examine it critically, there are details I can’t make sense of. I guess maybe it has to be a bird. I keep wanting it to be a cygnet, on a signet ring, but it doesn’t permit that interpretation.

    It’s the least generic object in the room. I wonder what the hell it’s about.

    • It’s pretty hard to describe without picture references. It probably doesn’t matter anyway, if every sees an unequivocal bird.

      Although: there’s a small circle on the bird right above what I take to be its stick legs. What is that?

    • I’ve thought about connecting the trumpet with the ring to get “brass ring” before. It sort of makes sense to interpret the trumpet as “brass” since we have the major sections of the orchestra represented in the room.

    • Maybe the ugly duckling in Room 7 is becoming a swan in flight in here. (Too bad it doesn’t look anything like a swan.)

    • Also, trumpets have bells, which connects to the ring. (Trumpet sounds may also be described as “ringing.”)

    • I think the circle is, like, the bird’s stomach/chest plume, like how it’s usually a different color than the rest of the bird

    • Does it not permit the interpretation because it doesn’t look like a swan? I mean… it could look more like a cygnet than a full-grown swan… kindaa…

    • Yeah, it doesn’t look enough like a water bird to plausibly be a cygnet. Water birds have pretty distinguishable body types as compared to songbirds, and while there is no detail here that lets us determine what exact kind of bird this might be, it ain’t no swan.

      Isn’t even that wing placement on the top weird, though? It’s like it only has one wing. And it’s not like the wing that’s closest to us is just obscuring the wing behind it–the wing we see is the wing on its other side. I DON’T GET IT.

    • The bird on the ring makes me think of “swallow ring” and swallowing a ring… or something…

    • The ring and crown also have significance in the Theseus/Minotaur myth.

      “There was a dispute between Minos and Theseus over the parentage of Theseus. In Crete, Minos molested one of the maidens and Theseus became angry and challenged him, boasting of his parentage by Poseidon. Minos, being the son of Zeus, did not believe that Theseus did indeed have divine parentage. Minos believed that if Theseus’ father was in fact Poseidon, Theseus would have no difficulty reaching the bottom of the ocean. Minos threw a ring overboard and challenged Theseus to dive in and retrieve it. The fishes of the sea then took Theseus upon their backs and conveyed him to the palace of Amphitrite, Poseidon’s wife. She handed Theseus the ring that had landed at the bottom of the ocean floor and also gave him a jeweled crown, which was later placed among the stars.”
      -source, good ole Wikipedia

    • Something like this incident occurs in The King Must Die; I didn’t realize that there was a mythological inspirational for it.

      As I look at some descriptions of the myth now, some simply describe the ring as a “signet ring,” which makes me want to misread that bird again.

    • Ooh, this is interesting:
      A jian bird is a one-winged bird from Chinese mythology that is associated with marriage (basically, to fly, two jian birds have to find each other- 2 jian birds, 2 wings). Marriage? Rings? Mm…

    • That’s definitely irrelevant.

      And, as much as I’m bothered by the details of this bird, there is NOOOOOOO WAAAAAAAY IN HEEEEEEEEELL this was meant to be identified as a one-winged bird.

    • Is there any remote chance it was drawn to be a cygnet?
      Is it really meant to look like any bird or is it just there to make us think of “bird on a ring?” Maybe I should show it to someone who can identify birds and ask them if it looks like a vague sketch or something else. (Maybe I’ll do that with the insect as well…)

    • Like a biiiird on a riiiing
      Like a fiddle that’s missing a striiing
      I have triiiiiied
      To solve roooooom

  2. I was deliberating on the purpose of the symbols and then it hit me!
    So, Marsyas and Apollo’s competition was an agon, like Vince said.

    The pitcher and wagon is meant to give us the word “flagon,” while the aulos and strings are simply meant to give us “agon!”

    • Like, I’m trying to say that’s ALL the aulos/fiddle pair is giving us: the word agon. Does that make sense?

    • Yeah, I get it. That makes more sense to me than anything previously suggested.

    • It sure is easy to get carried away :( I feel like a fool for trying to bridge obtuse details together

    • Brainstorming and following leads even if you ultimately abandon them is a great way to come up with new ideas! If you edit yourself too much you’ll never end up saying anything. No reason for you to feel foolish in my opinion.

    • Thank you. Trying to “solve” a room has been so vastly different than how I imagined it- fun, but frustrating…

    • Also, remember to take anything we say about figuring out Maze with a grain of salt, because we’ve been working in it pretty hardcore for the last six or seven years and have come up with pretty close to nothing.

      Or, worse than nothing: a whole system of nonsense we pretended amounted to “solving” Maze, and actually only served to waste our time and mislead anyone who paid attention.

      Now all I ever do is note superficial lexical connections and try to dissuade others from going down the David Gentile/White Raven/Thail Krider routes. And all Sara does is keep going down them.

    • It’s still good fun in the end though. Putting together the pitcher and the wagon was such a rush, I couldn’t wait to post about that.
      There IS an answer to most questions, and Manson’s puzzles seem solvable, it’s just the trial of, you know, getting there.
      (Well, there’s the path puzzle, but…)

    • And maybe a band of waites (or waits) would be able to play said instruments.

  3. I still think the flagon might just be representative of the wine flask Marsyas was to be used for. A pitcher could mean a lot of things, but a flagon is more strictly a wine flask, more than a pitcher in representation.
    Would the wineflask/skin have looked anything like this? No, but I think they communicate the same idea…
    Or it could be there for the “agon” rhyme. Or both? Is that even possible?

    • You’re right, you’re right, Manson could have just drawn a wineskin if he wanted to… nobody draws a flagon to symbolize a wineskin… ughhhhhh… a flagon is NOT a wineskin…..

    • But why is the Marsyas thing even there?? If it is there?
      Why add a symbol about him if it doesn’t constitute some part of the puzzle, unless it does… then why add a flagon that has nothing to do with it??

    • And try not to worry- I can’t promise I won’t make dumb theories but I’ll also try to accept when I’m wrong. A wineskin is not a flagon, especially when the flagon was emphasized to be a flagon specifically.

      I guess I just really, REALLY want this to work. We have why the wagon is here figured out, and maybe the fiddle/aulos. But there seems to be no correlation that doesn’t require making bizarre stretches. Getting in Manson’s head, no puzzlecrafter would use a pitcher and a wagon to reference Marsyas! That would be ridiculous. Gahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

  4. I don’t think Aria’s idea of attributing the blade to the myth is that shaky. In the myth, he was flayed, so Manson drew a knife.
    Knife = Flaying. Flaying = bad. Right doors = bad.

    • Oops, sorry, just tried to construe the symbols to indicate which doors were right or wrong but y’know…

    • I agree that this seems like a reasonable theme for this room. I have a sort of half-hearted project of looking for idioms that relate to rooms and “pride goes before a fall” seems like a good one for this room. The hellish light and the fiddle (devil’s instrument) also fit this theme since Satan was cast down due to pride.

    • Sara’s endorsement is a nail in every coffin, but more to the point, the boldness referenced here is in the context of bravery, not pride. The bold one’s willingness to venture out to the middle of the room is not described in terms of hubris, nor lends itself to themes of hubris.

    • Here’s what I think the stuff about turning back means:
      “Several wanted to turn back.”
      Like Room 21, turning back to the place outside the loop where you ended up here is the solution… that is inaccessible.
      “The bold one ventured out to the center.”
      Going to the center of the loop is the wrong move.
      Because of the precariousness of this room, caution is the correct choice, through the visual metaphor of unsteady planks.

    • Actually, the argument I just made is pretty bad, you’re right it doesn’t line up super well but there still are themes of caution, I think we should keep that in mind.

  5. Right half: Marsyas versus Apollo: ends with being flayed, negative
    Left half: A different myth that ends positively?

    Wagon- meant to cue “flagon”
    Flagon- Wine flask, what Apollo was going to turn Marsyas into
    Upside down Aulos- What lead to Marsyas’s death, couldn’t play it upside-down
    Knife- What killed Aulos
    Crown- Signifying Minos, the judge, who ordered Marsyas’s death?

    All of these symbols are negative and revolve around the death in the tale. I think the left symbols may cue an alternate story. I am guessing it will also be musical.

    • I think the crown thing is really dumb but I feel strongly about the upside-down aulos and the flask.

    • It’s a story about strings versus a double flute! A double flute that couldn’t be played upside-down, that lead to the skin of Marsyas being turned into a wine flask! All of that imagery is used in the doorway to room 33.

    • The aulos/violin pair is sensible to consider. In some famous paintings of the myth, Apollo is depicted as playing a violin or something that looks like one.

      Marsyas was not turned into a pitcher in any version of the myth. His skin was, in some versions, used to make a wineskin, something that is immediately distinct from a pitcher like we see here. Even if you can find some chain of synonyms that makes some textual description sound like it’s saying Marsyas was turned into a pitcher, what’s pictured here is not a sack made of skin.

      Finding a connection to a blade and a king is pretty easy to do in a lot of myths, and these are really not central images. Midas is sometimes attached to the Marsyas myth, but Marsyas is also sometimes described as a king, and Apollo is sometimes depicted with a crown, so that crown is going to attach some way or another, but these are not key details one would pick out to visually indicate the story.

      Also, consider that if the pitcher is accompanied by the wagon to suggest it is a flagon, that suggests that the image is important for its word value, not its function. If the point is to alert the reader that this thing can be used to contain wine, cluing the word “flagon” specifically is irrelevant when the image is immediately identifiable as a pitcher of some kind.

      I would suggest maintaining skepticism in any case, but the aulos-stringed-instrument connection seems the most plausibly to be something, and the tying in of other nearby images seems like desperate overreaching.

    • Yeah, I shouldn’t get ahead of myself…
      But aren’t flagons more associated with alcohol than pitchers, even if one image can represent both? The distinction might have been to make the reader think of wine more exclusively.

    • Maybe, but, again, whatever you call that thing, that is not what Marsyas’s skin was used to make.

      (Should have clarified: Midas did not pronounce sentence. In the Apollo vs Marsyas myth, or the highly similar Marsyas vs Pan myth, Midas was the dissenting judge who did not rule Apollo the winner, and was punished by having his ears transformed to donkey ears. He was not involved with the flaying of Marsyas, other than being present.)

    • Oh, ok.
      I guess the flagon could be representative, but that’s a confirmation biased-y stretch.

    • Speaking of Pan, given that it’s essentially the same story as far as the pictured elements are concerned, that Pan is a far more famous figure than Marsyas, and that the adjoining room 3 contains pans, perhaps we should be thinking of Pan instead of Marsyas.

    • In the myth of Pan versus Apollo, Pan doesn’t use the aulos, he plays the syrinx.

    • I agree that Marsyas fits better in terms of the details. The word “agon” applies regardless.

    • The instruments assigned to Pan and Marsylas (and Apollo) are all over the place in different accounts and paintings and engravings and sculpture. I’m even seeing him with a valve-less horn like what we see on the left side of this room.

      I do think that if identifying Pan from an instrument were intended, we would probably see pan flutes. I also think that if we were meant to identify an instrument of Apollo, it would be a traditional little-harp-looking lyre. The fact that Apollo can be found depicted with all sorts of stringed instruments, and Pan/Marsyas with all kinds of woodwind (and maybe brass) instruments gives us the latitude to keep this concept afloat, but it should not reassure us that these particular images are sufficient to invoke the myths of Apollo’s musical challengers.

    • I guess, though the fact that the aulos is upside-down gives it more traction. “Marsyas” is the second result for the inquiry “upside down aulos.”

    • We aren’t given the suggestion of a wind instrument, we are given a very specific wind instrument at a specific angle. If we were given a flute and a fiddle, this might be harder to bridge, but I can’t see why Manson would draw this specific symbol if he wasn’t referencing the myth, which doesn’t use the upside-down aulos uncommonly.

    • I don’t think that “upside-down,” in the context of a flute, means “pointing up.” You can easily play a flute while pointing it up in the air. Moreover, Pan/Marsyas didn’t play their instrument upside-down. Apollo did. If this room were meant to suggest this myth, the stringed instrument should be upside-down.

    • I think the aulos pointing up refers to it being upside down because, while you can play a flute normally from that angle, that isn’t what Marsyas was trying to do. In the myth, Marsyas couldn’t play from the ends of the aulos that weren’t fused, and having those ends where the mouth would be is what lead to his death.

    • And yes, I wish the stringed instrument was also upside-down, but it’s no debunker…

    • It doesn’t mean that the aulos and violin aren’t a reference to the Marsyas myth, but the dubiousness of the aulos being upside-down, and the wrong instrument being upside-down, should affect our weighing of the aulos’s orientation as confirmation of the mythical reference.

      To reiterate (because I’m getting tired of my naysaying everything too), the combination of an aulos and some kind of stringed instrument is evocative. An aulos is not a common instrument, and its mythological presence seems to be primarily in this musical competition with Apollo.

      Beyond that, it still seems like a reach to try to connect the Marsyas myth to perceived themes or some of the ten or twelve images in the room.

    • Ritz, let us know if you would like to join the Mazecast chat on Hangouts. It’s not super active right now but it’s a way to talk more casually and interactively about stuff. You can contact us via info mazecast com.

      This goes for anyone else who is interested!

    • The naysaying is useful, I’d say…
      My theory on why the aulos is upside-down is because it is a negative symbol. A rightside-up aulos led to triumph, but an upside-down one led to failure.
      On why the stringed instrument is not upside down- I think the adjoining items (the stringed instrument and wagon) are simply meant to help us reach a conclusion. The fiddle isn’t part of the equation- it doesn’t represent if the symbols are positive or negative. Neither is the wagon. It is just there to help clue in the Marsyas tale.

    • It seems plausible to me that a stringed instrument is there to help identify the aulos or its significance; but none of the why-the-aulos-is-upside-down things you’re saying make sense to me, and it kind of seems like no matter how the instruments were oriented you could attach similar reasoning.

      If this is a violin, then it is right-side-up according to how a violin would typically be set down. But it is upside-down according to how a violin would be played. In fact, if you want to place an unaccompanied violin on the floor in such a way as to suggest the image of it bring played upside-down, I’m not sure how you would do it.

      If it seems farfetched to call this violin upside-down, I agree–it would only seem upside-down in the context of being played. Without a person using it, it seems natural for it to rest as it does.
      But that is the same problem I have with the pipes, which I never heard anyone describe as upside-down until they wanted to match them to the Marsyas myth (somehow, despite the myth pointedly not containing upside-down pipes). There is no natural orientation for a 2D image of an unaccompanied aulos. It would only be upside-down for someone blowing into the wrong end–there is no “right-side-up” from this perspective.

    • Hmmmm…
      I would argue there is a natural orientation.
      If you were to draw a clarinet in a vertical orientation, where would you put the mouthpiece? I would draw it at the top. The top of this symbol is opened into two mouthpieces and therefore can’t be played.
      Searching images of an aulos player, most of them have the fused mouthpiece higher than the two ends. Some of them have the aulos angled straight down in statues as such, but the closest ones to this image are only slightly above a horizontal angle.
      Therefore, like a clarinet, I would make the argument that knowing where the mouthpiece is, it isn’t a stretch to say this aulos is pointed with the non-playable side where the playable side would be. In the myth, when it describes it as “upside-down,” it is stating that the non-playable side is where the playable side should be.

    • On the stringed instrument- I have no idea if I am being honest, it could be intended to be upside down, but unlike the aulos or clarinet comparison and like you, I don’t read it as being at the wrong angle. Could be though.
      Let’s say the fiddle is resting right side up.
      Thinking about the myth, in some versions Marsyas had won and was leaving, but Apollo turned his instrument upside-down.
      Right side up strings = Failure
      Right side up aulos = Success
      Upside down strings = Success
      Upside down aulos = Failure
      And maybe the bow was removed to get us to think solely of a resting fiddle, to clue us in on the fact that it isn’t upside down.
      Both “failure” orientations are in this doorway. Maybe. It seems kind of weak to me.

    • You’re right that turning the aulos upside-down never occurs in the myth. But I see it like this: the right-side up aulos led to his triumph, but the quality of it being upside down lead to his downfall. You’re not able to turn an aulos upside down and play it like that, and this fact ended Marsyas in the end. That’s what the symbol is telling us. An aulos being played like this is wrong!

    • Reading the aulos the way I described is a combination of the mouthpiece pointing down and the myth where the mouthpiece pointing down meant Marsyas was (unable to) play it from the two ends. Nobody would think one was trying to play it from the top without the myth, but they could think the mouthpiece was where the ends would typically be, which combined with the myth would get this result. I think the resting position being flipped is harder to see due to it being a stranger instrument, but if a more common instrument (such as a clarinet) had its mouthpiece on the bottom it would be more obvious.
      That’s the best argument I have.

    • But if you wanted to clue a 5, this wouldn’t be a half bad way… “V” is recognizable as being a 5 and making it made out of fifes would strengthen that. I can’t see why else he would make a V out of flutes unless both the V and the flutes contributed to a single message.

    • Well, there are instruments like this, composed of two pipes or flutes or whatever, joined at the mouthpieces. Wikipedia’s “Double Flute” page lists a number of them that look more or less like what we see here.

    • It looks like an Aulos, which in one version of the myth was played by Dionysus… the god of wine… and there’s a flagon

    • “The KITHARA, a plucked string instrument, came to be linked with Apollo, the god of the Sun and reason, while the AULOS, a loud double-reed instrument, came to be identified with Dionysus, the god of wine and ecstatic revelry.”
      Dionysus and Apollo both represented the creative arts (music!) but one was order and one was chaos.
      The aulos, stringed instrument derived from lyres and kitharas, and flagon cued specifically to be a flagon make me think this is what the door may represent.

    • I know it sounds silly, but it is something wine container + greek flute may indicate, if they have a common source…

    • Check out the story of Apollo and Marsyas, which connects the aulos and the knife…

    • Oh my gosh!
      “The deciding judges are also different in different versions of the story. One holds that the Muses judged the wind vs. string contest and another version says it was Midas, king of Phrygia. Marsyas and Apollo were almost equal for the first round, and so the Muses judged Marsyas the victor, but Apollo had not yet given up. Depending on the variation you are reading, either Apollo turned his instrument upside down to play the same tune, or he sang to the accompaniment of his lyre. Since Marsyas could neither blow into the wrong and widely separate ends of his aulos, nor sing—even assuming his voice could have been a match for that of the god of music—while blowing into his pipes, he did not stand a chance in either version.

      Apollo won and claimed the prize of the victor that they had agreed upon before beginning the contest. Apollo could do whatever he wished to Marsyas. So Marsyas paid for his hubris by being pinned to a tree and flayed alive by Apollo, who perhaps intended to turn his skin into a wine flask.”
      Wind versus string
      The upside down Aulos, like you said
      Flaying him (knife)
      TURN HIS SKIN INTO A WINE FLASK- is THAT why the flagon is there??

  6. I think the flagon and wagon were placed here to get us thinking about “agon” rhymes/word endings, which lead to 3, and then to 18, the correct path. This COULD be done in reverse from 18 to 3 to 33, but the in-room “agon” rhyme is in 33, setting you off on the clue hunt. (Not really for the reader, but you get the idea.) The agons make up the exit trail for the loop’s center.

    • I think it’s unnecessary, and often strained, to interpret connections as pointing in the “right” direction. I know I’m a broken record on this, but I don’t think we have any good reason to think that rooms off the path contain clues to lead you back to room 1 to start over. The place where most Maze “solutions” jump from interesting to eye-rolling is when they try to jump from a plausibly meaningful observation to a foregone conclusion.

      (That’s not to say that’s what this is–I think it’s a mistake to assume this trail is meant to lead in the right direction, but it’s not a unreasonable position. I just mean, generally speaking, that our understanding suffers from an attempt to force that conclusion.)

      (And there are exceptions, like our good friend WBM, whose solutions are completely insane from stage 1.)

    • True, you could easily say “33 is the FINAL destination because there are multiple rhymes in here, the path leads TO 33!” We just know how to exit the loop, so we want all clues to get us there.

    • What about the rays throughout the solid chambered pith, of a tree stem? Seems to resemble a strikingly similar appearance to the eye, as well as the top of one’s hat.

  7. 3 POT
    33 PIT

    33 PLANK
    35 BLANK (plain white poster behind the idol)

    33 RING
    35 RUNG

    33 SNARE [drum]
    3 STAIR (described in text)

    33 BUG
    7 RUG

    33 KEY–

    Unfortunately, I think it’s just too easy to do this to get very excited, even when particular pairs seem promising. I am going to try to CALM DOWN.

    • Do you think this room has a simple unifying principle for its symbols, that, once you know, would make all of them clear and obvious in meaning?

    • The weird thing is that out of the multiple suggestions proposed for themes, a few of them make sense to some degree, but don’t make sense in context of the other suggestions.
      For example: I thought the insect was a hornet because of the horn and the fact it looked wasplike. I think this is possible.
      It could also be a “bee” because it rhymes with “key.”
      It could be a “bee” because of “key of b.”
      It could be a “bug” because of the rug in room 7.
      It could also be a “dragonfly” because of the flagon and wagon.
      All of these make sense, but not together. How are we to pick out what’s wrong and what’s right? Will it be obvious?

    • If all there is to an object is that it rhymes with something, it seems like that’s going to be hard to be completely confident about, especially with one-syllable, simple rhymes involving objects that could be described multiple ways. If something clearly associated with a door rhymes with something on the other side of the door, that helps. If it’s part of a chain of objects, that helps. At this point, I don’t think we have too much to be confident in, though.

    • I feel mostly confident in the “agon” trail. It could be some sort of weird red herring, though.
      You’re right that the one-syllable rhymes are easy.
      “King, ring.”
      “Fife, knife.”
      “Jug, bug.”
      “Key, bee.”

  8. An “agon” is an ancient Greek word meaning a “contest for a prize.” (Source: etymonline.)
    This might be irrelevant, but I find it to be pretty interesting at the very least.

    • (because of how MAZE was branded, like a contest with a prize. It’s an agon!)
      That’s an issue with very noisy rooms though- you can make connections that are interesting but silly to assume they were planned that way. For example, “flagon flutes” rearranges to “offstage null.” It’s cool for about 5 seconds, but Manson didn’t plan it, and I keep digging into these symbols but only unearthing something ACTUALLY clued once in a blue moon, like the flagon wagon.
      My brain wants to say: keep going! It will all make sense! But I have to stay cautious, even of little funny connections that I know are unintentional, because the rabbit hole is so easy to fall down…

    • witH EXAGerated cautiON.
      It’s in the paragraph detailing which door they chose, and which door is the right one? The door with the stop sign!
      The letters that spell “hexag” are right next to each other, and caution ends in on.
      This wouldn’t really help the reader, but…

  9. What is so special about the word flagon?
    I’m almost certain the wagon was placed over it to clue it. But why? Is there anything special about one- I know it is typically used to hold alcohol…

    • “Flagon flute v/”flagon flutes”/”flagon v”/”flagon flute” seems like the result of an anagram.

    • With “dagger” and “crown” you can spell “dragon” with….”gecrw” left over? Hmmm. Or “wagon” with “crdger”…not really a good assemblage of letters…

    • Could it be? A dragonfly?? Everyone I’ve shown it to thinks its a bee, but- but-
      Dagger and crown making Dragon? That’s not much of a stretch! Unless they spell another agon word?? Unless we have one of the words wrong??
      That is a flagon, next to a wagon! IT’S TELLING US SOMETHING-

    • It’s really tough to pin down as a particular type of winged insect. It really doesn’t have the proportions of a dragonfly, but it’s also a very small drawing. It would be nice if it had some exaggerated features associated with stylized insects of various sorts, but it has no visible stinger, its body stripes aren’t as pronounced as they would usually be on a cartoonish bee, and it has those double wings–certainly not part of the usual depiction of bees/wasps/hornets, and I don’t know whether any insects of that sort have two sets of wings like that.

      (ACTUALLY, bees and wasps and hornets ALL have two sets of wings, I see upon a moment’s research, but they’re not visible at rest the way these wings are. ENTOMOLOGICAL ACCURACY ASIDE, if you were trying to draw a recognizable, low-detail image of a bee/wasp/hornet, it would probably be unwise to include two pairs of vertically arranged wings such as this.)

      Additionally, wasps and hornets are well known for their thin “waists,” whereas this insect has a pretty consistent body circumference. That’s sounds more technical than I meant it too–I just mean it’s not shaped like a wasp! Stylized bees are drawn in all sorts of ways, but they usually have pronounced stingers and stripes.

      So, I don’t know WHAT this thing is supposed to be. I think it’s tempting to say “bee” largely because it rhymes with “key,” but it doesn’t actually look like it was drawn to be recognized as a bee. It looks reasonably like a dragonfly, just oddly proportioned, and I certainly wouldn’t leap to that conclusion unless we had good reason to think that was meaningful (just as we wouldn’t think to call one of these water vessels a “flagon” without provocation).

      I think it’s something to keep in mind, that it might be that, but I’m not convinced.

    • Oooh, I think “flagon” is a word for the pitcher we hadn’t noticed before. That could totally be a flagon. Too bad it skips a room before we get to the dragon!

    • An interesting possibility is that it is important that that item be identified as a flagon specifically, due to some property of that word, and the wagon picture is there just as a clue to that, since you would otherwise be hard-pressed to use that precise term.

    • There’s a prominent OCTAGON between the FLAGON/WAGON and the DRAGON, though you’re stepping outside of rhymes there and just finding a chain of words with the same last four letters.

      (the octagon is the stop sign in Room 3)

    • Vince, that’s the exact process I found flagon with.
      I was looking up rhymes for wagon because of the dragon-
      Wait, what if the rhyme trail led here, for this word only?? And what if we just did what Manson had intended with the rhymes by finding it?

    • (Oops, liked myself and it seems there’s no way to dislike-)
      The PIT may suggest an orchestral pit.
      The triangular shaped signs with long nails may suggest the triangle instrument.

    • Perhaps these musical terms relate to one another in some specific combination.
      BUT WHAT!?

    • Haphazardly assembled idea:
      The drum door has a hornet for HORN and a key for KEY,
      There are no keys on the horn in this room.
      Door 35 has a pitcher for PITCH and flutes for FLUTE. How do you change a flute’s pitch?
      There are no valves/openings to hold down on the horn in this room.
      This isn’t quite right but I feel I am getting somewhere…

    • Alternatively, each door could be an instrument.
      The two signs are supposed to tell us how to play the instrument.

      Drums: Horn key- keys like the way you would play a horn. Nope, you don’t play drums like that.

      Violin: Flute pitch- valves like the way you would play a flute. Violins are not played like that.

      Horn: Band Something? Something band?

      Door 7: ????

    • Sorry for the nonsense assemblances of these terms I posted above- but I feel we are really close to something with these symbols??

    • It is pointing at the door with the ring (band?) We could put them together to make “bandwagon.”
      But now there’s the question of the flagon…

  10. Random thematic thought- the guide says their caution is exaggerated, considering their predicament. That means that their predicament shouldn’t warrant worrying about falling into… whatever’s at the bottom of the room? To me, it looks like fire by the way it is illuminated and the way shadows are cast. What sort of predicament would make falling to your doom not a priority? If the maze truly is some sort of purgatory, and these people were already dead, it would make some sense that it wouldn’t matter. There’s been many connections between the maze and the afterlife, and I believe I’ve seen a theory that it’s some sort of sorting mechanism? Like Room 24 is hell, the loop is in between and so on? Regardless it’s interesting that the guide says they were displaying exaggerated caution. It’s possible they were simply being exaggeratedly whiny about crossing the room, but the “regarding their predicament” part made me think. The bottom of the room being fiery also might indicate some sort of hellishness.
    Or maybe since the purpose of the maze is to lure people astray, the guide is saying that it doesn’t matter (or rather that he doesn’t care) what happens to them because their predicament will be unsatisfactory either way. Room 24 kind of proves the guide doesn’t have our best interests at heart.

    • “Considering their predicament” may describe them; THEY may be considering their predicament. I.e. “With exaggerated caution and considering their predicament, they…”

    • I doubt it was meant to have both grammatical readings. That seems like an unlikely ambiguity to latch onto once noticed.

      Maybe worth noting is that “exaggerated” doesn’t necessarily mean “excessive” or “unnecessary.” I didn’t read it that way until Greg suggested a reading that did so; I don’t think we should get too hung up on that.

    • I think what Manson is drawing attention to with the “exaggerated caution” is the contrast between the apparent danger in the room due to its layout (no floor, fiery light from below, precarious boards) and the actual danger in terms of navigating through the Maze.

      This is actually not a very dangerous room to be in. Even if you take a “wrong” door you are not in any danger. Room 35 has only one option — going back to Room 33. Room 7 takes you to the closed 7/16/36 dead end in which there’s no chance of falling into the Trap. And Room 3 is the correct door (and another room with no door into the Trap.)

      Maybe this is not THAT meaningful since there are not that many doors to the Trap in the Loop, but still, choosing the wrong door in here does seem to be an unusually consequence-free decision.

    • I mean you’re right, it could just mean “greater than normal” rather than “excessively or inappropriately heightened.” The former meaning makes straightforward sense: they are taking greater care than normal due to the unusual danger involved in getting to their chosen door.

    • If having a double meaning is out of the question (which, yes, it’s not prompted at all), then which one is intended? Are they considering their predicament and showing exaggerated caution, or showing exaggerated caution because of their predicament? Either way the guide thinks that the danger they think they are in is more “extreme than in reality.” The caution they show is blown-up. As such, the guide doesn’t think they should be as cautious with this intepretation.
      If it truly does mean “with more caution than normal, considering their predicament (the fire) as opposed to the other rooms,” that would make sense, or “with more caution than normal as opposed to the other rooms, as they considered their predicament.” But the exaggeration doesn’t appear to be in the context of the maze.

    • Well, to be clear, I think double meanings are all over this book and don’t need to be flamboyantly signalled. I just don’t think this particular grammatical ambiguity was likely intended. Like the dangling participle in 36, it seems more likely that Manson just didn’t realize there was an issue. (I’m assuming; cue fifteen solutions making use of the dangling participle in 36.) (Of course, 36 is grammatically erroneous but unambiguous in its intended meaning. This is a little different in that the sentence is on its face grammatically acceptable, and the ambiguity is whether “considering” is intended to be a dangling participle. BUT I THINK IT’S A SIMILAR SITUATION.)

  11. I think there’s something going on in here where you use the right-hand sides of the small signs. This seems to connect to the mirror-imaging thing… (see all the signs… only from the centre).
    *RING: if you cut the ring in half, its right-hand side makes a 3
    *URN: its right edge makes a pretty good 3
    *BEE: the right-hand edge of the wing makes a 3 — there’s even bolder lines to emphasize this. This is the only sign whose image is significantly obscured, perhaps to call attention to the 3 on the wing.
    *KEY: three points on the right-hand side
    *PITCHER: right-hand edge makes a 3
    *FLUTES: three holes on the right
    *DAGGER: hilt, point, one side of crosspiece (this one is kind of iffy?)
    *CROWN: cut it in half and there are three points

    Bee… key… vee… three. The bee, key, and vee (flutes) images are perhaps the strongest “right hand makes a three” things so maybe that’s the connection.

  12. It seems significant that all of the main orchestra sections are represented here: percussion, strings, woodwinds, and brass.

    The brass instrument is leaning against the correct door, which has a ring, which I think is meant to make you think of the idiom “reach for the brass ring.” This idiom comes from a merry-go-round game where you reached out and grabbed for rings. Most of them were iron, but a few were brass, and those were the ones that would win you a prize if you nabbed one. So a brass ring is something to strive for, and that’s why you should take door 3.

    (“Bold as brass” is another idiom — maybe the mention of the “bold one” in the text is a further hint to think of brass.)

  13. Considering the theme of this room is up = good and down = bad, it seems fitting that we have a clarion/trumpet leaning against the correct door and a fiddle leaning against and pointing to the incorrect doors.

    If up = heaven and down = hell, this works because angels are commonly depicted as playing horns/trumpets and the devil is associated in folklore with the fiddle.

  14. “With exaggerated caution…”

    Caution signs are often shaped like equilateral triangles, just like the ones above the doors. Does this help? I guess not really since all the door signs have the same shapes…

    • If you can find it in your heart to imagine the horn represents an exclamation point, you can combine that with the equilateral triangle to make the typical “caution” sign.

  15. Something I noticed because of vw’s comments in 5… could all the triangular items also be indicating that 3 is the only door number in this room that is a triangular number? I guess that it’s simpler just for the triangles to indicate 3, but still. It’s something, maybe…

  16. Waaaayyyy down at the bottom of the comments sp mentions an observation by Hello Gregor in one of the Mazecasts about the relative stability of the board “bridges.” It does seem like the bridge to 3 is the most stable… it is centred on the column of tiles or whatever they are, and goes straight to the landing for door 3, while the others are all off centre, or look like they are going to fall off if you step on them.

    • The board to door 7 is the worst by far, it appears to be sliding off the center as we look at it. The other three all look about equally bad to me. If I had to pick I would choose the board to the drum to step on. But since there is a near consensus that this is something I will add it to the summary – majority wins in this case.


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