Room 34

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…a middle-class drawing room or parlor. It was amazing how much more comfortable they felt in these surroundings.

Everyone sat down, some on the floor, and chatted about where they had been and where they should go.

“Magpies!” I said to myself. “Not a real thought in their heads.”

They were so much at ease they almost missed what the room was telling them altogether. They finally got the message, which I thought was pretty obvious, and we went on to…

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


Room Type:  LOOP     Doors:  10  25  30


● The “YES” “MAYBE” and “NO” signs refer to the spaces over the doors. There is no sign over the unmarked door. No – you cannot take this door. The 25 sign is hanging by one nail, half up and half down. Maybe – you could take this door. The 10 sign is fully up. Yes – you should take this door. [Credit with a hint: H. Goyteki] [Credit: White Raven] This solution is reinforced by the open arrangement of the doors. The blank space over the unmarked door is the same orientation as the “NO” sign (facing to the left). The “MAYBE” sign is the same orientation (pointed straight at the viewer) as the 25 sign. The “YES” sign is the same orientation as the 10 sign (facing to the right). [Independent Credit: Aria | White Raven] Reinforcing this further, the arm of the person leaving (signifying “go”) points up through the “YES” sign to the “10″ sign. [Credit: Dave Gentile] Also the narrow corner of the 10 sign and the narrow corner of the “YES” sign point like an arrow to one another, while the narrow corner of the “MAYBE” sign and the narrow corner of the 25 sign point to one another. [Credit: Aria] [See Related Images]

● On the sign “JIBE PINE COMPASS” all point to the word “needle.” A jibe (not the boating term) is an insulting quip, which is sometimes called a needle. A pine tree has needles, as do compasses. There are three things with eyes — a needle, a potato, the ship in the painting. [Credit: Owen Hammer / Jimmy Williams] The picture on the right is not the Washington Monument but an obelisk known as Cleopatra’s Needle. [Credit: Naomi Alderman] The needle represents the number one while the eye represents a zero. “Needle”&”Eye”=10 the number of the correct door. [Independent Credit: David Gentile | White Raven] Needles have eyes thus every needle reference can be seen as both a 1 and a 0, [Credit: vewatkin]

● The ship in the painting is sailing toward Door 10, the correct door, indicating that we travel in that direction. [Independent Credit: SP | White Raven] The phrase, “…and chatted about where they had been and where they should go.” Is a reference to the ship travelling from the direction of the unmarked door (where they had been) to Door 10 (where they should go). [Independent Credit: vewatkin | White Raven]

● The walking cane labeled “QUICK” which is pointing at door 25 is a hurry-cane/”hurricane” [Credit: Owen Hammer] this warns against entering door 25. [Independent Credit: SP | White Raven] This solution is reinforced by the sailing ship solution above. [Independent Credit: Aria | White Raven] This may also be reinforced by the night scene picture being behind the stern of the ship, cloudy in the picture of the ship, with light ahead. [Credit: SP]

● The 25 door and unmarked door are both in shaded, whereas the 10 door is lit up in comparison. [Independent Credit: Wanderer | White Raven] Combining this with the solutions above, the sailing ship must go past the hurricane toward the light. [Independent Credit: Aria | White Raven]

● The downward arrows on the wallpaper and reference in the text to “Everyone sat down, some on the floor…” directs our attention to the floor. There are 10 visible feet on the furniture, indicating door 10. [Credit: vewatkin] The foot of the man leaving draws our attention to the feet of the furniture – this hints that we should “follow the feet.” The chair (in the center) has 8 feet, the furniture on the left or right has one foot each, 8+1+1=10. [Credit: White Raven]

● The stripes on the couch pair with the squares on the pillow to create an approximation of a 10. The line of the monument pairs with the circle of the moon to make a 10. [Independent Credit: David Gentile | White Raven] The line of the mast pairs with the circle of the eye on the ship to make a 10. [Credit: White Raven] The ship’s “mast” is actually a glowing white rope making the 1 more evident. [Credit: vewatkin]

● The lines in the chair pair with the eyes in the potato to make an approximation of 10. [Credit: vewatkin]

● In the text is the word “felt” which is an anagram for “left.” In this room as well as the other two rooms in which the word “felt” occurs (11, 25) the correct door is the the left door. [Credit: Hidden Mystery / Beelzebibble]

● The text reads, “”Magpies!” I said to myself. “Not a real thought in their heads.”" “Magpies” is a reference to the fortune telling device from the 1700s turned nursery rhyme commonly referred to as “One For Sorrow.” [Independent Credit: Aria | White Raven]
The line, “Not a real thought in their heads.” may be a reference to the superstitious nature of the rhyme. A popular version of the rhyme reads…
“One for sorrow
Two for mirth
Three for a wedding
Four for a birth
Five for silver
Six for gold
Seven for a secret not to be told
Eight for a wish
Nine for a kiss
Ten for a bird you must not miss”
The last line refers to not missing a golden opportunity, in this case the correct door, 10. [Credit: White Raven]

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320 thoughts on “Room 34

  1. Abyssians,

    In finishing this room off I went through my solution list and added a small one which I believed had not been mentioned. Aria pointed out that it had been mentioned. Credit to Aria and SP for the ship moving from darkness, past the hurricane, and into the light. Sorry for missing this.

    White Raven

  2. Five fingers, hand points to 10
    Five toes, line of foot points to 10
    5 + 5 = 10


    Five fingers, hand points through E = 5 to 10, 5 + 5 = 10

    And maybe you could see 25 as representing 2 x 5… this either supports or muddies the solution ideas, can’t tell which.

    • Haha, MAY = 5 for the 5th month
      BE = B = 2
      Did somebody already notice this? It’s interesting but I don’t see how it helps because it could indicate 25 or 10 (5 x 2)…

    • Here is what Googling got me:

      May 2nd was the premiere of the Jack Benny show…and in the movie “It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad world” Jack Benny wears a bowler hat!

      Solved!? :)

  3. I don’t know, we can see HALF of Bowler Hat, who is pointing at and going through the YES door, and half a YES is MAYBE, sort of. Reinforced by the M shape made by his arm and coat and the door, which is DEFINITELY THERE.

    The only bright spot on Bowler Hat is his heel, which points towards 10 and the bright MAYBE door.

    (May I humbly suggest that everyone waiting for the next first of the month check out this room? Maybe we can finish it in that time. The remaining stuff here is easy, according to WR, and he’s given lots of hints in the comments…)

    • There are quite a few oars depicted here so I guess I have to try each one.

    • Yes. Those symbols go waaaaaay back, 60s at least. I dont know if there is anything here about that. What is “maybe?”

    • in computer science the closest that comes to maybe is “or” (+, v, or ⊻), but this doesn’t really hit the nail on the head because it could apply to more than two states (on and off).

  4. Could there be a “golden mean” thing going on here?

    It’s not that unusual in itself to have five instances of “or” (gold) in a page of text, but “or parlor” is an odd thing to add when “middle-class drawing room” would have been fine on its own.

    The two side-by-side instances of “or” are striking. Further, “par l’or” means “by the gold” in French. Also, we have oars on the ship. And I guess we can think of the sunshine in the room as being golden as well, and imparting a golden glow to the MAYBE door, which you could also consider to be the “middle way” or golden mean between YES and NO.

    It would be nice if the ratio of sides on the golden part of the door gave us the golden ratio, but it doesn’t quite. Still!

    • Also, hmmm, in heraldry, “or” is symbolized by “a field of evenly spaced dots” in a pattern just like the pattern made by the arrows in the wallpaper.

    • Gold also mentioned in magpie rhyme, and “golden opportunity” used by WR in describing that solution. (As a HINT?)

    • Aria,

      My comments on this site do not contain conscious subtle hints (there is no accounting for the subconscious). Any intended hints are overt.

  5. To go with the light/dark solution of the doors: The NO door has a moon next to it, 25 has the clouds in the ship painting (as well as a shadowy figure in it), while 10 has… well, the best I can do is that the MAYBE door is radiating like the sun.

    There is also the simple fact that YES + NO + MAYBE = 10 letters.

    • Yes + o(a)r + no = maybe

      Perhaps reinforced by all of the instances of “or” in the first paragraph?

    • Actually, there are five instances. If these “visible ORs” correspond to the OARS on one side of a ship, like the one in the painting, then there should be five more on the other side: TEN.

    • Plus which, the couch is a comfy spot for people to sit while third-tier celebrities sketch clues madly on that nice white door.

  6. If the boat in the picture is indeed the ship of Theseus (which seems probably, despite our having called it the Argo a million times), the good/bad implications of white and black sails could relate to the bright door to 10 and the darkness in the doorway to 25.

  7. Well, there is a perfect M shape made by the arm and coat of top hat (or bowler hat or whoever) and the edge of the door. It matches the shape of the M in MAYBE on the sign of the correct door.

    WR did say it was simple.

    Perhaps the fact that his hand points to YES is part of this… YES this M shape is telling you to go to the MAYBE door.

    Then you have a NO sign beside a picture of nighttime, meaning you stay away from the dark doors (YES and NO), and choose the bright door (MAYBE).

    • You could reinforce this with his fingers on his hand also making an M shape and pointing through YES to 10.

    • Grasping at straws here. Eight words starting with M in the text, plus Man (with M shapes reinforcing), plus MAYBE = 10 M words. Counting being reinforced by Magpies rhyme thing.

      Really feel like that M with Bowler Hat’s arm has got to be something.

  8. Hmmm. This is posted on the solutions board:
    ● The Yes and No doors are both in shadow, whereas the Maybe door is blinding in comparison. [Independent Credit: Wanderer | White Raven] [Note: This solution is incomplete]

    So it looks like WR is not using the light and dark doors as part of the hurricane/boat solution but as part of the as-yet-undiscovered YES NO MAYBE solution. Does this help?

    • We also don’t have anything on the hand of guy-who-is-leaving. Is that also part of the YES NO MAYBE solution?

    • MAYYYYYYYYBE the door to 10 will lead you to the light–maybe not, since there are still a few places to go astray. But YES the door to 25 will lead to darkness (confusion, what-have-you). NO the unmarked door won’t take you anywhere.

  9. Two attempts at YES NO MAYBE:
    1. “Middle class” in the text refers to Maybe being in the middle of Yes and No. The group is comfortable, suggesting Maybe is the correct door.

    2. The question is “Is someone going through the door?” The answer is Yes (there is a man going through the door), No (the door is not an exit), and Maybe (it’s not possible to see from our angle). Maybe is the odd-one-in as it is the only answer unresolved. Also, by your decision you either resolve it to Yes or No, and Yes > No.

    • Well, hell, I guess I just could have said Yes and No are absolutes and Maybe is not, odd-one-in, and skipped all the meta stuff.

  10. Argh. Trying again on this YES-MAYBE-NO solution that we can’t seem to get…

    Yes sign is aligned with left wall. That’s the direction you go. Reinforced by pointing hand of guy-who-is-leaving.
    Maybe sign is aligned with back wall. Taking the doorway in the back wall is okay but not great.
    No door is aligned with its own doorway, the right-hand wall. You can’t go that way because it is locked.

    I feel like this has been said, maybe, but I cannot bring myself to read the comments again. Sorry if it’s a repeat! :)

    C’mon. Let’s finish this room! What else could it be???

  11. Giving YES NO MAYBE another shot.
    NO is NO because — the door is locked. Can’t go there. No signs point at NO.
    The sign for 10 looks like it is pointing at YES — 10 is the best door.
    The sign for 25, because of the way it is torn, looks like it is pointing at MAYBE — 25 is an okay door.

    Also — the guy in the doorway has LEFT and his LEFT hand is pointing through YES at 10, reinforcing that we take the LEFT-hand door.

    • Pffffft, hey, that’s nothing, let’s get REAAAAALLLLLLL stupid. If we’re extending this seafaring interpretation, the bright door 10 represents clear, sunny skies, whereas the darkened doors represent etc.


      The dude’s three fingers could relate to the three doors somehow, then throw your left junk on top of that.

    • Oh, sorry, you had already stated that, albeit without the deprecation, which is probably the most important part.

  12. Wow, I can’t believe I didn’t notice this before.

    All the eye stuff is pretty much on the facing wall (potato eye, eye on boat). Aye is “yes” in the olde tongue, and AYE appears hidden inside MAYBE. That being said, the problem is the eye/ayes are on the wrong door/wall.

    • I guess both the potato and ship, the items with eyes, are both “pointing” more to the mAYbE door than their own wall near 25.

  13. We’re chatting on Google hangouts and something sp said made me wonder… has anyone just said “cane + quick” = hurricane, hurricanes are bad, don’t go through door 25? (Leaving out the eye stuff.)

    In rereading what WR wrote (reproduced below), that still seems a possible interpretation…



    The hurry-cane solution as it has been presented is – “A hurricane has an eye and thus this is another case of an “eye” in this room.” This might be the case but I doubt it. If Manson intended this to mean “eye” then the obvious conclusion is the Door 25 is the “eye” door since the cane points to Door 25. Since the eyes in the room refer to the zero in 10 this is highly problematic. So my best guess is that Manson was not thinking that hurricanes have eyes as part of the solution to the cane riddle, and even if he was, almost certainly not as the main solution. I have a solution to the cane riddle which overcomes this difficulty and is more simple than “quick-cane = hurricane; hurricane = eye.” I can only hope that when someone else finds this solution that you will agree.

    White Raven”

    • Just to be totally clear, it’s a warning against 25 b/c it is pointing to 25. And means hurricane.

    • Maybe this is all connected… the ship is sailing towards the correct door in fair weather. The correct door is blindingly white, indicating sunshine.

      If the ship encounters the hurricane, it will be blown off course to 25 — with a fittingly dark door indicating the hurricane storm clouds are blocking the sun.

    • Maybe it’s the strong winds of the hurricane that have blown the 25 sign partly off its nails…

    • I gotta be honest, it would be a bit insulting to all of us if this very simple solution were not recognized just because we didn’t word it right, I cannot take credit for this solution because I first heard it from Anchorperson Smith. I think it goes without saying, quite literally, that hurricanes are bad and therefore 25 is the wrong door. If this can’t be garnered by WR so far, then I’d say we have bigger communication problems and I would rethink the way we post on this site. I prefer being colloquial but if we have to spell things out explicitly, please let us know, White Raven.

      If this is NOT the solution , then the intrigue continues and we have work to do.

      Just to clarify, I am not referring to “eye of the hurricane”, as tempting as this may be. Being in the eye of a hurricane is pretty safe as there is no wind there, so there would be no reason for a fairly benevolent thing to point to the wrong room. But Room 34 is not the center of anything, so it’s back to “hurricane” by itself, and the nature of hurricanes (if indeed this solution is correct).

    • I’m not seeing any post on here that simply suggests that because hurricanes are bad 25 is bad, or connecting the hurricane to the ship (Odysseus, anyone?).

    • It had been discussed at some point outside the Abyss that there was the volcano eruption in 10 by the wronf door, and the hurricane in 34 pointed to the wrong door, with the natural disastery theme going on there. If it’s that’s simple, I guess the volcano should qualify as essentially the same idea. If this is more directly related to the boat (which could be Odysseus’s ship, also routinely depicted with an eye, etc.), then the hurricane is specific to this room and not just a generic natural disaster. The Odyssey theme fits somewhat with the idea of the group resting here and telling stories about where they’ve been and where they’re going, something Odysseus does in some palace before going back out to the ocean and getting blown all over the place when some jerk opens a bag of wind at the wrong time.

      Hey, and Odysseus went to Egypt! Hello there, Cleopatra’s needle. I don’t think he ate any potatoes, unfortunately.

    • The handle of the cane looks suspiciously like the stern of the ship… the hurricane has capsized the ship!

    • Aria,

      Yes indeed! This simple solution (door 25 = hurricane, ship sailing past to door 10) is what I had in mind.

      Nice job!

      White Raven

    • SP (& Owen Hammer),


      I do not believe there is any miscommunication. Until now no one has mentioned that hurricanes are bad, or that door 25 is wrong because of being connected with the hurry-cane.

      1. Owen Hammer, who first mentioned the hurry-cane, connected it with eyes, saying nothing about it being bad for sailing, a natural disaster, worth avoiding, or anything of that ilk.

      2. Vewatkin mentioned “hurricane” in the same sentence as the Argo but did so in reference to eyes not the story.

      3. You mentioned the hurry-cane pointing to door 25 as one of three false clues.

      Apart from people wondering why I haven’t confirmed the hurry-cane=eye solution that’s it, I am not privy to the Google+ discussions, perhaps it was mentioned there?

      White Raven

    • FYI: There are only a few really simple solutions left in the book that I am aware of, one of these is the YES MAYBE NO riddle.

    • The only time I remember it being discussed in the Google Hangout was in the context of 10 and 34 being joined rooms with indications of natural disasters associated with incorrect doors. As far as I know, this recent string here was the first time the hurricane was connected to the idea of the ship sailing across the room.

    • Haha, this Hangouts conversation I’m remembering seems to have existed mainly in my imagination. Here is the actual dialogue:

      Vincent Watkins: Hurricane, volcano


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