Room 39

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…what looked like a combination wine cellar and junk room. Someone had been working here as well.

“This is more to my taste,” said one, dusting off some labels. All the bottles turned out to be empty.

“I hear someone hammering,” said one.

“No, that’s a chopping sound,” said another.

None of them heard the faint jingling that came from behind the wall. “I don’t hear anything,” I said loudly and, with as much commotion as possible, hurried them out of the room to…

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

 

Room Type: PATH     Doors:  4  11  12

Solution Summary: [COLLECTION CURATED BY WHITE Raven. SEE COMMENTS FOR ADDITIONAL SOLUTION PROPOSALS.]

● The correct door is 4. [Credit: Unknown - during the 1985 contest.]

● The part of the Riddle of the Path in this room is “O” (the white wall tire) and “R” [Credit: Unknown - prior to 1990.]

● The 1×1=2 on the multiplication table are indicators of the wrong doors 11 & 12 [Independent Credit: Beelzebibble | White Raven] The multiplication table is a table of squares. 4 is the sum of a square, 11 and 12 are not. [Independent Credit: Hidden Mystery | White Raven] The last line of the multiplication table is blank, it should read 11 x 11 = 121. The numbers in the incorrect doors 11 and 12. [Credit: Aria]

● The jingling, the jingle hat, and the bricked up wall all point to Edger Allen Poe’s famous short story, “The Cask of Amontillado.” [Credit: Ian Finley] In the story a man, Montresor, guides another man, Fortunato, who is tipsy, into a deep winding cellar to show him some wine, and then traps him there by shackling him in a small room and bricking over the door. The trowel points to the correct door (indicating the door Montresor left by) while a tilted wine barrel leans toward one incorrect door and a wine bottle points to the other incorrect door (poor Fortunato is both tipsy and lured to his doom by wine). [Independent Credit: Wanderer/David G/Vewatkin | White Raven]

● In “The Cask of Amontillado,” the number of tiers of bricks (eleven) used to brick up (trap) Fortunato is emphasized for dramatic effect. This suggests we avoid door 11 which leads to the trap. [Independent Credit: Aria | White Raven] While the hour of Fortunato’s entombment (midnight) is meant to dissuade us from door 12. [Credit: Aria] Midnight is the time the last brick is laid which is the moment captured in the image of this room via the missing brick.

● The sign which appears to say “THIS WAY” with the “THI” cut off in fact says “SWAY”. This is a reference to Fortunto’s drunken state as emphasized in the description of Fortunato at the beginning of the story, “The gait of my friend was unsteady, and the bells upon his cap jingled as he strode.” We should avoid the door marked “SWAY” because being drunk led Fortunato to his doom. [Independent Credit: LBJMFA | White Raven] Alternately (or perhaps along with) “SWAY” could refer to Montressor’s swaying Fortunato to follow him. [Note: The Poe solution is incomplete]

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146 thoughts on “Room 39

  1. Okay, okay, I’m sorry, last one. For tonight.

    The number 11 is actually hidden in the word Amontillado itself! This is especially true if you consider that on old-fashioned typewriters, you used to have to use the “el” key — there was no “1″ on the keyboard. So you can think of the word as being Amonti11ado.

    The Amontillado being the cause of Fortunato’s demise, it’s obviously BAD, so don’t take 11.

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  2. Here’s some more. In the story, it takes Montresor 11 tiers of stones to finish walling up poor old Fortunato. So for Fortunato, 11 = death. Don’t take door 11.

    This also reinforces the connection between the table and Fortunato’s door/wall. The table is incomplete; the 11 x 11 row would complete it.

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    • Aria,

      Congratulations! It would be more solid if there were 11 tiers in the illustration – there are 20 in the light, 2 in the dark, and presumably another 1 or 2 behind the sign. And the final brick is not at the top like it is in the story – but Manson often doesn’t make things this easy. Good job!

      Still more Poe to go…

      White Raven

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    • SWAY (meaning “a rhythmical movement from side to side”) is a reference to the pendulum from The Pit and the Pendulum, a Poe story about a terrible torture device (involving a sharp, SWAYing pendulum) in which some poor guy is TRAPPED.

      Don’t go to 11.

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  3. The duck is facing left and up, towards the jingle hat, further indicating its importance. The shape of the feathers on its crest echoes the shape of the jingle hat. There are 3 feathers pointing in each direction, matching “3 by 3″ in the table below. 3 x 3 = 9, connecting to the 9 jingle bells on the left pointing to the correct door. Or perhaps drawing attention to the 9 x 9 line on the table.

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    • (Or three times three could refer to the 3 + 3 feathers on the head, and the 3 ribbons dangling from the tail.)

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  4. I wonder if 9 x 9 on the times table refers to the nine bells on each side of the jingle hat. The = 81 part is hidden, suggesting it is just the 9 by 9 itself that is important. Another hint that we follow the jingle bells. Also, the 9s look like eyes looking up and to the left at door 4.

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    • The space at the bottom suggests that the table is unfinished, making it another piece of unfinished business in the room.

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    • The missing row would be 11 x 11 = 121, all numbers found on the wrong doors. The fact that it is missing indicates that these doors are wrong, just as the wrong math in the first row involving the same digits indicates they are wrong.

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    • I’m going to restate this in a slightly different way.

      We have a table of squares of odd numbers. Let’s just take that as a given for a minute without examining it.

      In the table as written, the numbers 1 and 2 appear in the first row, which has a mistake. The number 1 appears in the 9 x 9 row as part of 81 (we assume), but it is covered up. The final row, which is missing, is 11 x 11 = 121, containing only the numbers of the incorrect doors.

      So in the first row they appear as a mistake, in the final row they are missing, which could be seen as another mistake, or as a piece of unfinished business, or both, and the 9 x 9 row the 1 is covered up. These things — mistake, missing, covered — seem negative, which reinforces the idea that they are indicating the wrong doors. Also they indicate both doors, unlikely for a positive indication.

      This also explains why Manson would choose to use a table of squares of odd numbers: a table that included squares of even numbers would have lots more instances of 1s and 2s and 4s, making it a lot more difficult to construct a workable puzzle out of it.

      The number 4 appears only once in this table, in 49, and it is in a row that does not contain an error. Difficult to tell whether the pipe is supposed to be obscuring or pointing, but I’d vote pointing based on everything else.

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  5. The only way to get into this room is via 12. The row of jingle bells along the hat leads from 12 to 4. This is why the Guide doesn’t want the visitors to hear the jingling.

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    • The visitors come down the ladder, interrupting Montresor in the process of walling up Fortunato. Montresor flees but the jingle hat SHAPED LIKE AN M tells us, he went thattaway… to 4.

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    • I guess you could see the left side of the jingle hat as pointing to the trowel, but this works just as well.

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    • One problem with a solution that makes use of 12 being the only entrance to the room is that the reader wouldn’t know that 39 can’t be reached from 11 or 4. (If they had a good memory they would remember 4 didn’t go there, but they only could have visited 11 on a separate reading.)

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    • That’s true, but if you are a visitor in the Maze, you DID come from 12, so what you see is something leading you from where you came to where you’re supposed to go. Would you stop and think, but what if I came from another door? Are we supposed to think about that as readers? I don’t know. It seems fairly reasonable that Manson would do something with a one-entrance room that would make use of the fact that you definitely came in that one door. Maybe here it’s just the fact that you came down a ladder, which makes sense in the context of the Poe story.

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  6. The doorway to 11 is noticeably darker than the others. Darkness = bad in the story of Cask of Amontillado b/c Fortunato is walled up in the dark (after the torch goes out) and dies a presumably terrible death there. So don’t take door 11.

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  7. Maybe the tube pointing to the “4″ in 49 is actually a pipe, a play on words relating to the (probably nonexistent) “pipe of Amontillado” that Montresor used to lure Fortunato to his doom. (A pipe in that context is a large barrel.)

    This doesn’t seem to work with the general solution principle here that anything wine-related is bad b/c it resulted in Fortunato’s downfall, but there it is…

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    • (Sorry if the pipe connection has already been mentioned — I re-scanned the comments but may have missed it.)

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    • I guess a better way to put it is that the pipe, representing the deceptive “pipe” of Amontillado, is hiding the 4, thereby trying to hide the correct door/escape from us.

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  8. Perhaps this has already been said, but I think rooms 39 and 4 form a time-warp pair like 37 and 10. The visitors in 39 hear a “hammering” and “chopping” sound of workers in 4, and the visitors in 4 hear the “faint voices” of themselves exiting “with as much commotion as possible” from 39.

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    • Mirlan,

      You could be right.

      In Room 15 the visitors hear a thump and footsteps. In Room 11 the guide says “Don’t touch that!” In Room 24 a doomed resident says “Be careful where you step!” and then there is the bellowing laugh. These are the only sound related references in the other rooms connected to Room 4.

      Of course there is talking in all the rooms but only this one makes a point regarding sound which could be talking. On the other hand, a “commotion” is not necessarily voices.

      Still, you could be right.

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  9. Tree overlaps door 11 so it goes with that, not door 4.

    Trees grow straight up in a line like a 1, there are 1s in 11 and 12 but not 4, but the tree isn’t much like a 1.

    The sign in 11 says sway and trees sway in the wind.

    The barrels are wood and the tree is wood.

    Random or clues?

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  10. i’m uploading the podcast, it should be online in a few minutes on our maze youtube channel.

    i didn’t attend but will add my 2 cents: i think the concept of four is echoed by the square shaped slabs of stone in the corner near door 4, while everything else in the room associated with the other doors are round/cylindrical. i guess this add’s to vince’s thoughts on how the trowel corner indicates four and the other objects are ‘empty’ both literally and figuratively.

    maybe the “s way” sign also points to 4 since it’s four sided as well, not 11, despite its location.

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    • Looking to the “four” in “Fortunato” has quietly been assigned to the category of “too dumb to be a real thing” for some reason; I’ve never had a problem with it, and it seemed implausible to me that Manson didn’t notice it BUT WHATEVER

      What occurred to me after the webcast last night, though, was that the Guide’s attempts to cover up Fortunato’s noise–at the same time that he’s trying to obscure the sounds of hammering and chopping–ties in very well with the idea that he’s trying to distract the group from signals pointing to Room 4.

      What is the Guide trying to hide? Hammering, chopping, Fortunato…

      I DON’T KNOW, MAN, IT SEEMS PRETTY GOOD TO ME.

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    • Oh, I see why that thinking is rejected: associating 4 with Fortunato creates a problem with the Fortunato-(11 and 12), Montresor-4 thing.

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    • despite the room dynamic with fortunato, the guide is nonetheless drawing attention away from him. good enough for me.

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  11. We covered this room on the mazecast last night, link probably forthcoming.

    A few little tidbits of mine that I don’t think have been verbalized yet: according to the short story, Montresor evades arrest for Fortunato’s murder for at least fifty years unto the present day when he’s relating the tale, strengthening the association of Montresor with escape; the logical way to fill in the gap at the bottom of the times table is 11×11=121, whose absence may work in conjunction with 1×1=2 to get us suspicious of the digits 1 and 2 (funny that there are two rooms where we’re left to supply the bottom entry of a list, as in the sundial room); the tube that’s obscuring the “4″ in “49″ may be meant to suggest an escape route, as we could “follow” the 4 through the tube; and while it’s easy to interpret the sign as “THIS WAY”, you also have to wonder if there’s something to do with just the letters we have — “SWAY”, which I don’t think anyone else has mentioned so far.

    Vince has an A++ solution involving that sign though and I’ll let him explain!!!!!! Seriously, it was a great episode and I’m just putting out a few of my thoughts, which were by no means the big star topics of the chat.

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  12. I know the RO relates to SHOULDERS but maybe it also points to the ROw of bottles? Just half a thought at this point.

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  13. Some other atypical frequencies I feel are fairly clear, here is one that is not, and if we really want a battle ground where the assumptions you make are going to make all the difference here is one:

    7 words by my count begin with “h” here and and upside down “h” looks like a 4 and the correct exit. “h” is about 6% of the letters in typical English. There are 90-some words on the page, so we should expect 3-4 words beginning with “h” by chance. I plug it in to a Poisson dist function and find that 7 words would happen 3% of the time. But that assumes no correlations, however words can be “clumpy” because when you are on a topic you may repeat a term. In this text we have “hear”,”hear”,”heard”. Accounting for this would be much more complex. But we could suppose that the repetition of forms of “hear” was non-accidental and that the rest of the “h”s are noise, and then we have no indicator at all. Or, he could have chose to repeat forms of “hear” in part to get more “h”s.

    Then we have the issue WR raised – There could be say 100 sorts of different clues we should look for. So by frequency alone, we’d have to reject this but…then I have a solution in this room involving the 4H group, and the 4H groups shows up in room 15 where many pictured objects beginning with “H” and “H” is part of the riddle of the path….so….I’m not going to pretend one simple calculation will answer this one. first of all, it is going to depend on if you accept the 4H solutions, before there is even a question here, etc…. In might depend if we have explanations for the repetition of the word “hear” we prefer, and we will end up with competing paradigms. And, who knows, maybe there are other “h” supporting clues we are missing.

    As it stands I don’t think one can make a fully scientific/quantitative judgement here. It can be informed by calculation, but not decided by it. This one will just come down to how you prefer to see things, what other information you have, what assumptions you make, what paradigm you are operating in, etc… I for example find I am unable to assign a meaningful probability to it being intentional at this point in time, but that could change with more information. I would not put it on any sort of clearly confirmed list, nor can I reject it out-of-hand.

    I’ll make a record of it with a note that says some of what i say above. It’s has potential, could be a fragment, but as it stands can’t be accepted as a quality solution or indicator, IMO (but possibly useful for illustrations and discussions)

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  14. Although if we did involve Pythagoras, (and why not since he was all into mystical number relationships) – we could note that 25 and 9 are on the table. The only two squares fully and correctly given. Suppose the represent the squares of 2 sides of a right triangle, with 25 being the square of the hypotenuse. Well then the square of the remaining side is 25-9=16, and the length of that side is the square root of 16 = 4.

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  15. The turned out bottle is the fourth one if you count the tiny bit of one we can see.

    There are sets of 4 barrel rings in 3 different places. Under the tree, by the 12, and by the bird. In each case 4 are visible.

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    • Et tu, Dave? I pointed that out below! Although, I’m not sure whether the tube is pointing to the 4 or covering it up. The latter interpretation better accords with the rest of the room’s pattern of clues, I think.

      If this gets any points, credit should go to Hidden Mystery.

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    • Or Dave’s wife, independently. I asked her to give me a simple way the sign indicates door 4 – and there you go.

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  16. And your solution summay is wrong.

    “4 is the sum of a square”

    There is no sum involved there. 4 is the product of 2×2. Or 4 is the square of an integer number (2). I think you are thinking of part of the Pythagorean theorem where the square of the hypotenuse is the sum of the squares of the other two sides.

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  17. And today in the speculation about *exactly* why the table is *exactly* like it is I still have “including 2×2=4 would not let us find the answer ourselves, and 2×2=? would be too obvious”

    And WR writes: “Rereading it I am still not sure you had this solution”

    Dave: Seriously?!? WTF else could I reasonably be doing there, except noting the missing square that is the correct answer ?

    And again 2012: It is a table of squares of odd numbers… 2 x 2 = and then the correct answer is the correct door, “4”.

    Dave now writes: Am I to infer from that that you think that it is possible I did not realize, given the above , that 4 was a square?

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    • I’d rather get between a crackhead and his rocks than get between David Gentile and his puzzle points.

      Seriously, though, I’m guessing his frustration isn’t about points exactly, but just about people ignoring what he says. I’m as culpable as anyone in this regard; I try to keep up with Dave’s posts, but when I feel like he’s gone off the deep end I tend to just start skipping ahead. (Not saying that’s what happened here, just saying that that exacerbates these kinds of situations, because it’s irritating and a little insulting to be ignored.)

      It looks like David knew that 4 was a square and that the table showed squares. That said, let the kid keep his damn points, eh, Dave?

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    • I’m totally fine with giving Hidden Mystery points. That was the thought behind my first post this morning. It’s not a big deal.

      The real frustration set in after I pulled up my 2012 page. I mean yeah I’ve been posting fast here and who knows how clearly but…blah blah…Moving on….

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    • Not this is a vote or anything, but I understand both WR’s “I didn’t get it” post below and I understand David’s frustration. When I read the text WR copied in from David’s site, I too said, “Huh? What is he trying to say?” (I was reading the word “including” as the wrong kind of speech, for one.) But now, reading it more carefully, I see that it did indeed say essentially the right thing.

      Some of it comes down to our philosophy of how complex the puzzles are at their root. I keep up with what everyone is saying here, but when the answer seems unnecessarily complex, I often skip ahead, as v mentioned. But when a solution is elegant, when it has the feeling of “Manson might actually have expected some people to figure that one out,” when it leans toward the simple side–then I pay more attention.

      So will we eventually land here on many of the points David wrote about on his site? I’m totally sure we will. I’m totally sure he has tons of solid work there. But I prefer this place because of the smaller chunks, the simpler reasoning, the “let’s get it all done together” mentality, the camaraderie. I’m rambling now, but I’m essentially with v: everyone’s right, but it’s ok, let’s get to work.

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    • Thanks Kyle. If you are reading along as you say an “Oh that makes sense” or a “What the heck are you saying?” might help me out in that respect.

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  18. We can “hear” evidence of both the victim and the murderer, according to medieval tradition we could say we know their existence via faith, then. Does this help?

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  19. This room is chock full of Poe. But, it is also the easiest room in some ways. This room indicates the next room is ‘x’ (4 is the only # a multiple of a # (4,9,16,25,36) and their are two bigger clues as well.

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    • Haha, “we part upon the square.” I didn’t think of that before, but the Masonic stuff could certainly tie in with that.

      (“We meet upon the level and we part upon the square,” I don’t know much about freemasonry but I’ve heard this one, and a second of googling confirma that, yes, it’s some masonic thing that means something.)

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    • Hidden mystery: yes that one is on my page too. But there is more here according to White Raven that is not on my page.

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    • It’s also on this page, somewhere in the comments; didn’t realize it wasn’t up in the solutions.

      That clue alone wouldn’t tell you to go to 4; in fact (etc etc blah blah blah comments here adequately address solutions)

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    • Hidden Mystery.

      Congratulations on interpreting another of the riddles of the table of squares! Two more riddles regarding the table to go…

      White Raven

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    • David Gentile,

      Here and on your site you write:

      “Why only odd squares? I think, but am not sure, that it is simply this – including 2×2=4 would not let us find the answer ourselves, and 2×2=? would be too obvious, and omitting just the 2×2 would also be too obvious. Omitting the even squares makes it more puzzling. But, also, thinking of even and odd might bring to mind the coin flipping in room 4 where we are going, and where we can hear chopping and hammering. In that room the lights on the wall can represent bits.”

      If you had the solution and were trying to convey it using this paragraph it didn’t work. Rereading it I am still not sure you had this solution since your focus was on the connection to the contents of room 4 itself. It’s just rather confusingly written. Sorry.

      White Raven

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    • WR, not a big deal but no the paragraph about the 7×7 is not where I thought is was covered. The relevant paragraph starts with the incorrect first line that indicate doors 11 and 12 and focuses on correcting that to make 2×2=(4 the relevant square.

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    • I thought it had been amply covered as well, but while I see it mentioned that 4 is a square and that’s a table of squares, I don’t see the plain statement that the table of squares MEANS that 4 is the right door, so I think it’s another case where some were thinking it but failing to say it, and some were thinking it had already been said.

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    • Well, yes, my page today does sort of assume the obvious. I looked up 2012 on wayback. Here is what is stated then:

      The multiplication table indicates the correct door for us. It is a table of squares of odd numbers, but incorrectly states that 1 x 1 = 2. I think we are supposed to “re-arrange” that into 2 x 2 = and then the correct answer is the correct door, “4”.

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    • All of which suggests that sometimes trying to “enhance” solutions to try to figure out what detail WR may be looking for may not be enhancing them at all.

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    • So since I have it up – these are the other two simple exit indicators I had in 2012:

      The “hammering” and “chopping” sound are also intended to lead us back to room 4. Finally, there is one bottle out of place in the rack (brought to our attention in the text). It “points” over towards “4” other bottles. (And the tag on the bottle we might guess says “4”).

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  20. “He had a weak point — this Fortunato — although in other regards he was a man to be respected and even feared. He prided himself on his connoisseurship in wine.”

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    • Given the amount of wine Montersotor got Fortunato to drink, shouldn’t Fortunato be dead from alcohol poisoning?

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  21. The jingling tells us the prisoner is still alive. The murderer has left the task unfinished. He needs a torch to drop in before adding the last brick. He went to room 4 to grab supplies. Candle, matches , wood.

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