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


● 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]


144 thoughts on “Room 39

  1. According to, “square odds” means “fair shake,” “fifty-fifty,” “even odds” and the like. Perhaps the times table here is related to that expression, and perhaps its includes an inaccuracy to suggest a lack of true “square odds.”

    Unrelatedly: I was thinking about this sign in comparison to the list of time periods in Room 13. Interestingly, they both contain an error in their first line, and a blank space at the bottom that we know how to fill in.

    • So on first read this just seemed like a cool connection, but thinking about the square odds thing… the idea honestly has me enamored.
      I mean, it’s SO mansonian. A list of odd numbers times themselves, so they’re squared, = square odds. Thinking about it it’s hard to believe he didn’t intend that, it’s so just so perfect.
      In maze it’s rare you can derive expressions through wordplay that make sense. With numbers it’s easier to make it look like they make sense, because you can do any random thing to numbers in a room and act like manson intended for you to multiply 4 chairs by 8 candles. But for words it’s obvious when something is pulled out of nowhere, because either wordplay/rhymes are there, or they’re… not. (cough sorry wbm cough)
      Very “F HOUR TREE,” very “flagon wagon.” They’re harder to argue against.

      But why did he do it? Not gonna lie, it feels a bit random to slip it into this room. Having a chance to be trapped and a chance to be right is kinda a quality of every room. Also, im not sure if he intended the “you dont really have squared odds” thing. The readers come from 12, so they have 2 options, one is right and one leads to the trap. Those kinda are squared odds I guess?
      I want to talk about this more, it’s kind of exciting me because it feels concrete- and has a direct meaning correlating to right and wrong choices.

    • And on the unrelated thing, huh! I like your ability to make connections between rooms (35 and 1, 7 and 15, this one). Room interconnectivity, despite being talked about in the directions, is almost never talked about here outside of vague suggestions of some sort of loop path from yours truly lol. Your specific examples are smart and we should keep them in mind

    • Yeah, this would seem to be insufficient motivation to include the math sign. Unless this sort of thing is sprinkled around Maze sort of arbitrarily as an indicator of the odds against you, I can’t think of a good reason to do such a thing here. If “square odds” is meant here, I assume we’re still missing parts of the picture.

    • Well, we do know something like this is at least in room 5, by the guide to indicate there are two correct answers.
      Hmmm, maybe it refers to how one of the options is 4? And how, since it’s guaranteed you already passed it, the readers might automatically assume it’s a wrong answer? So it’s saying, “no, you have square odds, don’t write it off”

  2. Of the 11 bottles in the rack, #4 is turned a different direction.

    There are also 4 bottles off to the side.

    There are also 4 piles of barrels.

    When I saw 1×1=2, I immediately thought 1 + 1 + 2 = 4. :)

  3. Now that the Riddle of the Guide is settled, it’s easy to see the nice visual pun here (and elsewhere) between the harlequin fool’s cap and the Minotaur’s horns….

  4. I couldn’t find this below so I’ll just put it here even though I feel like it must have been mentioned. There are 11 bottles visible in that trough, including the turned-out one. A further demon alcohol = bad = 11 connection. Also, from a 2-dimensional perspective, the arrangement of the bottles echoes the rows of bricks — another “don’t take 11″ connection.

  5. I guess those two pipes could be seen as an upside-down T pointing to the 4 in 49, just as the “T”rowel points to door 4…

    • Hahaha, OK this is kind of nuts, but you have the upside-down T, right, from the pipes, and then if you look at the times table row with 7s they look like upside-down Ls (“EL”). Row L.

      T + ROW + EL

      So you have a literal trowel pointing to door 4 and a puzzley “trowel” indicating “4″ as well.

  6. “It was now midnight, and my task was drawing to a close.”

    12 midnight, the hour of Fortunato’s doom.

    Avoid that there door 12 then…

    • Aria,

      This strikes me as a probable solution. The story is a very short story and it contains a normal amount of benign numbers such as…
      2 (torches)
      1 (torch)
      1 (evening)
      2 (eyes)
      3 (walls)
      4, 3, and 6 or 7 (measurements)
      1 (movement)
      2 (supports)
      50 (“half a century”)

      Three numbers however are associated with sinister intent at the climax of the story…
      2 (iron shackles)
      11 (layers of bricks)
      12 (midnight)

      In the story the 11 layers of bricks are emphasized dramatically, while the 2 iron shackles are the standard number of shackles and the number is not emphasized by Poe in the text. “Midnight” sits in between these extremes. Midnight is a reasonable time for this event to occur however it is dramatically mentioned as Montressor is laying the last (eleventh) tier of bricks…

      “It was now midnight, and my task was drawing to a close. I had completed the eighth, the ninth, and the tenth tier. I had finished a portion of the last and the eleventh; there remained but a single stone to be fitted and plastered in.”

      In this case the 11th tier and 12th hour coincide to suggest an apex to the story, the entombing of Fortunato…this moment is captured in Room 39 by the missing brick in the wall. By best guess is that door 12 and midnight go together, just like door 11 and the last tier of bricks.

      I am adding it to the solution summary!

      Great job!

      White Raven

    • Well, yay! In fact, I think it improves the “11 tier” solution because if 11 and 12 are both associated with the same macabre event — and in the same paragraph — and 4 is not, this becomes another “odd one in.” While before, you could maybe make an argument that the emphasis on 11 could be read either way, depending on what we know the correct door to be.

    • WR, does this mean that you have two more things left to find here? (One Poe thing and one times table thing, based on the comments?)

  7. SWAY= how one walks when one is drunk — ill-advised manner of travel. Therefore, door 11 isn’t a wise choice.

    • LBJMFA,

      Welcome to The Abyss!


      I am assuming in confirming this that you are aware of the connection to the Cask of Amontillado story.

      The S WAY sign can be taken either in the sense of Monstressor swaying Fortunato to his doom or in regards to Fortunato’s drunkenness. I suspect it is both but the specific mention of Fortunato’s walk in the story makes the drunken walk solution you mentioned more solid than the swaying of Fortunato by Montressor:

      “The gait of my friend was unsteady, and the bells upon his cap jingled as he strode.”

      So in this room we have both the jingling cap and the swaying walk used to describe poor Fortunato.

      I am bumping the solution meter up one!

      Good Job!

      White Raven

  8. Numbers…

    2 boxes at far end x 2 barrels at far end = 4

    3 wine bottles only 1 with a label = 3+1= 4

    11×11= 121, 1+2+1= 4


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