Room 4

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…the great hall of many doors.

“What a foolish face,” I snorted. “Pay no attention.”

A sound made them all turn suddenly. A small black cat ran out of a door to my right, sniffed at us, and, before I could move, ran out of the hall. It was fortunate that I was still standing with the rest of them or they might have noticed.

Faint voices came down one of the corridors.

“Shall we toss a coin?” I asked. “Or have you made up your minds?”

They hadn’t made up their minds, and they had no coins. By a process of elimination they decided to go to…

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


Room Type: PATH   Doors: 11  15  16  24  29  39  42  43  44


● The correct doors are 29 (on the way in) and 15 (on the way out). [Credit: Unknown - during the 1985 contest.]

● The parts of the Riddle of the Path in this room are “IT” (picked up on the way in) as illustrated by the candle and the hammer and the “L” (picked up on the way out) hidden in the maze image as “ELL.” [Credit: Unknown - prior to 1990.]

● Several words ending in “IT” are indicated in this room – to help identify the candle and hammer “IT.” The suggested words are “sit” (the chair), “hit” (the hammer and nails), “fit” (the pegs and holes), “unlit” (the candle). [Credit: Unknown - prior to 1990.]

● There are ten hands holding lights but only the two at the far end are lit (the light in this room comes from these two lights, not the sun symbol). The statement in the text “A small black cat ran out of a door to my right” points to the right lit hand from the vantage point of the sun symbol. Both doors to the sun’s right hand are correct [Credit: Hello Gregor]

● Also the 2 of 10 lit up lights reinforce the “two” theme in other riddles below. [Credit: White Raven]

● The ax is positioned to cover the correct two doors. [Independent Credit: SP | White Raven]

● The action verbs are either “yet to be done” or “has been done and should be done again” The “has been done and should be done again” group points to the correct doors. The hammer has been used to hit the nails but they are not all the way in, inviting that they be hit again – there are two nails, indicating that we do it twice, thus two doors – the hammer head points to the correct two doors. The ax has been used to split the wood but the one log is in not yet split, inviting us to complete the splitting. [Independent Credit: SP | White Raven]

● Each log is split into two, a suggestion that we must use two doors (not just one like usual). [Credit: White Raven]

● The head of the ax covers one door the handle “tail” of the ax the other door. The statement in the text about tossing coins points to this heads or tails choice of the ax. [Independent Credit: Hello Gregor | White Raven]

● The connection between the hammer and ax is reinforced in Room 39 by the chopping/hammering noise. [Credit: vewatkin]

● The peg and slot poster essentially says “in” “in” since both pegs are to be inserted in the slots and also ”in” “out” given its location on the left side of the room. The former reinforces the two door solution, the latter gives us the order. The top peg and slot on the poster represents Door 29 directly behind the poster, the lower peg and slot represents Door 15 behind Door 29. The order on the poster (29 above 15) indicates the order the door are to be taken. [Independent Credit: David G | White Raven]

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177 thoughts on “Room 4

    • “E L L” can be seen on the maze. E L L when added up using the alphabetical value is 5 + 12 + 12 = 29. Also, the words – split, lit, hit, fit, sit all have “it”, and these letters correspond to the alphabet as the ninth letter and twentieth letter. 9 + 20 = 29. Those are great riddles in this room!

  1. “… and they had no coins.”

    People without a coin are unable to pay Charon to ferry them across the River Styx, and they will wander the underworld hopelessly.

  2. There is a complementary clue that exists between rooms 4 and 29 depicting an action sequence. In the center of this room is an unlit candle with a slightly opened matchbox next to it—both the candle and matchbox point in the direction of room 29. When we go to room 29, there is a single lit candle in the visual center, further indicating the correct path. I believe there may be other clues like this throughout the MAZE depicting actions between rooms.

    • I think another connection between Room 4 and Room 29, one that has already been mentioned before I’m sure, is the torches in 4 and the staff/doorknob juxtaposition in 29. I don’t think the similarity between the hands holding the torches, with their circular bulbs, and the hand holding the staff, with the doorknob seen above it, is coincidental.

  3. For the poster solution I had a different idea. The poster would have been clear “fit” meaning also without the arrow.

    I believe the arrow significant in that it shows (goes into round form: round as in O which is numerical for 15) the numerical O = 15 is also shown in all the moons held by the hands but more prominently in the right hand lit moon under the sun face, which is made off of 2 circles instead of 1 as the left hand one. Maybe coincidence, but I don’t think so, as it marks an O perfectly.

    Another prominent O is on the table on the box of matches.

    So the table shoes IT = 29 (candle and hammer
    And it shows O = 15 the circle on the box

    And, maybe a bit far fetched, but nevertheless: 10 hands each 5 fingers: 10+5 another indicator?

    Any thoughts on those lines of reasoning?

  4. Anyone mentioned that IT also is numerically = 29 ?

    Sentence 1:
    A sound made them all turn suddenly (29 letters)
    (Made them turn to room 29)

    Sentence 2: (part sentence)
    Ran out of the hall (15 letters)
    (Ran out (way out) through room 15)

    ELL – 29
    IT – 29
    Face – 15
    Binary – 15

    Also agree with the axe and elimination methods mentioned… I didn’t get that myself :-/

  5. Perhaps when they said, “Shall we toss a coin?”; they we’re actually referring to a “quoin” and not a coin, as they both sound the same but are spelled differently.

    • They’re referring to the practice of using a coin with distinguishable faces as a randomizing tool. Tossing the coin in the air (usually accompanied by a spinning motion that causes its faces to rapidly rotate) and allowing it to land flat effectively creates a 50/50 chance of each face landing facing up. By assigning meaning to each face, a coin flipper can produce a randomized, bivalent output. Part of the curiosity here is that the group has far more than two options to choose between; while successive coin tosses could produce fair randomized outcomes with any number of options, I think the suggestion here may be that the group somehow narrowed its choices to two of the doors, or should have.

    • Which plays into the two correct doors, and also a coin has 2 sides and there are 9 doors in the room for 29.

    • One of the issues with this is that it used the two theme (the coin) and employs it to get a single answer instead of hinting towards both.

    • Yeah, I think I would agree that counting solutions aren’t always the best. The 2+9 thing is just how I personally remember which door is the correct one here. It’s probably not a real Manson solution.

    • Well, in retrospect, I thought it would have had something to do with “Atë”, since it did have a foolish face.

  6. “A sound made them all turn suddenly.” – Was wondering if this “summoning” sound that made them all turn suddenly, could be of a bell sounding knell, seeing as how there is an “ELL” (a knell) on the scroll. And because the sounds of a knell usually departs from a bell, this would in fact be much more appealing to the sound that they are hearing, since there is a bell placed inside the entrance to room 22, after arriving in room 43 from room 4. Quote the raven…

    • Now that I think about it, I suppose the “ ELL “ is just one more of many reiterations found throughout the MAZE, that hints at the number 45, as well as what the REAL sign may be. B

    • It’s part of the word “shoulders,” spelled out a letter at a time on the return trip from 45 to 1.

    • What also may be worth noting, is that ELL is part of the word on UMBRELLA. B

  7. Since the arithmetical value of the letter “E” is 5 (or “V” in Roman numerals) represented here by each torchbearer, could there also be a metaphorical clause in the sense that every individual hand shown here is a man? Or a right-handed man?

  8. You know, the chair featured here and the horseshoe laying up against the leg of the table in room 45, seem to be in the same exact location. Could very well be a vague intimation of sorts, don’t you think? Hmm…

    • Inevitable that in forty-five illustrations of rooms full of things that in overlaying images some of the objects will overlap, doesn’t seem like anything meaningful here. It is sort of interesting how many objects 45 and 4 have in common, though: table, chair, sun, logs… Well, that’s all, I guess I lied, not really interesting.

  9. Isn’t an “ELL” (among other things) a type of measurement, equivalent to 45 inches in length?

    • Since we already know that ELL is part of the solution to the Riddle of the Path, what is the point in noting this? I doubt that the connection to 45 is deliberate, although it is possible.

  10. “What a foolish face, I snorted.” – “What ( W hat ) a foolish ( fl ush ) face,” I s ( fascias ) norte ( spanish for north ) snorted ( ted: bear ) – There may be a few more MAZE accredited cross-references, that I have yet to find. These telltale signs could be part of a broader connection. Am I right or am I right?

  11. @vewatkin In regards to the nature of a human’s fist. Could you not also ignore an “E” and trace a “3” ? Coincidentally, there also happened to be 5 entrance ways leading to and from the Coliseum. 5 entrance ways X 9 hallways with many doors = 45 rooms, perhaps?

  12. @vewatkin Then what about all of the capital letter E’s that can be seen clasped within each hand along with the other two E’s; one of which can be seen on the map and the other being seen when you turn the chair to the “right”, in a clockwise motion? Could there also be an additional significance between what I just mentioned and the 3 capital letter L’s ( 2 on the map; 1 on the chair ) ?

    • It’s in the nature of human fists that if you ignore parts of them you can trace an E on three fingers of them; I wouldn’t read anything into that. The “ELL” on the maze map is part of the Riddle of the Path.

    • I guess it just goes to show that many hands make light work.

  13. @vewatkin – If you take the letter value away from the two A’s (or 11; since A =1) from “ALPHA” and then add the letter value together from the remaining “LPH” (L/12) + (P/16) + (H/8) , it equals out to “38”. And if you subtract the number of hallway entrances/exits, including the one’s to the right and left of 11 (which would be 9) to decide from, you would be left with the number 29.

    • If I’ve made an error in my calculations, I apologize. I’m dealing with a case of Cellulitis and it’s been somewhat of a struggle between writhing in pain and the continuous joy/excitement that I experience from your most excellent MAZE.

    • That’s just a bunch of arbitrary operations, though; you can make any number in any room by doing that kind of stuff.

  14. I’ve noticed that there are two sets of five torches; 2 torches, which are emitting a glowing light and 8 torches, which appear to be in a state of abeyance. Do the lit and unlit torches have anything to do with “phryctoria and/or phryctoriae“?

    • That’s a very interesting suggestion! I don’t know what it might mean if it is; if this is phryctoria, it is signalling “alpha,” and I don’t know why that would be.

    • Assuming conventional letter correspondences between Greek and English alphabets, the letters I and T would be encoded in phryctoria as (2 4) and (4 4), doors which appear in this room.

      The torches correspond to (1 1), and door 11 is here; but it seems pointless to invoke phryctoria if we’re just going to point out “one is lit on this side, and one on that side, which is like 1-1, or 11.”

      (1 5) corresponds to epsilon/E, and there is an E in the room, albeit as part of “E L L.” (4 3) corresponds to sigma/S.

      I’d love to make something reasonable of this, but I don’t currently see it happening.

  15. The axe is in front of 29 &15, the correct doors, on the way in it is 29, which is blocked by the front or “head” of the axe. the “head” could actually be a refrence to the top of the axe, and on the way back, you are on the “back half” of the maze so you take the door covered by the back half of the axe

  16. I wasn’t satisfied with the clues above. Found two more:

    There are nine signs above the doors, two are unmarked. 29

    There is one board being split and five boards on the ground (3 + 4 half pieces). 15

    Once you see those two number, the axe tells the head and the tale.

  17. The tail of the ax covers the door for the way out as in “the tail end of this path” (also head equals beginning) symbolizing that of these correct doors, this is when you take them.

  18. On the way in:

    “Shall we toss a coin?” A coin normally has two sides (2) but there are (9) door options to choose from (2 and 9 = 29).

  19. For the first time around, when you look at the maze there are three distinct letters that are sideways. E L L E is 5th in the alphabet and L is 12. 5+12+12+ 29

  20. In the text he says ‘Pay no attention’. If you read this as ‘pay “no” attention’, n + o = 14+15 = 29. Also, E L L = 5 + 12 + 12 = 29. Add the letter is wood together and you get 57 which if you cut in half with an ax gives you 28.5… ok that might just be a coincidence!


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