Room 44

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…a courtyard of palms and statues. The trees waved to each other in the breeze.

“Who left the door open?” they wanted to know.

“We came in that way,” I offered, but they were convinced we had entered by another door entirely.

They vanished through the wall and I followed them to…

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

 

Room Type: LOOP     Doors: 4  18  21  31    

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

● There are nine spikes on the reptile’s collar, the reptile is connected to the palm tree. There is a nine in the rope, the rope is connected to the pillar. 9+9=18, the number of the correct door. [Independent Credit: SP | White Raven]

● The bird has prominent eyes suggesting “bird’s eye view.” From the air the wall would look like a 1 and the palm tree and pillar would be suggestive of an 8 if traced around like the circle produced by the reptile. Thus from the air the scene looks like 18. [Credit: 515] This solution is further reinforced by line of doors being called “the wall” in the text.[Credit: White Raven] The ropes looped around the pillar are suggestive of the top circle of the 8. The chain links look like a series of eights. The half circles over the doors are suggestive of an 8. [Credit: SP]

● The reptile circling the palm tree gives us the phrase “vicious circle.” The reptile is drawn to emphasize the mean look on its face and the reptile is chained to the palm tree so that it goes around in a circle. “Vicious circle” indicates the reader’s sad circumstance being in this room and warns the reader away from door 21. [Independent Credit: Aria | White Raven] Also the tail of the reptile points to door 21, strengthening the association. [Credit: sp] Conversely the rope looping round and round the pillar on the right but eventually leading to the handle of door 18, indicates that this is the way out… but that escaping is yet a long way off. Possibly we are meant to follow the bird and fly away from the vicious circle.

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145 thoughts on “Room 44

  1. Still trying to find this linguistic solution.

    So if we have an alligator… that could be an “a leg/8/or”. (See sp’s earlier comment.) You cut up the word into three parts because the alligator itself is cut into three parts: head, body, tail. You discard the tail b/c it’s separated from the rest by the tree. Then you’re left with a leg/8. The “a leg” is the 1, the 8 is the 8 (obvy). (And only one leg of the alligator is fully visible.)

    OR if you don’t like that, lop off the head AND tail, and you’re left with 8. Then you can get the 1 from the bird, which is in a very straight-across position. If you were the statue viewing it, the beak would make the whatever-you-call-it on top of the number one. The alligator (8) is following the bird (1), which makes 18. (And we have “followed” in the text.)

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  2. Posting this for interest’s sake. According to Wikipedia, the lines on the right palm of the hand look like the number 18 in Eastern Arabic numerals. Get it?
    PALM
    18
    OK, I know it’s bad.

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    • I don’t think that’s bad at all. It kind of depends on how well-known that is, and whether it’s plausible that Manson was aware of it. Wikipedia doesn’t seem to list any source on the info, so I can’t tell where it comes from.

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  3. The crocodile forms a circle around the tree by walking, if another circle were traced around the column, it would form an 8 (the configuration of the rope insinuates going around the column). Since 1 is common to both doors, only 8 or 2 would be needed to clue a door. In this case, 8 is clued.

    Other “half 8s” appear in the arches of the doors. If they were completed as well, eights would be visible.

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    • SP,

      I think you may be on to something with the half eights. Maybe it is just suggestive of the eight? Not sure. But the rope loops addition nicely finish 515′s solution. Adding it to the index!

      White Raven

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    • I guess you could reinforce it by the chain links forming a bunch of 8′s connected as chains do.

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    • SP,

      Oh yeah! And if the reptile ate (eight) the bird it’s hunger would be sate (s-eight) especially if the bird tastes great (gr-eight). :p

      I really like the chain as suggestive of eight. Manson does a lot of subtle suggestion stuff that isn’t a solution but is just there to trigger a person into seeing the solution. I think this is one of those almost subliminal suggestions to help us get the right answer.

      I’m adding it to the index!

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    • If we are looking for ones and eights there are five fairly nice eights in the coconuts. (The palm itself is a one, of course.) You can even see an eighteen in the statue if her arm held up is the 1 and her head and pendant make an eight.

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  4. There’s another one of those dark/light things going on here, too… a dark shadow going from the pillar to 21, and then a white rope going from the pillar to 18, so we choose 18. I guess the dark chain attaching the alligator/croc/whatever to the palm could reinforce that a dark linking thing is bad — it ends in a deadly beast.

    Unfortunately this isn’t linguistic and WR said the rest of the puzzles here were linguistic.

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    • Aria,

      The remaining puzzles that I am aware of are linguistic. But 515′s solution below goes to show the limits of what I know.

      White Raven

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  5. That bird has a really pronounced eye… what if that clues “bird’s eye view.” Imagine you were facing the same way as the bird, but were high up in the air. What would you see? The wall on the left (presumably a thin straight line, like a “1″), then the tree and pillar on the right, which might look a bit like an “8″, especially because the tree “bottom” is bigger, like the font on the door.

    Totally willing to admit this is far fetched, but I’ve been trying to focus on shifting my perspective in the rooms lately, looking at things from other angles. It would make a lot more sense if the top of the pillar was round.

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    • Yup, that’s kinda fun! Bird’s eye view is good. It would definitely be nicer if there was a clear circle that you would see around the column…

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    • 515,

      I like it! The text even says that it is a wall, reinforcing your point. Adding it to the solution index!

      White Raven

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  6. Well, I had an elaborate Peter Pan thing all worked out but then saw that WR told us the rest of the solution here is linguistic, not metaphorical.

    So how about this:

    The “a-lligator” is just signalling that we pay attention to “a ligature” — something used to tie or bind. The rope (ligature) is actually tied to 18, so we take that door.

    We have a typographic ligature in “offered” — a strange word choice — to reinforce this solution.

    Another idea is that both alligator and rope are twisting/turning in a counterclockwise fashion, reinforcing that we go from 9:00 (21) to 6:00 (18). Or the counterclockwise twisting/turning could just be reinforcing the alligator/a ligature connection.

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  7. I think the rope around the column and the handle to room 18 are meant to block the door. All someone would have to do was wrap the rope around the column a few more times, tie it with a sturdy knot, then loop it around the handle to room 18. Then anyone trying to enter this room from 18 would not be able to open the door,

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    • Sparky, (may I call you that or is that too informal?) I happen to agree with you. In two year of this you’ve probably found my page. There is stuff about this buried in the maze time section. In room 30 there is a maze clock. Going through the door to 18 here dumps us back in time two full circles of the maze clock. And in this room there are clues enough to put together to see that this room from above could represent the back of a pocket watch and the winding key. So when you leave this room the maze clock winds itself up and yes it slams the door behind you.

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  8. The palm could suggest that that door leads to another outdoor room and it does. The pillar then suggests indoors. And if we know we want to get back inside – that would be good. Of course there are ways inside to the trap out here too. But then with any time in the maze you might know you don’t want to go to 24 and then you’d learn 11 soon after that – in that case this could be your clue to get your self safely back indoors.

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  9. OK – this is a bit of a disorganized put-together thing, but then I don’t think this is a room-45 style room with obvious object groups to use in stages. There is a “court” yard. Crocs have “scales” and the statue in the middle certainly would remind one of justice. THe croc is in chains, maybe a prisoner, and as we’ve noted all you can do is go in circles if you take that door. The pillar is something you could find outside a courthouse too. Now – ropes and justice don’t have a good feeling – but there is no hangman’s noose there. But if you looked at this room sideways door 18 could be a trap door. And that would explain the “vanishing” through the door. I do think there is a fountain of life here (put the two tall things together and they look like one, plus it looks like a Masonic tracing board) so maybe a death and rebirth thing? Much of that has a good chance of just being random associations – but escaping through a trap door and vanishing seems like in might be close to something if nothing else – so that part might be worth trying to build around in other ways. Somehow it is hard to take the gallows as a positive door indicator no matter how you look at it – so that is another reason to find another sort of trapdoor.

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  10. The little stone balls on top of the wall would total 8 if we could see them all. Maybe with one big pillar we have 1,8.

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  11. I don’t know how 18 fits in with this but…..on the front cover and title page we see a closed door and later an open door. This clues us that open doors show us where the guests went. They make bad choices it seems. 44 also clues us about this. The guests find the open door remarkable. We don’t. That is because most rooms have completely closed doors when they come in and we see open doors in there wake. In 10 we see two open doors as it seems they went to 14 and doubled back. In any case in 44 we have an open door the guests did not make. That leaves the guide or a mystery. Assume the guide. He tries to direct there attention away from it with a lie. All of this helps identify this open door as correct.

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    • Not a solution but something funny I just saw. The room has a croc a bird and a open door. There may have been more animals, like maybe a dog or two but someone opened the door.

      Who let the dogs out?

      The song was made by the BAHA MEN.

      Baha, palm trees.

      There are nine members and the song was on their 2000 album.

      9 times 2 is 18!

      I solved it! I solved it! :)

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    • Jessica Miller,

      Congratulations! I believe that is the worst solution I have ever heard…hmm, I just remembered one that might be worse, but heavens, it ain’t good. Your cracked sense of humor should fit in great around here.

      Welcome to the Abyss!

      White Raven

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  12. Great recall Dave, and just look at those “cannonballs” sitting atop the wall but now I can’t get that song out of my head!

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  13. Google a rotary phone…sigh…I can remember having a rotary phone! I like the dial theory as both the phone dial and/or a clock dial but that little “full bird” is too good to pass up.

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  14. If you google for pictures of a rotary phone, you will notice the birdie is in the position where the finger lock is located (the metal thing that stops your finger and the rotor from going any further). Although the crocodile is pointing the opposite direction from the rotary action (clockwise) it spans about the same length as the distance between the 1 and 8 finger holes.

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    • HA – croc-o-dial. But I have to say – it does kinda work. I’d like the tail to be straighter and not point at 21, but other that that, note worthy. Just to stir the pot – In Johnny Horton’s song the battle of New Orleans they do indeed fire a ‘gator. They filled his mouth with cannon balls and powdered his behind (and when they lit they powder off the gator lost his mind). Of course New Orleans features palm trees I would guess and French stuff – so there you go.

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  15. You can salute a Colonel but you can’t fire a croc unless it’s a metaphor for a gun/revolver needed for the 21 gun salute for the Colonel.
    The croc already being dangerous isn’t the point.

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    • Maybe the “revolver” crocodile is meant to make us think of the Beatles album Revolver, which has 18 tracks, each of which is exactly 1.8 minutes long, and which featured the french horn solos of Aiden Teana, commonly referred to as the 18th Beatle. The album was the 18th outing for the Fab Four and was released on the eighteenth day of the eighteenth month of the eighteenth year of the eighteenth century. It is unreleated to the album of the same name released by the Beatles in the mid-1960s.

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  16. Oh, I just love this…the white raven chick has been eating…that would make it a “full bird” aka/Military Colonel…lol.

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  17. The statues on each end are in a military “at ease” position. The statue in the center is saluting. The croc is revolving around the tree which makes the croc a revolver…that gives us a “21 gun salute”, which is dangerous, therefore we should choose Door #18.

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    • I think just saying the croc is a revolver and revolvers are dangerous would be more supportable than the above – particulary because the statue does not seem to salute to me. But I think I’d need one more supporting clue along the same lines to call it an intentional thing. And also – we probably don’t need to call the croc a revolver to conclude it is dangerous. That said – connections are always interesting. Sometimes they get other people thinking and sometimes lead to more connections.

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    • It’s already a crocodile! Do we really need to make it a revolver to make it dangerous?

      Plus, remember that Room 2 is all about Manson’s staunch belief in the 2nd Amendment, suggesting that he wouldn’t consider a handgun to be inherently dangerous.

      Guns that are actually crocodiles don’t kill people, people kill people.

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  18. Technically it’s a “single morph portmanteau”
    ex: smoke + fog = smog!
    Here is a reverse commedians oft’ use: “I would rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy!”
    I think we should stay open to these word plays when looking for clues as I myself am seriously enjoying MAZE…and yes, I love exclamation points!

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    • I certainly agree that various kinds of wordplay are all fair game; I’m still surprised that we haven’t made any use of spoonerisms, given that Manson later did a puzzle book based entirely around them. But “rococo” doesn’t seem to work as a makeshift portmanteau of “rope” and “croc,” and it also doesn’t really fit with anything in the room. I’m not trying to discourage this TYPE of thought; I’m just saying it doesn’t seem to work in this instance.

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  19. Hi Dave:
    Rope croc = Rococo…the French developed this extremely ornate style.

    Poe wrote so many stories/poems and MAZE contains so many arrangements, there is plenty to relate to…The Raven being the most cited could logically clue the Guide identity…I’ll be looking at that soon…meanwhile, I am really enjoing reading his works again and running amok through the MAZE rooms armed with Poe’s works. And, his off topic work , Eureka may be the final answer.

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  20. Just wanted to put this out there: The statue in the middle does appear to have “something” around its neck. The column on the right is French design which means the palm tree on the left for symmetry has French palms. As I believe MAZE is Poe’s “Rev.Dr. Bransby’s Manor House School/Academy” I am looking at The French Academic Palms award which is a medal in the shape of 2 palms curving toward each other and attached to a wide ribbon to be worn around the neck. The statue appears to be wearing this type of thing and it looks like the croc is wearing the “Academic Palms” metal around his neck(the whole tree full). The medal was first in use in 1866=Door #18 or 1+8+6+6=Door #21?

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    • Why is the column French? Looks Greek Corinthian to me.

      I don’t think Poe is key to MAZE per se. He makes an appearance in 39 for sure, and I personally think his most famous poem is one major line of clues for the guide – but I don’t think we are supposed to find him everywhere.

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  21. not really a clue but we shouldn’t forget that birds and crocs are not actually enemies, birds are like nature’s toothpick for crocs and both parties benefit.

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    • The immediate results of googling suggest that this popularly believed symbiosis is made up! It’s such a part of popular culture, and has been for so long, that it might still figure into something somehow, but it’s interesting anyway.

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    • one could argue that the minotaur is also made up but could still be used as subject matter in a book such as this.

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    • I’d like to hear someone argue with a straight face that the minotaur is made up.

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    • you know i’m up to the task. recall my straight faced air tight argument that michael jackson is the guide even though most of the relevant singles came out after the book was published.

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  22. The column is not mentioned as it is actually a “pillar” that “door” 18 is “moor”ed to (mooring posts on piers are called pillars)…only the palm trees and statues are mentioned. There are dates in the palm tree and that may indicate that 1-8 is a calendar date, Elvis’s birthday-Elvis seems to appear on the sign in Room 45 so not a far stretch that he is eluded to again. The trees are waving and they are palm trees as in a hand with palm waving “Hi” and the rope is “tied” (moor) = “high tide”. The group was able to “vanish” through the wall because there is an opening in the wall to vanish through and that is the open door 18.

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    • Don’t forget “toe”! “Hot”! “Hole”! “Butt”! “Recon”! “Dent”! “Rent”! “Rought”! “Hew”!

      “Rope” is the most interesting of all these words, but it does seem curious if it is meant as a clue then it’s drawing a connection between the open door and the rope, a connection that already seems fairly apparent.

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    • Okay, so I actually really like “rope” in door open and “not her door” in “another door” here. We have two hidden words/phrases relating to the image, one for each door. “Not her door” clearly refers to the door with the female statue raising her hand and beckoning, the only statue with a visible arm. And “rope” in “door open” reinforces that you take the other option.

      (I know you can find hidden words everywhere but this seems pretty good, I think — lots of open doors in MAZE but only here is one mentioned explicitly.)

      In discussion with sp he said that this is like using a ligature with words instead of letters (see my proposed ligature solution) — cool! I guess this room is all about connections.

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    • I don’t think these would truly be ligatures, but I see no reason why A-LIGATURE couldn’t clue this concept. It’s pretty cool and meta, I like it.

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  23. Forget literally having to walk past the alligator to get to the door, being in front of the door, tail pointing to the door–the alligator’s body itself makes a rough 2 shape (more like an inverted S, but come on, that ain’t bad) that, combined with the tree, makes a sort of 21.

    It seems a little superfluous to make that association, if it depends on assuming the alligator is bad to rule out 21, since the alligator is already right there anyway. Maybe it’s nothing, maybe it’s just the alligator’s tail pointing to that door. The text references the guide following the group through the door they take; the bird, moving toward door 18 is being followed by the alligator, but 21 is behind the alligator, grrrrhmmmmgrrrr blah blah blah blah blah

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