Room 9

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…what appeared to be an old storeroom. Dust obscured a damaged painting making it hard to understand just what the artist had intended.

“This could be a trick of some sort,” one said. “We might be going around in circles.”

“I don’t think so,” said the thoughtful one. “I think we’re supposed to think it’s a trick…that’s the trick.”

They all looked at me. “Yes,” I said. “I’m sure you’re right about that.”
With doubtful looks they left for…

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


Room Type:  LOOP    Doors:  3  18  27


● In the text the line “I think we’re supposed to think it’s a trick…that is the trick,” is meant to prime us to look for a couplet by the couplets “think” “think” and “trick” “trick.” The last two lines are a couplet the first devoted to the word “right” and the other to the word “left.” “Right” is in the same sentence as “Yes” and “sure,” while in the second sentence “left” is with “doubtful.” The right hand door, 18, is correct. [Independent Credit: David G | White Raven]

● The three men and the picture of the blind mouse go together to recall the nursery rhyme “Three Blind Mice.”  A visitor says, “We may be going around in circles” – this recalls the blind mice chasing the farmer’s wife, who in turn captures the blind mice. The sword in the torn painting which is pointing to door 3 recalls the knife in the nursery rhyme used to cut off the tails of the mice. All this is to indicate that door 3 is bad. Door 3 = blindness, running in circles, and being cut with a knife. Alternately door 18 is flanked by a picture of sunlight. Door 18 = sight. [Independent Credit: vewatkin / David G  | White Raven] [Note: This solution is incomplete]


117 thoughts on “Room 9

  1. I feel like this must be old news, but has it been suggested that the “angel” in this room might be Icarus or Daedalus? If the damaged painting is concealing the Minotaur, and the other side of the room is showing a shining sun, it would certainly seem thematically appropriate.

  2. In regards to 3 Blind Mice [Note: This solution is incomplete]:

    3 Blind Mice and 3 Bearded Men both = 3 B M. Sort of alpha-numerically, that would be 3+2+13 = 18.

    More big-picture, one could contrast the damaged painting (which is “hard to understand”) with the apple… ignorance / knowledge.

    So Door 3 = blindness and ignorance, while 18 = sight and knowledge.

    Finally, that mouse – is it the cutest illustration in MAZE, or what?

  3. In regards to the incomplete solution above, apple could clue “apple of my eye” = sight.

    It looks to me like the shovel points to the “sun” (looks more like a shooting star or star of Bethlehem to me”) and the sun is “rising” in the direction of 18.

    Actually, if it is the star of Bethlehem, maybe the 3 wise men are on their way in that direction.

  4. I thought of a few things while watching the delightful (if defamatory) new MazeCast. I will throw them down without much hope…

    1. The torn painting makes two right (angle) triangles, signifying that the right (direction) angel is right (correct). (The torn edges and fold also make a giant arrow pointing at the steps towards 18.)

    2. The internal angles of a triangle add up to 180. The door number gives us 18; the apple gives us the 0.

    3. The angel is carrying a sword (didn’t notice this until Vince pointed it out), suggesting it’s Uriel, who guarded Eden after A & E were banished. Uriel’s name means “God is my light,” so that supports the light thing. (Or the flaming sword does. Although it doesn’t look like it’s flaming.) Also when A & E eat the apple “the eyes of both of them were opened” so that’s another anti-blindness thing.

    Although now that I write it the whole A & E thing is pretty ambiguous… I mean, eating the apple was bad, according to the Bible… and the apple hasn’t been eaten… ugh…

    (Sorry if any of this is a repeat…)

  5. Room 9 has been fully revealed (or was that re-veiled?) on Noisecast at http:// by myself, Alejandro the Incomprehensible, Vincenzo Applebini, and Beelz McAngelz.

  6. Does anyone know what the deal is with the escape route tunnelled out from under the door to 3? It’s a little strange since the 3 to 9 passage is open both ways.

  7. Door #18 has an angel with “wings” and an apple with a fruit fly with very noticeable “wings” = wings Flutter/rhymes with SHUTTER. The shutter opens & closes letting in light and the visitors.

  8. This was a hard nut to crack…
    Narrative: ‘Dust OBSCUREd A” = CAMERA OBSCURA.
    Narrative: “trick-trick-trick” = sciopTRIC + “going around in circles” = SCIOPTRIC BALL = is used as a CAMERA OBSCURA and is a rotating ball that allows optics to “swivel”… the CAMERA OBSCURA projects the fixed picture upside-down best onto a white piece of paper and can be viewed correctly from the back side (pardon the non-tech definition here)-the torn canvas now has the picture on the back side of the tear “upside-down”.
    The spade (also called a peel) has the handle SNAPped off. There are 2 figures wearing LENs’.
    The picture on the far left wall appears to have a sun shining onto a “cOPTIC” church. The picture in Room 18 is darker as it is farther away and thus out of focus. There are 3 peels in the room: canvas peeled, apple peel, spade/peel?? The ceiling of the room is sealed as a CAMERA OBSCURA is a closed “dark chamber” or box with a pinhole (or larger) to allow light in.
    Info: Some artists are thought to have used/use a CAMERA OBSCURA to create their works.
    NOTE: The Roman Pantheon (see my MAZE SOLUTION posting) has been referred to as a giant CAMERA OBSCURA.

    • I do think there is a shutter here. And it is clued by an identifiable multi room puzzle of falling signs. I measure film stop time. However – that does not help me see your solution here. I think you are playing ever more stretchy maze scrabble and finding what you think is supposed to be there. I’ve done it too. It helps if you have lots of example of what Manson actually did do. WRs confirmed solutions are a good starting place. My page less so because it has theoretical stuff mixed in. Some complex stuff I think is right. But they involve using all room objects in a structured way or following one exact type of clue from room to room. Anyway… there are no confirmed examples of Manson using word parts the way you are and I know from experience you can build what you want that way. In might be challenging – but it’s a complex scrabble game. If you want to get others on board with your theory I think you’d first have to show you can get to your initial result using established methods. Or show some new method repeatedly is convincingly effective at finding exits or something like that.

    • Correct or not, it’s pretty cool. Camera obscuras (obscurae?) are amazing.

  9. On the 3+B+M = 18 solution. This actually strikes me as a little microcosm of some of the issues on the ask Manson page. How acceptable this looks to you first depends on how often and with how little prompting he expected alphanumeric coding to take place.

    Secondly it depends on how seriously you take room 45 style solution – that is the idea that adding objects together gives you a piece for the next level of the puzzle. Examples include for me the whole table collection in 45 = “will” and the bunny/chair/hat combo in 15 = “hair”. Here I think the two pictures simply = “3BM” and on a trial basis then I would proceed as if he had simple drawn those symbols instead of the 2 pictures and try to fit that into the next puzzle layer.

    Thirdly, it certainly helps if you think the MAZE clock theory is correct. If it is then in addition to cluing door 18, this also serves as a clue for adding up supporting evidence for the times in Maze. The time in room 18 is 3am on the theory. And the apple and the angle give an “A” in that doorway and the 3BM with the A gives the time in 18. And the 3am goes on to be a clue for the whole room puzzle in my view – it helps with “Jack the Ripper” from the ripped painting and other clues and then finally “look at Jack of spades”.

    Fourthly there is an issue not on the Manson list, which I would take as minor, but others might not. There is a mix of letters and numbers in 3BM – that’s close but not exactly the same as adding 3 letters or 3 numbers.

    So asking about alphanumric coding I think would be a good question – not because I doubt he did it, but because I think to make headway one needs to accept simple theories like that as fundamentally true as an aid to discovering other ones. And the more people that are working on the same page – the better and smoother that process would run.

  10. Hmmm. “Ten” is hidden in “intended,” and in the same sentence is the word “obscured” as a possible hint that you’re supposed to look for something hidden in that sentence. Then in the next paragraph you have “going around in circles,” which could refer to a figure 8. So 10 + 8 = 18. Maybe? Sorry if this has been mentioned before.

    • Aria,

      Even though I already welcomed you in response to your email I thought I should make it official here…

      Welcome to The Abyss!

      White Raven

  11. Here we were missing connecting “sight” with 18 which seems to be the keyword for the room. OK.

    I think the angles sword points at the corner of the ripped painting, however, not door 3.

    • I think WR means the sword of the Greek-soldiery person on the damaged painting, not the angel’s sword.

      In the rhyme, the mice ran after the farmer’s wife, not vice versa; is “running after” an archaic way of saying “running away from”?

      In any case, I don’t see the connection between one chasing the other and going in circles. I mean, you can just imagine some blind mice running in circles, I guess, but that imagery doesn’t really seem to derive from the nursery rhyme. I think the going in circles business just relates to this being on the other side of the one-way tunnel from 27, a route which, once take, does tend to require a bit of circle-around-going.

    • vewatkin,

      Thank you for the correction, I remembered it backwards. I don’t think it is an archaic reversal of how we would read it.

      The visual image of three blind mice is of the mice chasing after the farmer’s wife then the tables are turned and the mice (being blind) are caught by the farmer’s wife and tails cut off.

      On a personal note: No, I have never seen such a sight.

      I took the going in circles as implied by the blind mice not running in straight lines. Sort of like Monty Python’s “Race for the directionally impaired.”

      I comfortable with the idea that Manson added “going in circles” as a hint in support of, “three blind mice.” But I see your point, Manson’s riddles are usually tighter than this, and the point is reasonably debatable.

      White Raven

  12. Maybe key is “sight” Mice by 3 are blind. But by 18 we can ask “Did you ever see such a sight?” (For grins make a star light star bright rhyme) “light at the end of the tunnle” was clue if we came from 27. Text has “appeared” near beginning and “looks” near end. Raven liked light vs dark in this room.
    So let’s say we follow the sight and not the blind.

    • David Gentile,

      FINALLY! Congratulations on seeing the significance of the rhyme!

      White Raven

  13. How about since the angle has the sword in hand she did all the cutting here including mouse tails who then ran after her as we should.

    • And she cut the main picture and the spade as well I mean.

  14. Mouse painting has 8 dots across top and 10 down side. Take a magnifying glass to frame of big painting and there is “110″ 10x in a decoration at top and 8x in decoration on right.

  15. 3bm 3bm Short arm of mouse’s cane points at 18. then we have spade tail. see how they run. See how they run.

  16. OK the main painting’s cut relates to door 18 in a couple of ways:

    Let’s assume the profile of the woman on the left hanging edge is that of the angel. (Woman’s face and breast are there in profile). There is a sword on the painting, and there is a cut, both of which relate to the angel’s sword. The top right corner of the rip looks like the stem of the apple. So there is that connection.

    In fact, by leaving the sword visible to us and carving a woman’s profile around it one might say the artist’s intent was to represent the angel, and then also the apple. In short the artist intended a representation of door 18.

    No blind mice or spade or tails in this – but…

    • But let’s say “see how the run” for the blind mice is indicated by the tail of the spade.

  17. I’d like to see this one solved too. I think it might be the first “Raven-style” solution of reasonable complexity to be uncovered here. That would be a guide to others.

    Once you find a solution type, others like it seem to come with a lot more ease.

    • Well here is this – the mice run in the song “see how they run”. If they start by 3 they run towards 18. Left to Right. Yeah – not much there.

  18. “…going around in circles.”

    8, it’s a reference to the 8 in 18.

    And probably means the other 8-looking circle pairs in the room are intended.

    Doesn’t get us to the big solution WR is waiting for us to crack here.

    Angel angel angel, mice mice mice…

    Don’t tell me the sword is a 1 or I’ll punch a hole through something.

    • Though I guess I should specify which sword is apt to cause me to break things while I’m at it.

      No effort seems to have been made to relate the two swords here to each other, and I don’t really have any ideas for how to do it either, though it seems like when I was trying to emphasize the room’s focus on cutting I should have noted that soldier’s sword on the damaged painting, as well as the angel’s.

      I’m suspicious of the apple as a red herring, distracting us from the angel’s sword and just making us see As. But really, if this room isn’t about emphasizing cutting, thereby drawing our attention to where the spade’s tail points, well, man, I don’t know where to go here.

    • You could use a sword to punch a hole in something….non-living I hope.

  19. Text parsing stuff:

    “You’re right” in text favors 18.

    “I think we’re supposed to think” “it’s a trick that’s the trick”

    “Sure” is in clause with “right” “doubtful” is in clause with left

    • Right/left stuff looks deliberate, good find, though it’s also sort of ambiguous, since the guide’s proclaimed certainty wouldn’t ordinarily be a reliable clue, and it says the group left doubtful, and descriptions of the group’s movements are generally accurate.

    • David Gentile,

      Congratulations! This room is now out of the penalty box!

      White Raven


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