Title Page


Solve the World’s Most Challenging Puzzle
by Christopher Manson


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


Next:  Directions

47 thoughts on “Title Page

  1. Kon-tiki just posted on the Trap page about the shadow falling on the chisel. Just wanted to agree that it DOES look weird but I think it’s OK — compare the bit of shadow you can see from the other arm of the compass falling on the map — it is parallel.

    That’s not to say the location of that point isn’t significant — it does seem to land at the middle of a spiral, and of course the stationary arm of a compass always lands at the centre of the circle it’s drawing, which could simply indicate that we are searching for the centre of the maze.

    Also, another thought I had. There’s a clear N, Y, and IS in the map that all have the same orientation and are all in that section to the left of the square. The “IS” is positioned beside the square.

    I think this means:
    N(o) IS Y(es) / Y(es) IS N(o)
    (LEFT) IS (RIGHT) — Left is indicated by the L of the square, and Right is indicated by the purpose of the square, which is to create right angles.

    We already know that left means right and right means left is a fairly consistent rule in Maze text. (Can’t remember if it’s totally trustworthy or not.) No is yes could just be a further warning not to trust the Guide when he speaks.

    OR I should just listen to WR and not try to solve this room until we reach the end of the Guide Path, if that day ever comes…

  2. Here is my shot at a partial solution to the title page.

    I think the keystone is a signifier that the page is “key” — important.

    Instead of the objects signifying letters, what if they signify shapes?

    compass and mallet: circles (you use the compass to make a circle; the mallet has three circular ends.
    Peg and carpenter’s square: squares (peg has square cross-section — square peg; square is square for obvious reasons)

    Squaring the circle is an ancient problem that has since been shown to be unsolvable. Now the expression “squaring the circle” has come to mean a hopeless or vain undertaking.

    (Is this Manson trying to scare us off or expressing his views of the world?)

    I am not sure yet about the maze letters. I’m tempted just to pick out “sun” but then there’s that Y that is pretty clear… not sure.

    In terms of stuff in the book that connects, there are a lot of circles and squares.

    This is sort of exciting and sort of not — I mean, these are shapes that he probably would have been using regardless.

    But I’m just going to point out some ones where they seem to appear in meaningful conjunctions with one another, especially instances of circled squares or squared circles.

    Page 1: viewed from above, a drum, cup, bottle, and apple would all appear circular. The panels of the doors are squares.

    Page 2: in the left-hand fresco, the circular shields and the square sails of the boat.

    Page 3: the circular sun opposite the moon on a square page

    Page 4: full of circles and squares. Lots of circular items on the square table, especially.

    Page 6: the “0″ in 40 looks like a tilted square (squaring the circle?)

    Page 10: square briefcase and circular hatbox

    Page 11: circular bell on square platform

    Page 13: shadow of the chair is square; shadow of the sundial is circular

    Page 15: more square and circular shadows?

    Page 16: the circular door handle on the square trapdoor

    Page 18: square chair seats go with hat brim and bowling pin (seen from above)

    Page 19: circular trees (cross-section) in square boxes

    Page 20: square checks and tower (cross-section)

    Page 23: circular sun in square(?) frame; circular ball going through square window

    Page 25: square(?) sign covering circular crown

    Page 26: three square trap doors; two circular planets and the salt shaker lid (and the bell…)

    Page 29: circular candelabra on square base

    Page 37: round “1″ dot on square dice; round net shadow catches square table leg (cross-section)

    Page 38: a “squared circle” in 40

    Page 39: table of squares; lots of circles

    Page 40: “squared circles” in 38

    Page 41: lots of squares, lots of circles

    Page 44: the croc is circling the square… the circular column on the square base… opposites

  3. I didn’t say the Guide was Manson-take another look-I stated “I would deduce the Guide is “a Mason”… but hey, its only 3:00 am.

    • Ah -” the guide is a Mason” – OK. I don’t recall any obvious ones from WR’s list of candidates – but then it did include such things as “real estate agents” and I suppose there is a Masonic Real Estate agent somewhere in the world – so I guess that’s fair game. :-)

    • But wait – how exactly would that follow – there is a Masonic/Mansonic tool kit and thus the guide is a Mason ? Why label the kit “CM” if is is about the guide? Room 39 is full of Masonic stuff and there are bits elsewhere – 8 for example.

    • Dave G,

      It’s nice to see someone find humor in me adding “Real Estate Agent” to the list. At the time I thought it was funny…a guide leading people through a house showing off the sights…but, alas, it was only funny to me. -sigh-

    • Well, that thing in 35 could certainly be waiting for someone to hang the “FOR SALE” sign on it…

    • Considering what was already on the list, a real estate agent sounds downright sensible.

    • Nope – the guide is not Manson. I think WR may have covered that explicitly at one point. If not – then I suppose he would be a candidate since he had definitely been mentioned on White Raven’s page. Personally I think “the guide” and “the soul of Manson” are set up as an equality – but that just says the guide like Maze is Manson’s creation. The best simple argument against Manson being the guide is – it is way too simple – White Raven has made a point of saying that only by solving the complex guide path puzzle can you find the guide. And heck I found Manson is every room once :-)

    • And the blueprint does have an “N” mixed in with other stuff, enough to make Mason into Manson.

    • I can’t believe that they are just masonic tools. I think there is something going on here. I feel like the “keystone” means that this page holds the key to the riddle of the guide. Working on it…

    • I don’t think Manson is the guide… But good thought.
      I just don’t think Manson would make himself the guide. Compared to all those complex puzzles in the book, this would be so obvious. Just from reading The Maze, I can tell that Manson wouldn’t go with the obvious answer. Perhaps a less obvious clue is hidden on the page. I don’t really know, to be honest…

  4. Aria wrote (on a different page), “If Atlas were the correct solution to the title page puzzle (if it is a puzzle), wouldn’t WR have confirmed it?”

    Yes, I would have!

    • You know – the key ring does look a lot like a C and the teeth – if you put on your reading glasses and get out your magnifying glass – they are darn close to a capital M. I know and author with those initials.

    • Also there is actually a clear L in the Maze so we would not need the backwards L straight-edge

  5. Yes, another “A” would seal the deal, and I don’t see it. Of course, we can go outside the picture and take the huge “A” in “MAZE,” but that is not satisfying, as all the other letters on the page then come into play.

    Also, the stone is clearly in the shape of a keystone (the stone at the top of a curved arch). A key-shaped part of the stone is missing. A keystone minus the key is a stone, but I don’t know how to take it from there, if indeed we are supposed to go from there.

    • I think we’ve said this before, but the letters on the MAZE can spell “SUN”. ATLAS and SUN and KEY. Hmm…

    • Maybe just this – ATLAS is a KEY hint to EARTH, and SUN is a pretty good hint for EARTH too.

    • SP – it has been noted that the letters A,L,T,S are on the cover page. But I just pointed out there is a 2nd A. It is upside down and uses the shadow of the compass.

      Also I was noting that there is an S, a U and and N in the map which can spell sun.

      I’m thinking that SUN and ATLAS are both reasonably good clues for EARTH if we are playing charades or something. ATLAS is even a KEY clue on page 26.

  6. The objects depicted on the cover page can be used to spell “Atlas.” The spike crosses behind the compass to make an A, the mallet makes a T (as it also does in Room 4), the right angle is an L, we have to re-use the A from before, and there is an S in the map just above the angle. Is the key there to tell us that “Atlas” is the “key” to the maze?

    • No, you don’t need the spike to get “S.” if you look on the map of a maze that the objects are on top of, there is a free-standing (and therefore quite clear) “S” in that map. There is also a “Z” (or “N”), a “U” and a “Y.” I suppose you could get additional letters by taking parts of contiguous walls, but I find that less satisfying….

    • You can get a second A using the left side of the compass, the shadow of it, and the spike.

    • Room 36: “…and at last we saw the musicians themselves”

      Room 37: “At last, they were learning”

      We’re done here. I am the atlas master.

    • I think David Gentile is right: there is a second “A,” upside-down, created by the shadow of the compass and the spike.

    • The Atlas comments here haven’t exactly gone in this direction, but for the sake of curiosity: if references to Atlas are part of a bookwide chain of clues suggesting Atlas is the guide, is there a way that his identity would comport with the more literal clues of the guide’s identity? I specifically wonder about deceptions being practiced on his father, a clue that I don’t know how to apply offhand to Atlas.

    • I don’t know the significance. I doubt that Atlas is the guide since he is part of the riddle. But if there are two text references (along with two or three visuals), then what about hidden words in 44? Is he just playing with words or should it mean something?
      PS I saw the Atlas title page on an old website, although it is a C not an S in my book.
      Did anyone list the other Atlas pictured? (I know it is very simply found) besides the A and SALT.

    • I don’t know whether the appearance of the letters “at las” in the phrase “at last” constitute a textual reference to Atlas or not; they don’t seem to occur in contexts that have any meaningful connection to atlases of either the cartographic or mythological kind. “Atlas” is perhaps absurdly overclued in Room 26, which raises some eyebrows in regard to whether it is just part of the riddle of the path.

      The “atlas” we’re discussing here seems like it would be difficult to justify if one weren’t already bent on looking for atlases (not that that means it isn’t there). There are a lot of letters to be found in that image: N, Z, Y, S, L, A, I, T (I guess), O, C, F…

      I guess of greater concern, though, are the letters that are clearly there but don’t form part of the word. The S is easy to see in the maze blueprint, but if that is meant to be taken for part of a word puzzle, it seems strange (not to mention a bit unfair) to have an equally clear Y and Z/N, and a maybe-equally-clear L. (That said, we must always remember Room 45. NEVER FORGET. You can’t too deeply rely on an ordinary puzzler’s sense of fair play.)

    • “N, Z, Y, S, L, A, I, T (I guess), O, C, F…”
      What are you taking for back pain?

      I doubt Atlas is coincidence since he appears twice in the pictures. I think the other one is more obvious than 26 but some can’t find him. (and the title page is still a mosh)

    • Sorry, I wasn’t trying to play your game of hinting without telling, it’s just that I thought pointing out the actual location of all the letters to be irrelevant (because I don’t think they all come together to mean something), inexhaustive, and not too cryptic.

      N, Z: In the walls of the maze blueprint, near the chisel. Could be either N or Z depending on how you look at it.

      Y: Between the tip of the compass and right end of the L square.

      L: The L square; there are a couple L shapes in the walls of the maze blueprint.

      A: Apparently, the compass, and the shadow of the compass on the chisel.

      I: The chisel. (At LEAST as plausible as the damn mallet.)

      T: The mallet. Again, I GUESS. I know the gavel in 4 has pretty widely accepted as a T, but this is even less traditionally T-shaped than that.

      O, C, F: I’m just looking at the parts of the key impression on the key stone. Without much imagination, it’s an F connected to an O. However, the conjunction of the F and the O is actually notably lightened compared to the darkened imprint of the rest of the key impression, suggesting perhaps that they’re not joined, or, if that section is not to be treated as part of the O, that what we’re left with is a C.

      I don’t mean any of that to suggest that those letters mean anything, that I think they are supposed to be there; I was only off-handedly noting that there are a lot of letters there to play with.

      The heavy presence of Atlas in 26, the missing Atlas in 32, (the present one, for that matter), some of the clues to the guide’s identity (e.g. Room 6′s mention of the weight over their heads being oppressive “even” to the guide, suggesting that he is accustomed to bearing great weight), the fact that an atlas is a guide to the world (in a manner of speaking); there’s a lot going for the deliberate inclusion of Atlas here. And even though I’m not terribly sold on the title page suggesting Atlas, it’s not entirely fanciful. “At las” appears in the text three times, and while it’s not in a context that suggests anything meaningful, well, it’s there.

      But if all of this isn’t heading toward Atlas being the guide, then I don’t know what the point is of all this atlassing. And that’s why I asked about reconciling Atlas with the literal clues about the guide.

    • When I brought up the possibility of “Atlas” on the title page, I wasn’t thinking about the identity of the guide at all (I am doubtful that Atlas is a good fit for that role). Assuming that there is indeed an “Atlas” here on the title page, I take it and the “at last”s elsewhere as simply reinforcing what we are supposed to find in Room 26 – the word that is arguably the key word in the riddle of the path.

    • In the Maze blue print there is N/Z and U/C and with the S, that is where I was seeing “SUN”.

    • OK – bringing the title page discussion to the correct page.

      I agree we have a “Y” in the maze. The N/Z could be used either one way but should we would guess only be used one way. The spike – I don’t think you can count any line as an I – it should have 3 lines. Granted there is a candle stick and a mallet in 4 spelling “IT” – but there we know the “I” by context. The “T” from the mallet – is sort of a re-use from 4. Then there are the potential letters in the key. If we suppose he did not mean us to use the key – and just meant a key – then we have “ATLAS” , “SUN” and “Y” from the rest of the stuff.

      If the key is included then – O F Y or C F Y are left over. Which does not seem to be anything. And since the key letters are an easily identifiable set, it is not really problematic to exclude them and make words from the letters outside that set – but, yes, that “Y” is a bit of an issue then. It’s still very likely from a probability point of view that he meant to suggest 2 fake guide candidates here. But it would certainly be better if we had a non-random explanation for the “Y”. It’s not likely he missed it. Nor is it super-likely he threw in one random letter to mess with us. Rather – it probably means something. I wonder if it might be fair to add one line to make it a claw, Hmm.

    • Or….if Vince was right about the spike being an I, and we are supposed to get an I and a T there, just like the I and T in room 4 – then we have ATLAS, SUN, and Y an I – which work together like the two banners in room 2.

  7. There are letters in the maze on the paper.

    The hammer and spike is like the hammer and candle from room 4. In room 4 it is the word “IT.” Does that mean we have the letter I and T here?


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