# Room 34

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…a middle-class drawing room or parlor. It was amazing how much more comfortable they felt in these surroundings.

Everyone sat down, some on the floor, and chatted about where they had been and where they should go.

“Magpies!” I said to myself. “Not a real thought in their heads.”

They were so much at ease they almost missed what the room was telling them altogether. They finally got the message, which I thought was pretty obvious, and we went on to…

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

Room Type:  LOOP     Doors:  10  25  30

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

● The “YES” “MAYBE” and “NO” signs refer to the spaces over the doors. There is no sign over the unmarked door. No – you cannot take this door. The 25 sign is hanging by one nail, half up and half down. Maybe – you could take this door. The 10 sign is fully up. Yes – you should take this door. [Credit with a hint: H. Goyteki] [Credit: White Raven] This solution is reinforced by the open arrangement of the doors. The blank space over the unmarked door is the same orientation as the “NO” sign (facing to the left). The “MAYBE” sign is the same orientation (pointed straight at the viewer) as the 25 sign. The “YES” sign is the same orientation as the 10 sign (facing to the right). [Independent Credit: Aria | White Raven] Reinforcing this further, the arm of the person leaving (signifying “go”) points up through the “YES” sign to the “10″ sign. [Credit: Dave Gentile] Also the narrow corner of the 10 sign and the narrow corner of the “YES” sign point like an arrow to one another, while the narrow corner of the “MAYBE” sign and the narrow corner of the 25 sign point to one another. [Credit: Aria] [See Related Images]

● On the sign “JIBE PINE COMPASS” all point to the word “needle.” A jibe (not the boating term) is an insulting quip, which is sometimes called a needle. A pine tree has needles, as do compasses. There are three things with eyes — a needle, a potato, the ship in the painting. [Credit: Owen Hammer / Jimmy Williams] The picture on the right is not the Washington Monument but an obelisk known as Cleopatra’s Needle. [Credit: Naomi Alderman] The needle represents the number one while the eye represents a zero. “Needle”&”Eye”=10 the number of the correct door. [Independent Credit: David Gentile | White Raven] Needles have eyes thus every needle reference can be seen as both a 1 and a 0, [Credit: vewatkin]

● The ship in the painting is sailing toward Door 10, the correct door, indicating that we travel in that direction. [Independent Credit: SP | White Raven] The phrase, “…and chatted about where they had been and where they should go.” Is a reference to the ship travelling from the direction of the unmarked door (where they had been) to Door 10 (where they should go). [Independent Credit: vewatkin | White Raven]

● The walking cane labeled “QUICK” which is pointing at door 25 is a hurry-cane/”hurricane” [Credit: Owen Hammer] this warns against entering door 25. [Independent Credit: SP | White Raven] This solution is reinforced by the sailing ship solution above. [Independent Credit: Aria | White Raven] This may also be reinforced by the night scene picture being behind the stern of the ship, cloudy in the picture of the ship, with light ahead. [Credit: SP]

● The 25 door and unmarked door are both in shaded, whereas the 10 door is lit up in comparison. [Independent Credit: Wanderer | White Raven] Combining this with the solutions above, the sailing ship must go past the hurricane toward the light. [Independent Credit: Aria | White Raven]

● The downward arrows on the wallpaper and reference in the text to “Everyone sat down, some on the floor…” directs our attention to the floor. There are 10 visible feet on the furniture, indicating door 10. [Credit: vewatkin] The foot of the man leaving draws our attention to the feet of the furniture – this hints that we should “follow the feet.” The chair (in the center) has 8 feet, the furniture on the left or right has one foot each, 8+1+1=10. [Credit: White Raven]

● The stripes on the couch pair with the squares on the pillow to create an approximation of a 10. The line of the monument pairs with the circle of the moon to make a 10. [Independent Credit: David G | White Raven] The line of the mast pairs with the circle of the eye on the ship to make a 10. [Credit: White Raven] The ship’s “mast” is actually a glowing white rope making the 1 more evident. [Credit: vewatkin]

● The lines in the chair pair with the eyes in the potato to make an approximation of 10. [Credit: vewatkin]

● In the text is the word “felt” which is an anagram for “left.” In this room as well as the other two rooms in which the word “felt” occurs (11, 25) the correct door is the the left door. [Credit: Hidden Mystery / Beelzebibble]

● The text reads, “”Magpies!” I said to myself. “Not a real thought in their heads.”" “Magpies” is a reference to the fortune telling device from the 1700s turned nursery rhyme commonly referred to as “One For Sorrow.” [Independent Credit: Aria | White Raven]
The line, “Not a real thought in their heads.” may be a reference to the superstitious nature of the rhyme. A popular version of the rhyme reads…
“One for sorrow
Two for mirth
Three for a wedding
Four for a birth
Five for silver
Six for gold
Seven for a secret not to be told
Eight for a wish
Nine for a kiss
Ten for a bird you must not miss”
The last line refers to not missing a golden opportunity, in this case the correct door, 10. [Credit: White Raven]

View Related Images >

## 333 thoughts on “Room 34”

1. Sorry if this is a repeat, it probably is but I already read a bunch of comments and too tired to go thru more. “Yes” and “No”, both on shadowy doors, are opposites. The “yes” door is open, and “no” is closed, “open” and “closed” are opposites. Also, the word “quick” attached to a cane (which indicates slowness). Opposites. The ship and obelisk could be interpreted as “sea” and “land”, also opposites. The ship looks to me like it is sailing in daylight, while the obelisk has the moon behind it. “Day” and “night”, again opposites. I’ve got nothing on the potato ;). However, the shadows on the yes-no doors could indicate that opposites are bad, due to the light=good, dark=bad theme of Maze. Therefore, the Maybe door (bright, that’s a good clue too) is the correct door, as it is the only thing that isn’t an opposite (other than the potato, but that’s not a door. The only place the potato is going in on my plate. ;)…)

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• That’s interesting about the opposites… hm! I like the cane = slowness vs. quick label.

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• And 1 = yes and 0 = no, so put them together (10), two opposites colliding, and you get maybe… (although I think this part has been said).

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2. Another thought…

Maybe the ship in the painting is Odysseus’ from The Odyssey. In a famous scene, Odysseus and his men have been captured by the one eyed Cyclops, Polyphemus. To escape, they stab his eye out with a stick. There’s a single eye on the ship, which could mean one of two things:

1: The 1 in “10″ stands for “one eye” and the 0 kind of looks like an eye.

2: The 1 could symbolize the stick Odysseus and his men used to stab Polyphemus’ eye out with, with the 0 (once again) symbolizing the eye.

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3. Some probably mostly crappy ideas to finish the room — help please!

1. Light and dark doors. If I’m right about the ship being Theseus’s ship, then according to the story and the promise Theseus made to his father, dark = bad (if Theseus failed and was killed by minotaur) and white = good (if Theseus prevailed). So we take the blindingly white door.

2. “Drawing room” in the text and the prominent white “lines” on the ship (ropes on a sailing ship are called lines) cue us to “draw” some “lines” to get to the answer. The logical progression is yes-maybe-no or no-maybe-yes, and if you draw two lines to make that connection, you get a nice half-arrow pointing to the correct door. You can complete the arrow by drawing a line from the cane to the maybe. “Quick, draw (McGraw)”? Ugh, I don’t know.

3. More drawing of lines. Fingers-YES-10 make a nice line, and we can fairly safely assume that top hat or whoever has 10 fingers. So that’s 10-yes-10. (Like the baton-baton trail in 10.) Maybe this is where the cane comes in? It points to the YES door and means “has-TEN,” as in top hat has ten fingers…??? Uhhhhhhhh…

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• On the theme of nautical terms with double meanings (jibe, pine, compass, line) — there’s “draw” itself, which means (according to a nautical dictionary I found): 1) To require, referring to the depth of water necessary to operate the ship without grounding; as in: “How much does your boat draw?” 2) Referring to sails, to fill with wind and begin propelling a sailboat.

So that’s kind of interesting as reinforcement, maybe.

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• Maybe the half-arrow shapes on the boat (lines and crossbeam or whatever it’s called, prow and lines), as well as the arrows on the wallpaper and the arrow shape at the top of the needle are reinforcements…

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4. OK, everybody, all that’s left is something to do with the cane and something to do with top hat’s hand. (Both riddles confirmed by WR somewhere below.) Possibly they go together. Let’s finish this thing…!

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• Oh and something to complete the bright door / dark door thing.

May-B-right door? Ugh.

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• Just bringing up some stuff for easy reference.

In June 2014, Dave G said:
“How about: while the cane seems to be indicating where the man walked if you follow the line it makes it passes through “maybe”. If the man dropped the cane and we put it together with the line of his hand then:”maybe…yes, 10″

To which WR replied:
“You are correct about the hand but there is more to it than that.”

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5. Aria, 515, fans of magpies,

I believe this riddle to be much more difficult than Manson intended and so I’m just going to give it to you.

The magpie rhyme is a fortune telling device originated in England and brought to America with the early settlers. It has several iterations. One version points to 10 as the correct door and appears to be prominent in the NE United States. To make sure of the territory I spoke with an elderly woman who is from the NE United States (as is Manson) and asked her to recite the rhyme and this is the version she recited.

“One for sorrow
Two for mirth
Three for a wedding
Four for a birth
Five for silver
Six for gold
Seven for a secret not to be told
Eight for a wish
Nine for a kiss
Ten for a bird you must not miss”

I read that the producers of the TV show Magpie altered the final line to “a bird you must not miss” to suggest viewers not miss future episodes – this version however goes back at least to the mid 1700s.

The last line, “a bird you must not miss” is not about hunting (ie. shooting the bird) but about not missing a golden opportunity. Thus the last line could be understood to say, “10, act now!”

Modern versions truncate the rhyme at seven but back in 1985 Manson would have no way of knowing that version above was not the prominent version of the rhyme worldwide, and because of the TV show Magpie perhaps it was the prominent version for a time.

I hope you all don’t mind me just putting this one out there but I thought giving partial credit would just start a wild goose (magpie?) chase that Manson never intended.

White Raven

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• But various people have mentioned this poem before. Is this to say the “quick” is part of this riddle? Quick, act now?

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• I’m not sure how this is different from what we already said below…? Maybe we didn’t put it quite this way, but…

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• Oh never mind, I see, you’re saying we should have quoted the last line as the key part. I must admit, I saw that and thought, that’s way too obscure. It must just be the fact that the rhyme refers to 10 magpies. :-) But you DID say it was difficult…

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• I heard another version that just went like this:

One for sorrow,
Two for joy,
Three for a girl,
Four for a boy,
Five for silver,
Six for gold,
Seven for a secret,
Never to be told.

I never even knew there were three extra verses.

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• Aria,

I think from Manson’s point of view this was an easier riddle than most. The magpie rhyme is well known in the US, Canada and Briton. And from Manson’s perspective it ended with “10 for a bird you must not miss.” Take door 10. Pretty straight forward…

…unless it turns out there are a bunch of versions which either end at 7 or when they get to 10 warn about the devil. Doh!

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• Oh, don’t mind me. :-)
I’m just pissed at myself b/c I saw that version when I was looking up the TV show and didn’t think to mention/highlight the last line.

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6. Could the quick-cane signify a quick-cHanGe?

It would make sense if the MAYBE door were the 25 door and the YES door were the 10 door, right? Because 10 is the best door, and 25 is OK, and also the logical sequence should be “yes, maybe, no,” right?

AND look at the positions of the doors. If the 25 door were closed it would be in the same position as the 10 door, and vice versa.

So someone (maybe Top Hat, acting as a magician — quick-change is a category of magic trick, apparently) switched the doors (or the notes on the doors) and now we have to go through MAYBE instead of YES.

(I guess “quick switch” could also work — cane could be a sort of semi-synonym for switch.)

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7. This isn’t great but what the heck:

Magpies are jackdaws (they are both Corvus family, anyway, along with crows). The quick cane/stick could be reminiscent of another nursery rhyme: jack be nimble jack be quick, jack jumped over the candlestick. although this isn’t great because that might clue you to 25 since the cane is closer to it, but this does help you in room 8 since jumping the candle is close to 12.

Ok, it’s crap.

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8. Guys, I read through the comments, and there were A LOT of them so I may have missed someone else saying this. If so, apologies in advance.

This ship is NOT the Argo, I don’t think. I’m pretty sure it is the ship Theseus used to sail to Crete to face the minotaur. I know this because it has a black sail, and this is a big part of the story.

Theseus sails off to Crete with this black-sailed ship, and is supposed to change the sail to white when he returns to reassure his parents of his safety but forgets (Google the story for details). His dad, King Aegeus, sees the black sail and commits suicide by throwing himself into the sea that is now called the Aegean in his honour. That’s the story anyway.

Er… not sure how that helps yet. Any thoughts?

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• It works as a metaphor for failure and return if nothing else. But what about the eye? Is that part of the ship of Theseus?

The ship of Theseus is the subject of that paradox where parts of the ships were replaced over time until the entire ship had been replaced, and it was unclear whether what remained was the same ship or not, and if it was not, when it ceased being the same ship. Not apparently relevant, although the sign to 25 is in need of replacement.

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• I think the eye thing is there for the eye/needle riddle and also it seems like ancient Greek ships often had eyes painted on them, so it’s not unlikely that Theseus’s ship would have had one.

That paradox thing is interesting but yeah… I don’t know what the relevance would be.

Maybe Top Hat is about to step off the cliff so we should avoid going that way.

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• The eye does indeed seem to be less particular to the Argo than I had previously assumed for some reason lost to the sands of time, and it may just mean to us (in terms of classifying the ship) “Greek ship.” That, combined with a black sail, is certainly suggestive of Theseus’s ship, although my thirty seconds of research suggests that black sails on Greek ships were not wholly particular either…but it’s certainly a strong association, as googling “Greek ship black sails” reinforces.

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9. All right, I’m going lowest common denominator on this damn cane…

The cane is just a pointer, it could be anything. Quick refers to the exit, a “quick exit” – which they don’t take based on the text saying they sit around a while.
OR
The cane is a vaudeville hook. A quick hook, meaning a quick exit, etc.

If either of these are right I am going to name my first-born Hurrycane.

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10. Two ideas for magpies. I’m sorry if these have been said before…

1. Magpies like to collect shiny objects. The shiniest object in this room is probably the metal doorknob on 10. (The doorknob on 25 is in shadow and the one on the NO door is missing.)

2. “Drawing room” and “parlour” both seem like terms that would be used in Britain, rather than the US, where “living room” or “family room” would be more common. There was a popular British TV show called Magpie, and the theme song (based on a folk rhyme) involved the significance of different numbers of magpies, from one to TEN. (“One for sorrow, two for joy…” etc.)

This one seems more obscure than difficult so I’m not sure if it’s what WR has in mind.

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11. How about this: “got the message” in the text + all the eyes = “saw the light”, meaning the door bathed in light is right door. Less plausibly, the cane clues blindness and points to the wrong door.

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12. This is probably not intended but fun to think about: there was a product called Quick 10 in the 1980′s which removed carpet stains.

On another note, J (the shape of the cane) is the 10th letter of the alphabet.

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• If W = 23 in Room 45, then this can’t be too bad either. BIG PROBLEM is it doesn’t address the “quick”

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13. The little joining beam on the table here has that same shape we see in the dragon in 18–approximately or whatever.

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14. Abyssians,

Previously I wrote, “This room is odd in that all of you [...] have solved the really difficult stuff and what is left is pretty simple.”

While this is mostly true, I overlooked the magpies riddle which is difficult.

White Raven

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15. Maybe there’s something in the contrast between the QUICK sign and the group’s leisurely attitude, like Mr. Yes is tossing down his cane and hurrying out the door while the group is described to be doing essentially the opposite. (Holding tightly onto their canes and slowly coming in through the window.)

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16. Did we do “middle” class is a possible indicator for “maybe” between “yes” and “no”? I think we did “yes” and “no” in binary = 10.

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• I like the “middle-class” solution but it has a problem, “middle” could refer to several things, most obviously the middle door. Manson’s riddles usually are not this ambiguous but this solution has the advantage of making good use of “middle-class.” If we think of yes-maybe-no as being different classes then the solution is stronger, but this is a bit of stretch.

Because of all this – my approach has been to add the “middle-class” solution only after someone finds the less problematic solution to yes-maybe-no and then phrase the “middle-class” solution more conditionally than I usually do, “”Middle-class” may perhaps…”

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17. There are 10 objects “room was telling them altogether”. This does not count the signs over the doors or on the doors (or the guy walking out). It does count the tag and the note on the table, and the pictures.

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• Just throwing out “10s” and seeing what sticks….

Given the text, however, and the fact that they are looking around doing anything but paying attention and then they see and do pay at”ten”tion – well, maybe WR would have done something with that – maybe there is a bit more, etc…

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• Actually SP the military metaphor may be helpful, because before they paid attention they were “at ease”.

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• Unless we can find a tier 1 reference to militaria, there isn’t that much in here to justify using it. If the boat was more in the style of a sloop or west indies privateer, the allusion would be more convincing.

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• Also it is a “parlor” – parlor games of word-play? Might relate to finding part of a word. Meh. Could also be called a “sitting” room, sort of opposite of standing at attention. Maybe after they *stand* vs. “sit” at at”ten”tion they “quick”/march out the door? Military drills are led by someone with a “cane”, although not in that shape.

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• I was rambling about something similar in the google chat actually, regarding the triple use of “ing” at the end of 3 words in the first paragraph. Didn’t get anywhere with it though.

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18. Just wanted to throw this out there, since I was trying to work it out then went to the comments to see if anyone had…which of course they did! Hurry-cane is not listed with the eye solutions.

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• Yeah, we’re not sure what’s going on there. WR must use it in a different way, though he oddly hasn’t even commented to say, “Everyone says that, but there’s a better use for that here,” like he (sorta) did with the O list in Room 23. It’s really hard to look past that interpretation once you see it, though. Even if the cane means something else, this seems to present a good case for double duty. If it were related to the guide puzzle, though, that would explain an unwillingness to attribute secondary meaning to it, since WR has stated that guide puzzle objects are left over from those used in door puzzles.

It sure is hard to believe, though, isn’t it, that it’s not a hurricane?

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• 515,

The hurry-cane solution as it has been presented is – “A hurricane has an eye and thus this is another case of an “eye” in this room.” This might be the case but I doubt it. If Manson intended this to mean “eye” then the obvious conclusion is the Door 25 is the “eye” door since the cane points to Door 25. Since the eyes in the room refer to the zero in 10 this is highly problematic. So my best guess is that Manson was not thinking that hurricanes have eyes as part of the solution to the cane riddle, and even if he was, almost certainly not as the main solution. I have a solution to the cane riddle which overcomes this difficulty and is more simple than “quick-cane = hurricane; hurricane = eye.” I can only hope that when someone else finds this solution that you will agree.

White Raven

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• The cane pointing at the door seems like a much smaller problem than the door having YES written on it! But good, we can cross the cane off the leftover object list.

/me/ doesn’t actually bother to cross anything off anything.

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• Vewatkin,

Ha! Yes! There’s more than one reason this room is 3/5. Elsewhere in MAZE the puzzles that are left are mostly more difficult than not.This room is odd in that all of you (mainly you) have solved the really difficult stuff and what is left is pretty simple. (I say this as encouragement not to drive you crazy.)

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• I still thing the cane is a “J” in a room full of “I”s and that J = alphanumeric 10 = correct door. NOt sure what the “quick” tag has to do with that though.

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• Maybe Mr. Yes is going to smoke a quick J, and you’d better not follow him or you’ll get busted right alongside of him. (1985 was the heyday of the war on drugs, and folks were still getting prison sentences for simple marijuana possession.) We know what the answer is when you’re offered drugs, right? Just say no! NO! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

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• There are 10 letters in “yes+no+maybe ?
There is a doorknob and a keyhole that look like a 10?
Can’t remember if we did those.

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• Just a “quick” (hahahah) attempt on the cane thing. “Quick” can also mean centre — and doesn’t door 25 lead you back towards the centre of the maze, when you are trying to get out at this point?

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• This is from Merriam-Webster online. See def’n 2c. (I was thinking of “Child, you cut me to the quick” from the Wizard of Oz — an example of a related meaning.)

quick
noun
Definition of QUICK

1 quick plural : living beings
2 [probably of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Norse kvika sensitive flesh, from kvikr living]
a : a painfully sensitive spot or area of flesh (as that underlying a fingernail or toenail)
b : the inmost sensibilities
c : the very center of something : heart
3 archaic : life 11

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• Also – the center/centre of the Maze is not in that direction. Room 25 heads deeper into the loop. And actually on my map – this is 1 of 3 connecting rooms between the 2-eyes and the 1-eye. Room 1 is part of the figure 8 path forming the 2-eyes, then we have 41,10, 34 , then room 25 is part of the one eye. So if the thing is a “hurry-cane” it does point to one big eye on the map. IMO.

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• In room 34 I believe the room solution is “I door” and the ornate door there does lead to 34 – the i/eye room – then if we follow the “aye” on the door and the “hurry-cane” we come to the big one-eye on the map. So I think the door to 25 is the “I/eye/aye” door, But we just want the needle&eye door 10.

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• Cut to the quick actually references no. 2 of those definitions. The quick of an animal’s claw is the part where the blood vessel reaches, so if you cut all the way to the quick, it’s very painful and bleeds a lot.

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• I know 515 (I did reference 2c) — it was just that quote popping up in my head that made me think of the other meanings of quick. :-) Thus unnecessarily complicating my comment.

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19. I think this may have been said before. “Where they had been and where they should go”. If you enter this room by a correct choice, you have come from 25 and if you leave by a correct choice you go to 10. The way you came in is labeled “yes” because “yes” you have used that door. And “maybe” you will exit via the correct one.

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• Well, more than that, YES the door to 25 will be used, because some guy is using it, NO the door to 30 won’t be used because it’s one-say, and MAYBE the door to 10 will be used if you make the right choice. I don’t think that helps pick 10, though–it just offers some explanation for the signs.

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20. Another idea from the local library Maze session: A potato is a YAM, and YAM spelled backward is MAY as in “MAYBE”.

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