Room 42

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…the next room.

In one corner a savage animal appeared ready to leap out, roaring, rending with tusk and claw…but it was only a bit of taxidermy after all.

I suggested they might wish to hang up their coats before going on.

“How will we find them?” one asked. “We might not pass through here again.”

I assured them I would help them to return. “You can count on me,” I said sincerely. Still, they wouldn’t leave anything behind.

Opening one of the doors we made our way to…

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


Room Type: PATH     Doors: 4  22  25  30  37


● The correct door is 4. [Credit: Unknown - during the 1985 contest.]

● The part of the Riddle of the Path in this room is “bear” (referring to “the animal”). [Credit: Unknown - prior to 1990.]

● On three of the doors are pairs, a pair of scissors, a pair of dice, and a pear. The non-pair (the salt and pepper shaker set) is the correct door – 4. [Credit: Slala]

● There are three somewhat hidden “four”s in this room. 4 boots in a group, 4 bear feet, and the mislabeled bottom dice that adds up to 4. [Credit: Beq S.]

● “Sinners this way” refers to door 30 (the animal is pointing behind itself), which is the incorrect door. [Credit: Hello Gregor] [Note: This is half of the solution.]

● In the text it says, ““You can count on me,” I said sincerely.” “On me” is four letters, indicating Door 4. Thus when the guide is sincerely helping when he says, “You can count ON ME.” [Independent Credit: Dnutz | White Raven] This is hinted at by the phrases bracketing the clue, “I assured them I would help them return.” and “Still they wouldn’t leave anything behind.” To anyone who has played MAZE for long it is obvious that the Guide is not going to help them return and the visitors are correct to keep their coats with them. The addition of the thought-word “sincerely” in the midst of the Guide’s deception puts the clue in high relief. [Credit: White Raven]

● The bear paws in the picture above the doors are angled oddly, the back two are acute angles while the front two feet are right angles. The shape of the feet may be suggestive of the shape of the “4″ on door 4. The shape of the left feet make the left side of the 4, while the right feet make the right side of the 4. [Credit: Aria] [See related images]

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139 thoughts on “Room 42

  1. Note to site administrators: The figure-8-shaped map of the Path shows Room 42 leading to Rooms 22 and 25, which it does, but 22 is marked Loop and 25 is marked Trap. It should be the other way around.

  2. We noted that the “tusk” cannot refer to the bear, but the elephant, whereas the “claw” must be the bear. This, along with the oddly over-stated threat of the “savage animal,” implies the elephant is also important. Somehow.

    The bear does seem to be taking the role of St. Peter here, pointing good and bad people which way to go. He *seems* to indicare 22 as the way for saints.

    Also what about the fact the dice do not show standard numbers? We tried adding the showing sides, as well as the non-showing sides, but no dice…so to speak. But indeed, these dice are NOT a pair. This ain’t a pair-o-dice. In fact, if the spices under #4 are seen as a pair of spices, then door 37 would be the odd man out.

  3. Once again, I’ll leave you with my particular vision =)

    There are four complete pairs of feet/ boots, alright. But in this one, it’s easier to spot the incorrect doors rather than the correct one. You have the “Saints and Sinners” sign. Of course, “pear + dice” means “paradise” (doors 25 and 37), So there you have the saints. Now, for the sinners it’s door number 30 (you know, the room of Adam and Eve), also, the sign reads sinners THIS way, so it’s obvious. Now that we’ve excluded these doors, we need to pick between 22 and 4. The bear is pointing towards door number 22 and the scissors. Why? You need to “cut” a 22 in order to achieve a result that makes sense. If we take the two s letters from “(s)aint (s) that way” and invert them, we are left with “ain’t that way” (or (22 = ain’t that way).

  4. There has GOT to be something with the light and dark on the sign and the progression of light to dark on the number signs on the right. Is it that simple? Do we look at the top part of the sign, which goes light to dark, and then look at the numbered signs over the doors on the right, and go in the direction from light to dark, which gets us to 4?

  5. OK, here are some more terrible ideas. We’re getting into desperation territory here…

    1. SAINTS and prevelance of feet and boots refers to the marching tune “When the Saints Go Marching In,” which is a tune in 4/4 time like most marching tunes. Therefore 4. (“Oh Lord I want to be in THAT number…)

    2. There’s a SAINTS’ WAY in Cornwall. It’s a long-distance footpath. Its name is FORTH an Syns in Cornish. It ends at a town called Fowey, which if you listen to the pronunciation on Wikipedia, kind of sounds like “four.” If you are desperate.

    3. Saints have haloes. The only door with two circular items is door 4. (When viewed from above.)

    4. “Still, they wouldn’t leave anything behind.” If you imagine yourself going into each of the doors, the only one that doesn’t have something directly behind you is door 4. (I’m using the hatching as guides to how the perspective works.) For all other doors except 30, there are boots directly behind you. For 30, the sign is directly behind you. (This doesn’t involve the Saints sign, of course…)

  6. Oh help. Just saw this on a re-read…

    “Hello Gregor,

    CORRECT! I cannot bump it up to 5 yet as there is one riddle remaining. You are on a roll!

    Sinners this way – points to the wrong door.
    Saints that way points to everything on the right (there’s a bit more to this).

    White Raven”

    • Although I guess that doesn’t necessarily take out my solution below… if “ain’t that way” connects with the bear’s left paw pointing to his right (our left). In effect this means any of the doors on the right might be OK. And then you have all the other clues for 4 to confirm that door.

    • Do something with Saint Corbinian.

      See, he wouldn’t leave his luggage behind, so he…

    • In the text is that weird “rending with tusk and claw” line. If we take rend to mean split, then tusk is linked with saints and claw is linked with sinners.

    • He must be riding the bear in the painting we can’t see. That’s the bear associated with the saints, the other bear with the sinners, and the door left over in the middle is 4.

      There’s that other door but whatever.

  7. OK. Giving it another shot here.

    How about: the taking off coats thing refers to “SAINTS” — you take off the word’s coat and you get AINT. In other words, “ain’t that way.” If the bear’s right paw is pointing behind him, his left paw is pointing at 22. Also, “SAINTS” is highlighted in white and 22 is the brightest door with its number also being highlighted in bright white.

    4 is the only door with a completely dark number placard so maybe this is saying “AIN’T” that way, meaning all of the light-numbered doors.

    Wondering if the whole taxidermy thing is sort of an elaborate way of getting you to think about “stuffed” things. In this case, the esses are stuffed with the meaningful word.

    (I think the ain’t thing has already been pointed out, maybe by Marianne, but I don’t know that she put it all this way, so worth trying again.)

  8. If I can do justice in the repeating: it was suggested to me that, through various levels of punning, the pictured bear has “left behind” the door to Room 4; it’s behind the bear, maybe behind its left foot, etc. Because the group did NOT leave anything behind, they did not not (got that?) take the door to 4.

    I might not be getting that right, use your imagination if necessary, all apologies.

  9. Don’t like those? OK, here’s one more. The hind bear feet in the top picture look exactly like the left-pointing part of the 4 in the font used above the door. I guess the forefeet could be the up-and-down parts to complete the fours.

    Come on now, if the ladder shape stuff in 10 is good, then this is good too.

    • Here are some things:

      There are five boots in the room. One of those boots, look and you can’t miss it, is oddly bent toward us, as the others all stand up straight and normal.

      Considering the boots from left to right, this odd boot is the third one, right in the middle. The same is true of the door to Room 4–it is the third door of five, from left to right. Or from right to left, for that matter. IT’S IN THE MIDDLE.

      If you consider the bear-foot painting, there are four feet there–but in the middle of the feet, down below, is a fifth foot: the elephant foot umbrella stand. Again, the middle item of five, distinguished from the others.

      Not really a solution, but: Look at how dark the doorknob on the door to 4 is. Why is it so dark? We can tell where the light’s coming from because of the shadows, and there’s nothing in the way of the door to block the light, so what’s the deal? It’s like the bear just exudes an aura of shadow.

      Sometimes interesting in the realm of pairs: the three items in the umbrella stand all seem to form plausible pairs with each other as contrasted with the third thing. A CONFOUNDING STATEMENT BY WHICH i MEAN THIS:

      The umbrella and straight can are the same height, and thus pair together to the exclusion of the hooked cane.

      The umbrella and the hooked cane pair together due to their hook/claw shaped heads, to the exclusion of the straight cane.

      The two canes pair together to the exclusion of the umbrella.

      It seems like these three objects were made in such a way that their obvious attributes connected any two of the three of them, leaving one left over. A clue about pairs, about things left out of pairs, about three pairs? Make up your own bogus interpretation!

      As a final note, and not really new, but the obvious interpretation of the sinners/saints thing has always been to connect it to the not-needing-coats thing, with the implication being that folks who are going where the sinners go will find the place plenty warm. Since the Guide tries to lead them where they won’t need their coats, and they decline his advice, we can intuit that they thus went elsewhere. I GUESS. So, if we get that the bear is indicating the sinners’ way on the left, that tells us to go somewhere on the right, at least; it doesn’t limit our options that much, but it at least keeps us out of the trap. I’m honestly not sure with the bear looking one way and pointing another that we can really tell which way is “this way” and which way is “that way.” Those blanks are pretty well filled in by knowledge of what we saw in 30 (which you must pass through in order to reach this room), along with “pair o’ dice,” which WR hasn’t shown any respect for yet, but which Manson made reference to in an email to Gentile regarding Christian themes in MAZE. SO I’M WAITING FOR THIS PAIR O’ DICE PUN TO WORK SOMEWHERE! I think we already flung it around in 37 for another looking-down-from-above clue, so I’m still looking at you, Room 42.

    • Aria,

      A nice find but I’m not entirely convinced. This works a little better if you take it as just representing the top two thirds of the 4 (see related images for this page).

      My best guess is that it is a subtle hint to take door 4.

      Opinions anyone?

    • [The Manson quote from the email to Gentile: "[B]esides a couple of references (nun, pair-o’-dice) used for their word value, I did not intend to incorporate any particularly Christian ideas, messages or doctrines.”]

    • (Actually, it has been pointed out to me that that weird boot’s inclined mouth points right to the 4.)

    • (The painting-bear’s hind feet are arguably arrows pointing to the 4.)

    • Vewatkin & Aria,

      Vewatkin, great observation about the items in the elephant foot! As Aria said, the “elephant foot umbrella stand” game is a about finding the common rules. In this case “pairs.” Pairs in this room being incorrect, the elephant foot is next to incorrect doors.

      I’m sold. Any complaints or additions before I put it on the board?

      White Raven

    • Manson uses items as pointers all over in MAZE. Identifying them is easy just use a ruler and follow the line and it will either point to the center of the open door or the center of the number. In this case the left foot-arrow overshoots 4 entirely and hits the 30 while the right one slightly overshoots the 4.

    • VW: still waiting for pair-o-dice pun to pan out? Come on!
      Has GOT to be intentional.
      St. Peter at the pearly gates is pretty much pop culture — see numerous New YOrker cartoons, It’s a Wonderful LIfe, etc. So I don’t think it’s excluded by Manson’s message, especially b/c it’s involved in wordplay.

    • Well, I draw a line where it seems to me the feet are pointing and it goes right to the 4 sign. But the problem might be that because these aren’t really arrows it’s hard to say exactly what trajectory to take from them. The indented negative space on the inner side of the foot does not point the same way as the foot itself.

    • Aria,

      I agree that St. Peter and pearly gates are pop culture and not necessarily excluded by Manson. However this solution has a few problems: The connection between SP and St. Peter is weak. The pear has no LY to get “pearly.” And most of all if this were correct then wouldn’t all three doors be correct with the best one being 37 “paradise”?

    • Vewatkin,

      Yes, these are very imperfect arrows. See related images for my attempt to make this work.

    • Just looked at the related images. I like it! (I’m biased, of course.)

      Vince, on your dark/light thing… as well as the doorknob being dark, the sign for door 4 is the only one that is completely dark. For whatever that’s worth.

    • Sigh. I know it’s not perfect… (pearly gates etc.). But I LIKE IT ANYWAY, DANGIT!


  10. Here’s another thing I found that I don’t know what to do with yet. There is actually a parlour game called “elephant’s foot umbrella stand.” Google it! Not sure what to do with it yet, if anything — help appreciated.

    Basically it involves the gamemaster coming up with a rule, and others trying to guess the rule. So the gamemaster would say, “I went to the store and bought an elephant’s foot umbrella stand.” And then players say what they would buy and try to guess the rule based on the gamemaster’s responses.
    player 1: “I bought a cat” — gamemaster: “NO”
    player 2: “I bought an eagle” — YES
    player 3: “I bought a loafer” — YES
    player 4: “I bought a leopard” — NO

    (The rule in this example is that everything has to start with the letters in elephant’s foot umbrella stand, in sequence. So the first item has to start with an “e”, the next with an “l”, etc. Other rules could be “only green things,” “only things you can see right now,” “things in alphabetical order,” etc.)

    I’m explaining it badly. No idea if this is a thing or not.

    Sorry if it has been mentioned.

    • Well, it’s kind of interesting, thematically, in terms of looking for something that breaks the rules…although, that’s kind of the inverse of the game, isn’t it?

    • Aria,

      What a find! I have no idea what to do with it either but it deserves consideration!

    • In a way I feel like Maze is just one prolonged game of elephant’s foot umbrella stand… for each room we’re trying to figure out the rule (or rules) that will let us understand how all the clues make sense.

    • Do I need to collect some signatures to get this Elephant’s Foot Umbrella Stand thing on the board? ;-)

  11. OK, I’m starting things off. Apologies in advance for the long post.

    On the confirmed solutions board:
    “Sinners this way” refers to door 30 (the animal is pointing behind itself), which is the incorrect door. [Credit: Hello Gregor] [Note: This is half of the solution.]

    Here’s my attempt at the other half. Lots of this has already been said, I think just the PEAR-ly gates thing is my idea. (Apologies if it has been said too.)

    1. Simple: the bear’s face is pointing “that way”; its elbow is indicating door 4. (Someone also said “hat way” which is not bad as a way to indicate that side of the room.)

    2. More complicated: lots of biblical metaphor stuff going on, much of which has been mentioned below.

    The “sinners” side of the room has a door with a dangerous-looking pair of scissors and leads to the trap. (Sinners also kind of sounds like scissors, now that I think about it.)

    The “saints” side of the room has an interesting progression:

    room 4
    dark sign
    SalT + PeppeR = SainT PeteR (you can also add the intermediate step of saltpeter, thusly:) salt + pepper -> salt + peter -> saint peter (It’s like a version of Manson’s alchemist book except you’re changing words, not letters.) Regardless…

    room 25
    half dark half light sign
    PEAR-ly gates
    (if you go into room 25 you even have doors looking like gates)

    room 37
    light sign
    pair of dice =

    You have to go through SAINT PETER, who guards the PEARLY GATES, to get to PARADISE.

    Lots of problems with this, I know — why wouldn’t you go through the pearly gates door based on this idea? — but I think the metaphor combined with the bear’s forearm pointing from “saints” highlighted in white to door 4 and all the other 4 stuff in the room makes it work.

    The other nice thing is that we do, of course, have to get to 37 eventually, and the room is open to the sky, making it as close to Heaven as you get in MAZE. (Not a new idea.) We are cued not to go to 37 by the umbrella stand and coat rack, which you would see beside a door on the way OUT, not IN. (This has already been said, too, but I like it. You’re on your way OUT when you hit 37 on the Path because you’ve already found the centre.)

  12. ONE WEEK FROM TODAY, an epic event will take place: Mazecast: Room 42! This will mark the completion of all the rooms of MAZE on Mazecast. Don’t you want to be part of this?! Of course you do! Here are two ways you can participate:
    1. Get in touch with the good Mazecast people via mazecast [dot] com and say you want to join the ‘cast.
    2. Over the next week, help us blitz Room 42! Yes, in a break from tradition, we will be discussing, dissecting, dissembling, and dissenting on this page in an effort to SOLVE THE ROOM before Thursday, May 21. Will we succeed? Will we fail? ONLY WR KNOWS. (Although come to think of it he won’t know either until we actually start posting.)

    At the very least, it will give us more things to argue about during the ‘cast.


    JOIN US!!!!

  13. The 4 feet above tell us “4″ of course but also I note 2 stand together and 2 apart. I think this is to help us look for pairs and non-pairs – like the salt and pepper shaker / grinder.

  14. I have really been taking in the Path/Loop/Trap discussion as I am trying to get a better understanding of the House/MAZE layout…but like all things Manson, some are tricky. Is there a true reason Room #42 cannot go to Room #4 or Room #37 and still make it through MAZE correctly? I didn’t quite get the finality of these outlets.

    • To reach 45, you have to go through Room 4, and you have to do it through 42. Going to 37 means, at best, you have to come back to 42 and then choose 4.

    • The directions page says we need to find the shortest possible path from 1 to 45 and back. It also say this can be done in 16 steps. It can, and there is exactly one way to do it. On the various maps you follow the figure 8/infinity sign path.

      1 > 26 > 30 > 42 > 4 > 29 > 17 > 45

      45 > 23 (far end of loop) > 8 > 12 > 39 > 4 > 15 > 37 > 20 > 1

      And VW’s point is good too – the sequence 42 > 4 > 28 > 17 > 45 is part of ANY path to 45 from 1.

  15. On behalf of Door #4:
    If “Bear” is the significant clue here he certainly is the “white elephant in the room”…
    A Bear is a QUADruped and a front foot is called a “FOREfoot”. Narrative: “wish to hang up”, may direct us to the picture hanging up over the doors that would be the FOUR feet of the same Bear. The FOUR boots would belong to the same Bear. The boot that is sitting aside is just a boot that would be on the taxidermy Bear’s FOREfoot (paw) that he is using independently to direct visitors (different boot for different Bear). He is also said to be in one of the corners – that would be one of FOUR corners. For verification, the room number signs in Room #4 have 4 fours.

    • “bear” is part of the confirmed riddle of the path. “Like Atlas you bear it upon your shoulders”. Bear is the word for that phrase we are supposed to get in this room. Other than that it may or may not be particularly important. I’m not sure if anyone has noted 4 4s in room 4. But I’ve not noticed a lot of “self clueing” going on – where a room clues itself as correct. And if you think about it – how could it work? Nearly every room is the correct choice from SOMEWHERE, and equally true most rooms are also the incorrect choice from somewhere else. So having the room you land in confirm you have made the right choice just would not work very well.

      I do think we are supposed to put boots on bear for my own complex reason. The 4 boots match the 4 feet on the sign well enough, but the one lone boot – seems less clear what to do with it. The stuffed bear shows 2 living paws and peeking out from behind the sign a skeletal paw.

      Forepaw is new I think. Combined with the hind paw being skeletal and bad – maybe a thing??

  16. On behalf of Door #37:
    1. “You can count on me” = count the pips on the die.
    2. “hang up their coats” & “taxidermy” = hanging up “fuzzy” (furry) dice.
    3. “might not pass” = pass is a craps dice game term.
    4. Two pairs of shoes, one pair missing a shoe so “baby needs a new pair of shoes” = commonly spoken to the dice before rolling.
    5. As I believe going to the selected room should yield confirmation that you have selected the correct door – in Room “37 there is a “pair of dice”.

    • No doubt the dice door is a bit of truth in labeling – you do indeed find dice. This does not make it the correct door however. It is certain that 4 is the correct exit. Manson also confirmed that “paradise” is intentional here.

      I do think counting pips is intended but as 1,2,3,4.

      The connections to baby needs a new pair of shoes and fuzzy dice are too tenuous to be intentional from here. I mean I see where if we were told we needed to find dice stuff here we might find those things. But I don’t think the whole room is about dice.

      “Pass” is tightly enough connected to dice to be interesting. We might not pass = a hint not to go the dice route? I would say maybe except I think that quote is literary and connected to something larger. I could be wrong however. And conceivably it could be related to a no go 37 hint.

  17. I guess if we are super serious about avoiding pairs – The hat and coat are sort of a pair – so avoid that door. And three items in a 3 toed holder is sort of a pair – so avoid those doors.

    It strikes be that the angry bit of taxidermy could mean the coat – the skin of some animal – and maybe the savage animal is a human in hat and coat – but that gets me nothing. :/

    • The bear pairs of feet are sort of over 37 and 25 – so again if we are avoiding pairs, don’t go there.

    • Whether we did or didn’t, it should be listed at the top. It’s the way 30 gets excluded from our odd-one-in calculation on the door pairs.

    • I agree with this. Why isn’t this listed? It is very clear as a way to exclude 30.

  18. We can take “SAINTS this way” apart into “S AINT S this way” then reassemble as “SS AINT this way” which is a clue not to follow the pairs. (And maybe not to go to 22 or with even more stretching 25). If this is on WR list then partial credit to Marianne here.

  19. I assured them I would help them return. “You can count on me,” I said sincerely.

    Count ‘on me’ is four letters.

    It directs you to door #4

    • Dnutz,

      Congratulations! Putting it on the board! Welcome to The Abyss, you make quite an entrance!

      White Raven

    • I agree this is a good solution. It rings familiar – like someone said it once – but maybe deja vu. :)
      I still think we should count other things in the room too, however – 1,2,3,4 – like clothing articles and die pips.

    • I’m skeptical. Recall that a door to 22 is here as well, and “on me” is two twos; if it fit our purposes we’d say it was cluing 22. And really, the boots–two twos; the bear feet–two twos. All the images of pairs–and 22 is a pair of twos, a pair of pairs in a sense. With the exception of the dice, I think all this counting business is problematic.

      Really, though, everything seems better suited to clue against pairs, which ultimately fits the good old odd-one-out solution. E.g. there’s a leftover boot, a leftover taxidermied foot, a leftover door (sort of, don’t know why I add that, that’s kind of dumb), only one corner…

    • “on me” could be 2 2 – yes, except for all the cluing against pairs as you mention and ANIT SS – might be a new one.

    • Well, my point is just that you can see things the way you want to see them. Like here, all those groups of four things are counted as indicators of four with the leftover things excluded, and not seen as two twos, because that’s what we’re looking for. The same things that make them not pairs make them not fours.

      “You can count on me” is such a common expression that it’s hard for me to see it being quietly repurposed this way deliberately. Simply inserting the phrase to inject the concept of counting seems more plausible. TOOOOO MEEEEEEE.

      Sinners this way, it’s interesting, we have a couple rooms on one side of the bear, 22 and 30. 22 has the devil pitchfork (on the other side of 43, with the devil face); 30 has references to Eden, the home of original sin. The other side of the bear has the repeatedly observed “pair o’dice” (and a number of sort of top-down stuff going on in 37), but I can’t think of too plausible a relation between saints and the other two rooms. Room 4 has the “heavens,” I guess, with the sun and the stars. Room 25…nothing, really.

    • The pictures on the doors can’t be mistaken as being in favor of 22 so that is the first anti-pair thing. But yes without that then four boots in 2 sets could mean 22 as well as 4. I’m thinking 22 is a pair of 2s – so bad, but that is once you know pairs are bad and not much help before that point. So yeah – I’ll go back to counting things. 1,2,3,4 die pips. 1 boot , 2 coat rack things, 3 things in foot, 4 boots. 1 claw umbrella, 2 ivory canes, 3 elephant toes, 4 bear claws. (And then “on me” 1,2,3,4).

      And I think I am missing the “leftover” theory. How does the one leftover boot help us in your view?

    • The leftover boot means that 1) there aren’t four boots, and 2) things aren’t paired up in this room.

      With the bear claws, it depends on how you look at it. There are four bear claws in the picture, but there are three claws on the bear.

      At the very least, then, you’re saying, “Ignore this boot–there are four boots. Ignore the bear–there are four bear feet.”

      Finding a bunch of things you can classify in different ways to count up to four doesn’t do much to change the fact that you can see what you want to. One picture on a left door, one open door, one elephant foot, one painting, one taxidermied bear, one coat rack, one coat, one hat, one umbrella, one sign with words, one pear, one salt shaker, one pepper shaker; two doors on the left wall, two bears, two taxidermied animals, two animal parts mentioned in text, two categories (sinners and saints) on the sign, two pairs of boots, two pairs of bear feet, two directions indicated by the bear sign, two dice, two Ones on the lower die, two imperfect pairs (salt and pepper don’t match, the two dice don’t match), two condiments, two walls, two canes; three bear feet, three doors on the back wall, three signs on the back wall, three elephant toes, three groupings of bear feet in the painting (two separate in the back, an overlapping pair in the front), three items in the umbrella stand, three animals, three items on the right (coat rack, hat, coat), three pairs/pears on the signs, three groupings of shoes (two pairs, one solo), three actions the bear appeared about to do in the text (leap out, roar, rend), three quoted statements in the text, three pieces of furniture (or whatever you want to call them); four bear feet in the painting, four taxidermied feet, four paired-off boots, four pips on lower die, four signs total on doors, four shut doors, four letters in “on me,” four letters in a ton of other words or two-word combinations in the text, four sides and angles to everything rectangular; five doors, five signs, five boots, five personal articles (canes, umbrella, coat, hat); six–I don’t know, six pips on the top die, six words on the bear’s sign…seven bear feet total, uh…

      Anyway, the point is, yeah, you can find stuff to count, but your have a ton of freedom in that regard.

      Here’s something I like more than counting the letter in “on me” and still think is totally bogus: The guide says you can count on him, and the text contains “I,” as in the first person pronoun referring to the guide, four times, so that in effect you can count him four times in the text.

    • Or this: You can find ME in the text four times–as long as you allow it to appear backwards. (Return, leave anything behind, etc.) This excludes cases where there is a space between the M and E.

      Those four instances are three instances of the word “them,” and then the “count on me” phrase itself.

      This also seems more plausibly intentional to me than counting the letters in “on me,” but still seems fairly implausible.

    • I like the “I”s better than the “me”s.

      If there were quotes around “on me” it would be nearly unambiguous that we were supposed to count it – but 4 vs. 22 would still be an issue without the “non-pair” clues.

      That’s a LOT of examples of numbers of things. Do any of them work the way I’m saying to count to say 5 or 3 or something? I’m saying the procedure is

      1) Identify a class of things.
      2) find groups of 1,2,3and 4 of that class.
      Best example is the die pips.

      The bear has 3 paws showing (and 4 I assume) – but 4 claws per paw. So ivory/claws still works as a class there for me.

      BTW – Everyone knows the difference between a cat and a comma right?

      Claws at end of paws vs. pause and end of clause.

    • I don’t see anything but the pips working that way. Your other counting things don’t constitute members of an easily identified class that I can see; but anyway, I’m sure you could take those counting things and jerryrig some more. It just seems very easy to do when you’re very liberal with groupings.

      I don’t think Is, MEs, or “on me” is legitimate, but beyond that, I don’t think that anyone thinks all or most of those are legitimate; it serves as an example of how easy it is for something like that to happen accidentally when you’re dealing with small numbers like this. If you’re looking for 4s, you can find them.

    • V W: “fashion accessories” works as a pretty tight group for me. So we’ll just have on disagree on that one. The claws/elephant toes/ivory – I would not consider that one except for the text’s odd bit about “tusk and claw”.

  20. I am interested in the fact that the picture hangs lower than the door handle, but the others do not. Non-random and pretty clearly intentional. Never mentioned before to my knowledge.The picture might be falling down, but not clearly so. Not sure what it means though….well no idea at all really.

    • Well, the image is taller than the others, which means the mystery might just be, “Why is that image taller than the others?”

      Each die being roughly square, it’s hard to make two of them fit on a roughly square piece of paper without leaving a lot of it blank, at least of you’re allowing for minimal overlap. (I’m presuming there’s some import to the six sides we can see.) He could have just drawn the dice smaller, but then he would have either had a lot more white space on the side of the paper, or the paper would have been a lot narrower than the other signs, and then we’d be wondering why those one is narrower. Though, all the signs are pretty irregularly cut anyway.

      That’s not to say it can’t mean something, or that it would be impossible to put dice on a shorter sign; I’m just saying that there’s a reasonable artistic explanation for why that sign is longer.

  21. There is a lot going on at Door 37-a sharp eye could make a case for IV. The picture of the dice is uneven hanging down past the doorknob on the left side. The hat and a small part of the coat sleeve are in the doorway and the cane is over the jamb near the handle.
    The sign leaning on the bear can be read internaly as: AINT THAT HAT IN HIS WAY.


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