Room 44

Navigate by clicking on doors or door numbers.

Image Map

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

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

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

They vanished through the wall and I followed them to…

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


Room Type: LOOP     Doors: 4  18  21  31    


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

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

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


146 thoughts on “Room 44

  1. Let’s step into homonym city.

    * “to know” in the text could be homoym’d to “two no” – indicating not to take the door with the 2 in it.

  2. The 9 w’s make sense in connection with this. On Masonic images two columns are sometimes depicted with a third in the middle that merges the outer two. The inner column is labeled “W” for “Wisdom”.

  3. So the dark snake in 21 looks to 31 and death. White snake looks here and we should find rebirth. We have the clock rewinding itself, but that is not explicit enough. Then we have sp’s great solution of combining the two sides. We have two big tall things. Looks like a Masonic tracing board. Things in the text indicating two lines “all”,”followed”. “21 18″ Look crosseyed at the two objects. The circle bits line up near top. The leaves come out of the top of the column. It’s a fountain. Masonic symbol – fountain is fountain of life. We have that symbol of re-birth that was suspected….
    Congrats SP!

    • You’re both nuts.

      How about the fact that the tree has palms and the column has leaves? LEAVES? And the group LEAVES that way? Huh? Huh?

      Just like in Room 16…

      Man, we are really digging deep.

      21 being between the uprights, 18 being outside of it, maybe that’s part of it; any of those four doors could have been chosen to be the two you could go through.

  4. I thought I had posted my eurekas here, but I guess I forgot! Here goes:

    TIER 1 (obvious)
    * Both doors are multiples of 9.
    * The croc has a 9-spiked collar.
    * The rope is shaped like a 9 where it touches the floor
    * There are 2 freestanding objects (2×9)

    TIER 2 (not so obvious)
    * There are nine W’s in the text. (DOUBLE? like 2?)
    * “crocodile” and “alligator” both have 9 letters.
    * “courtyard” has 9 letters (not relevant but whatev).
    * “they vanished through the wall” there is no unobscured wall other than the one behind door 18. Kind of like “they ducked behind a curtain” in Room 18.

    TIER 3 (debatable at best)
    * “nine” is “NO” in german. the text says “…they wanted TO KNOW/NO.. TWO 9″

    • Looks good. Feeble additions : “watch wind” would have 9 too. “in the wind” “convinced” is 9. 9 blocks in arches

    • sp offers: “They wanted to know” = “they wanted two no” = “they wanted two nein” = “they wanted two nine” = 2×9.

      I add “entirely” is a loose word that helps the idea.

    • ha! yes i realized the 21 thing after the fact but eventually ran out of time for editing, what was i thinking! in any case, it doesn’t kill the other points too much.

  5. The statue palm and the palm tree are on left. Palm can mean “grab” and the opposite can be release. The croc seems held. The opposite side is freedom.

  6. A “court” yard. The statue is not justice , but not that far off. It would need a sword and scales. If they were there then at least in most images and in tarot sword would be on door 21 side and scales on 18 side.

  7. Well – we have double lines. Two big ones. “wall” “followed”. “21 18″. In palm reading one source said a double life line can mean being surrounded by positive energy. Thus we should take the door outside the two goalposts?

  8. Let us read the palms.
    The circle is evil sign.
    Door eighteen it is.

    (In palm reading the circle is considered very bad – says google).

  9. There are ABOUT (tough to count) 18 rings on tree, 18 balls in tree, 18 visible leaves). There are not 21.

  10. The shadow of the pillar falls on the wrong door. Shadow – bad. Croc tail points to wrong door – croc – bad.

    The croc follows the bird.
    Would we get bitten too?
    The rope is better.

  11. Oh boy….ides of March was March 15, “44″ BC…room 44. Sigh…I think there is a real thing here now somewhere.

  12. I don’t think this is too far from something Gentile said, and my apologies if it’s something he said exactly, but the line in the narrative about trees waving in the breeze indicates “wind.”

    Both the palm and the column features something going around and around them, but only on the column does the rope “wind” up, because the gator’s chain is connected to a manacle that allows it slide around the tree. Not trying to be opaque in my wording there: the image makes it clear the gator has been going around in a circle, but the chain is not winding up.

    • And if you go the way that does wind up then you will wind up back at room 1 like the guide hints.

    • Moreover, this double-meaning thing seems to be a theme in this particular room’s narrative:

      “[A] courtyard of PALMS”–We see one palm tree, and one hand, and this statement is apparently meant to evoke both.

      “The trees WAVED TO each other,” along with “palms,” confuses whether we’re talking about leaves or hands–trees waving in the breeze do not wave “to” each other; waving to others is an action undertaken with hands.

      “‘Who LEFT the door open?’…’We came in that way.’”
      As suggested by Ben in Podcast #2, the guide’s indication of “that way” refers to the LEFT of the open door, not the open door itself.

      COURTyard itself might have a double meaning, in that the statues are apparently members of a king’s court.

  13. How about “wind the coocoo croc”? We should wind up the room an exit via the door it is attached to?

    • We should wind up the ROPE and exit via the door it is attached to.

  14. I think the tree and the column just represent ones, the ones in the door numbers

    2[1] [1]8

    The crocodile’s eyes are also just two 1s, which is sort of artistically justifiable, though those look like perversely linear pupils to me.

    The middle statue is not, I don’t think, indicating either door, but simply symbolizing 1 by raising her arm.

    What I think this points to is that we’re looking for indications of either 8 or 2.

    Ok, so what now then? I don’t see anything suggesting 8 in the room, unless you think of the interlocking links on the chain as forming a series of 8s. If you allow yourself to look and think real broadly, there are a lot of loops in the room (the croc’s path in the dirt, the collars, the rope) that you could say are associated with the interlocking loops that form an 8, as opposed to whatever sort of thing might form a 2.

    As for the statue, I think we need to pair her with either the one on the left or the one on the right. (As in, the 1 either goes to 21 or to 18.) The leftmost statute certainly bears no indication of “2,” but neither does the right statue seem to indicate “8.” The middle and right statues do have their arms behind their backs, though, while the leftmost has its arm in front of itself. HMMM.


    • The loop around the tree and the loop around the column are an 8? And we have 1s as above?

  15. Since White Raven generously allowed that the main puzzle here is linguistic, I think we should probably try to reach a consensus on whether that fat awful crawling thing from the depths of prehistory is a “crocodile” or an “alligator”. My vote is for “alligator” due to the seemingly broader, flatter snout, but shall we hear some more opinions?

    My best linguistic solution: The bird is about to be “eaten”, and when you take the word “eaten” and hem-hem so obviously the correct door is “eighteen”!


    Oh, by the way, the tops of pillars are called “capitals”, which has potential for some fun wordplay if that’s what’s going on here. This capital looks strongly to be of the Corinthian order. Ionic is simpler and distinguished by that classic scroll shape at the top, and Doric is simpler still.

    • Well, to the contrary, I think we need to stay open-minded about what that crocogator is; reaching a consensus now might be problematic if we go the wrong way. BUT, if we are giving opinions, it looks more crocodilish to me; long and V-shaped mouth as opposed to round and etc. But I’m also biased because I think there’s something going on with the letter C in this room.

    • @vewatkin: I guess I don’t see the snout tapering to enough of a V to feel satisfied about calling it a “crocodile”, but if it ends up serving as the linchpin of a C-related theory then I’m cool with that. I hope “Corinthian” helps in that regard.

  16. This room turns out to me mostly another lesson in Maze time keeping. Let’s do the room solution.
    Palm in the picture and in the text = “palm”. The rope circles a “handle”. Put them together and get “hand” and then reinforce with raised statue “hand” and the trees “waved”.
    There is a breeze, which is a wind. The rope is also “wound” around the column. Together we get “wind” with a long “I” sound.
    The animals are clearly going in circles.
    “Hand” plus “wind” plus “going in circles” = “clock”. Add that “croc” which rhymes and a “cuckcoo” and we Really have a “clock”.
    Chain/rope reinforce each other and added to clock give us a “pocket watch”. Then that pillar looks like it could be a winding key for the watch that would wind up the rope.
    So what the heck does that get us? Well if we look at our pocket watch, and if reflects “outside” time rather than “MAZE” time, the time in this room is either 7pm or 6pm from outside calibrations, with 6 being the better choice. It was 4 pm in room 19, and if you take the shortest path from there to here and back to room one, you click forward one hour per room. So it is 6 pm here, or 18:00, which clues door 18, sort of like the skeleton clock in room 13 did in a false way.
    The guests will take a big leap back in time through that door, however. The time here on the MAZE clock is “GC”, and it will be “ED” in 18. They will move forward one click of the big hand, as is normal on the correct path, but will also get dumped backwards one “MAZE day”. Every two revolutions of the MAZE clock causes events to happen simultaneously and in rooms 41 and 10. And that bit about “who left the door open” sort of gets us thinking in the direction of the guest nearly running in to themselves again. “vanishing” through the wall also sort of gives the feeling of this jump back in time.
    “We came in that way” is the guide being honest if coded. That is the way back to room one, and where they came in to the MAZE. It is NOT the way this room was entered, however, and the text alludes to that fact.
    Vswatins notes the appropriateness of the left picture for door 21, because all you can do there is go around in a small circle and/or get caught in a trap. I would also note that the symbolism of “winding the watch” works well with the time jump through that door.
    Regarding maps of this room and 31, 21, and 19, these rooms are normally drawn as part of the “loop” rooms, but now it seems clear to me they should be drawn as just outside the house on the main path, and then the move to 18 would be a big jump across the page.
    Last thing here is the “statues” in the text and the one full statue we can see. (The others seem to be a pilgrim and a Native American). Room 35 sends us on a quest to follow the birds, and we end up with more clues to the identity of the guide. The center statue is “Pallas Athena” and from the Raven poem we have that the bird perched on “a pallid bust of Pallas”. Many Native American tribes considered Raven a god of course, and crater of the world and mankind, so that fits in to the “Raven” clues as well.

  17. Again, I know this isn’t the type of thing WR is getting at, but it’s interesting with the column/tree things. 21, the door behind the crocodile, leads to a closed trio of room that leads only to the trap or back to 44. Hence the imagery of the bird going in circles (from the way it’s walking, it is perhaps escaping this closed circuit of rooms and moving on to 18. The crocodile is the Trap that you risk entering behind that door.

    Blah blah blah, metaphor, how impressive.

    What’s more interesting to me are the loops around the pillar. The pillar is looped four times by the rope; Room 18 is part of four loops of rooms (within the Loop; if you return to 1, there are pots of unique paths to return to 18 without retreading steps): 18, 3, 9, 18; 18, 13, 27, 9, 3, 18; 18, 13, 25, 35, 33, 3, 18; 18, 13, 25, 34, 10, 41, 35, 33, 3, 18.

    The rope then leads away from the column, into another loop on the ground, and an open door. I don’t know, the Path?

    Maybe nothing, I don’t know, but it seems a convincing representation of 21′s and 18′s places within the Maze: 21 is at best a waste of time, at worst an entryway to the trap; 18 is located within a bunch of overlapping loops that provides some promise of escape.

    Of course, 41 contains a door to the trap, and it’s in one of those loops…

    • This is one of my least solved rooms. Lots of things begin with C and P. There may be a “wind”blowing, but that pillar is in the “wind” of the rope. I think that is really all I got here.

      But “wind around” sounds a lot like what you are getting at above.

    • And if you get to room 18, you will at least manage to get nearly out to room 1. There are no Trap doors in the circle that goes from 25 to 35. You are safe at least until room 10. And even then getting to one is pretty hard to screw up.

    • Probably not relevant to the puzzle – but maybe of vague interest. You make a rather large jump back in MAZE time if you take 18. You’ve been in a series of rooms that seem to keep the same time as the late part of the true path. The time is roughly GC here, maybe GD, no firm way to know for sure. So like 6 or 7 pm Sunday night. It is 3 am Sunday morning on the other side of the door in 18. MAZE time is ED. So if it was GD in 44, then you jump back two full revolutions of the big hand. Either that or you step from “xC” to “xD’ which also seems a nice pattern.

    • I do think it is supposed to be a situation where they are right on the other side of the door from themselves again. 2 clock cycles apart means simultaneous in twisted maze logic.

      When he says “we came in that way” it means into the maze at 1 not into this room.

      Vanished through the wall fits with the teleport back one day in time.

      While we all draw 44 as part of the loop I’d bet Manson s original map had them as lying outside next to the true path. Going through to 18 is a big jump on that map over to the loop rooms.

    • Disagree- unless the other birds are also cuckoos. I think we want to be looking at the statues arms and lack thereof as well as the similarities between the pillar and the rope with the palm and the chain.

    • The toy birds you mean, or are you including the birds in 21 and 32? They all seem notably different in many respects, but have the similar crests–well, they have crests anyway.

    • Agree with you about the column/tree, chain/rope, statues–just haven’t been able to do anything with those elements. If I didn’t know the correct door, I’d say the analogy between the two sides of the room suggest that the door tied to the column is akin to a crocodile stalking its prey, i.e. we shouldn’t go in there. But that didn’t fly, so I figured I’d throw out the simple “don’t walk by the dangerous crocodile that’s walking in a circle and about to kill a bird” interpretation. I suspect there are a lot of rooms in here that would be ranked a lot higher if we stated the simple solutions we thought were too dumb to count–like Room 6/Room 40.

    • Hee! I think you may be right. It’s hard to tell what’s worth commenting on and what isn’t.
      I think you’re right that the croc is a warning. I think maybe, rather than a dangerous predator, the alligator may actually be potential future us, prowling around the trap-rooms, chasing after some cuckoo or puzzling bird. We think we’re getting somewhere, but really we’re just going in circles.

      The text has two themes that I can see.
      1. Hands- Palms, Statues, Trees waving
      2. Doors- all that business about the open door and which door we came in through, Vanishing through the wall

      1. We see one tree. It’s mirror is a column. We see one hand. It belongs to a statue and it is nearest door 21, but it’s PALM faces door 18 in a backhanded wave. An open door makes a path for the wind.

      2. There is a rope around 18. The door confusion could be due to a difficult to grasp chronologic. We’ve passed here multiple times in the time stream- is this our first time here or are we returning?
      Who opened the door?=Who tied the rope?
      Hypothesis: We did. A group lost in the Maze might start to leave clues for itself- bread crumbs, bent twigs, a bit of string.

    • Most the simple riddles have been discovered. There are plenty of exceptions but the remaining riddles are generally more difficult. They are also more elegant/clever and therefore more rewarding to discover.

    • Manson makes use of a lot of metaphors for smaller puzzle parts but never for the main puzzle. The solution to the main puzzle in this room is linguistic not metaphorical.

    • The pull toys are hoopoe birds. The others may be too. Except the one in the courtyard with topery looks a lot different


      Look at a hoopoe bird. If Christopher Manson wanted to depict a small, multi-colored bird with a notable stripe pattern and thin beak, he probably wouldn’t do so by drawing an all-white bird of varying sizes with a short beak.

    • I agree about the courtyard. Not about the pull toys. Non committal on the rest.

  18. Well, if a frog looking at a fly is a warning, it sure seems like this crocodile/alligator stalking a bird, apparently around in a circle, ought to be a warning against Room 21. If you look at your choice as being between the two “columns” here, you have one associated with an open door, and one associated with some stupid bird getting eaten by a beast. Take the open door!

    I don’t like this solution, but I don’t like the frog picture either.

  19. It’s been my feeling that the trap and, to a lesser extent, loop rooms are more about the maze than about the door. It strikes me that the relationship between the alligator and the bird might be a metaphor for the group of explorers and the guide, but then, I’m on a Guide/Bird connection kick.

    • I believe the waving trees are referenced in room 23. Is this another end of 19′s yard when the weather is windier? Room 23 does have those meteorological pictures.

  20. Well now he’s not even trying to tie his article choices into any actual argument. Unless he’s trying to claim Vewatkin is the Guide (PLOT TWIST)


Post Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>