The Riddle of Room 45:
The trick to solving the riddle of Room 45 is symmetry and grouping. From easiest to hardest here are the hidden words revealed:
The two pictures on the wall give the words awl = “All” and nun = “None.” You have to pick one of the two…this is made evident in the clues provided by the publisher and the correct choice is reinforced by the Guide’s statement, ““Do you think it is written on the wall for all to see?”
The sign which looks like Elvis with the “S” cut off can be rearranged to spell “live” “evil” or “vile.” The correct word is “live” because without it we have no verb to work with.
The “W” and question mark are symmetrically across from the hat. “W” + “hat” + “?” = “What?”
The shoe and the horseshoe are grouped together. If the horseshoe wasn’t called a horseSHOE this would have been easy, but it is hard to ignore that aspect and see it as just a “U.” If you rearrange the letters of “shoe” + “U” it spells “house.”
Symmetrically across from one another are a sign with and eye on it (eye = “i”) and a long thin “Z”. The eye is looking directly at the long “Z.” If we tilt the “Z” it becomes an “N” and together they spell “in.” It isn’t too hard to get this once you have the other letters and realize you need a preposition, but until that point it in near impossible.
The tree trunks on the table affixed to a board are a row of wood… “Woodrow.” I tip my hat to whoever figured this out, wow.
Once “Woodrow” is figured out the last bit is pretty easy, but beforehand it is nearly impossible. Under the wood row is a paper with a sun at the top and “I AM” with a hand shaking a spear at the bottom. Even as clueless kid I knew this was “Shakespeare” and “son.” but what to do with those words was lost on me. I remember asking the librarian at school if she knew the names of Shakespeare’s children.
With “Woodrow” in hand we know to look for “Wilson” as in “Woodrow Wilson” the former president. On the left side of the paper we have “iam Shakespeare” The solution to this part of riddle is to add the missing part of his name “WILL” as in “WILL-iam Shakespeare”
Put all together this give us:
“What house will all live in?”
A wrong but interesting alternative phrasing of the riddle:
One of the clues given by the publisher says we need to choose between two pictures, this no doubt refers to the “all” and “none” and therefore the following phrasing is incorrect. Without the clues from the publisher the following phrasing would be preferable for including all the items in the room.
Instead of Nun = None, the image is of a “habit” the robe worn by nuns. This is reinforced by the fact that in the image the nun is faceless. The “in” is attached to “habit” to spell “inhabit.” Then instead of “live” the sign is rearranged to say “evil.” So the sentence reads as:
”All will inhabit what evil house?”
Solution to the riddle of Room 45:
The publisher confirmed that the solution to puzzle is “The World”, “The Earth” or “The Globe.”
A famous saying of Woodrow Wilson is:
”Without God, the world would be a maze without a clue.”
The name of Shakespeare’s theater was:
Are these part of the solution?
A Possible Deeper Solution to the riddle of Room 45:
Mr. Manson told me that he did not make MAZE with a contest in mind, that the contest was concocted by the publisher. This means that while “the world” was adequate to win the contest, the actual solution need not be so simple, and the quote by Woodrow Wilson suggests that it is not.
The choice “all” or “none” is key to understanding the inclusion of the quote. Whether we use “all” or “none” makes a profound difference in how we understand the quote.
What does it mean if “All live in a world which without God is a maze without a clue”? It means that without God life cannot be understood.
What does it man if “None live in a world which without God is a maze without a clue”? It means that life can be understood apart from knowledge of God.
Manson leaves this as an open question, the big question of life, “Is there a God? Do we need to know of God? What is “the world?” ” Manson isn’t preaching, he is agnostic on this point, and he leaves it to the reader. The solution is “the world,” but what is the world? You decide.