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

107 thoughts on “Title Page

  1. I just figured out something Important

    * The image of the Keystone refers to the literal Keystone of an Archway the stong that BEARS THE WEIGHT of the entire arch to prevent it from falling down the Riddle of the path when it says “LIKE ATLAS YOU BEAR IT UPON YOUR SHOULDERS” It’s not referring to the Earth as its already the answer for another riddle it’s referring to a Keystone which prevents the structure from falling over

  2. There is another masonic symbol that may have been missed here. I believe the spiral in the corner (curl) of the map represents the golden ratio or golden section. This ratio is an irrational number ( 1.61803…..) represented by the Greek letter phi (circle with a line through it). Many famous artists have used this ratio in proportioning their paintings and illustrations.

    Not sure if Manson used something like this in his work. I guess it would involve taking a ruler and measuring the distance among objects in each room!

  3. as for the title it can either be a reference to the Freemasons or the Minotaur the first clue is the fact that theres the compass the ruler and the pencil but that is no pencil but rather a model of a obelisk which can be seen in various parts of the globe from London to France and the most famous one The Washington Memorial in Washington DC the compass , ruler , and Memorial model i believe symbolize America or a mythical creature studying the maze. The next clue is the key, in the image is a stone with a key a Key Stone, A Keystone species is a species in Ecology where a Community relies on America is the Community and Keystone Species is the Freemasons and theres three letters in the Maze I find the most interesting NYS A Acronym of New York State or New Years and at New York is the Grand Lodge in Freemasonry and in New Years the Empire State Building BEARS a ball ON ITS SHOULDERS! either Foreshadowing or a hidden location and the Ruler makes the shape of 7 a room with a mirror with bull horns on it !

    • NYS: New York State
      Keystone: Pennsylvania (the Keystone State)
      Compass: Maryland (With Favor Wilt Thou Compass Us as with a Shield–Latin text on state seal)
      Mallet: New Jersey (most blunt-force injuries per capita in the Western Hemisphere)
      Chisel: Massachusetts (state flower is the ladychisel)
      Square: Delaware (has an L in it)

    • And if you can find the sexapoint border between all those states, you’ll enter the maze in real life!

    • I think Alyssa is correct, it’s a single shadow broken across multiple surfaces.

    • The bottom shadow ends before it connects with the top one, weirdly. But I’ll chalk it up to, I don’t know, the image fading out at the edges.

    • I don’t think it fades out, I think the (front) shadow just goes behind the chisel at that point; the shadow of the keystone might overtake the compass’s shadow there as well.

    • A Y-shaped symbol indicates the opening of a tunnel or cave on topographical maps, certainly that lays the whole discussion to rest.

    • Are you contrasting specifically how the letters are evenly sized and spaced in 4, and the…uh…way they’re not on the title page?

      It is an interesting comparison, not so much (I think) because we should deduce from the maze letters in room 4, “Look, this is how Manson does it, you should expect it to look like this every time.” It’s more that, “Look, the N, Y, and S look a lot like the E, L, L, in terms of being evenly sized and spaced.”

    • Yeah, that’s what I was thinking of.
      This map still stumps me. The letter assortment “NYS” seems solid to pick out from this map, but means nonsense. New York State is… not the best explanation.
      Alternatively, on an X axis, the “N” and “Y” are directly across from each other. On an axis based on the angle of the parchment however, “N” and “S” are. What does it mean? Could the S be a 5?

    • Well… the easy explanation for an N and S across from eachother is the compass rose? I don’t think that really makes any sense here, but it’s the first thing to come to mind.

    • The thing is, what would that even mean? What would two compasses of different meanings even be trying to reference? IN SLY, NYS, those both reference things elsewhere in the book. They have a point, even if it’s a point that doesn’t actually exist in the former’s case, or is so irrelevant that Manson would likely omit it in the latter’s.

      Could it be a reference to the third meaning of compass? That is, a limiting scope of information? But *which* scope of information? Or is it the verb, that is, to contrive one’s way to achieving something? A moral compass? Whose?

      Or maybe they’re there to reinforce some other word that has to do with compasses of some kind? But there’s a practically infinite number of those. Navigate? Degree? Circumference? Ambit? Demarcation? Direct?

      The most solid thing I could think of is that they’re both a reference to circles, and the endlessly circular nature of the Maze I mentioned in 17. But even that is iffy and relies on us assuming that Manson left out the actual circular aspect of a symbol to reinforce its circular nature.

      All of this is assuming that the N and S are intentional, that none of the other letters are, and that they’re meant to invoke a compass, which seems a good bit farfetched.

    • Also, I think those two shadows are one shadow split across multiple objects due to a weird lighting angle. I can’t get a closer look since the resolution on this site is sort of bad and I’m out of the house, away from my copy.

    • Say it is meant to indicate a compass- we should probably think of the simplest meaning in this case (Occam’s razor). A compass on a map? Used to help guide you. But this compass is hidden IN the map/maze.

      The tools used to help guide the maze are hidden in the Maze.

      But that Y looks really intentional to me. Not many diagonal lines on this map, the Y really stands out.

    • I don’t think Occam’s Razor applies in this context, but regardless, that Y is unignorable and is hard to square with a compass interpretation. Interestingly, the point of the (drafting tool) compass points to the center of an “e,” which would have fit with a (navigation tool) compass interpretation–but that doesn’t help us with the Y.

    • I meant, like: Alyssa was mentioning a ton of possible compass uses, or the compass indicating a circle, and how that would be too much to narrow down… if this IS a compass, then I find it interesting it is quite literally hidden in the map. I more meant it was a simpler but still relevant quality of the letters.

      Do any compasses exist that use, I don’t know, Y instead of E? But the Y isn’t even centered, really.

    • I guess superficially a drawing compass can look like a Y? It’s the exact opposite proportions though, a short handle and longer prongs.

      I’m not even sure that the symbol in the map is a Y. All three lines look the same length, usually Ys are drawn with a longer central line.

  4. I used a smoothing of 3 (the default setting.)
    According to Google Ngram, during 1985, NYS was actually more popular than NYC in terms of New York acronyms! Test it out yourself.
    In 2003, both spellings reached the same popularity. Ever since then, “NYC” has been quickly rising.
    So in 1985, *apparently,* NYS was in greater use.

    • This doesn’t account for context, though, right? I’m not familiar with this tool, I’m just checking it out now, but I feel like something is missing here. Does this look for those letter strings in isolation, or does it look for those sequences within other words? What exactly do the percentages on the vertical axis mean? (I get extremely low percentages for NYC, NYS, and other NY* sequences I put in for comparison. Like millionths of a percent…but I don’t even know what this means!) This shows that NYS is still more common than NYC, too.

    • Did you adjust the time range? Up to 2000 (the default maximum year), NYS is still more popular. NYC surpasses it in 2003 and increases from there.
      An n-gram (according to Wikipedia) is a “contiguous sequence of n items from a given sample of text or speech.” The corpus of collected texts is used to generate a stastistic on how often a word was used in literature.
      The y-axis counts how often that word was used in every sample of text in the database, and compares it to how often other words were used.
      In 1960, 0.00000220% of all words were the acronym “NYS.”
      Search the word “the” and you will get 5.45% in 1960. That’s how likely any given word was to be “the.”
      It does account for context- for evidence, search up the letter “e.” E is the most commonly used letter in English but this chart appears to categorize e as an individual word. E is used in around 11% of English words, yet only appears as 0.01% in the Ngram viewer. That is because it is treated as isolated.

    • You’d be better off using the superscribed version of CYN than you would NYC.

    • We’ve got IN, we’ve got SLY, and we’ve got the tools and curled edge of parchment, which give d, e, V, I, and L. Maybe it’s “in sly devil,” which has the benefit of being an actual expression and also more clearly describes where the bull head is to be found.

    • Ritz, the answer to your question is “no.” Don’t mistake Aria as representing the Maze readership generally, or common sense.

    • I see the “IN” and I see the “SLY.” These seem plausible to me because of the orientation of the letters. I’m still not completely certain on the bull head. I don’t see the word “deVIL” and if we’re using the masonic tools to get it that just feels arbitrary- the masonic tools are set in stone. That would be like taking the astrological symbols and saying “Aries looks like a V!” That would mean the designers of those symbols had planned that message. Following that logic, that means the Masons had chosen their symbols to spell “deVIL.” The Mason Objects are the Mason Objects. Unless Manson warped or rearranged them to deliver a message (which he didn’t) then I have trouble seeing where it comes from.

    • In my estimation, the S, N, and Y seem pretty certainly to be intended letters, not only because they very clearly look like those letters but because they are roughly the same size and close together–they just look like part of a common message. The I and L are there, but they are sized very different, and they are also more the sort of thing you would expect to be able to pull out of a random assemblage of mostly perpendicularly arranged lines. As catalogued elsewhere, there are also equally clear letters elsewhere in this maze blueprint, but they are ignored in favor of something that can be cobbled into a vaguely coherent message. “IN SLY” is still basically incoherent, however, which is why Aria wants to combine it with the devil stuff to make a more sensible phrase, but even that appears outside of any reasonable context, and points to an image of a bull that people who aren’t motivated to see it know is not really there.

    • Okay, so: the publishing company is listed on this page. The letters are in the order “N, Y, S.” It could be “NYS” or “New York State,” referencing the book’s origins.

    • The thing is, though, this is not a representative collection of Masonic tools. Notably missing is the trowel, for example. What connects them is that these are all tools that are good representations of letters. The “d” in the mallet is the worst but note the placement of the mallet to suggest that interpretation. He couldn’t get an “e” or “E” out of a tool, hence the curled edge of the map. If I’m a puzzlemaker trying to create a disguised “devil,” this seems like a reasonable way to do it. And I’m sorry, vewatkin, but your nitpicking RE size of letters is just silly. Why do they all have to be the same size? The words would pop out too much if all the letters were the same size. Manson was trying to strike a balance between something that could be read once seen but something that would not pop out at first glance. Not easy to do. IN SLY pointing to the keystone, DEVIL from the tools/map edge, a SLY DEVIL in the keystone of 43, and a hidden bull’s head that’s clearly there for all but the most bullheaded. Seems pretty solid to me.

    • (Also:)
      on 28 August, 2015 at 2:59 pm said:
      The objects spell out “devil,” discuss amongst yourselves.

    • But, we’re omitting other letters from the map too. Wouldn’t that mean ignoring non “IN SLY” letters is nitpicking as well?

    • You might as well be arguing with David Gentile, ritz. There is always an excuse for why things don’t make sense, a claim to understand how Manson’s mind works and what he was thinking, and an enthusiastic expression of unwarranted certainty in whatever gives a pretense of understanding to us.

      It’s exhausting to contradict the nonsense because the nutters are never exhausted.

    • Sorry, that was needlessly impolite. I think my vigorous disagreement is fair and is also generally well received; campaigning to have dissenting views ignored is both mean and lazy. I apologize.

    • I think having wildly different perspectives isn’t wholly fruitless. Yeah, it creates noise, a lot of which Manson probably didn’t intend, but it can still prompt discussion.
      I think the message COULD spell “in sly.”
      But hear this: the two letters in “in sly” that are sized differently than the rest also happen to be the most basic geometric shapes.
      This doesn’t seem like a coincidence to me. Vastly different sizes that just HAPPEN to be commonplace corners? Fishy… to me, it seems like the “I” and “L” were unintentional.
      We are pretty sure there is a message in the map.
      Here’s the options I am proposing.

      1. The map says “IN SLY,” directing you to the sly devil, which hides a bull. This could be strengthened by the fact that the words are grouped together. This could be undermined by the “I” and “L” being expectedly random corners, and being larger than the rest of the letters.

      2. The map says “DEVIL IN SLY/IN SLY DEVIL,” directing you to the sly devil, which hides a bull. This could be strengthened by the fact that the words are grouped together. This could be undermined by the “I” and “L” being expectedly random corners, and being larger than the rest of the letters. This could be undermined by the tools and scroll spelling “DEVIL” being too much of a stretch. This could be undermined by the sly face not really hiding a bull.

      3. The map says “NYS” referencing New York State on the only page where the city is mentioned, as an easter egg to its origins. This could be strengthened by the fact that the letters are in order, and look to be part of a common message. NYS is also a pretty common abbreviation.

      4. The map says “ILNYS,” standing for “I love New York State.” This one is pretty dumb. All the “I” and “L” criticisms still apply, and this time it is in a nonsensical order. It was the only other acronym I could think of…

      5. The map says nothing/is a red herring.

      I’m somewhere between 1 and 3. I’d love to believe the map says “IN SLY,” but getting there takes so many logical leaps (not to mention the questionable bull in the sly face.) Think about it- if you took any image of a devil with a forehead and a nose, you could get a bull. It just feels very confirmation-bias-y.
      My NYS option is pretty unsatisfying, but this is the only page that mentions the books’ origins. Maybe Manson thought it was a page he could slip in a small reference to his publishers without hampering the experience. If you look at the map, can you see “NYS?” I, personally, can see it better than “IN SLY.” Plus, why would Manson hint at the sly face on the title page? This just feels circumstantial.
      I’d like to hear what you all think about “NYS.” Does it make sense?

    • “NYS” as “New York State” makes more sense to me than the bull’s-head-IN-SLY stuff, but it also seems a bit farfetched. Although the book was published in New York, it just isn’t clear why Manson would think this detail so salient that he wanted to highlight it in this way. Well, more than it not being clear why he would want to, it seems like this would NOT be a salient detail that he would have any reason to highlight.

      That said, if the book were published in New York City, and an image on the publisher page continued a hidden “NYC,” I think I would find it pretty plausible that that’s what it’s referring to, even though all the same objections apply. And this is almost certainly because I’m much, much more familiar with the abbreviation “NYC” than “NYS,” to the extent that identifying “NYC” seems unmistakably associated with New York City. I honestly have never seen “NYS” as an abbreviation for “New York State,” and would typically expect New York to be referred to by its postal abbreviation, NY, so that’s certainly coloring my incredulity.

    • You’re right, it would be so much more clear to put “NYC.” However, when I looked up “nys,” New York was the first thing to come up- I hadn’t originally made the New York connection. Maybe NYS was more popular in the eighties?
      What else might “nys” mean… syn? The prefix “syn” means “with” or “together,” but I doubt that was intended.
      Anyways, here’s what I can figure out: the letters “NYS” appear in a map, looking somewhat like a common message. The first thing to come up when I searched “nys” (having no idea what it meant) was New York State, and the page mentions New York. Is the map referencing this? I am not sure. If you forced me to choose, I would say more than “IN SLY” but its still a bizarre way to phrase it.

  5. All things considered, would it be alright to say that the word “Sly” , is really the last name of Christopher from “The Taming of the Shrew” ?

    • There are no references to the word “Christopher” in this book which is confirmed by Manson himself.

  6. @ V. E. Atkin – “True Bible believers may or may not belong to the masonic fraternity, but they are all masons of the highest order, since they are being fashioned, chiselled and polished by the Almighty to be used as living stones in the Temple Built Without Hands. They are free from sin, and therefore accepted by the God of Heaven as fit stones for the heavenly Temple.” – Charles Taze Russell –
    Some have charged that his tombstone appears as a keystone (a symbol used in Royal Arch Masonry), that there appears on the stone a crown and cross and that the stone is in the shape of a pyramid.

  7. Could the keystone be referring to the mini (small ) – tura stone? It does resembles the Auid wedge stone, somewhat. And I’m guessing that it isn’t actually up to scale, meaning that it’s a massive stone that is needed for the construction of a pyramid.

  8. The scroll that’s unfurling could represent a LOOP. But for the most PART, the shadow of the compass along the chisel could be the letter ” T “. The ruler starts with the letter ” R ” . The inverted compass turned right-side up is an ” A ” ( I think? ) . And the position of the hammer ( or mallet; maul ) I’m guessing, might very well be the letter ” P ” . So, all and all, it seems to be ( I’m probably wrong ) a TRAP of sorts.

    • Oh, and I forgot to mention that the word ” TRAP ” can be seen to the left of the key block.

  9. 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…

    • Brandon believes that the letter “ S “ that is seen here, could actually be the overhead appearance of two individuals, that are shaking hands.

  10. 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

  11. 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…

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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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