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The Witch's Epigraph: Prologue

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Inspired by When the Seagulls Cry (Umineko no Naku Koru ni)

The difficulty of this opening is Fairly Simple. Would you care to give it a guess?

PROLOGUE:

The Sphinx's Decalogue

I. A fair riddle should require no highly specialized knowledge that the readers cannot easily obtain.

II. Any fair riddle must contain the information needed to solve it, and no "false clues" that mislead.

III. It should be clear what the answer had to have been in hindsight.

IV. The worst riddles contain outright false clues. All clues in a riddle should be explicable in light of the answer.

V. If the answer is "Nothing" or "I can't guess," it is not a fair riddle, but rather an anti-riddle.

VI. A literal, trivial answer to a question is scarcely an answer at all. The chicken must cross the road for an actual reason.

VII. Riddles that rely on spoken homophones should be told in speech or not at all.

VIII. A truly fair answer must be as simple as possible and expressible in a few words at most.

IX. Obscure or improbable puns must not be required for a riddle's answer.

X. If any player's answer neatly fits every single clue of a riddle without breaking these rules, it is a correct answer.

* * * * * * * * *

This is a riddle of riddles and a mystery of mysteries, a challenge of locked safes and sealed rooms.

Do you think you can solve this by guessing? Do you think you can solve it alone?

Do you think I'll confirm your answers? Do you think I'll underline or bold every riddle for you?

Don't be absurd!

If you demand fairness, feel free to wait for it. You'll starve first.

If you demand confirmation of your answers, confirm them yourselves.

If you demand the truth... good luck.

Without hope, the truth cannot be found.

Signed,

The Witch of Doubt

The First Safe:

The Hapax Club is a museum of riddles. There are no placards distinguishing the exhibits from the fixtures or, for that matter, from the staff and visitors. This is meant to encourage an all-consuming curiosity among its patrons. Is the flickering light in the men's lavatory delivering a message? Indeed, but it took two men a rather long time to be fully sure it is; a puzzle like that can be easily missed, though we all know of it now. As you see, a person must look beyond surfaces here.

(On the other hand, a hapless guest left once her purse on a pedestal on a busy morning, and by noon, seven people had come up with solutions for it. )

Eleven days ago, the proprietor of the club announced his retirement. All of the treasures and mysteries held in those blue-painted halls and scarlet-curtained chambers would pass to whoever could best a final challenge. See the guests filtering in, new riddlers and old! As each one enters, they are given a sheet of paper, the very sheet you hold in your hands right now. They're not to discuss the contents until they've solved the entrance examination. The club must have standards, after all.

The first safe has two locks.

The first is a prime example of a 4-digit number lock.

The second is a digital display, which reads - - - - - - - - -, attached to a scanning pad, on which shapes (presumably letters) can be drawn with a stylus.

Edited by WitchOfDoubt
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52 answers to this question

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(Note: Even if the entrants in the story are not supposed to work together to solve this, you probably should use teamwork. "Do you think you can solve this alone?" is a taunt, not a suggestion.)

Edited by WitchOfDoubt
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Posted · Report post

I'm confused.

Am I supposed to solve this?

A possible solution.

Numbers are 1201, the letters are AFTERNOON

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but thechad how did u com up with the answer???

my wild guess not based on any reason whatsoevr will b

the no could be like 1207 or somthin 12 for noon and 07 the no of people... and the alphabet could be restroom/toilet... u knw.. something lik dat... may b... not in ny way certain....

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(A typo has been found: "a hapless guest left once" should read "a hapless guest once left". Neither phrasing is relevant to the solution, but the grammar was distracting. The Witch duly apologizes for this lapse.)

I'm confused.

Am I supposed to solve this?

The first arrival at the gate, whom we'll call TheChad, was nonplussed by the page and the safe (was this a riddle? a scavenger hunt?), but made an attempt nonetheless. Neither combination was accepted by the safe lock.

The second arrival, hhh3, hazarded a truly wild guess, but this wild guess contained part of an answer that the safe lock could accept.

Edited by plainglazed at WoD's request - see strikethroughs above.

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My first post. Yey!

The only three numbers I can find after the title are 2, 7 and 11. And since it is also stated that the 4-digit number lock is of prime quality, maybe the number should be a prime number. Both 2711 and 7211 are prime numbers but I my guess is with 2711 since that is the order the number were written in the text.

No idea for the other display

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yippee ki yay......

and Witchofdoubt....liked the way u replied to the posts....

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Posted · Report post

1009 , 1st 4 digit prime number

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Posted (edited) · Report post

1 sentence

has some letters in green.=> i o k tw m e a o g i t e s r e i t a o f t o w as u

Edited by rvc113
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Posted · Report post

is the answer 1207 and bluepaint?

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Just because we can't discuss doesn't mean we can't observe ;)

I would enter 2711 on the combination lock, with Bluepaint as the password on the touchpad.

</p>

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I agree with the 2-7-1-1 for the first lock. It makes the most sense and fits all of the requirements.

For the second, it is interesting to note that the green highlighted letters count 14 in total. 5 vowels and 9 consonants. There are 9 spaces for letters. I cant find any other distinction of what should go there, so perhaps these consonants should?

k-t-w-m-n-s-r-g-f

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Agreed on the number part but the wording part doesn't add up for me. I think we need to keep in mind that whatever is entered here needs to go on a digital pad. So I'm not too keen on letters like "N" or "W" or "T".

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Agreed on the number part but the wording part doesn't add up for me. I think we need to keep in mind that whatever is entered here needs to go on a digital pad. So I'm not too keen on letters like "N" or "W" or "T".

Why not?

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Only because I don't see how you form the letters digitally. You basically have the number 8 to modify: a rectanglewith a lne through the middle. There are no diagonals. But I could be totally wrong. It could be HAPAXCLUB or CURIOSITY or anything else for all I know.
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Only because I don't see how you form the letters digitally. You basically have the number 8 to modify: a rectanglewith a lne through the middle. There are no diagonals. But I could be totally wrong. It could be HAPAXCLUB or CURIOSITY or anything else for all I know.

i don't think it says anywhere that it is a digital pad that uses a modification of the number 8, it says stylus doesn't it

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I agree with 2711 as the first combination, but am not sure about the green letters (I don't even see any green letters).

"The second is a digital display, which reads - - - - - - - - -, attached to a scanning pad, on which shapes (presumably letters) can be drawn with a stylus."

I'm going to presume not letters, and go with shapes instead and say the second combination is:

* * * * * * * * *

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the bottom 9 letters likely fit the pattern of the start colors, making it

in the form abbcdaefb.

One possible answer:

1158

noonintwo

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noonintwo doesn't fit abbcdaefb.

"illogical" does, but that would imply something illogical, likely regarding the first entry.

We also started out with a big clue:

"the no could be like 1207 or somthin 12 for noon and 07 the no of people... and the alphabet could be restroom/toilet... u knw.. something lik dat... may b... not in ny way certain....", which is barely coherent contained part of the answer.

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Steps up and enters his guess:

1207

SOLUTIONS

worth a try at least...

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Is the numeric combination 2711 and the password filtering?

two men - seven people - 11 days - all prime numbers

guests filtering in

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More than one of the guests had hit upon the solution to the numerical safe puzzle. Even someone who was otherwise incorrect was able to see that 7 was part of it! But it took a bit more work to find an answer to the second puzzle that made sense. Finally, someone muttered a word that would, indeed, fit all the criteria of the puzzle. But, for whatever reason, they hesitated to put it forward as the real answer with any confidence - perhaps they had skipped a step and jumped to a conclusion.

Meanwhile, Ocean Zweidler, one of the youngest members of the club, hit on the same answer. "You know," she said to the doorman, who watched as each participant tried out the safe, "this puzzle was somewhat inequitable, wasn't it? It should've been much easier had I ever seen that men's room light in person."

"My apologies. But it was fair," said Samuel, who had been given first dibs at the puzzle. "You got all the clues you needed. See? Right there on the page, if you squint a little, maybe get a magnifier, use your little Internet phone if you need to do the research... it wasn't what we call a 'self-descriptive' answer at all, was it? Once you got it from the clues, you knew it."

Ocean shrugged (she had a good eye for colors, so it hardly bothered her) and retrieved a keycard reserved in her name from the safe. "Not complaining! When's dinner?"

Meet the Pieces (Part One of Many)

Ocean Zweidler

Age: 32

Profession: Author

Quote: "My Grandma Margareta made scarecrows. When I was a girl, my parents showed me some of the faces she gave them - laughing, smiling, crying... I still remember hearing them! It was Grandma who taught me what a writer does.

My stories are puzzles. A little dry, a little silly, filled with straw people. But I prop them up on a stick and put faces on them, and my readers create the rest for themselves."

Background: The daughter of a neuroscientist and a chef, Ocean is the author of the bestselling Vanishing Island series of mystery novels. As a relatively recent initiate to the club, she specializes in folkloric riddles and Victorian letterplay. She also has a working knowledge of both English and German, acquired during her childhood in the town of Bernkastel-Kues.

Random Fact: Once, after receiving a negative review, she anonymously tricked the police into putting a highly inconvenient barricade around the reviewer's house.

Sample Riddle: As Ocean waited for the rest of the guests to finish cracking the first two locks, she pulled out a pencil and penned a simple challenge to the others to kill the time.

On paper or tablets from man or Divine,

I am made of ten parts, and yet only of nine.

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The fraction 9/10?

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Here's my guess

Spaces.

If you have ten words, you have 9 spaces between them.

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Slightly overthinking this, maybe, but here's my guess:

Possession.

Laws are written by man or God, whether on paper or tablets (The ten commandments or 'God's Laws')

Possession is 9/10 of the Law.

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Nice puzzle WitchOfDoubt

figured vinays84 had the second key. also, just from the interpretation of the asterisks. there must be something logical to the off-colored letters. had been working with anagrams. lots of potential/appropriate words including "umeniko" and now "sense" seems to be likely if an anagram it is. as for this one, think maybe "commandment" as in the ten and is written with nine letters. still feel am missing something else re the second key to the first part.

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