Clues, Riddles, and Guesses for Treasure 219

The solutions to the six puzzles related to this treasure are:

1. Five. It sounds like it should be seven, but the answer is just five because two of the faces of the tetrahedron are coplanar with faces of the square pyramid when you put them together to form the combined solid. The easiest way to see this is to consider two square pyramids resting on their square bases side-by-side on a planar surface. Their bases are coplanar and two pairs of triangular faces are each coplanar. The region between the two pyramids and the two planes each containing two of the triangular faces is a tetrahedron. Five of this tetrahedron's edges coincide with edges of the pyramids, and the last is the line between the apexes of the pyramids -- since all corresponding points one one pyramids are shifted by the length of an edge from the other, this line must be the same length, thus the tetrahedron is regular. And clearly the two faces of this tetrahedron which do not coincide with faces of the pyramids are coplanar with the other already-coplanar faces.

2. The answers the the across clues are harf, espy, lack, stud, xray. The answers to the down clues are annex, fnord, magic, ensue. The grid looks like:


Somehow, I made a bad match when assembling this puzzle, and thus the public notice that the fourth letter of 'ensue' needed a wrong change to fit in the grid properly.

3. This is a 'back-to-front' code, inspired by a puzzle published in GAMES magazine not long ago. The hidden message is composed by the last letter of the first word in each line, the next-to-last letter of the second word, the third-to-last letter of the third word, etc. It says "the answer is mdt".

4. This telephone code says "The answer is the first, third, and fifth letters from saaremaa's original name." That name is Malenkai, and the letters are mln.

5. This book code is based on the song 'Dead' by They Might Be Giants. Take the numbers in triplets; the first number is the line of the song, the second the word in that line, and the third the letter in the word. The triples repeat fairly often, though not every occurrence of the same letter uses the same triple; this was meant to enable you to notice that triples were used, and just maybe a tricky cryptographer could decipher the thing without the key, but then he would need to find the key to make use of it, because it reads "the answer to this piece is the name of the song involved." The lyrics used can be found at

JT informed me that he didn't figure out this one, but merely brute-forced the last key out of the vigenere after getting the rest. I recognized this possibility, and this is why I multiply-encoded the treasure with all the separate keys - this way you have a chance if you get stuck on one puzzle, can still figure it out if you have multiple possibilities for one of the answers, such as the crossword, etc. I had planned to release additional clues to this one if the thing went on longer, but it didn't.

6. This fragment was encoded by a one-off alphabet-shift. The answer to this segment will be sent to you if you play a song on the ASS which has never been played since this treasure was buried, and which contains "James Dean" in its lyrics, and in the message where you play the song, you include a reasonable section of the lyrics including "James Dean". The answer is michaeldamian. He was chosen because he somehow has been credited for David Essex's "Rock On" on the lyrics server. Perhaps he did record a version.

So, the keys are: five, harfuifoujltlmnweyhf, mdt, mln, dead, michaeldamian.

The decoded vigenere-cipher says:

The next segment may be found at http colon slash slash www dot geocities dot com slash Times Square slash Arena slash two five two five slash vtpic dot jpg. Replace each colon, slash, dot, two, and five with the appropriate symbols, and remove all spaces, to get the address of the next segment. If you have trouble retrieving this file, ask and I will mail it to you direct. Turn off any feature that tries to automatically run attachments.

So, download vtpic.jpg

If you view this as a picture, it seems to contain a little bit of a picture which is then corrupted; it is possible that some software may not handle the file correctly. It was originally a picture from my C-project rendering program, showing the map of Acka as it once was, in a perspective view; only the tops of the towers of Vulcan Headquarters can still be seen.

If you examine the file in a text or binary editor, you will notice the reason why it is broken. In the middle of the file, part of it has been overwritten by a text file. The "turn off features that automatically run attachments" was meant to be a mild hint that the file was not all it was cooked up to be, and to try to prevent crashing people's computers. :-)

The text file contains Viruses-style moves, with "GEN" appearing occasionally. If you start with a blank grid, and apply those moves, doing a life-generation at each GEN, you end up with all stable, recognized forms after the last generation (though a few are blinkers, beacons, or gliders). These shapes are arranged in neat rows, and they spell out a cryptogram, one word per row of shapes. The cryptogram decodes as the first sentence shown in the map below.

The key to the cryptogram is:

A: 3-ship
B: boat
C: 4-ship
D: tub
E: barge
F: 5-boat
G: glider
H: 4-boat
I: blinker
K: beehive
L: 3-boat
M: beacon
N: 5-barge
O: block
P: pond
R: fishhook
S: ship
T: 4-barge
U: loaf
W: pre-block on pre-block (two L-trominoes aligned so that they cannot fill)

The actual map is:

Ask Phoebe about the magickal land of Ckanth and post her wisdom regarding it. A player who does so will find the treasure. It is not necessary to solve all the puzzles to find the treasure, but doing so will certainly help! It *does* require that it is done in a real Phoebe's wisdom post by a player who has found her matchbox, though.