Planetarium


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JessPlanetariumMost games can be easily sorted into categories. Shooters, room escapes, platformers… much can be gleaned about a game's content from its genre alone. Once in a great while, however, a different sort of creature comes along: a game so special, so different, that it defies categorization. Planetarium is one member of this exclusive club of wonderfully unique creations.

How to begin? For lack of a better description, Planetarium is a story-puzzle in twelve weekly installments, into which is woven a fantastical fable and many marvelous puzzles. Beholder, the British developer of Planetarium, has concocted an intriguing tale: a young girl, with no memory but perfect foresight, receives a love letter from far into the future. Together with her friend the Mathemagician, a genius with an aptitude for machinery and mathematics, she must travel towards the source of that strange missive, and in doing so, undergo a transformation that will alter her very essence.

Beginning the game is easy. Simply create a username and password, and you're set—you're not even required to submit an email address (By the way, did I mention that no ads appear anywhere on the game's website? I love it!). The moment that you register, the game has begun for you, although there is a slight catch. The ruling force in Planetarium is Time: the vagaries of time, its mutability and stony inevitability. This theme suffuses Planetarium's story, its puzzles and, as a natural extension, its rules and restrictions.

Only the first chapter of the game is immediately playable. The next chapter will be available a week later, and the third one a week after that; all in all, that means that Planetarium fully unfolds over a three-month duration. This period begins the moment that you register a username, so every player is on his or her own individual timeframe.

PlanetariumAnother important note: Planetarium requires you to log in (even for a moment) at least once every 10 days, or your username will be frozen. I am not the most patient person in the world, and I must admit that at times this slooooowness drove me to distraction. In the end, however, the protracted pace of the game made it all the more rewarding.

Each installment consists of an illustrated scene and a significant amount of accompanying text, depicting another step in the journey of the unnamed girl and the Mathemagician. Three puzzles can be found in each chapter, by clicking on the appropriate hotspots in the illustration: a keyword puzzle (mainly riddles), a number problem, and a tricky "either-or" question. Cumulatively, these 36 problems are the game's Minor Puzzles; each solution that you enter goes into a slot in your Table of Solutions.

36 puzzles… that's quite a daunting task. The creators of Planetarium could be forgiven for recycling classic puzzles, and indeed some of them (particularly the riddles) may be familiar to you; however, most are unique to the game. Many of these thoughtful, often elegant problems require abstract, out-of-the-box thinking; others require the player to hunt through past or future installments for information (which means that not all can be solved immediately). While most of the puzzles do not require outside information to solve, you'll find that Google will probably be needed for a handful. All in all, this collection of puzzles is a pretty remarkable achievement.

PlanetariumThat being said, those 36 puzzles are not what make Planetarium so memorable. The Minor Puzzles, in fact, are only the stepping stones to unlocking Planetarium's heart, its true mystery: the Major Puzzle. Never explicitly described, the identity of the Major Puzzle must be detected through clues and hints embedded in every conceivable place in the story. It's up to you to discover how to solve the Major Puzzle; but as the game's website notes, if any of your Minor Puzzle answers are incorrect, your answer to the Major Puzzle will probably be wrong as well.

After twelve weeks, you'll be granted access to the complete, illustrated solutions to both the Major and Minor Puzzles (thank goodness!), as well as the "xiii forum", where players can share their thoughts on the experience. But even this is ruled by time; one week after you gain access to the forum and solutions, your username expires and you may no longer see past the first chapter of the game. If you want to venture further, you must create a new account and once more endure the long weeks between installments. There's something poignant about knowing that your time in this game is ending, that its secrets will be closed off once more; even after the curtain falls, the ticking of the clock never ceases.

I could go on for quite a while. I could talk about the cleverness of the game's prose, the quirky beauty of the illustrations; I could expound upon the intricacies of the game's themes and the elegance of the clues. But why drone on about what you can discover for yourself? Planetarium is the best kind of entertainment in its purest, most unblemished form; it exists entirely for the enjoyment of its players, and has done so since 1999.

Create a username and password, and off you go on your twelve-week journey of whimsy and erudition. Don't be surprised if this brilliant, unique and beautiful game soon becomes one of your favorites.

Play Planetarium

Walkthrough Guide


(Please allow page to fully load for spoiler tags to be functional.)

Here's the walkthrough. I put puzzles in the part we encounter them in the game, not in the part they go to in the Table of Solutions.

Special note to those who come to this game after we did: It might be worth taking a look through the comments to see the steady progress we made each week. I enjoyed the conversations immensely.

Minor Solutions:

Part 1: (first posted by RacerX, with Framli for the Ouroborouses)

Keyword

Location

The mathemagician's riddle.

Clues

Each line has a word hidden in the first part.

Answer

These words are eight, one, seven, and nine. So the answer is NUMBER (always choose singular, never plural).

Keynumber

Location

Tripod, the Three-Legged Cat

Clues

A number whose length (in letters) matches its value, stride for stride.

Answer

4 is the only number that fits, and Tripod used to have four feet.

Either/Or

Location

The ouroboruses (snakes in jar behind the girl's head, to the right of the sun).

Clues

You'd think that they couldn't get caught and tangled, but is it intuitive, or counterintuitive?

Answer

Strange as it may sound, it is possible for them to get tangled up, even if all are wise. Look for "Borromean rings" on Wikipedia or mathworld.wolfram.org for more information. Once all of them have bit their tails, then they can all be kept in the same place.

Part 2: (first posted by JIGuest)

Keyword

Location

The vole (perched on the milestone) is puzzled. The puzzle is the location.

Clues

Rats can become their reflection, and so can a dog. And the rats could not escape the dog even if both were reflections.

Answer

I like this puzzle. "Rats" spelled backwards is STAR. And "Dog" then becomes "God". STAR is the answer.

Keynumber

Location

The number grid on the upper right.

Clues

Remember the previous grid. The cells in this grid have been exposed to the numbers in adjacent cells, but not their own.

Answer

Each cell in this grid is the sum of the cells adjacent to it in the previous grid. Example: the upper left corner in the first grid is adjacent to both 2 and 4, so the upper left corner in the second grid is 6. By the same reasoning, the bottom left corner has number 12.

Either/Or

Location

The milestone.

Clues

The milestones are identical, the shortest distance between the two houses is 1 mile, and the second milestone was never seen again after the dispute was honorably settled.

Answer

Consider a tetrahedron (a d4 or four-sided die for RPG nerds). All the points are equidistant, so if the houses and milestone in the picture make up three of the corners, the other milestone makes up the fourth. Of course, it can't be suspended almost a mile in the air....instead it's buried almost a mile underground. So the mathemagician had to pay, and I can't help but think that he was profoundly satisfied at the solution.

Part 3: (Luonnos for the Keyword, Sruixan for the Keynumber, and Wisedude for Either/Or)

Keyword

Location

The red grid to the upper right.

Clues

Lunar time is numbered in a particularly simple way. What if we just started numbering from the beginning?

Answer

L=1, U=2, etc. With the insertion of the P at the beginning and the a somewhere in the middle, then we get PLANETARIUM.

Keynumber

Location

The chemicals on top of the desk.

Clues

There are a series of numbers given, a formula not a sum, which answer is a 2-digit number. What associated with chemicals might have numbers?

Answer

Use the periodic table of elements to translate Atomic Numbers to Atomic Symbols. The resulting text is F I V Es I Xe S, or five sixes. The answer is 30.

Either/Or

Location

The orrery's 'interaction of all the precise parts'.

Clues

Look up 'Eulerian walk' or 'Eulerian path' on Wikipedia or mathworld.wolfram.org or look below.

Answer

In this section, 'vertex' will be used to refer to any of the 9 planets, three moons, or the sun. 'Edge' will be used to refer to a track connecting two of these objects.

We see that all of the planets are connected to four other planets. Note that this means that starting from any planet, you can reach any other planet. [Proof: Each planet is connected to four others, leaving only four that it is not connected to. Now each of those four planets has four tracks coming from it, so at least one of them must go to one of the planets that the first planet is connected to (since no track can go to itself or to the initial planet, and there are only three other planets that are not directly connected to the original planet). Since the choice of planet was arbitrary, all planets are reachable from any other planet.]

We see that all planets except Earth have 4 tracks.
We see that Earth has 6 (4 from planets, 1 from the sun, and 1 from the present moon).
We see that the sun has 4 (1 to each moon, and 1 to the earth).
We see that the present moon has 4 (1 to each of the other moons, 1 from earth, 1 from sun).
We see that the future and past moons both have 3 (1 to each of the other moons, 1 from the sun).

A well-known result from graph theory states that if a graph is connected (you can get from every vertex to every other vertex) and only two vertices have an odd number of edges, then it is possible to go from one of the vertices that has an odd number of edges to the other vertex that has an odd number of edges following a path that uses every edge once and only once. So it is possible.

Part 4: (Alkalannar for Keyword and Either/Or, Wisedude for Hydra)

Keyword

Location

The triskelion. (Three-legged beastie with the goofy face.)

Clues

Wow, sounds like this thing destroyed houses, dressed up like a woman, wears sheepskin, occurs either as lone or in a pack. These should be a dead giveaway. Personally I like the following:

Aconite is wolfsbane, and a backwards ebb is a flow.

Answer

WOLF, of course.

Keynumber

Location

The multi-headed hydra.

Clues

This is straightforward math: what number is left when you're done dividing 40 by 2 repeatedly?

Answer

Well, 5...but then you have to add 1 to get the head that never got chopped off. So 6.

Either/Or

Location

The crystal balls by the Triskelion.

Clues

The crystal is absolutely uniform, the crystal ball radii are in ratio of 1:2:3, and the volume of a sphere is [(4/3) * pi] (from here on out called X) times r^3, where r is the radius.

Answer

Let the radius of the present crystal ball be 1.

Since the original crystal orb contains both a ball of radius 2 and a ball of radius 3, the original orb must be at least radius 5.

The volume of a sphere of radius 5 is 125X.

The sum of volumes of spheres of radius 1, 2, and 3 is 1X + 8X + 27X = 36X

The amount of crystal shards left over from a radius 5 sphere after radius 1, 2, and 3 spheres are taken away is 125X - 36X = 89X.

So there will always be at least 89X in shards, where the three spheres together are only 36X. (If the orb has to be larger than radius 5 to get the three crystal balls out of it, then there are even more shards.)

So there is more in the bag than the combined three crystal balls.

Part 5: (Alkalannar for Keyword and Keynumber, muddgirl for Either/Or)

Keyword

Location

Moths around the lantern

Clues

"Not sun heavy", astronomical light reflected, influences those who are insane, enjoyed by lovers, scary beasts, and the brightness (albedo) is less than the original.

Answer

MOONLIGHT. Sun is opposite of moon, light is opposite of heavy. Reflected from the sun. Lunatics are mad and hairy. Lovers enjoy moonlit trysts, and werewolves change under the full moon.

Keynumber

Location

The map on the table between the lantern and the books.

Clues

Back in part one, look at the abacus. Simple math gives the radius of the city of Round as 6 miles. Also note in this week that there are four marks on the map that appear to be the corners of a rectangle.

Answer

In a rectangle, split the vertices into any two pairs. Then the lengths of the line segments connecting those pairs are equal, whether they are parallel sides or diagonals. Since the distance from the tall tower to the gate is 6 miles (as it's a radius of the city), then the distance between the two shorter towers is also 6 miles.

Either/Or

Location

Wooden box in the upper left.

Clues

Again, like the week 1 Either/Or, this seems like it's going to be either very intuitive or counterintuitive.

Answer

I got this one flat out wrong initially using logic. Instead, I was directed by muddgirl to google "dovetail puzzle". The pedlar's claims could be true.

Part 6: (Lavos for Keyword, Alkalannar for Keynumber, Luonnos for Either/Or)

Keyword

Location

The hummingbird on the pirate captain's shoulder.

Clues

This one is short, and I don't think I can give any clues save the actual answer. Sorry.

Answer

WINDOW. It fits all the lines of the riddle.

Keynumber

Location

The flags on the Quartermaster's ship

Clues

Look at Wikipedia for signal flags.

Answer

The blue flag with a white circle is a 2.

Either/Or

Location

The letter/number grid on the upper right.

Clues

This is an esoteric math puzzle. No real help I can give other than googling...

Answer

...the 36 officers puzzle. It turns out that every voyage has at least one person grumbling.

Part 7: (HenkSnow for Keyword, Wisedude for Keynumber, Alkalannar for Either/Or)

Keyword

Location

Yellow fishes.

Clues

First letter is in both 'grudge' and 'hater', second letter is in 'tyrant' but not 'traitor', third letter is in 'battle', end 'belongs to me'.

Answer

ENEMY

Keynumber

Location

Jellyfish....and those are tentacles, not legs!

Clues

Hmm...the branches of the tree back in week 2 look odd...

Answer

The spaces between the branches form the letters XIS. So look at it from the perspective of the mathemagician and the girl, and it reads SIX. (Actually, it reads ZIX, but close enough....)

Either/Or

Location

Shark

Clues

We can't answer this until week twelve. Until then, just count things that have an odd number of legs.

Answer

Week 1: Tripod
Week 4: Triskelion
Week 6: Quartermaster
And....that's it! So there are an odd number of legs.

Part 8: (Alkalannar for Keyword and Either/Or, Alkalannar with huge assist from Wisedude for Keynumber)

Keyword

Location

The man on stilts discusses what the astronomers are observing.

Clues

The sun, but not quite. Something in the way, but the thing in the way is not what they're looking for either.

Answer

ECLIPSE.

Keynumber

Location

The mathemagician.

Clues

The mathemagician is dreaming of the hydra we met back in the girl's dream (part 4). (Killing a nine-headed hydra was the second of Hercules's Twelve Labors.) The number was caught in the horns of a dilemma and the dilemma turned into the multi-headed hydra.

Answer

Looking back at part 4, we see that several of the hydra's heads have horns that bracket letters. Wisedude first pointed out the O. Specifically F, O, U, and R.

Either/Or

Location

The middle (second) astronomer.

Clues

The third astronomer cannot determine whether his monkey has a tail. Using that information, and the type of monkey that first astronomer has on his back, the second astronomer can determine his type of monkey.

Oh, and look back at the empty cage in week 6 to find out the number of monkeys with tails.

Answer

The first and second astronomers can't both have monkeys without tails, or the third astronomer would know that the monkey on his back had a tail. So there must be at least one monkey with a tail among the first two astronomers. If the monkey on the first astronomer's back had a tail, then the second could not figure out if his had a tail or not. So the monkey on the first astronomer's back has no tail, and the monkey on the second astronomer's back has a tail. [Note: Once the second astronomer announces that he knows what kind of monkey his is, the first astronomer can figure out what his is.]

Part 9: (DavidB for Keyword, Alkalannar for Keynumber and Either/Or)

Keyword

Location

Weathervane

Clues

Looks like a list of names in alphabetical order, alternating male and female, except there's Patty and Sandy. So it looks like we need a male name beginning with either Q or R. Where could I find a series of alternating alphabetical male and female names?

Well, "If only he could free himself from the bonds of ironmongery, he could leave his rooftop perch and pay a visit to the mathemagician's study, where there is a map of the time and place to which these names belong." And in the mathemagician's study (week 5), there is a map of the ocean labled "North Atlantic, 2000 A.D." (Thanks again for this tidbit, muddgirl!)

Answer

These are the names of hurricanes. The missing name in this list is RAFAEL.

Keynumber

Location

Lighthouse

Clues

Go back to the seahorse in week 7. The letters in the message are all Es, Is, Ss, and Hs, except for a single R.

Answer

E is ., I is .., S is …, and H is …. in Morse code, so none of them contribute any long flashes. The single R is .-., so there is 1 long flash in the seahorse's message.

Either/Or

Location

Potions at bottom left, or the second building on the left (not the one with the key banner).

Clues

Again, this is one of those puzzles where you either trust your intuition, or you don't.

Answer

Let the volume in each bottle be X.

Let the amount of red in the primarily red bottle be R1 and the amount of red in the primarily green bottle be R2. Similarly, let the amount of green in green be G1 and the amount of green in red be G2.

Now R1 + R2 must equal X (as the red bottle has X red liquid in it to begin with). G1 + G2 must also equal X. Now after the mixing, R1 + G2 must equal X (a spoonful of liquid was removed from red, then one was added back), as must G1 + R2 (spoonful added, then removed).

So R1 + R2 = R1 + G2 and R1 + R2 = G1 + R2. Or R2 = G2 and R1 = G1. So the amount of red in one bottle equals the amount of green in the other bottle.

Therefore, there is not more red in bottle than green in the other.

Part 10: (First posted by Alkalannar)

Keyword

Location

The Fox's riddle (the card in his hand).

Clues

Something that masquerades as asterisks. (Or did in 1999...some things have changed in computer display technology. Nowadays, they mainly masquerade as small filled-in circles.) And then examples are given.

Answer

PASSWORD.

Keynumber

Location

Dominoes

Clues

Straightforward math here: there are 7 dominoes that have a particular number on them (i.e. 7 with 0, 7 with 1, etc.).

Answer

But...one of those dominoes is a double, so there are 8 of each number from 0 to 6.
0 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 = 21. 8 * 21 = 168.

Either/Or

Location

The Game of Cards

Clues

We have 0 face up. We want 5 face up. We can only change 2 cards at a time.

Answer

It is not possible to win without cheating. A turn (flipping two cards) either:
a) flips two cards face up,
b) flips two cards face down, or
c)flips one card face up and one card face down.

In particular, if you start with an even number of face-up cards, then you will always have an even number of face-up cards, and never an odd number like 5.

So the wolf cannot beat the fox's score without cheating. On the other hand, the fox cheated to win in the first place, probably by using the card with the riddle on it that he's handing to the girl.

Part 11: (David B and Uncle Arthur for the Keyword, Alkalannar for the Keynumber and Either/Or)

Keyword

Location

Iguana, then 'animal kingdom'.

Clues

There's a mouse in the picture surrounded by the ghost! (The mouse's tail goes just under the ghost's jaw.) And apparently something like this happened back in week 2. So what animal (neither owl nor vole) is hidden somewhere in week 2 that shares three letters with mouse?

Answer

Underneath the milestone in week 2, there appears to be a shell, and beneath the ghost's foot a head. It's upside down though. Hmm...looks like a turtle, but turtle shares only 'e' with mouse. How about TORTOISE instead?

Keynumber

Location

Number grid on the upper right

Clues

These numbers are the product of the past. And this grid looks suspiciously similar to the ones from weeks 1 and 2.

Answer

Multiply the lower-right cells of the first two grids to get 9 * 14 = 126. Also note that the lower-left cell here is obscured so that you can't use this grid and week 1 to get the keynumber for the week 2 puzzle.

Either/Or

Location

Glass pieces below the number grid.

Clues

Letters in color * sides on base gives Odd or Even. (X denotes an empty space.) Ang thoughtfully calculated all of these for us.

Answer

The top layer (from part 4) is:
E E O
E O E
X E E

The middle layer (from part 7) is:
O O E
E O O
O E E

The bottom layer (from part 9) is:
E O O
O E E
X O O

So odds (the fox) won with top-upper-right, middle-middle-right, and bottom-lower-right. This is interesting since there are only 12 odd pieces and 13 evens. More cheating? Weird rules? The world may never know....

Part 12: (Wisedude and muddgirl for keyword, muddgirl for Keynumber and Either/Or)

Keyword

Location

The boy. (Or rather the construct that the mathemagician built.)

Clues

It looks as though you have to find an appropriate text, and look at the first letters of words that have double letters. These will in turn spell four words that give the clue to the real keyword. And in stanza 6, it appears that the text is from the disguise in part 9 that has so far been unused.

Answer

Getting the first letters of the double-letter words in the disguise description yields prunus avium prunus cerasus, which are two types of cherries: sweet and sour.
CHERRY

Keynumber

Location

The die.

Clues

Go back to part 10 and look at the dice. Also, note that the opposite sides of die faces add to 7.

Answer

There are 5 dice, four of which have opposite sides hidden (for a total of 28), and one of which has 1 on top (so 6 hidden on bottom). This gives a total of 34.

Either/Or

Location

The sliding puzzle.

Clues

Look at the Fox's and Wolf's sliders in parts 5 and 8.

Answer

The Fox has the real slider! This surprises me a bit, though on reflection, it really shouldn't

Table of Solutions:

In the notation below, C is clockwise, and A is anticlockwise (instead of CC for counterclockwise so that both have a single letter). Also, I consistently list Keyword, Either/Or, Keynumber, unlike the real table which has 1-6 as Keynumber, Either/Or, Keyword. And I wish I had a fixed-width font to work with. Anyway, the completed Table of Solutions should look like this:

1: WINDOW A 12
2: WOLF A 4
3: TORTOISE A 2
4: NUMBER C 1
5: MOONLIGHT C 126
6: RAFAEL A 168
7: PASSWORD A 6
8: PLANETARIUM A 6
9: CHERRY C 4
10: ENEMY C 30
11: ECLIPSE A 6
12: STAR C 34

Tiebreaker:

Clicking on the 'introduces' link in week 6 gets you to the tiebreaker. This has no bearing on anything now, since it was to break ties among the people who first played the game back in 1999. Simply choose a name that you think fits the girl the best. I made the ironic choice of Clio, the Muse of History.

Major Solution:

Basics

If you click on any of the large orbs around the pictures, you'll notice that a group of letters is added to the major solution. Also, if you add a group from week 2 then week 1, it is not the same as if you had done the same orbs but week 1 then week 2.

It looks as though the Either/Or solution shows a direction to travel, which implies that either the Keynumber shows how many orbs to count and the Keyword somehow shows a starting point, or that the Keynumber somehow shows a starting point and the Keyword somehow determines how many to count.

Let's assume that the Keyword somehow shows a starting point, the Either/Or shows a direction, and the Keynumber tells how far to go.

Clues

There were several clues that led us to the solution:

In part 7, there are the two buoys labeled 'CARDINAL' and 'CLUE'. Commenter Ang found out that the markings on the CARDINAL buoy is North, and the CLUE buoy is East. North and East are, of course, two of the cardinal directions (the others being West and South).

In part 10, the harbormaster is said to be able to measure the wind to within one sixteenth of a full circle. And thank Commenter Sruixan for spotlighting that. Let's see, that would be the four cardinal directions (N, E, S, W), the ones in between (NE, SE, SW, NW), and then the ones in between those: (NNE, ENE, ESE, SSE, SSW, WSW, WNW, NNW).

Ang then noticed that each keyword has at least one and no more than three of the letters N, E, S, and W. And taking them in order yields a valid direction (like WNW from WINDOW).

I noticed (after seeing the Mathemagician sent backwards in time), that there was a chain of animals on a mission stretching from at least part 11 back to part 1. In part 7 at the description of the herrings states that the first part of the solution is the last half of the game, and the last part is in the first half. And in part 9, the girl's description has the following: "In her foresight, the remaining events dwindle to at best a couple more scenes, and the ambiguity of the girl's future is reduced to a prediction as certain as counting down from twelve to one."

Oh, and Commenter Wisedude notes the following in part 5's Atlas of the Undiscovered World: "...and a water-marked compass on each page with one unbreakable rule. North is ALWAYS up." (The possibility of a variable north was raised in the comments.)

Lastly in part 12, there is indeed an explicit compass rose giving directions down to 1/16th of a circle, and in the description of the machinery, it says, "Not least because it knows that the solution to that puzzle starts here, and passes through Planetarium, installment by installment, along the same route as the message which preceded it. It also knows that, in the end, it is here together with the girl, whereas in the beginning that was not the case."

Method

Extract the directional letters from each word.

Imagine the circle is a compass rose with north at the top, and find the direction derived from the keyword. Note: this will *NOT* be an orb!

Count the keynumber of orbs from the starting point in the direction of the either/or solution.

Do all of the above starting in week 12 and going back to week 1.

Solution

12: STAR
11: TATEN
10: DEN
9: DATS
8: TART
7: WHAT
6: ENDS
5: TO
4: GET
3: HERS
2: TARTS
1: APART

Or: Start at end. End at start. What ends together, starts apart.

Amusing thoughts:

The letter from the future:

The letter is delivered by a series of animals from episode 11 to 1: iguana, ladybug, opossum, vulture, eel, yak, ostrich, unicorn, newt, owl, and weasel. The animals form the acronym: I LOVE YOU NOW, which is the text of the Love Letter.

The identity of the lover:

It is a mechanical boy made by the mathemagician!

Major solution:

Well, many of us were apart, but going through the game together, we certainly have ended together, in time and collaboration. I've had fun, I hope everyone else has as well.

295 Comments

ThemePark Author Profile Page March 6, 2009 1:34 PM

Wait...what year is this? Did someone throw me into a time machine?

2009, and JiG finally reviews one of the best puzzle games of all times. After 10 years.

I'm both amazed that someone actually recommended this to be reviewed, and that someone hasn't done it until now.

But there is not much to say about this game, other than the fact that it truly is the best puzzle game I have ever played, and that it will definitely give your brain a good workout. The story is really quite amazingly written too, and once you have finished the game, you will realize just how many details have been put into it, and how many you have missed out on.

The only minor bother is that you only have access to the winners forum for a week after you are done. But you can always sign up with a new username anytime, and your username will be deleted from the database after a while, possibly a few years. I know this, I've been playing this off and on since around the change of the millenium.

So this is definitely worth a recommendation, if you're an avid puzzle fan.

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Vogonviking Author Profile Page March 6, 2009 1:54 PM

It certainly looks interesting but I think I'm going to need some help!

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Hey! I reviewed it. :)

I don't know that Planetarium is *that* hard to categorize. It's a clear descendant of the puzzle books of the 1980s -- Masquerade, Maze, the bee book. Certainly it strikes out in its own direction, making use of the (then) new interactivity of the Web; but it doesn't really draw on the videogame model to do that. I'd say that's what makes it stand out for the videogame-playing viewer.

All of which is to the side of the point that Planetarium is awesome and people should play it. :) Anyone who jumps in today will be effectively playing as a group, so I recommend doing that and keeping this comment thread alive for the next thirteen weeks.

(BTW, I see you have it tagged "Platform:Flash"...)

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Thanks, Zarf. Fixed. :)

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Well, if we're playing it as a group, I'm pretty sure I've got two of the puzzles right.

Puzzle Number 1 (Keyword)

Location:

Hints:

The initial text gave it away to me:

To count on me you can depend,
But count me and you'll never end!

but for further hints note carefully the things in the second verse that the answer is supposedly "in":

- the weights
- the stones
- this event
- the moon in ether

Solution:

Note that each item contains the text of a number:

- the wEIGHTs
- the stONEs
- thiS EVENt
- the mooN IN Ether

and as the first verse implies (something you can count on, but never ends), the answer is NUMBER (really "numbers" but the FAQ says all answers should be singular).

Puzzle Number 2 (key number)

Location:

Hints:

The answer is a number, and the key passage is here:

And in that sleep, he mostly dreams of a number whose length in letters matches its value, stride for stride.

The last phrase isn't necessary, but confirms the solution ;-)

Solution:

What number has the same number of letters as it's value?

One - 3
Two - 3
Three - 5
Four - 4
Five - 4
Six - 3
Seven - 5
Eight - 5
Nine - 4
Ten - 3

So the Answer is 4. "Stride for stride confirms that it's the number of his (original) feet.

Puzzle Number 3 (either-or key)

Location:

I haven't worked this one out, I'll leave it for someone else!

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For the ouroborouses :

borromean rings are the answser.

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masozravapalma Author Profile Page March 6, 2009 4:20 PM

I think I have this one correct.

Puzzle Number 3 (either-or key)

Location:

Hints:

Important parts are:

  • a foolish ouroborus is one that passes either just its head or just its tail through the hoop of another;
  • a wise ouroborus goes through with both, or not at all; furthermore, to prevent self-entanglement, a wise ouroborus only bites its own tail if - at that very moment - it is shaped like a ring, without coils or kinks.

is it possible for three wise ouroboruses (one already hooped) to become inseparably entangled?

Especially note goes through with both, or not at all; part.

Solution:

We have one ouroboros already hooped. That means the second one can't get entangled with him. But the third one can connect two hooped ouroboroses and still meet the criteria of being wise. He passes both head and tail through a hoop, and form a chain.

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Dibby L March 6, 2009 4:59 PM

masozravapalma, I'm afraid I'm not following your solution. Could you clarify it for the puzzle-illiterate here?

I think you're saying the third ouroboros passes its head through the first hoop and its tail through the second? Is that allowed? The wording of the puzzle is confusing me, I had thought it meant that the head and tail had to be going through the same hoop, if it was to go through at all.

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Little-Lark March 6, 2009 5:16 PM

masozravapalma, I'm not sure if I agree -

It depends on how you interpret the phrase "the hoop of another." Clearly an ouroboros can only go through a single hoop with both head and tail. But may it pass its head through one hoop and its tail through a different hoop, and still fulfill the requirement of passing both head and tail through? My first thought was that both head and tail had to go together through any individual hoop, and couldn't be separated.

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Wasn't Planetarium featured already? Like, yonks ago?

This is (was) one of the most unique web experiences, especially to math nuts like me. I must say I enjoyed it very much back when I first discovered it.

Or better said, I enjoyed around 95% of it. I still think some puzzles are just a bit too obscure, some insanely hard compared to others, one is downright exhausting and one in particular just plain sucks. But the majority of them is fun and not really that hard, once you pick up the out-of-the-box way of thinking the game incorporates.

The thing that bothered me the most is the obligatory weekly engagement, without the chance to put the game "on hold". First time I played it final few weeks coincided with my vacation and when I got back my account was expired and all my effort went to ruin. I had to create ANOTHER account and wait a few frikkin months to finish the game. VERY irritating.

But as a whole, Planetarium can be really rewarding, even though it's now a bit behind the times... all in all, my recommendations. Just be sure to plan ahead, and if you go on a vacation, be sure to have online access. :)

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masozravapalma

If one ouroboros goes head and tail through another hooped one, he can't form a chain, as he has gone all the way through.

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Am I the only person who actually went and got three pipe cleaners and tried the ouroboros puzzle out for myself?

Yes, it is possible. If the currently looped one wiggles himself into a figure-of-eight, then a second one can wriggle an end through each loop. If the second one then closes, we have a chain. This can then occur again, so that all three are inseperable.

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SonicLover Author Profile Page March 7, 2009 11:21 AM

Sruixan:

It doesn't work that way. When head and tail pass through a loop, they have to be in the same direction relative to the loop itself.

However, it is indeed possible.

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Right... I've tried fiddling around with the pipe-cleaners and I think I've done it:

Let the head and tail of the second one wriggle through the linked one, then close it. The first one now bends into a figure of eight, whilst the second one stays where it is. The third one can now pass through the second loop, wtith the head going under the first loop and the tail above. If this one knots, all three are linked.

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Wisedude Author Profile Page March 7, 2009 12:27 PM

@ Baba

Yes actually it was reviewed here ages ago. It was an ancient link dump friday.

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SonicLover Author Profile Page March 7, 2009 1:34 PM

These verbal descriptions are confusing. We're gonna need a picture.

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fuzz4brains March 7, 2009 3:17 PM

image for the ouroboros puzzle

http://images.jayisgames.com/hs_pam_planetarium_ouroborospuzzle.jpg

the image shows three rings linked together, yet each ring is either on top or below another ring, but they never pass through each other.

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bigbadthor Author Profile Page March 8, 2009 11:38 AM

I found this game through your site just now, Jay, looks like another great time killer. Here is my contribution, there are spheres all around the puzzle which make a word that you can submit toward the "major solulution". Anyone have a clue as to what they are? I'm thinking the grid has something to do with it.

101 heart
102 note
103 these
104 under
105 apart
106 star
107 will

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bigbadthor Author Profile Page March 8, 2009 11:51 AM

Hmm, if you click on the abacus you can get a link to an explaination of pi, they even give you a certain number of digits of pi (a flag went up in my head).

If you plug those pi numbers into the grid (imagine them highlighted, it helps) you'll see that the grid makes an arrow pointing north and west. Do with that what you will...

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About Ouroboros' problem:

Yeah, the solution is actually by forming a Borromean ring. Interesting. :)

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Wisedude Author Profile Page March 9, 2009 10:52 AM

@Bigbadthor

I can only assume that we will now which one to pick when we have the keyword, number and either-or key for part one.

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Anonymous March 13, 2009 10:01 AM

For Part ii

The rats

rats backwards is star
And dog backwards is god, which is why they would have no hope if animals could become their reflection.

The mileposts

Yes, the mathematician got charged.
The second post would just have to be buried and you can solve the problem... which would explain why it was never seen again.

The number

If you take the first grid
123
456
789
and swap each number for the total of it's neighbors
then 1 becomes 2+ 4 = 6
2 becomes 1+3+5 = 9
3 ... 2+6 = 8
....
7... 4 + 8 = 12
The other numbers are left as an exercise for the reader.
so 12 is the answer

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For the ourborouses, I think this should help.

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Something I've noticed after doing the first two instalments:

The favicon for the first two episodes is different - in the first it is a B, in the second it is a P.

I don't know if this is going to be relevant...

Just in case you didn't know, a favicon is: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Favicon

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Christine Fisher March 19, 2009 4:40 AM

Complete explanation for Part ii, mileposts

A major clue in the text is that the "straight line" is between the house and lab. No such requirement exists for the longer route that the magician prefers to take. The shape of the whole upper path is an equilateral triangle with endpoints at the old tree, lab and house. The preferred path runs across two legs of it with the tree in the middle.

The second milepost isn't just buried: it's buried in the center of the above-ground paths at the correct depth to make an equilateral pyramid with mile-long legs. Confused? Check out a four-sided die with one side flat up.

He definitely paid.

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Wisedude Author Profile Page March 20, 2009 3:22 PM

For Part iii, orrery:

So basically this puzzle is all about eliminating everything unessential. Basically, if you strip away every thing but the most important stuff you have three different circles all connected by one track. Each of those are connected to a central ball by one track, except one of them which is connected by two tracks. The Answer:

You sure?

Kay:

Yep it is possible for the golden globe to traverse all tracks.

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Wisedude Author Profile Page March 20, 2009 5:08 PM

I think I've figured out how the big puzzle works, and I'm only on chapter iii!

You click on the orbs till you find the one with the keyword. Then you count out the key number counter clockwise or clock wise depending on the either-or key.

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For part iii, the keynumber (thinking out loud here):

Well, a formula basically says, "Take some x and do this to it." We're told the output of the formula is a two-digit number. My first thought was to simply take the numbers
9 + 53 + 23 + 99 + 53 + 54 + 16
and add them up straight, yielding
307
then taking the digits of that answer and adding them into a two-digit number
3 + 0 + 7 = 10

But then I thought maybe that was a bit too easy. So I thought I'd add the digits of each number in the sequence first before adding everything together.
9 = 9; 5 + 3 = 8; 2 + 3 = 5; 9 + 9 = 18; 5 + 3 = 8; 5 + 4 = 9; 1 + 6 = 7
Which becomes
9 + 8 + 5 + 18 + 8 + 9 + 7 = 64

And then I noticed that 6 + 4 = 10 also. Am I over-thinking things? Who thinks the answer is 10 and who thinks the answer is 64? Who thinks I'm way off base and that the answer is something else entirely?

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Wisedude Author Profile Page March 20, 2009 6:37 PM

I'm going to point something out about the Key number. In the grid of numbers all of the numbers are absolutes except for one and six, which are variables. Co-incidence that the last number in the formula is 16?

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Wisedude Author Profile Page March 20, 2009 7:25 PM

Also, by your solution ray9na it would just end up being 1 (1+0=1) and that breaks the puzzle.

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The keynumber for part three was easy for me. Click below for a hint, and below that for the answer:

We're talking about chemicals here, aren't we? What can chemicals have to do with numbers?

The numbers are the atomic numbers for elements from the periodic table. 9-F, 53-I 23-V, 99-Es, 53-I, 54-Xe, 16-S. This spells "Five sixes", which is 30.

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Another clue for the keynumber for part iii which makes me certain I have the right answer:

Click on the table to the right of the girl and read the text that comes up.

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Anonymous March 21, 2009 12:52 PM

anyone know the keyword for part iii?

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Nope, I've not got a clue for that one so far. If anyone's gotten it yet, help would be appreciated!

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I just figured out the keyword in part iii.
(Sorry if I get the spoiler tags wrong)

First look at the phrase in italics "Lunar time is numbered in a particularly simple way". Then, the grid of numbers is the keyword where each letter represents itself and each number is the nth letter in that phrase.

The first square is P1. So, the first letter in the keyword is P and the second letter in the keyword is the first letter in that phrase (or L). The next square is 4, so the third letter in the keyword is the fourth letter in that phrase (or A). Continuing in this fashion gives PLANETARIUM, the answer.

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ThemePark Author Profile Page March 21, 2009 3:18 PM

@Wisedude:

Nope, that is not how you solve the big puzzle. You are right, however, that the spheres in the chapters are an important part.

Since I have played through Planetarium 3 or 4 times, I can easily help out with any of the puzzles and the big puzzle, if needed. But I would suggest that you don't worry about the big puzzle for now, as you need every bit of information in the table, to be able to solve it.

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Wisedude:

Well, no, my M.O. was to just add until a two-digit number was reached. But even so, apparently I was barking up the wrong tree.

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For part iii, orrery:

Well, the answer is that it can pass through every path once to form the longest way. The trick is that you know about the Eulerian Path or heard about the seven bridges problem before. :)

Taken all information about the orrery, you would found out that all but two spheres (Future Moon and Past Moon, to be exact) has even numbers of paths connected to each of them. This fulfills the requirement to form an Eulerian Path.

About part iii's keynumber:

That is cleverly done. I figured it must have something to do with a table, but I failed to relate it to the periodic table until I read Sruixan's hint. But I have to admit, 'five sixes' nearly make me struck, since I don't know five sixes also means '5 times 6'. That's a problem when your native language is not English. :P

As for the keyword, let just say I congrats Luonnos for able to figure out what I can't see. :)

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Alkalannar Author Profile Page March 23, 2009 3:01 PM

Eulerian walks, tetrahedra, Borromean rings, wordplay with the rats and the dog....I am liking this so far. Anyone up to episode 4 yet?

And I wonder which way the ball would go in the orrery: from past to future, or future to past?

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Wisedude Author Profile Page March 24, 2009 1:04 AM

It would depend on the person's destiny Alkalaanar.

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Wisedude Author Profile Page March 27, 2009 2:50 PM

Alright, week IV.

Hydra:

Really simple math this one. Simple take the amount of heads the Hydra has now (41) subtract 1 (40) and halve until you reach and odd number.

40, halves to 20, halves to 10, halves to 5, add the original head, 6.

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Alkalannar Author Profile Page March 27, 2009 4:09 PM

And the triskelion's riddle:

It's very easy...'wolf'

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Alkalannar Author Profile Page March 27, 2009 4:17 PM

And for the spheres:

If we let the radius of the present crystal ball be 1, then the smallest sphere can can hold all three crystal balls is 5. Then the volume of the three balls together is X(1+8+27)=36X where the volume of the parent crystal is 125X (where X is pi * 4/3). The rest of the crystal(in the velvet bag) has volume of at least 89X (if you can manage to cut all three spheres from a single sphere of radius 5, then it is 89X, if the sphere has to be larger, then it is more). Since 89>36, the dust in the bag weighs more than the three crystal balls.

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Alkalannar, regarding the sphere puzzle:

The sphere puzzle isn't so simple. You are assuming that the spheres were cut out side by side, so that their center points all form a straight line. But the spheres are cut out, "as large as that original sphere allows." Just be grateful that the puzzle involves three spheres and not four, or things get much more complicated.

Since any three points must be coplanar, this puzzle can be solved on paper, as if it were two dimensional. Draw a triangle with side lengths (r+2r), (r+3r), and (2r+3r), where r is the radius of the Present crystal. The three points of the triangle are the center points of the three spheres, as scrunched together as possible. So draw the three circles around the points as appropriate. Then draw the smallest possible circle that completely surrounded the three circles. The radius of this large circle is the radius of the large crystal sphere. The rest you can figure out from there.

I'm not quite sure how to calculate the largest circle. I suppose if you have a steady hand you can just measure it and get a decent enough answer.

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Anonymous March 29, 2009 12:06 PM

Sphere puzzle

Actually, Brandon, it's not possible to calculate the smallest circle to enclose all the 3 circles without using some very advance maths. Hope someone could able to draw it (and give us the answer), since currently I lack the tools to do it nicely.

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Alkalannar Author Profile Page March 29, 2009 2:08 PM

Regarding the sphere puzzle:

I don't know what the radius of the parent sphere is, I only know that must be at least 5, since the past and future spheres (of radius 3 and 2 respectively) are tangent to each other. Since even at the (probably too low) bound of 5 for the parent sphere, you have more than half going into dust, the solution does not not change, even if you have to make the sphere bigger than 5 to accommodate the spheres of 1, 2, and 3 cut out from it. I'm sorry that I wasn't clear up above.

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The puzzle is as Alkalannar says.

He didn't assume that they were all side by side. That would've yielded a radius of 6, not 5. He did it as Brandon did:

The three spheres fit together in such a way that their centers form a right triangle. On the grounds that the 2r and 3r spheres are tangent, the outer sphere must have a radius of at least 5r to contain just those two spheres, let alone the 1r one. If the outer sphere has a radius of at least 5r, then the shards must weigh more than the spheres.

125X - (1X + 8X + 27X) > 1X + 8X + 27X
125X - 36X > 36X
89X > 36X

Where X = 4/3pi again.

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Thanks for the explanation, Alkalannar! That makes more sense to your first post regarding the sphere. :)

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Alkalannar is correct, my bad.

Actually calculating the radius of the sphere is extremely tedious and can be done either by drawing it out or by writing a computer simulation. But yeah, the radius must be at least 5, which is more than large enough for the either-or puzzle.

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Alkalannar Author Profile Page April 1, 2009 11:31 AM

So when do people get enough clues to figure out what the major puzzle is? (Not necessarily the answer, mind you, just what the puzzle is.)

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The answer is right, but i think it's the matter of volume of spheres not a radius: 2 times bigger means that volume is 2 times bigger but not radius. Sorry for my english :)

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Alkalannar Author Profile Page April 3, 2009 8:44 AM

No, if the radius is twice as large, the volume is 8 times as much. Anyhow, on to week 5!

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Alkalannar Author Profile Page April 3, 2009 12:51 PM

Distance between towers:

Since the towers and gate make a rectangle, and the tallest tower is in the center of the city, the length between the tall tower and the gate is 6 miles. (Look at the abacus back at week 1.) This has to be a diagonal of the rectangle, or else at least one of the other towers would be outside the city. That means that the other diagonal--the one between the two shorter towers--is also 6 miles.

Lamp with moths around it:

moonlight...I'll let you get all the references yourself

Wooden box in the upper left corner:

There has to be a hidden hinge or something, so the peddlar's claim was false. There may or may not be silver inside, but it is not "just two blocks of hard wood carved to fit together."

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muddgirl Author Profile Page April 3, 2009 1:35 PM

A rebuttal to Alkalannar's Wooden Box solution:

A little googling will prove that Alkalannar's answer is wrong. Search "dovetail puzzle"

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Alkalannar Author Profile Page April 3, 2009 6:55 PM

Indeed. I was wrong on that one. Mea culpa.

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Wisedude Author Profile Page April 4, 2009 10:04 PM

Just going to point out something interesting I thought. On the map in the game of the city of round there are star shaped markings that roughly form a rectangle.

and Alkalannar:

It wouldn't matter whether or a tower is outside of the city, because in any case the distance between the two towers is the radius of the city.

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Wisedude is correct about the Round problem:

Remember that the towers and gate formed a rectangle? So each angle is 90 degree. The radius of Round is in fact the length of one side of the rectangle, which is at the same side as the shorter distance between the 2 smaller tower.

Well, I felt a bit ashamed. I only really able to get 2 of this weeks puzzle right by myself. The box's problem I figure it could be done, since I do seen such thing before, but without muddgirl's tip, I wouldn't know how it was done... :P

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Regarding the "Wooden Box", I may have a rebuttal to both:

If the Dovetail Puzzle solution is correct, wouldn't that mean that there can be no silver coin inside it, and therefore the "pedlar" was lying?

I'm stumped on this one, guys! What's the claims? That there's a coin inside of it, or that the "box" will come apart? Because if the thing is as muddgirl says, then it is NOT a box at all! I don't know what to put down for this one!

It seems from just the text that it would be "whether or not the two halves can be separated" in which case, yeah, they can. But the choices are not worded that way. They are worded "pedlar's claims true" versus "pedlar's claims false". The pedlar clearly claimed that there was a coin inside and the solution that makes the two halves separate leaves no space for a coin, so that part of his claim has to be false...

My head hurts.

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Wisedude Author Profile Page April 5, 2009 11:36 AM

@Joye

Nope, the peddlars claims are completely true. Basicly his claims are that 1. It is just two pieces of wood 2. You could insert two silver coins in it (Possible, you would just have to hollow out the interior) and 3. The wood can be seperated. All of which are true.

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I agree with Wisedude on the wooden box question. Don't forget that the options are:

The pedlar's claims could be true, or the pedlar's claims cannot be true.

I must have been spending too much time on Labyrinth, I actually found this week's riddles quite easy!

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Alkalannar Author Profile Page April 9, 2009 5:40 PM

@Ang and @Wisedude, about the Round puzzle:

Yes, the radius could be one side of the rectangle, which would make the segment connecting the other two towers the parallel side of the rectangle, which is equal. However, it could also be a diagonal of the rectangle. Say the tall tower is at the point (0,0), and the gate is at (3 3/5, 4 4/5). Then the distance between them is 6. Let the two shorter towers be at (0, 4 4/5) and (3 3/5, 0). Then the segment joining them is also a diagonal of the rectangle, which is also of length 6. And all three towers are inside the city walls, making me prefer diagonals from a philosophical standpoint.

And one more day until the next chapter.....

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Wisedude Author Profile Page April 9, 2009 11:27 PM

@Alkalannar

Not saying you're wrong or questioning your judgment. I just wanted to point that out because that's how I did it. I also find the concept of a tower out there in the desert a cool one. An RPG in the Planetarium universe is one that I would play.

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The either-or in 6:

They will always grumble.

This is exactly the same as the 36 officers problem. It involves 2 Latin squares superimposed (or a single Greco-Latin square) of order 6, and it was proven over 100 years ago.

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Alkalannar Author Profile Page April 10, 2009 4:07 PM

Keynumber in 6:

Look for signal flags in Wikipedia or Google to find that...

...the blue flag with the white circle is a 2

The Keyword puzzle is stumping me so far...

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I thought the keyword puzzle for vi was pretty easy, actually:

The answer is WINDOW.

'On your screen' refers to a program window.
'Round at sea' refers to a porthole on a ship.
'Stained by faith' refers to a stained glass window in a church.
'Shopped for free' refers to 'window shopping', which of course is free.

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Wild guess re: the keyword for part vi --

icon ???

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Lavos--

Yeah, your answer makes sense. I was following a different line of reasoning that only accounted for two of them.

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The Icon for the Keyword is the Hummingbird

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Well, I'm sad that I couldn't even figure out a single answer out of this week's puzzles. Thanks for those who posts here, without your guys' help I wouldn't able to solve it. :)

BTW, since we're in the sixth week and have quite a few data on the Table of Solution (ToS), I propose a daring assumption of solving the Major Puzzle.

I believe that the Major Puzzle has everything to do with the orbs you found in each instalment. My idea is that the correct orb can be determined by counting the orbs from a specified starting point. Each answers in your ToS contributes to the solution.

Keyword: The clue where the starting point is. This is, I admit, the hardest part, since the 'exact' way to pinpoint it is unclear to me, and I maybe wrong about it.
Either-or key: In which direction you should count your orbs, either clockwise or counter-clockwise. I think this is quite obvious.
Keynumber: How far is the 'correct' orb from the 'starting' orb.

I maybe wrong about this, though. Comments are always welcome. :)

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The either-or for part 6 is quite interesting:

As Luonnos said, it's just a re-working of Euler's 36 Officers problem (see Wikipedia for details).

However, it is only the 6x6 grid that doesn't have a solution - any other size grid greater than 2x2 can be solved.

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fuzz4brains April 15, 2009 6:27 PM

flags, woo

the answer is 2, in maritime flags number 2 is a blue triangler flag with a white spot on it.

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Anonymous April 16, 2009 10:17 AM

the girl's winning name:

ANNA

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Alkalannar Author Profile Page April 17, 2009 11:08 AM

Oh, this is interesting.

The either-or in week 7 can't be answered with certainty until week 12.

The number puzzle is ambiguous (I can see two plausible answers).

And I am not in the correct frame of mind to solve the keyword riddle.

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Whoa!

So that's how tripod lost his leg!

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I hate to double post but I just want to say that we're at an odd number of legs.

Tripod makes it odd
The Triskelion makes it even
The quater master makes it odd.

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HenkSnow April 17, 2009 1:36 PM

Concerning the riddle in part vii
This seems kind of ad hoc but for your consideration:

I've taken the 'e' that is in both grudge and hater
Then the 'n' that is in tyrant and not traitor
Next I've taken the 'e' that stands in battle
Then lastly I added 'me':

E-N-E-(ME) or ENEMY

A person I can create by design or by mistake.
Who often, in our fights and wars, will be mine when I am their's.

Also, I agree with Alkalannar because its posts that there could be 11 llama's illustrated. Its sucks because that's no fun anymore.

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Alkalannar Author Profile Page April 17, 2009 2:23 PM

Wisedude: Yes, we're currently at odd parity, but that could change in any episode.

HenkSnow: Good job! It makes sense.

As for the number puzzle, I see two possibilities:

The tree branches enclose spaces that seem to read XIS or X15. So my current possibilities are 11 and 15. What do people think?

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Wisedude Author Profile Page April 17, 2009 3:35 PM

Just figured out the Key Number

Alkalannar was on the right path but he missed a vital clue "It requires a new way of looking at things. If we were to look at the tree from the other side it would say six!

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HenkSnow April 17, 2009 3:39 PM

@Alkalannar Concerning the keynumber for part vii:

I read 'six'. Its backwards. The 'S' is a drawn incorrectly, which I didn't even notice until you posted X15. But that was my assumption.

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Sheer_Cold April 17, 2009 4:57 PM

Well, I guess I'll make a list for the things we've seen so far for the either-or-key for VII.

Legs so far:

I
2 on the Mathemagician
2 on the girl
4 on the weasel
4 on the mouse
3 on the poor kitty

II
2 on the mathemagician
2 on the girl
2 on the owl
4 on the vole
2 on the ghost ?(is it a creature?)

III
4 on the newt
2 on the mathemagician
2 on the girl

IV
3 on the triskelion
4 on the hydra
4 on the griffin
4 on the sphinx
4 on the unicorn

V
2 on the ostrich
2 on the mathemagician
2 on the girl

VI
1 on the Quartermaster (the peg leg is not organic)
2 on the girl
2 on the mathemagician
8 on the two rats
4 on the yak
2 on the stranger
2 on the hummingbird

VII
none, mainly because Bludge is there

Total: 81 (oddly, this is the square of 9)

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Wisedude Author Profile Page April 18, 2009 9:57 AM

@Sheer_Cold

It only matters when we see odd numbered legs like the Triskileon, Tripod, and The Quatermaster. Everything else doesn't matter. And like Alkalannar said that could change at any moment.

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Sheer_Cold April 18, 2009 2:08 PM

Still, we never know when we could be asked the number of legs in whatever episode...
and, everyone likes lists, don't they?

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Do the jellyfish's tentacles count? Because it has five tentacles, which could mess up the answer.

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Hah hah, never mind. I just read the jellyfish's description. They think of everything.

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Ruby Kube April 18, 2009 9:53 PM

Regarding the key number puzzle for part vii:

If you go to the mathemagician's page in part ii it says he sees a number hidden in the tree that is NOT eleven or fifteen...this seems to confirm that six must be the answer.

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Ruby Kube April 18, 2009 10:04 PM

More regarding the key number puzzle for part vii:

Also, if you go to the tree's page in part ii, there is a line that says: "Of course, it takes a certain way of looking at things to have them spelt out clearly", which also seems to confirm that six is correct as it is spelt out by the hidden characters, while 11 or 15 are seen there only as numerals.

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Just a question about vii's keyword:

Why, for the third letter of the keyword, it's letter 'e'? Third stands in battle, where you'll see... but I see no way it imply that the third letter must be 'e'.

But then, my native language is not English, so I might miss out some subtle clues.

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Wisedude Author Profile Page April 19, 2009 4:53 PM

@Ang

It's just a leap of faith. We have no other plausible suggestion so it must simply be enemy. However all other clues fit.

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Just a tip to make leg counting easier, just count the creatures with odd legs. Most creatures have an even number.

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Wisedude Author Profile Page April 20, 2009 5:10 PM

I'm starting to think that the Major solutions is more than just a simple code extracted from the table of solutions. In the first chapter is states that "this letter is central to planetarium, but not one of the four major components" or something along those lines. What are the other four items? We also have some strange clues like "SHE IS HERE" and those bouys in part VII. Or, maybe there all just red herrings. This paranoia is driving me nuts.

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Keyword

It's 'enemy' but not because of letters mysteriously counted. Tyrants have obvious enemies, traitors are often hidden enemies. That's who you fight in wars and battles. Someone is your enemy when you make them one, which also turns you into theirs.
Counting letters will only get you so far, and with this game, if you were counting them, they'd give you all of the letters. You wouldn't have to pull "me" out of the air.

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Alkalannar Author Profile Page April 24, 2009 12:15 PM

Part 8 at last!

Keyword seems to be:

eclipse

Keynumber thoughts:

The mathemagician is dreaming about a hydra (a 9-headed hydra was the second of Hercules' Twelve Tasks). Specifically, he's dreaming about the same hydra we met before with 41 heads. But what the number in his dream is caught between the horns of a dilemma (which dilemma changes into the hydra), I'm not sure of.

Either/or:

The monkeys are either split 5/0, 4/1, or 3/2. But if they monkeys were split 5/0, then all the astronomers would know which kind they had on their backs. If split 4/1, then the only way the Third astronomer would not know is if the monkeys on the first two astronomers are both from 4 (whichever kind 4 is), but then the first astronomer would know which kind he has, so the monkeys are not split 4/1. So the monkeys are split 3/2 (still not sure if there are 3 with tails or 2). They cannot have both of the pair on the first and second astronomer, or else the third astronomer would know. If the first astronomer had one of the triplet, the second could not know which kind he had on his back. So the first *must* have one of the pair on his back and the second *must* have one of the triplet. So whichever there is more of (tails or not) is what is on the second astronomer's back.

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Alkalannar Author Profile Page April 24, 2009 12:20 PM

Grr....now that I look back at the cage in Part VI, I see.....

Either/or solution:

We see that there are 3 with tails, 2 without, so the monkey on the second astronomer's back has a tail

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Wisedude Author Profile Page April 24, 2009 2:08 PM

Keynumber

0. If you look at the letters surrounding the Hydra the letter O is placed "Between the Horns" of one of the heads. And as we all know there is almost no differnce between 0 and O

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Wisedude Author Profile Page April 24, 2009 2:13 PM

Nevermind

Planetarium refuses to accept 0. Apparently that's their way of clearing out a key number.

[Edit: Spoiler tags corrected. You need to use angle brackets for spoilers. -Pam]

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Sruixan Author Profile Page May 18, 2009 4:28 PM

zoz, that makes a lot of sense, and it's something I've been trying, but:

It is rather peculiar in that it doesn't always seem to work. For example, even though we don't have the direction for part iv, there's no sphere 1 degree off a line... otherwise there are a few that look like they almost work... I've already resigned myself, though, to the idea that north changes every time, or at least I think it does... in many cases, though, it does seem to work, it just requires knowledge of where on earth north is... vii, for example, could have four different norths and still work...

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@Sruixan, I know what you mean... I played with it a bit this morning and it only seemed to work in some cases if the either-or solution was wrong. But when I checked those either-or's they sure seemed right to me. I'm sure you and Ang, and Wisedude and Alkalanner and all the others will sort this out while I twiddle my thumbs.

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Actually, if you read Wikipedia under the heading of Cardinal direction, the subheadings "usefulness of cardinal points" and "beyond geography" read like Planetarium clues!

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Hmmm, looking again to wiki, this time to

the Cardinal Mark (the triangles on top of the buoys) it seems the C.Mark signals the direction of safe passage, away from danger so when they appear in part vii, they are pointing us away from Grudge, not necessarily pointing at North and East

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Regarding the hidden animal in part ii, if someone could just tell me where to look. I see the mouse in part xi quite clearly, but I'm a bit blind with this one. If someone could point me to the right sector, I'll give myself the chance to figure this one out before I check the spoilers.

Thanks.

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@ray9na, check the lower left quadrant. It isn't as obvious as the mouse in part xi

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Alkalannar Author Profile Page May 18, 2009 9:33 PM

@ray9na: It is also upside down. Check in the area beneath the milestone going over towards the ghost's foot.

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@zoz and Alkalannar --

Ah! Aha! I see it now.

I had thought it was an artichoke!

Thanks:)

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Wisedude Author Profile Page May 18, 2009 11:55 PM

@ray9na

I thought the EXACT same thing!

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Wisedude Author Profile Page May 18, 2009 11:58 PM

Oh and zoz

The CARDINAL and CLUE bouys may have been guiding us away from grudge (Which by the way, we have an odd number of legs if everyone has all there legs on friday) but they fit to well. Clue is east, one E. Cardinal is north, one N. All the keywords thus far have no more than 3 of those letters (NEWS) and no contradictory pairs i.e. Sin would be contradictory.

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Major Puzzle:

I love zoz's way. Make more sense than mine. :)

Before we proceed any further into the Major Puzzle, here's a few questions for us to ponder.

1. "There is one and only one correct sphere in each part of Planetarium." True or False?

Well there's no evidence to proof it right (no where did any parts in Planetarium so far mention this), but there's no way to do it the other way, either. The problem is that the statements in the sphere itself also pretty ambiguous about this subject. 'However, there are more than a few other such spheres throughout Planetarium.' Note that it didn't say 'this part', just 'Planetarium', raising an interesting scenario where we may get no sphere or more than one sphere in one part. What do you guys think?

2. How do we arrange the spheres? From i to xii? Or is there any other arrangement?

This question is more or less related with the above question. I assume that the Major Solution will form an sentence, but so far the spheres revealed kinda make you wonder how they can even formed any meaningful sentence, if they're arranged from i to xii. Again, I don't think I find anything that may suggest a particular arrangement, but it's a good thing to not taking the so called 'obvious' route so easily.

3. Do we get the Table of Solution right?

Yeah, this is important, since if the ToS is wrong, so is the Major Solution. Do you guys confident that we get the right answers so far? I think we should at least double check the answers.

For comparison, I will post my current Table of Solution in here. If there's any difference than yours, please say so. :)

Note that I will arrange the answers according to the actual ToS aka Part i-vi: keynumber, EO key, keyword; Part vii-xii: keyword, EO key, keynumber. Question mark (?) marks the current unknown answers, including the leg-counting puzzle at part vii. 'a' means anticlockwise, 'c' means clockwise.

i: 12, a, WINDOW
ii: 4, a, WOLF
iii: 2, a, TORTOISE
iv: 1, ?, NUMBER
v: 126, ?, MOONLIGHT
vi: 168, a, RAFAEL

vii: PASSWORD, a, 6
viii: PLANETARIUM, a, 6
ix: ?, c, 4
x: ENEMY, c, 30
xi: ECLIPSE, a, 6
xii: STAR, c, ?

Future puzzles speculation:

I think sliders will be the EO puzzle in part xii. Like Wisedude has said, there's a famous example based on the sliders. And I think the dices and buoys may also play a part in part xii. At least that's what I think. :)

BTW Wisedude, nice observation! Won't notice it myself if you didn't mention it. :)

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Alkalannar Author Profile Page May 19, 2009 9:41 AM

@ang:

The first part of the solution is in the last half, and the end is in the first half. (From the red herring school in week 7.)

I think that we will have to do anagramming, only with word fragments rather than individual letters.

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@Alkalannar:

But they're red herrings. Are you sure we could trust them? They're pretty good at distracting people from the real problem, you know. ;)

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Wisedude Author Profile Page May 19, 2009 10:49 AM

On major solution

Again, I'm a bit doubtful of the clues given to us by the School of Red herrings BECAUSE of the way it's titled.

Normally Planetarium seems to be OCD about properly naming it's group of animals. However, in this case the title isn't "A school of red herrings" but rather "some red herrings" Followed by a colon.

This leads me to believe that whatever follows the colon is actually, a red herring.

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Wisedude Author Profile Page May 19, 2009 10:52 AM

Sorry, didn't mean to say what Ang said, I was writing when he posted. Oops.

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@Wisedude

I see your point about the buoys. Also, when I went back and really looked at them they weren't really directing us away from Grudge (at least the Cardinal buoy wasn't)

Regarding the degrees vs. sectors vs. spheres

I'm now leaning towards spheres. The idea of using degrees makes so much sense in theory, yet it doesn't seem to work out

And if

NSEW change positions for every part, which I think they very well could, depending on the bearings that week

then I am seriously doomed to be lost!

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oh, and one more thing - in pt. vii

if the buoys are pointing to N and E on the ring of spheres, then S and W won't line up. The mid-point between the buoys would have to be in the center of the circle to be accurate.

Or am I completely missing something :o\

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@zoz

Don't go too panic about the major puzzle... yet. Remember, we're still lacking part xii, and hence lacking information crucial for our major solution. Think of it as a jigsaw puzzle with a missing piece: we may have good idea how to solve it, but without the piece, it will remain incomplete. Same thing with our major puzzle: without part xii (and complete, correct ToS), the very best thing we can do now is to figure how the puzzle generally work. To accurately describe it now is highly unlikely. :)

Now, if part xii (and its minor puzzles) disprove our theories, then you can go ahead to despair and scream everywhere you go. :P

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Wisedude Author Profile Page May 19, 2009 6:07 PM

BRILLIANT IDEA!

Lately the idea that between every episode that the bearing that is N changes. But I am here to disprove that! Chapter five, the atlas of the undiscovered world. You read near the end, "...and a water marked compass on each page with one unbreakable rule. North is ALWAYS up".

You here that, North is ALWAYS up. Thus, the NSEW positions don't change on ANY of the episodes.

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Wisedude Author Profile Page May 19, 2009 6:14 PM

Just to make my point stronger

The sentence is followed with "Without execption". Which includes Planetarium.

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Wisedude Author Profile Page May 19, 2009 7:55 PM

Just a question to Y'all

Who thinks they'll be buying the Knot Shop Man (The book the Beholder yells at you about every time you log on)?

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Me, if they sell it in the U.S. or can ship it reasonably.

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Alkalannar Author Profile Page May 19, 2009 10:06 PM

MAJOR SOLUTION RAMBLING AND PROBABLY MAJOR SPOILERS! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

It looks as though we've been on the right track:

1. Take the keywords, and extract directional letters from them.

2. Find that point on the compass which will not be a sphere, then count the keynumber of orbs in the direction of the either/or.

3. Read the answers from week 12 to week 1.

Here is what I have so far, given an incomplete table of answers:

1. APART
2. TARTS
3. HERS
4. BE or GET (I choose GET)
5. ANT or TO (I choose TO)
6. ENDS
7. WHICH
8. OME
9. ???
10. DEN
11. TATEN
12. (Obviously can't get it yet.)

So my major solution is currently:
tatenden omewhichendstogetherstartsapart

This leads me to wonder if perhaps we messed up somehow on a puzzle for ToS rows 8, 10, or 11.

What do people think?

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Wisedude Author Profile Page May 19, 2009 11:07 PM

Okay, 8, 10, and 11.

I give undeniably correct to everything that was proven beyond a shadow of a doubt)

8

Keyword = Undeniably correct (Keyword of iii)

Either-Or = Well, this one was hotly debated, so perhaps you should try it with th oppisite answer. (Either-Or of iv)

Keynumber = Undeniably correct (Keynumber of vii)

10

Keyword = Undeniably correct (Keyword of vii)

Either-Or = It was directly confirmed by Jess that yes is the right answer. (Either-Or of i)

Keynumber = Undeniably correct (Keynumber of iii)

11

Keyword = Undeniably correct (keyword of viii)

Either-Or = Undeniably correct (Either-Or of x)

Keynumber = He who gets this one wrong fails grade 2 math (Keynumber of iv)

Honestly Alkalannar, I think (cept for viii, that ones fishy to me) that it can simply be chalked up to, WE DON'T KNOW ALL OF IT YET)

But really cool, I can't wait until it's finished.

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@Wisedude:

Well, I personally believe that we get the crystal spheres puzzle at part iv correct. And don't forget we still lack part xii, so no need to dismiss anything yet. Other than that, I agree with what you've said.

BTW, I agree with Alkalannar's Major Solution. Can't wait for part xii for proving (or disproving) our workings. :)

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Alkalannar Author Profile Page May 20, 2009 9:16 AM

Major solution speculation, clues, etc. now in walkthrough. People who came up with them here in comments are credited.

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Sruixan Author Profile Page May 20, 2009 12:04 PM

I think I have an almost pefrect major solution... Wisedude is oh so close and I think I am too, but I can't figure out the bits from 12 - 8 without part 12. Much to my annoyance, I'll get part 12 almost 24 hours after you lot do, due to time zones, darn it.

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Sruixan Author Profile Page May 20, 2009 12:17 PM

My above comment sounds awfully silly, doesn't it... I've just exposed a whopping great hole in my idea, which make me look I was a bloomin' three year old earlier... ho hum, I just really would like to be the first to finish this, so I guess I'm a tad excited...

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Alkalannar Author Profile Page May 20, 2009 12:21 PM

I'll do minor puzzles on Friday, then wait until Sunday to post the walkthrough (if I have it done that early). How does that sound?

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@Sruixan: I'm even worse. I get mine at Sunday. :(

Oh well, I'm already used to it.

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Sruixan Author Profile Page May 20, 2009 12:40 PM

Actually, I DO have an almost perfect major puzzle, which means I also have the answers to the either-or minor puzzles...

Pity I'm going to have to wait for the solution... would anybody be kind enough to post the spheres for part xii when they get it? I might still be awake then...

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Sruixan Author Profile Page May 20, 2009 12:47 PM

Still thinking... it is timezone dependent... roughly what time do you guys get yours? Include your timezone at least, please...

Also, I'm currently seeing if I can second-guess the whole thing... albeit to not much avail as of yet...

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@Sruixan: Well, I will always get mine at Sunday 4.00 PM, timezone is GMT+8.

Like you, I will also have to wait for solution. But at least it's at most a 2-day wait. So no harm done. :)

@Alkalannar: Sounds good to me. And when you say "walkthrough", you mean the Minor Puzzle walkthrough, right?

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Sruixan Author Profile Page May 20, 2009 1:27 PM

Saturday 9:00 AM, GMT...

I can't second guess the last little bit of the major puzzle, sadly - I'll have to wait and hope and pray the rest of you don't get it before I do...

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Alkalannar Author Profile Page May 20, 2009 1:44 PM

@Ang: No, it'll be the entire thing. However, there will be spoiler tags hiding the major solution so you don't have to see it if you don't want to.

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Wisedude Author Profile Page May 20, 2009 1:53 PM

Wow, this has been fun you guys. Is there anything else like this in existence? 'Cause I think I'm addicted to this, and if I don't get my fill, the shakes will start.

All sarcasm aside it really was great. I can't wait until Friday, where the conclusion will be reached. It's also kinda cool to know that we figured out the major puzzle before Jess.

Thanks for these fantastic three months everybody.

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@Alkalannar (Major Puzzle):

BTW, I checked already with my ToS, and using your method. However, I get different spheres for part vii and part viii. For vii, I actually get WHAT, and for viii, I get TART. Don't know it's your fault or mine. Here's my ToS on part vii and viii. 'a' means anticlockwise, 'c' means clockwise.

vii: PASSWORD, a, 6 (direction: SSW)
viii: PLANETARIUM, a, 6 (direction: NE)

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Me, I can't start on the next section until 10AM EST on Saturday. Y'all will be done way before me.

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Forgive the double post, but, ironically, I've been using Planetarium to mark the passage of time for the last three months, from me returning from Vietnam to the U.S. to the final day of classes at university. Couldn't have timed it better, I think.

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Sruixan Author Profile Page May 20, 2009 2:27 PM

In order to prove something, the spoiler below contains the almost perfect major puzzle solution I have, encoded using itself as a key. See, I want to show I know it, but I don't what to give it away. If you were rather sad, you could try to decode it and get it, bu for goodness sake, don't bother...

??? MTM DCN DCMDK LMTKM VWTM DCNL MFSDMWDK LMTKML TITKM

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Alkalannar Author Profile Page May 20, 2009 2:48 PM

@Ang: I must have been going clockwise instead of counterclockwise. I have them both as counterclockwise in my ToS, so I just goofed.

Revised major solution as follows:

I THINK I HAVE IT, INCLUDING WHAT WEEK 12 WILL ALMOST CERTAINLY BE!

???tatendendatstartwhatendstogetherstartsapart
I choose DATS for week nine, and I am going to guess that STAR is the orb for week 12.

Start at end. End at start. What ends together, starts apart.

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@Alkalannar: Brilliant! It comes together nicely. Now we only have to wait for part xii for comfirmation. :)

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Sruixan Author Profile Page May 20, 2009 2:58 PM

*whacks head against wall*

Damnit, I've noticed I copied the wrong bit into the bloomin' textbox! No wonder it didn't make sense! I've got it!

STARt at enD AT Start WHAT ends TOgetHER Starts APART

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Sruixan Author Profile Page May 20, 2009 3:01 PM

DAMN! I lost by the time it took me to get another cup of tea to fuel another look at the whole thing...

Since I can't post this for a bit due to the watershed or whatever it's called, the rest of my working for part xii:

Keyword has a W in it
Don't know the keynumber, but I think it might be 34, hence the above statement...
The either-or is whatever makes it go clockwise

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Alkalannar Author Profile Page May 20, 2009 3:13 PM

@Ang: Thanks for bringing my errors to light.

@Sruixan: I'm sorry; I was being enthusiastic is all in trying out Ang's correct parts and seeing what else I could get.

Of course, now the week 12 minor solutions are going to be somewhat anticlimactic.

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@Alkalannar: I think different than you. I think part xii will be the climax of Planetarium (and our Major Puzzle). It could either prove we're right or we're just wrong. Remember, we also need to able to solve the Minor Puzzles correctly and logically, and we shouldn't give the answers just to 'fit' into the Major Puzzle nicely.

But still, I don't think it will go wrong at this point. It fits nicely, and couldn't think anything's wrong with it.

BTW, if the current Major Solution is right, it also confirm the answer of part vii's leg-counting puzzle.

The answer is that the total leg counts is a even number. It also means we shouldn't see any even-legged creature in part xii

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Sruixan Author Profile Page May 20, 2009 3:43 PM

Ah, ho hum, eveything's fin Alkalannar. It's just I had a small bet with a friend that I could get the answer before the Americans could...

Oh, and Ang:

Actually, that's not right. Answering "odd" makes it go clockwise from NE 1, which gives you the required "GET". The total is odd, so there are and even number of our odd-legged friends in part xii

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Alkalannar Author Profile Page May 20, 2009 3:44 PM

@Ang:

It looks like Sruixan already gave week 12 confirmation. I agree that the story will be climactic, but the puzzles more or less a coda after the triumphal climax of the major solution.

As for legs, we can see any number of even-legged people in part 12. However, we'd see an odd number of odd-legged people.

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Alkalannar Author Profile Page May 20, 2009 3:51 PM

@Sruixan: In that case, I'm amused and pleased that I got it even with a chapter's handicap in addition to timezones. *shakes fist at Sruixan's friend* "Oy! You! Where's my cut?"

Of course lots of people helped with this: Ang, Sruixan, Wisedude, muddgirl.

I hope that the walkthrough does get posted to the left sidebar once it goes up, and that people who play the game will come back and look at our comments as we were going through it, not just the walkthrough.

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LOL @ myself

Actually, I mean to say 'odd', but when I type, I write 'even'. Geez, I thought it only happens when I'm speaking, but now it affect even my writing. Such is the dilemma of 'thinking one thing, but do it the other way'. Stupid brain. LOL

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Sruixan Author Profile Page May 20, 2009 3:54 PM

Whaddya mean, "a chapter's handicap and timezones"? I'll get part xii at 9:00AM Saturday and am henceforth behind the American lot to whom this would have been an afternoon article...

...unless you've only gotten up to part x, which seems unlikely...

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Sruixan Author Profile Page May 20, 2009 3:55 PM

The bet, in case you're wondering, is for two pounds and my self-respect... 'twould have been twenty dollars for the tie-in, but after my last costly adventure I decided to lower the stakes a little...

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Alkalannar Author Profile Page May 20, 2009 4:03 PM

Ah. No, we're in the same boat. Sorry, thought you were in week 12, Sruixan.

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Sruixan Author Profile Page May 20, 2009 5:05 PM

There has yet to be enough time for anyone to go for 12 weeks, anyway...

Ho hum. A night's sleep, then I have to break the news... still, the satisfaction is immense... just a pity 'till be such an anticlimax...

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awww, stop quibbling, the lot of you! After all, I won't see part xii until mid-morning on Monday. But as far as I'm concerned, you all are in a tie- Alkalanner, Sruixan, Ang, Wisedude, and others. After all, no one of you could have arrived at this epiphany without the help of others, right? Just goes to show that

what ends together [all of you], starts apart

So I toast to you all, and call it a tie!
and there's always the part xiii forum to look forward to...

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Wisedude Author Profile Page May 20, 2009 9:38 PM

Personally, no offense to anyone else, I think the most important person here was Ang, because he was the one who finally cracked how the keywords related to the Major Puzzle.

Good Job.

(But truly, everyone was fantastic)

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The Big Unkown May 21, 2009 8:53 PM

It is frustrating to lag behind the rest of you (have just gained access to part 11).
One intriguing thing left unaccounted for: the disguise. Which character is not who we think it is? (I have my own guess how this plays out - possibly involving some shenanigans with authority figures).

By the way, anyone have other creative suggestions for the girl's name?

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The Big Unkown May 21, 2009 8:57 PM

It is frustrating to lag behind the rest of you (have just gained access to part 11).

One thing still left unaccounted for: the disguise. Which character is not who we think it is? (I have my own guess about this - involving shenanigans played on authority figures, but it could be anything).

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I named her Lishi. It's Mandarin Chinese for "history".

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Alkalannar Author Profile Page May 22, 2009 9:07 AM

Another major puzzle clue that we missed (but doesn't alter anything):

In part 9, the girl's description states, "...and the ambiguity of the girl's future is reduced to a prediction as certain as counting down from twelve to one."

In part 7, we only see that the beginning of the solution is somewhere in the second half, and the end is in the first half. This is more explicit.

Just a couple more hours....

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muddgirl Author Profile Page May 22, 2009 10:53 AM

I'm giving myself the weekend to ponder the major puzzle. But for now, week 12! Whomever guessed that the puzzles would eventually be minor puzzles must have gotten the girl's foresight.

I've figured out the keynumber:

A key characteristic of dice is that the pips on opposite sides add up to 7. The hidden sides are defined as "the ones resting face-to-face with something (namely the table, or another die)." So the 4 bottom dice have hidden pips adding up to 28, and the top dice only has one hidden side opposite the side with one pip, which means the hidden side has 6 pips. The keynumber must be 34

The either-or:

I drew out the pieces and slid the tiles around and came out with a puzzle that matched the fox's slider.

Keyword: I have no clue. I've started going through planetarium and writing out every word that has double letters, but surely that's excessive...

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Sruixan Author Profile Page May 22, 2009 10:59 AM

Hmph, an earlier muck up on my behalf, doesn't change anything but it might help slightly...

Part xii's keyword will either contain E or ESE if the number puzzle is anything to do with the dice- I mixed up my west and east earlier (again!)

The Big Unknow, I was thinking alond the same lines when I should have been concentrating in Chemistry, of all subjects...

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Sruixan Author Profile Page May 22, 2009 11:01 AM

Oh, interesting mudgirl - don't spoil anything, some of us aren't there yet, but, from the major puzzle and working backwards:

Either-or

It should be whatever comes out clockwise, I think

Keynumber

Perfect! In that case...

Keyword

...should either have an E or ESE in it...

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muddgirl Author Profile Page May 22, 2009 11:03 AM

Whoops, sorry for the partial keyword spoiler in my last comment! For those working ahead to the major puzzle:

For part 12, the either-or key indeed spins clockwise

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Alkalannar Author Profile Page May 22, 2009 11:22 AM

Finally week 12!

Minor puzzles here, then full walkthrough to follow.

Keyword: (The boy, and I need help!)

Ok. This is a stumper. I'm looking at the text describing the red herrings in parts 6 and 7, and also at the mathemagician and his riddle in part 1. So far, nothing.

Keynumber: (Die)

There are 4 dice which each have 7 spots hidden, and 1 die with 6 spots hidden, for a total of 34.

Either/Or: (puzzle)

Fox. I admit that I worked this out based on what the major solution is.

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Well, at least I'm glad I could even correctly predict the Minor Puzzles in part xii will be.

However, since my instalment will only come 2 days later, I will have to leave you guys to solve it. Good luck! :)

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Wisedude Author Profile Page May 22, 2009 2:00 PM

I need to write this quick, which gives me little time to solve it myself, but the clue to xii keyword will be in the disguise buisness in ix. I believe the 6th stanza gives that clue.

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muddgirl Author Profile Page May 22, 2009 4:08 PM

Thanks wisedude! I used regex and got four words

prunus avium prunus cerasus

which are

two types of cherries: sweet cherry and sour cherry. If the answer is "cherry", then the final part of the major puzzle should start from E

This puzzle has been absolutely delightful. Going back to previous weeks and reading all the explanatory text that didn't make sense at the time has really increased my enjoyment of the whole puzzle. Incredibly well-done.

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muddgirl Author Profile Page May 22, 2009 4:29 PM

Speaking of going back and reading seemingly-silly text, I wonder if I know the answer to this unasked riddle from the very first installment (love letter):

"This letter is central to Planetarium, although it is not in itself one of the four others which play a major role."

At first, I thought the four letters which played a major role were "L O V E", but now it's clear that the four letters, so important to the Major Solution, are

N S E W!

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Alkalannar Author Profile Page May 22, 2009 5:27 PM

Here's the walkthrough. I put puzzles in the part we encounter them in the game, not in the part they go to in the Table of Solutions.

Special note to those who come to this game after we did: It might be worth taking a look through the comments to see the steady progress we made each week. I enjoyed the conversations immensely.

Minor Solutions:

Part 1: (first posted by RacerX, with Framli for the Ouroborouses)

Keyword

Location

The mathemagician's riddle.

Clues

Each line has a word hidden in the first part.

Answer

These words are eight, one, seven, and nine. So the answer is NUMBER (always choose singular, never plural).

Keynumber

Location

Tripod, the Three-Legged Cat

Clues

A number whose length (in letters) matches its value, stride for stride.

Answer

4 is the only number that fits, and Tripod used to have four feet.

Either/Or

Location

The ouroboruses (snakes in jar behind the girl's head, to the right of the sun).

Clues

You'd think that they couldn't get caught and tangled, but is it intuitive, or counterintuitive?

Answer

Strange as it may sound, it is possible for them to get tangled up, even if all are wise. Look for "Borromean rings" on Wikipedia or mathworld.wolfram.org for more information. Once all of them have bit their tails, then they can all be kept in the same place.

Part 2: (first posted by JIGuest)

Keyword

Location

The vole (perched on the milestone) is puzzled. The puzzle is the location.

Clues

Rats can become their reflection, and so can a dog. And the rats could not escape the dog even if both were reflections.

Answer

I like this puzzle. "Rats" spelled backwards is STAR. And "Dog" then becomes "God". STAR is the answer.

Keynumber

Location

The number grid on the upper right.

Clues

Remember the previous grid. The cells in this grid have been exposed to the numbers in adjacent cells, but not their own.

Answer

Each cell in this grid is the sum of the cells adjacent to it in the previous grid. Example: the upper left corner in the first grid is adjacent to both 2 and 4, so the upper left corner in the second grid is 6. By the same reasoning, the bottom left corner has number 12.

Either/Or

Location

The milestone.

Clues

The milestones are identical, the shortest distance between the two houses is 1 mile, and the second milestone was never seen again after the dispute was honorably settled.

Answer

Consider a tetrahedron (a d4 or four-sided die for RPG nerds). All the points are equidistant, so if the houses and milestone in the picture make up three of the corners, the other milestone makes up the fourth. Of course, it can't be suspended almost a mile in the air....instead it's buried almost a mile underground. So the mathemagician had to pay, and I can't help but think that he was profoundly satisfied at the solution.

Part 3: (Luonnos for the Keyword, Sruixan for the Keynumber, and Wisedude for Either/Or)

Keyword

Location

The red grid to the upper right.

Clues

Lunar time is numbered in a particularly simple way. What if we just started numbering from the beginning?

Answer

L=1, U=2, etc. With the insertion of the P at the beginning and the a somewhere in the middle, then we get PLANETARIUM.

Keynumber

Location

The chemicals on top of the desk.

Clues

There are a series of numbers given, a formula not a sum, which answer is a 2-digit number. What associated with chemicals might have numbers?

Answer

Use the periodic table of elements to translate Atomic Numbers to Atomic Symbols. The resulting text is F I V Es I Xe S, or five sixes. The answer is 30.

Either/Or

Location

The orrery's 'interaction of all the precise parts'.

Clues

Look up 'Eulerian walk' or 'Eulerian path' on Wikipedia or mathworld.wolfram.org or look below.

Answer

In this section, 'vertex' will be used to refer to any of the 9 planets, three moons, or the sun. 'Edge' will be used to refer to a track connecting two of these objects.

We see that all of the planets are connected to four other planets. Note that this means that starting from any planet, you can reach any other planet. [Proof: Each planet is connected to four others, leaving only four that it is not connected to. Now each of those four planets has four tracks coming from it, so at least one of them must go to one of the planets that the first planet is connected to (since no track can go to itself or to the initial planet, and there are only three other planets that are not directly connected to the original planet). Since the choice of planet was arbitrary, all planets are reachable from any other planet.]

We see that all planets except Earth have 4 tracks.
We see that Earth has 6 (4 from planets, 1 from the sun, and 1 from the present moon).
We see that the sun has 4 (1 to each moon, and 1 to the earth).
We see that the present moon has 4 (1 to each of the other moons, 1 from earth, 1 from sun).
We see that the future and past moons both have 3 (1 to each of the other moons, 1 from the sun).

A well-known result from graph theory states that if a graph is connected (you can get from every vertex to every other vertex) and only two vertices have an odd number of edges, then it is possible to go from one of the vertices that has an odd number of edges to the other vertex that has an odd number of edges following a path that uses every edge once and only once. So it is possible.

Part 4: (Alkalannar for Keyword and Either/Or, Wisedude for Hydra)

Keyword

Location

The triskelion. (Three-legged beastie with the goofy face.)

Clues

Wow, sounds like this thing destroyed houses, dressed up like a woman, wears sheepskin, occurs either as lone or in a pack. These should be a dead giveaway. Personally I like the following:

Aconite is wolfsbane, and a backwards ebb is a flow.

Answer

WOLF, of course.

Keynumber

Location

The multi-headed hydra.

Clues

This is straightforward math: what number is left when you're done dividing 40 by 2 repeatedly?

Answer

Well, 5...but then you have to add 1 to get the head that never got chopped off. So 6.

Either/Or

Location

The crystal balls by the Triskelion.

Clues

The crystal is absolutely uniform, the crystal ball radii are in ratio of 1:2:3, and the volume of a sphere is [(4/3) * pi] (from here on out called X) times r^3, where r is the radius.

Answer

Let the radius of the present crystal ball be 1.

Since the original crystal orb contains both a ball of radius 2 and a ball of radius 3, the original orb must be at least radius 5.

The volume of a sphere of radius 5 is 125X.

The sum of volumes of spheres of radius 1, 2, and 3 is 1X + 8X + 27X = 36X

The amount of crystal shards left over from a radius 5 sphere after radius 1, 2, and 3 spheres are taken away is 125X - 36X = 89X.

So there will always be at least 89X in shards, where the three spheres together are only 36X. (If the orb has to be larger than radius 5 to get the three crystal balls out of it, then there are even more shards.)

So there is more in the bag than the combined three crystal balls.

Part 5: (Alkalannar for Keyword and Keynumber, muddgirl for Either/Or)

Keyword

Location

Moths around the lantern

Clues

"Not sun heavy", astronomical light reflected, influences those who are insane, enjoyed by lovers, scary beasts, and the brightness (albedo) is less than the original.

Answer

MOONLIGHT. Sun is opposite of moon, light is opposite of heavy. Reflected from the sun. Lunatics are mad and hairy. Lovers enjoy moonlit trysts, and werewolves change under the full moon.

Keynumber

Location

The map on the table between the lantern and the books.

Clues

Back in part one, look at the abacus. Simple math gives the radius of the city of Round as 6 miles. Also note in this week that there are four marks on the map that appear to be the corners of a rectangle.

Answer

In a rectangle, split the vertices into any two pairs. Then the lengths of the line segments connecting those pairs are equal, whether they are parallel sides or diagonals. Since the distance from the tall tower to the gate is 6 miles (as it's a radius of the city), then the distance between the two shorter towers is also 6 miles.

Either/Or

Location

Wooden box in the upper left.

Clues

Again, like the week 1 Either/Or, this seems like it's going to be either very intuitive or counterintuitive.

Answer

I got this one flat out wrong initially using logic. Instead, I was directed by muddgirl to google "dovetail puzzle". The pedlar's claims could be true.

Part 6: (Lavos for Keyword, Alkalannar for Keynumber, Luonnos for Either/Or)

Keyword

Location

The hummingbird on the pirate captain's shoulder.

Clues

This one is short, and I don't think I can give any clues save the actual answer. Sorry.

Answer

WINDOW. It fits all the lines of the riddle.

Keynumber

Location

The flags on the Quartermaster's ship

Clues

Look at Wikipedia for signal flags.

Answer

The blue flag with a white circle is a 2.

Either/Or

Location

The letter/number grid on the upper right.

Clues

This is an esoteric math puzzle. No real help I can give other than googling...

Answer

...the 36 officers puzzle. It turns out that every voyage has at least one person grumbling.

Part 7: (HenkSnow for Keyword, Wisedude for Keynumber, Alkalannar for Either/Or)

Keyword

Location

Yellow fishes.

Clues

First letter is in both 'grudge' and 'hater', second letter is in 'tyrant' but not 'traitor', third letter is in 'battle', end 'belongs to me'.

Answer

ENEMY

Keynumber

Location

Jellyfish....and those are tentacles, not legs!

Clues

Hmm...the branches of the tree back in week 2 look odd...

Answer

The spaces between the branches form the letters XIS. So look at it from the perspective of the mathemagician and the girl, and it reads SIX. (Actually, it reads ZIX, but close enough....)

Either/Or

Location

Shark

Clues

We can't answer this until week twelve. Until then, just count things that have an odd number of legs.

Answer

Week 1: Tripod
Week 4: Triskelion
Week 6: Quartermaster
And....that's it! So there are an odd number of legs.

Part 8: (Alkalannar for Keyword and Either/Or, Alkalannar with huge assist from Wisedude for Keynumber)

Keyword

Location

The man on stilts discusses what the astronomers are observing.

Clues

The sun, but not quite. Something in the way, but the thing in the way is not what they're looking for either.

Answer

ECLIPSE.

Keynumber

Location

The mathemagician.

Clues

The mathemagician is dreaming of the hydra we met back in the girl's dream (part 4). (Killing a nine-headed hydra was the second of Hercules's Twelve Labors.) The number was caught in the horns of a dilemma and the dilemma turned into the multi-headed hydra.

Answer

Looking back at part 4, we see that several of the hydra's heads have horns that bracket letters. Wisedude first pointed out the O. Specifically F, O, U, and R.

Either/Or

Location

The middle (second) astronomer.

Clues

The third astronomer cannot determine whether his monkey has a tail. Using that information, and the type of monkey that first astronomer has on his back, the second astronomer can determine his type of monkey.

Oh, and look back at the empty cage in week 6 to find out the number of monkeys with tails.

Answer

The first and second astronomers can't both have monkeys without tails, or the third astronomer would know that the monkey on his back had a tail. So there must be at least one monkey with a tail among the first two astronomers. If the monkey on the first astronomer's back had a tail, then the second could not figure out if his had a tail or not. So the monkey on the first astronomer's back has no tail, and the monkey on the second astronomer's back has a tail. [Note: Once the second astronomer announces that he knows what kind of monkey his is, the first astronomer can figure out what his is.]

Part 9: (DavidB for Keyword, Alkalannar for Keynumber and Either/Or)

Keyword

Location

Weathervane

Clues

Looks like a list of names in alphabetical order, alternating male and female, except there's Patty and Sandy. So it looks like we need a male name beginning with either Q or R. Where could I find a series of alternating alphabetical male and female names?

Well, "If only he could free himself from the bonds of ironmongery, he could leave his rooftop perch and pay a visit to the mathemagician's study, where there is a map of the time and place to which these names belong." And in the mathemagician's study (week 5), there is a map of the ocean labled "North Atlantic, 2000 A.D." (Thanks again for this tidbit, muddgirl!)

Answer

These are the names of hurricanes. The missing name in this list is RAFAEL.

Keynumber

Location

Lighthouse

Clues

Go back to the seahorse in week 7. The letters in the message are all Es, Is, Ss, and Hs, except for a single R.

Answer

E is ., I is .., S is …, and H is …. in Morse code, so none of them contribute any long flashes. The single R is .-., so there is 1 long flash in the seahorse's message.

Either/Or

Location

Potions at bottom left, or the second building on the left (not the one with the key banner).

Clues

Again, this is one of those puzzles where you either trust your intuition, or you don't.

Answer

Let the volume in each bottle be X.

Let the amount of red in the primarily red bottle be R1 and the amount of red in the primarily green bottle be R2. Similarly, let the amount of green in green be G1 and the amount of green in red be G2.

Now R1 + R2 must equal X (as the red bottle has X red liquid in it to begin with). G1 + G2 must also equal X. Now after the mixing, R1 + G2 must equal X (a spoonful of liquid was removed from red, then one was added back), as must G1 + R2 (spoonful added, then removed).

So R1 + R2 = R1 + G2 and R1 + R2 = G1 + R2. Or R2 = G2 and R1 = G1. So the amount of red in one bottle equals the amount of green in the other bottle.

Therefore, there is not more red in bottle than green in the other.

Part 10: (First posted by Alkalannar)

Keyword

Location

The Fox's riddle (the card in his hand).

Clues

Something that masquerades as asterisks. (Or did in 1999...some things have changed in computer display technology. Nowadays, they mainly masquerade as small filled-in circles.) And then examples are given.

Answer

PASSWORD.

Keynumber

Location

Dominoes

Clues

Straightforward math here: there are 7 dominoes that have a particular number on them (i.e. 7 with 0, 7 with 1, etc.).

Answer

But...one of those dominoes is a double, so there are 8 of each number from 0 to 6.
0 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 = 21. 8 * 21 = 168.

Either/Or

Location

The Game of Cards

Clues

We have 0 face up. We want 5 face up. We can only change 2 cards at a time.

Answer

It is not possible to win without cheating. A turn (flipping two cards) either:
a) flips two cards face up,
b) flips two cards face down, or
c)flips one card face up and one card face down.

In particular, if you start with an even number of face-up cards, then you will always have an even number of face-up cards, and never an odd number like 5.

So the wolf cannot beat the fox's score without cheating. On the other hand, the fox cheated to win in the first place, probably by using the card with the riddle on it that he's handing to the girl.

Part 11: (David B and Uncle Arthur for the Keyword, Alkalannar for the Keynumber and Either/Or)

Keyword

Location

Iguana, then 'animal kingdom'.

Clues

There's a mouse in the picture surrounded by the ghost! (The mouse's tail goes just under the ghost's jaw.) And apparently something like this happened back in week 2. So what animal (neither owl nor vole) is hidden somewhere in week 2 that shares three letters with mouse?

Answer

Underneath the milestone in week 2, there appears to be a shell, and beneath the ghost's foot a head. It's upside down though. Hmm...looks like a turtle, but turtle shares only 'e' with mouse. How about TORTOISE instead?

Keynumber

Location

Number grid on the upper right

Clues

These numbers are the product of the past. And this grid looks suspiciously similar to the ones from weeks 1 and 2.

Answer

Multiply the lower-right cells of the first two grids to get 9 * 14 = 126. Also note that the lower-left cell here is obscured so that you can't use this grid and week 1 to get the keynumber for the week 2 puzzle.

Either/Or

Location

Glass pieces below the number grid.

Clues

Letters in color * sides on base gives Odd or Even. (X denotes an empty space.) Ang thoughtfully calculated all of these for us.

Answer

The top layer (from part 4) is:
E E O
E O E
X E E

The middle layer (from part 7) is:
O O E
E O O
O E E

The bottom layer (from part 9) is:
E O O
O E E
X O O

So odds (the fox) won with top-upper-right, middle-middle-right, and bottom-lower-right. This is interesting since there are only 12 odd pieces and 13 evens. More cheating? Weird rules? The world may never know....

Part 12: (Wisedude and muddgirl for keyword, muddgirl for Keynumber and Either/Or)

Keyword

Location

The boy. (Or rather the construct that the mathemagician built.)

Clues

It looks as though you have to find an appropriate text, and look at the first letters of words that have double letters. These will in turn spell four words that give the clue to the real keyword. And in stanza 6, it appears that the text is from the disguise in part 9 that has so far been unused.

Answer

Getting the first letters of the double-letter words in the disguise description yields prunus avium prunus cerasus, which are two types of cherries: sweet and sour.
CHERRY

Keynumber

Location

The die.

Clues

Go back to part 10 and look at the dice. Also, note that the opposite sides of die faces add to 7.

Answer

There are 5 dice, four of which have opposite sides hidden (for a total of 28), and one of which has 1 on top (so 6 hidden on bottom). This gives a total of 34.

Either/Or

Location

The sliding puzzle.

Clues

Look at the Fox's and Wolf's sliders in parts 5 and 8.

Answer

The Fox has the real slider! This surprises me a bit, though on reflection, it really shouldn't

Table of Solutions:

In the notation below, C is clockwise, and A is anticlockwise (instead of CC for counterclockwise so that both have a single letter). Also, I consistently list Keyword, Either/Or, Keynumber, unlike the real table which has 1-6 as Keynumber, Either/Or, Keyword. And I wish I had a fixed-width font to work with. Anyway, the completed Table of Solutions should look like this:

1: WINDOW A 12
2: WOLF A 4
3: TORTOISE A 2
4: NUMBER C 1
5: MOONLIGHT C 126
6: RAFAEL A 168
7: PASSWORD A 6
8: PLANETARIUM A 6
9: CHERRY C 4
10: ENEMY C 30
11: ECLIPSE A 6
12: STAR C 34

Tiebreaker:

Clicking on the 'introduces' link in week 6 gets you to the tiebreaker. This has no bearing on anything now, since it was to break ties among the people who first played the game back in 1999. Simply choose a name that you think fits the girl the best. I made the ironic choice of Clio, the Muse of History.

Major Solution:

Basics

If you click on any of the large orbs around the pictures, you'll notice that a group of letters is added to the major solution. Also, if you add a group from week 2 then week 1, it is not the same as if you had done the same orbs but week 1 then week 2.

It looks as though the Either/Or solution shows a direction to travel, which implies that either the Keynumber shows how many orbs to count and the Keyword somehow shows a starting point, or that the Keynumber somehow shows a starting point and the Keyword somehow determines how many to count.

Let's assume that the Keyword somehow shows a starting point, the Either/Or shows a direction, and the Keynumber tells how far to go.

Clues

There were several clues that led us to the solution:

In part 7, there are the two buoys labeled 'CARDINAL' and 'CLUE'. Commenter Ang found out that the markings on the CARDINAL buoy is North, and the CLUE buoy is East. North and East are, of course, two of the cardinal directions (the others being West and South).

In part 10, the harbormaster is said to be able to measure the wind to within one sixteenth of a full circle. And thank Commenter Sruixan for spotlighting that. Let's see, that would be the four cardinal directions (N, E, S, W), the ones in between (NE, SE, SW, NW), and then the ones in between those: (NNE, ENE, ESE, SSE, SSW, WSW, WNW, NNW).

Ang then noticed that each keyword has at least one and no more than three of the letters N, E, S, and W. And taking them in order yields a valid direction (like WNW from WINDOW).

I noticed (after seeing the Mathemagician sent backwards in time), that there was a chain of animals on a mission stretching from at least part 11 back to part 1. In part 7 at the description of the herrings states that the first part of the solution is the last half of the game, and the last part is in the first half. And in part 9, the girl's description has the following: "In her foresight, the remaining events dwindle to at best a couple more scenes, and the ambiguity of the girl's future is reduced to a prediction as certain as counting down from twelve to one."

Oh, and Commenter Wisedude notes the following in part 5's Atlas of the Undiscovered World: "...and a water-marked compass on each page with one unbreakable rule. North is ALWAYS up." (The possibility of a variable north was raised in the comments.)

Lastly in part 12, there is indeed an explicit compass rose giving directions down to 1/16th of a circle, and in the description of the machinery, it says, "Not least because it knows that the solution to that puzzle starts here, and passes through Planetarium, installment by installment, along the same route as the message which preceded it. It also knows that, in the end, it is here together with the girl, whereas in the beginning that was not the case."

Method

Extract the directional letters from each word.

Imagine the circle is a compass rose with north at the top, and find the direction derived from the keyword. Note: this will *NOT* be an orb!

Count the keynumber of orbs from the starting point in the direction of the either/or solution.

Do all of the above starting in week 12 and going back to week 1.

Solution

12: STAR
11: TATEN
10: DEN
9: DATS
8: TART
7: WHAT
6: ENDS
5: TO
4: GET
3: HERS
2: TARTS
1: APART

Or: Start at end. End at start. What ends together, starts apart.

Amusing thoughts:

The letter from the future:

The letter is delivered by a series of animals from episode 11 to 1: iguana, ladybug, opossum, vulture, eel, yak, ostrich, unicorn, newt, owl, and weasel. The animals form the acronym: I LOVE YOU NOW, which is the text of the Love Letter.

The identity of the lover:

It is a mechanical boy made by the mathemagician!

Major solution:

Well, many of us were apart, but going through the game together, we certainly have ended together, in time and collaboration. I've had fun, I hope everyone else has as well.

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Nice job, Alkalannar. :)

We will try to figure out a way to shine the light back on this excellent series of puzzles, especially for the more casual player that needs the help of a walkthrough to nudge them through.

Cheers for all the great comments and community participation over the course of the last few months!

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Sruixan Author Profile Page May 23, 2009 5:12 AM

I'm a little annoyed now that I no longer have a real reason to get up on Saturday mornings... still, I guess everyone would be up for something like this again, right? Any recommedations for a good puzzling experience?

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Wisedude Author Profile Page May 23, 2009 12:07 PM

Well, there's always the Labyrinth, or Not Pr0n, or you could wait four months for the Knot-Shop man to come out. Or you could buy any of the five (technically six but no one likes Uru) Myst games. Personally, I'm trying to keep my shakes away with "The Games for Engineers" (Bureau of Steam Engineering, Codex of Alchemical Engineering, The Engineer of the people).

This is why I hate unique things. There's no way to emulate the experience.

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Wisedude Author Profile Page May 23, 2009 12:12 PM

Hm, If we could set up a Forum, for everybody here, we could do this with all sorts of games. If we managed to figure out the major solution before the final part, then we could surely solve more than this.

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Sruixan Author Profile Page May 23, 2009 12:41 PM

I'm thinking about actually making a puzzle story a bit like this... I've always liked putting together a few puzzles, and I have a few to hand. Most of them are abstract ones, yes, but some I think I can easily adapt...

*thinks and speculates wildly, using something called an imagination*

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Wisedude Author Profile Page May 23, 2009 3:23 PM

Sounds pretty cool Sruixan. If I could help, I'd be willing to offer anything I could do.

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Alkalannar Author Profile Page May 23, 2009 5:14 PM

I'd be up for collaboration with puzzles and plot, as I have no coding or graphics skills.

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Yeah, finally get my part xii!

BTW, here's a logical explanation for the either-or key in part xii:

To prove the 8-puzzle slider is solvable, first we have to assign numbers for each tile. Usually, 8-puzzle is solved from left to right, but in this case, since the empty tile (0) is on the left bottom side, we do it from right to left instead. So here's the numbered sliders:

part xii (original):
3 2 1
6 5 4
0 8 7

part v (fox):
1 4 7
2 0 6
3 8 5

part viii (wolf):
1 4 7
6 0 2
3 8 5

Now you put those numbers in a row, from right to left.

Original: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 0
Fox: 7 4 1 6 0 2 5 8 3
Wolf: 7 4 1 2 0 6 5 8 3

Notice that some numbers comes before numbers that're smaller than them. Take fox's slider for example, 7 comes before 4, 1,

6, 2, 5 and 3 (zero don't count). This is called 'inversion', and from the example, there's 5 inversions for number 7.

Now, we takes fox's slider and lists down all the inversions (again, zero don't count):

7 comes before 4, 1, 6, 2, 5 and 3
4 comes before 1, 2 and 3
6 comes before 2, 5 and 3
5 comes before 3
8 comes before 3

For 8-puzzle, a position is solvable only if the total inversion is an even number. There's 14 inversions in fox's slider, so it's solvable.

Let's look at wolf's slider.

7 comes before 4, 1, 6, 2, 5 and 3
4 comes before 1, 2 and 3
6 comes before 5 and 3
5 comes before 3
8 comes before 3

There's only 13 inversions in the wolf's slider, so there's no way it can be solved.

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Alkalannar Author Profile Page May 24, 2009 1:56 PM

This just sank in: We actually have one more week to go! Next [Friday/Saturday/Sunday/Monday], we get access to the xiii forums. They'll probably be somewhat like the comment thread here, but a) lots more people and b) far less time (1 week instead of the 12 we've been together so far).

See everyone there!

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We would like to help coordinate the creation of a puzzle game designed by you folks here in this thread.

We can create the puzzle(s) based on your designs for you, and then offer them to Jayisgames.com visitors as often as you would like to create a new puzzle.

To coordinate the effort, I can set up a private list-serv type mailing list where discussion can take place, and as a means to coordinate everyones contributions.

If you're interested in taking part, please send me the email address you would like to use for the mailing list (send to our 'contact' address at jayisgames.com).

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ThemePark Author Profile Page May 24, 2009 6:50 PM

I am sorry I haven't been around to help you guys out, but I had completely forgotten about this for a couple of weeks. Henceforth my account is probably disable by now.

But I see that you didn't need me. I am very impressed with how easily and well you have figured out answers to the puzzles over time.

I would suggest everybody to stick around for another week though. When week XII is over, you get access to the Planetarium forum, but only for a week. Since there aren't usually that many around, it can be a bit quiet, but amazingly you can still find comments back from 1999, as far as I recall.

Another good thing about sticking around is that you get the answers to all puzzles, including the Major Puzzle, and thorough explanations for how they are supposed to be figured out.

I must again say that I am impressed with your work. The first couple of times, I only got about half of the questions right, because I had to figure them out myself, and wasn't that good at puzzles. Fortunately my memory serves me well years later. So obviously teamwork pays off in this regard.

One last thing, you'll want to be aware that once your last week (week XIII) is over, your account will be disabled, and you won't be able to login with it for quite a while. However, you can always create new logins, which I have done over time. And after a while, no more than 2 years but maybe a lot less, your login will be released. This way, I have been able to post as ThemePark in the forum a couple of times.

Good luck to all of you, and I hope you have answered all the puzzles right. :)

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The Big Unknown May 24, 2009 7:59 PM

Regarding collating new puzzles:

As others here, I love a good puzzle, one that does justice to the term "brain-teaser", whose solution has that undefinable quality of elegance. I am familiar with several I would be happy to share. However, Planetarium's strength isn't in its puzzles. What makes it such a joy is the presentation: the charm of its drawings and descriptions, the emotionally detached description of a moving tale (the plight of the afflicted/blessed girl), the silliness, the well-crafted links between different parts, replete with subtle references and clues. Collecting puzzles is the easy part, I believe.

And now for something completely different:

Still waiting for part 12. In the meantime, I found these two links discussing the girl's name. My choice of 'Ada' is mentioned (but doesn't win - though I still personally like it best due to the apposite Nabokov and Lovelace connections), as well as several others:

http://www.beholder.co.uk/planetarium/rules.html

http://www.beholder.co.uk/planetarium/girlsname.html

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Alkalannar Author Profile Page May 24, 2009 8:16 PM

So what was the moment that got you irrevocably hooked on Planetarium?

For me, it was the Keyword riddle in week 2, in particular the dog's thoughts at the end. I found it utterly charming (and quite a few later on as well).

I don't want to turn this into a 'what was your favorite riddle' question, rather what was the moment you knew that nothing would keep you from getting to the end?

And to JiG staff: thank you for the vote of confidence and helping us out first with coordination and then with execution! I am surprised and very pleased/touched that you'd want to do something like that.

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Wisedude Author Profile Page May 24, 2009 10:23 PM

It was somewhere between the writing of the weasel, or Tripod, or the first grid of numbers when I realized how great the writing truly was.

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Wisedude Author Profile Page May 24, 2009 10:34 PM

Oh and yes, thank you fine people of JIG. It's very nice to know that we're given a great way to communicate, and the pledge of some of the greatest programmers and designers of the net.

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Sruixan Author Profile Page May 26, 2009 1:45 PM

Oh wow... thank you Jay and co.! To be quite honest, I don't think I was being serious about it, but, wow... *speechless*

One thing though - is the email in question "contact" at jayisgames or casualgameplay?

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Either one will work. :)

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Alkalannar Author Profile Page May 29, 2009 11:10 AM

And at last, part xiii. Going through the solutions now to see what sorts of things we missed.

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Alkalannar Author Profile Page May 29, 2009 12:00 PM

They saw us there! Apparently we had a large spike in registrations, so they tracked us down that way, and *they* enjoyed the comments section here as well!

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BTW, for those who wonder's what exactly did Mathemagician wanted to create in part ii...

Notice that all the fuels started with letter B. Also notice the machine would 'make his name'. Do a anagram with MATHEMAGICIAN and B gives you 'A GAMBIT MACHINE'!

Kudos to Jephly of xiii's forum for that. And my respect for Beholder's patience increase ten fold. Ten years, man, ten years, just to hear someone said the right answer.

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Wisedude Author Profile Page June 1, 2009 1:32 PM

Ang

Huh, that's really cool. I thought that Chess/Blue fuel meant Deep Blue. But I think that I like that answer more.

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Alkalannar Author Profile Page June 2, 2009 6:49 PM

Wisedude,

Well, Deep Blue was a Gambit Machine, just had more than openings. So this is the more general term. Specifying it causes a loss of generality. (Math people will be amused at that last.)

"And without loss of generality, I will assume that you feel the same way...." (Finite Simple Group (of Order Two), Klein Four Group)

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The Big Unknown June 3, 2009 12:17 PM

Without loss of generality, assume I am you. Therefore, we all feel the same.

Some people have recommended other games for those who enjoyed Planetarium. How about recommendations for creations reminiscent of Planetarium but in other media?

I think you people might enjoy the film 'The Last of Sheila'.

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Wisedude Author Profile Page June 3, 2009 8:26 PM

This is the part where I bring up the non-freeware Myst. I think most people have heard of it but Wikipedia and Ebay will help you if you haven't.

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I am so excited to have rediscovered this game! I've been wracking my brain and asking everyone I know if they remember it. I'd forgotten the title, Planetarium, but remember the quality of the game, and the thrill of accessing a new puzzle each week. Guess what? I found it using Altavista in the end. I originally played in 1999 when it first launched, and I guess Google wasn't up and cacheing in those days.

Wonderful stuff! I will have to get hooked all over again now.

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