ESCAPE FROM THE MYSTERIOUS SHRINE
Escape rooms have recently taken North America by storm, rapidly appearing in many cities around the continent. If you are unfamiliar with this popular and alternative form of entertainment, here’s how it works: You assemble a team of your favorite friends, coworkers, or family members-pretty much anyone you’ve always wanted to be with when locked in a small, unfamiliar room. The room contains clues to puzzles, although the immediate use for these clues is not evident-careful examination of your surroundings, creative thinking, and maybe some trial and error is crucial to getting the puzzle series started.
One puzzle’s solution provides a clue to the next puzzle. If you are able to solve all the puzzles in the room within the allotted time frame, you will find a key that unlocks the exit door, and your team emerges victorious.
In the true spirit of an escape game, none of the puzzles have instructions, but everything you need to solve the puzzles is provided within the room. Many of the clues will need to be used in combination with another clue in order to solve a puzzle.
Examine your clues carefully and think creatively and you just might escape the mysterious shrine!
An otherwise enjoyable day of hiking your favorite mountain trails is about to take a turn for the worse. You and your friends discover an overgrown path leading through the foothills. Giving in to curiosity, you follow it, only to slip down a steep gravelly hill, and find yourself dumped into a deep pit. Following the only path out of the pit, you enter a mysterious cave. Judging from the paper scraps with unusual grids of letters, and the sun, moon and star carved into an altar, you think you stumbled into an unidentified cult’s house of worship, or perhaps a secret meeting place of the Illuminati. Whoever occupies this cave isn’t here at the moment, and you’d better work on finding the exit before they return. Perhaps the eclectic assortment of items laying about the room can help you. On a bookshelf, there’s a large square of cardboard with 16 holes meticulously punched out of it, along with a skeleton key and a small battery powered clock. A wooden desk presents a spread of face up, lettered cards, in a seemingly random, yet intentional, order. The cards sit next to a computer monitor and keyboard. A variety of Japanese symbols are framed and displayed on the desk. There is a locked safe in a dark corner of the cave. A few scraps of paper with various codes and puzzles lay about the cave. The only viable way out is via an exit which is blocked by an enormous slab of limestone.
The clock and skeleton key are not used in any puzzles.
PUZZLE #1 Each two digit number in the clue represents a letter in the grid that is taped to the safe. The two digits refer to a grid column and row, respectively. For example, the letter A is in the 4th column and 2nd row, and is represented by 42.
DEAL A FACE DOWN CARD ON THE MOON, THEN ONE ON THE SUN, AND FINALLY, ONE ON THE STAR. REPEAT UNTIL ALL CARDS HAVE BEEN DEALT.
The square of cardboard on the bookshelf has the same number of rows and columns as this puzzle. By aligning the grid on the cardboard over the grid on this puzzle, only 16 letters of the puzzle will be visible through the 16 holes in the cardboard. These 16 letters form the beginning of a message. By rotating the cardboard 90 degrees clockwise, so the 2 is now in the top left corner, a new set of 16 letters will be visible, continuing the message. By rotating the cardboard to position 3 and then position 4, the entire message can be determined.
PUT THE SUN CARDS ON THE MOON CARDS, AND THEN PLACE THAT STACK ON THE STAR CARDS.
This is simply a cryptogram puzzle. For an extra hint, a frequency analysis of letters appearing in the decoded message. For example, the letter A appears 19 times in the solution to this puzzle.
DEAL TOP CARD FACE UP ON ALTAR, FOLLOWED BY BOTTOM CARD (ALSO FACE UP), AND REPEAT THIS PATTERN UNTIL ALL CARDS ARE DEALT. FAN OUT CARDS TO READ MESSAGE.
After dealing the cards as instructed in puzzle #1, the cards should be sorted as follows, face down, top to bottom: Moon cards: K S C T L E A Y S I
Sun cards: T E A I A W R Y U E
Star cards: E S O D O L C G M H
After stacking the cards as instructed in puzzle #2, the cards should be sorted as follows, face down, top to bottom:
T E A I A W R Y U E K S C T L E A Y S I E
S O D O L C G M H
After dealing the cards as instructed in puzzle #3, the cards should read THE MAGICAL WORD YOU SEEK IS "SCYTALE."
The B and T keys have been swapped, as have the S and P keys. Applying this transposition to the message on the screen changes the message to, “FOR A CLUE, TURN PAGE.” The letter A has replaced the page number, therefore A = 26.
If A = 26, then 5A = 130.
The three-digit code to the safe is 130.
For each clue (A through L) in this puzzle, you are given a magic word or phrase made popular in pop culture, along with two red herrings. Identify the correct magic word, and then shade the corresponding section on the grid.
A: Lumos (Harry Potter)
B: Mecca lecca hi, mecca hiney ho (Pee Wee’s Playhouse)
C: Confundo (Harry Potter)
D: Pyrzqxgl (The Magic of Oz)
E: Hocus pocus (traditional)
F: Open Sesame (Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves)
G: Sim Sala Bim (Dante the Magician)
H: Tarantallegra (Harry Potter)
I: Shazam (DC Comics)
J: Klaatu barada nikto (The Day the Earth Stood Still)
K: Bippity, Boppity Boo (Cinderella)
L: Expecto Patronum (Harry Potter)
This is based on the Japanese symbol for freedom, and is required to complete the final puzzle.
MAKE YOUR ESCAPE
Using the knife from the safe, carve the symbol from Incantation Amongst Imposters in the limestone door while uttering the magic word, “scytale.”