Dazed, you slowly regain consciousness. You don’t know how you got here, but one thing is certain – your exploration of this otherworldly planet has reached an ugly end. Trapped in an alien crypt, what hope is there of escaping? There is only one door, and in front of that lie a physically innumerable number of keys of different materials. A leaden key, a silver key, a golden key, a wooden key, a copper key, a granite key, a sapphire key, the list goes on… You know there is no time to try all of them.

But there in front of you, lying on the high-tech tiled floor, is an arrangement of jewels. Is it a message left by a previous captive indicating which key to use? Is it a test by the aliens? It may be your only clue, so you had better interpret it quickly…

  • Which key is this arrangment of jewels indicating you should try?



Try looking at the general shape that each of the three colours forms. Once you have done that, you will have to combine this information with the colours themselves, and see what they mean together...

For this simple puzzle, all you need to look at is the arrangement of the jewels. Everything else is flavour, including the aliens' high-tech grouting. A simplified image (which has all the information you need to solve the puzzle) may be found here (it is also annotated with the colours – red, yellow, orange – for anyone having trouble with reading them).

  • $\begingroup$ rot13(Ybbxf yvxr n Ibebabv Qvntenz pbzchgrq guebhtu Qrynhanl Gevnathyngvba gb zr - nalobql pner gb erirefr ratvarre gur bevtvany cbvagf?) $\endgroup$
    – Avi
    Oct 23, 2021 at 21:51
  • $\begingroup$ @Avi Not quite the right track... The image was constructed a much simpler and dirtier way. $\endgroup$
    – Anon
    Oct 23, 2021 at 22:18
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Avi I thought the same at first, but... there are some lines that are too straight for a Voronoi diagram (like the nearly horizontal slope in the upper right corner) $\endgroup$ Oct 26, 2021 at 12:12

2 Answers 2


When I

separate out the individual jewel colours

I get

this image

which looks like

A red/ruby B, an orange/amber G, and a yellow 's

However I can't quite work out how to apply

the hint to incorporate the pattern made by each colour of jewel with that colour itself - B + red = bread? BG's = Bee Gees?

Based on comments from the OP:

The orange jewels are not intended to be a G - perhaps a C then? And the names of the colours are stated as given. So we have: Bred Corange 'syellow...
The OP indicates that we have to make unique dictionary words, so:
C+ORANGE = ACROGEN (a kind of moss or fern apparently)
and then put these together in an order that will point to a key.... I am completely stumped at this point.

OK, more thoughts based on comments:

So my words are confirmed to be BRED OREGANO YELLOW'S in some order. The pointer to the title made me notice the phrase "ENCRYPT" inside the wording so I started trying things like Playfair en/decoding "JEWELS ON THE FLOOR" using as the keyword various combinations of "BRED OREGANO YELLOW'S", and I also tried it the other way around (en/decoding various combinations of "BRED OREGANO YELLOW'S" with the keyword "JEWELS" or "JEWELS ON THE FLOOR". However none of these attempts resulted in anything useful.

  • $\begingroup$ Nice work! +1. Note that I've given you the names of the colours in the question. Your identification of the yellow and red jewels is spot on, but I had a slightly different intention for the orange jewels. Your "bread" guess would be correct if red were spelt "read" - if you're more precise you'll find there's only one dictionary word possible in each case. Finally, once you've completed that step, you'll need to note that the puzzle's setting is a clue as to how to interpret what you've got to determine which key to use to open the door. $\endgroup$
    – Anon
    Oct 30, 2021 at 17:12
  • $\begingroup$ 'syellow is not an actual word though, and corange is not in most dictionaries. A little bit more tweaking is required here to get the unique words meant... $\endgroup$
    – Anon
    Oct 30, 2021 at 23:11
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I've edited in some more thoughts. No apology needed - the puzzle is intriguing and "obvious" usually == "not interesting" so we're good :) $\endgroup$
    – Vicky
    Nov 2, 2021 at 13:55
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ V thrff guvf znl or "Oerq bertnab lryybjf", n pelcgvp pyhr (tvira va uvag) va juvpu gur qrsvavgvba vf "lryybjf" naq gur jbeqcynl vf "oerq bertnab". Tbyqra bertnab vf n fcrpvny oerrq bs lryybj bertnab, naq tbyqra pbhyq or n flabalz sbe lryybjf. Znlor. Qbrfa'g znxr zhpu frafr ohg pbhyq or pybfr? Guvf jbhyq zrna jr fubhyq hfr gur TBYQRA XRL. $\endgroup$
    – Amoz
    Nov 6, 2021 at 2:22
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Znlor jr nantenz vg gb "Oerq lryybj bertnabf" juvpu vf n fgenvtug hc qqrs sbe "TBYQRA (bertnab)" $\endgroup$
    – Amoz
    Nov 6, 2021 at 2:24

I think that if you look at the arrangement you can see a:

Letter G

So the answer is the:

Golden key

  • $\begingroup$ Not the intended solution! Try looking a little closer. Actually not terribly far from the right track... $\endgroup$
    – Anon
    Oct 23, 2021 at 1:44
  • $\begingroup$ There could also be a granite key, a garnet key etc. in the list of possible keys. The solution method will need to give a more definite answer. I'll add some more keys to the question accordingly to eliminate simple answers like this that don't take the whole arrangement into account. $\endgroup$
    – Anon
    Oct 23, 2021 at 6:50

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