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Help Princess PurpleSprite navigate through the labyrinth to retrieve the mystical jewel. She can slide the lettered stones around as needed, but she must not leave any non-words, or the labyrinth will collapse!

labyrinth_of_stones


The movement should be intuitive, but for those who prefer it to be spelled out:

  1. There is one spacer in the labyrinth.

  2. Princess PurpleSprite occupies the spacer and moves with it.

  3. She can slide any neighboring lettered stone into the spacer, thus advancing the spacer.

  4. The unlettered stone is solid rock and does not move.

  5. While the spacer is in the midst of a word, it cannot be perceived by the labyrinth. But the moment the spacer leaves the word, the labyrinth sees it and must observe that it is a true word, or the labyrinth will collapse.

  6. All words read horizontally, from left to right.

  7. When the spacer is adjacent to the jewel, the Princess can grasp it and then retrace her steps back to the entry. The reverse journey does not need to be presented.


Example of the movement

Within the initial state, we see:

    █ENTRY
    SMILED
    BALKED

The Princess can move the spacer down by sliding the "S" up. This leaves the word SENTRY.

    SENTRY
    █MILED
    BALKED

She then moves the spacer right by pulling consecutive stones to the left. Remember, as long as she is in the midst of the word, the labyrinth will not see it.

    SENTRY
    M█ILED
    BALKED


    SENTRY
    MI█LED
    BALKED

After pulling two stones to the left, she stops her rightward movement. She now moves the spacer down by sliding the "L" up. This leaves the word MILLED.

    SENTRY
    MILLED
    BA█KED

And so on.


Text-only version:

###SIMPLICITY##UTTERS
#EATING#BELLIES#ROUTE
WARNED#####HEFT##ARCH
SEARING####PLATED#AWL
 ENTRY##BETTOR###READ
SMILED#GREASE###CORES
BALKED#SPOON###DELUDE
#INLET##FILL#MAGE#NOT
####PLEAS##TALON##IT
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7
  • $\begingroup$ Which dictionary are you using to define "word"? $\endgroup$
    – bobble
    Jan 25 at 18:19
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @bobble — All words formed should be quite familiar. If you feel the need to reach for a dictionary, you've probably gone down the wrong path... $\endgroup$
    – SlowMagic
    Jan 25 at 18:23
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Just trying to make the question more well-defined. Relying on people's perception of "familiar" words is subjective, so concrete definitions of "word" are encouraged here. $\endgroup$
    – bobble
    Jan 25 at 18:24
  • $\begingroup$ Does being on the left or right side of a word count as being in the "midst" of it? $\endgroup$
    – Deusovi
    Jan 25 at 18:31
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Very interesting puzzle design. I especially like the need for retracement in certain places. The fact that there's a "sliding blocks" tag indicates to me that this kind of puzzle design has been around for a while, but it's the first time I've seen it, so... well done. :) $\endgroup$
    – COTO
    Jan 27 at 4:39

1 Answer 1

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Starting state:

   SIMPLICITY  UTTERS
 EATING BELLIES ROUTE
WARNED     HEFT  ARCH
SEARING    PLATED AWL
@ENTRY  BETTOR   READ
SMILED GREASE   CORES
BALKED SPOON   DELUDE
 INLET  FILL MAGE NOT
    PLEAS  TALON  IT💎

Princess PurpleSprite should go:

Up to get sentry

   SIMPLICITY  UTTERS
 EATING BELLIES ROUTE
WARNED     HEFT  ARCH
@EARING    PLATED AWL
SENTRY  BETTOR   READ
SMILED GREASE   CORES
BALKED SPOON   DELUDE
 INLET  FILL MAGE NOT
    PLEAS  TALON  IT💎

Right by two then up to get earring

   SIMPLICITY  UTTERS
 EATING BELLIES ROUTE
WA@NED     HEFT  ARCH
EARRING    PLATED AWL
SENTRY  BETTOR   READ
SMILED GREASE   CORES
BALKED SPOON   DELUDE
 INLET  FILL MAGE NOT
    PLEAS  TALON  IT💎

Right by one then up to get wanted

   SIMPLICITY  UTTERS
 EA@ING BELLIES ROUTE
WANTED     HEFT  ARCH
EARRING    PLATED AWL
SENTRY  BETTOR   READ
SMILED GREASE   CORES
BALKED SPOON   DELUDE
 INLET  FILL MAGE NOT
    PLEAS  TALON  IT💎

Up to get easing

   @IMPLICITY  UTTERS
 EASING BELLIES ROUTE
WANTED     HEFT  ARCH
EARRING    PLATED AWL
SENTRY  BETTOR   READ
SMILED GREASE   CORES
BALKED SPOON   DELUDE
 INLET  FILL MAGE NOT
    PLEAS  TALON  IT💎

Right by eight then down to get implicitly

   IMPLICITLY  UTTERS
 EASING BEL@IES ROUTE
WANTED     HEFT  ARCH
EARRING    PLATED AWL
SENTRY  BETTOR   READ
SMILED GREASE   CORES
BALKED SPOON   DELUDE
 INLET  FILL MAGE NOT
    PLEAS  TALON  IT💎

Right by two then down to get beliefs

   IMPLICITLY  UTTERS
 EASING BELIEFS ROUTE
WANTED     HE@T  ARCH
EARRING    PLATED AWL
SENTRY  BETTOR   READ
SMILED GREASE   CORES
BALKED SPOON   DELUDE
 INLET  FILL MAGE NOT
    PLEAS  TALON  IT💎

Down to get heat

   IMPLICITLY  UTTERS
 EASING BELIEFS ROUTE
WANTED     HEAT  ARCH
EARRING    PL@TED AWL
SENTRY  BETTOR   READ
SMILED GREASE   CORES
BALKED SPOON   DELUDE
 INLET  FILL MAGE NOT
    PLEAS  TALON  IT💎

Left by one then up to get pelted

   IMPLICITLY  UTTERS
 EASING BELIEFS ROUTE
WANTED     H@AT  ARCH
EARRING    PELTED AWL
SENTRY  BETTOR   READ
SMILED GREASE   CORES
BALKED SPOON   DELUDE
 INLET  FILL MAGE NOT
    PLEAS  TALON  IT💎

Right by one then down to get halt

   IMPLICITLY  UTTERS
 EASING BELIEFS ROUTE
WANTED     HALT  ARCH
EARRING    PE@TED AWL
SENTRY  BETTOR   READ
SMILED GREASE   CORES
BALKED SPOON   DELUDE
 INLET  FILL MAGE NOT
    PLEAS  TALON  IT💎

Right by one then up to get petted

   IMPLICITLY  UTTERS
 EASING BELIEFS ROUTE
WANTED     HAL@  ARCH
EARRING    PETTED AWL
SENTRY  BETTOR   READ
SMILED GREASE   CORES
BALKED SPOON   DELUDE
 INLET  FILL MAGE NOT
    PLEAS  TALON  IT💎

Left by two then down to get heal

   IMPLICITLY  UTTERS
 EASING BELIEFS ROUTE
WANTED     HEAL  ARCH
EARRING    P@TTED AWL
SENTRY  BETTOR   READ
SMILED GREASE   CORES
BALKED SPOON   DELUDE
 INLET  FILL MAGE NOT
    PLEAS  TALON  IT💎

Down to get potted

   IMPLICITLY  UTTERS
 EASING BELIEFS ROUTE
WANTED     HEAL  ARCH
EARRING    POTTED AWL
SENTRY  BETT@R   READ
SMILED GREASE   CORES
BALKED SPOON   DELUDE
 INLET  FILL MAGE NOT
    PLEAS  TALON  IT💎

Down to get better

   IMPLICITLY  UTTERS
 EASING BELIEFS ROUTE
WANTED     HEAL  ARCH
EARRING    POTTED AWL
SENTRY  BETTER   READ
SMILED GREAS@   CORES
BALKED SPOON   DELUDE
 INLET  FILL MAGE NOT
    PLEAS  TALON  IT💎

Left by one then up to get greats

   IMPLICITLY  UTTERS
 EASING BELIEFS ROUTE
WANTED     HEAL  ARCH
EARRING    POTTED AWL
SENTRY  BET@ER   READ
SMILED GREATS   CORES
BALKED SPOON   DELUDE
 INLET  FILL MAGE NOT
    PLEAS  TALON  IT💎

Left by one then down to get beater

   IMPLICITLY  UTTERS
 EASING BELIEFS ROUTE
WANTED     HEAL  ARCH
EARRING    POTTED AWL
SENTRY  BEATER   READ
SMILED GRE@TS   CORES
BALKED SPOON   DELUDE
 INLET  FILL MAGE NOT
    PLEAS  TALON  IT💎

Left by one then up to get greets

   IMPLICITLY  UTTERS
 EASING BELIEFS ROUTE
WANTED     HEAL  ARCH
EARRING    POTTED AWL
SENTRY  B@ATER   READ
SMILED GREETS   CORES
BALKED SPOON   DELUDE
 INLET  FILL MAGE NOT
    PLEAS  TALON  IT💎

Right by two then down to get batter

   IMPLICITLY  UTTERS
 EASING BELIEFS ROUTE
WANTED     HEAL  ARCH
EARRING    POTTED AWL
SENTRY  BATTER   READ
SMILED GREE@S   CORES
BALKED SPOON   DELUDE
 INLET  FILL MAGE NOT
    PLEAS  TALON  IT💎

Down to get greens

   IMPLICITLY  UTTERS
 EASING BELIEFS ROUTE
WANTED     HEAL  ARCH
EARRING    POTTED AWL
SENTRY  BATTER   READ
SMILED GREENS   CORES
BALKED SPOO@   DELUDE
 INLET  FILL MAGE NOT
    PLEAS  TALON  IT💎

Down to get spool

   IMPLICITLY  UTTERS
 EASING BELIEFS ROUTE
WANTED     HEAL  ARCH
EARRING    POTTED AWL
SENTRY  BATTER   READ
SMILED GREENS   CORES
BALKED SPOOL   DELUDE
 INLET  FIL@ MAGE NOT
    PLEAS  TALON  IT💎

Left by two then up to get foil

   IMPLICITLY  UTTERS
 EASING BELIEFS ROUTE
WANTED     HEAL  ARCH
EARRING    POTTED AWL
SENTRY  BATTER   READ
SMILED GREENS   CORES
BALKED SP@OL   DELUDE
 INLET  FOIL MAGE NOT
    PLEAS  TALON  IT💎

Right by one then down to get spoil

   IMPLICITLY  UTTERS
 EASING BELIEFS ROUTE
WANTED     HEAL  ARCH
EARRING    POTTED AWL
SENTRY  BATTER   READ
SMILED GREENS   CORES
BALKED SPOIL   DELUDE
 INLET  FO@L MAGE NOT
    PLEAS  TALON  IT💎

Left by one then up to get fool

   IMPLICITLY  UTTERS
 EASING BELIEFS ROUTE
WANTED     HEAL  ARCH
EARRING    POTTED AWL
SENTRY  BATTER   READ
SMILED GREENS   CORES
BALKED SP@IL   DELUDE
 INLET  FOOL MAGE NOT
    PLEAS  TALON  IT💎

Right by two then down to get spill

   IMPLICITLY  UTTERS
 EASING BELIEFS ROUTE
WANTED     HEAL  ARCH
EARRING    POTTED AWL
SENTRY  BATTER   READ
SMILED GREENS   CORES
BALKED SPILL   DELUDE
 INLET  FOO@ MAGE NOT
    PLEAS  TALON  IT💎

Down to get foot

   IMPLICITLY  UTTERS
 EASING BELIEFS ROUTE
WANTED     HEAL  ARCH
EARRING    POTTED AWL
SENTRY  BATTER   READ
SMILED GREENS   CORES
BALKED SPILL   DELUDE
 INLET  FOOT MAGE NOT
    PLEAS  @ALON  IT💎

Right by four then up to get along

   IMPLICITLY  UTTERS
 EASING BELIEFS ROUTE
WANTED     HEAL  ARCH
EARRING    POTTED AWL
SENTRY  BATTER   READ
SMILED GREENS   CORES
BALKED SPILL   DELUDE
 INLET  FOOT MA@E NOT
    PLEAS  ALONG  IT💎

Up to get made

   IMPLICITLY  UTTERS
 EASING BELIEFS ROUTE
WANTED     HEAL  ARCH
EARRING    POTTED AWL
SENTRY  BATTER   READ
SMILED GREENS   CORES
BALKED SPILL   @ELUDE
 INLET  FOOT MADE NOT
    PLEAS  ALONG  IT💎

Right by five then up to get eludes

   IMPLICITLY  UTTERS
 EASING BELIEFS ROUTE
WANTED     HEAL  ARCH
EARRING    POTTED AWL
SENTRY  BATTER   READ
SMILED GREENS   CORE@
BALKED SPILL   ELUDES
 INLET  FOOT MADE NOT
    PLEAS  ALONG  IT💎

Up to get cored

   IMPLICITLY  UTTERS
 EASING BELIEFS ROUTE
WANTED     HEAL  ARCH
EARRING    POTTED AWL
SENTRY  BATTER   REA@
SMILED GREENS   CORED
BALKED SPILL   ELUDES
 INLET  FOOT MADE NOT
    PLEAS  ALONG  IT💎

Up to get real

   IMPLICITLY  UTTERS
 EASING BELIEFS ROUTE
WANTED     HEAL  ARCH
EARRING    POTTED AW@
SENTRY  BATTER   REAL
SMILED GREENS   CORED
BALKED SPILL   ELUDES
 INLET  FOOT MADE NOT
    PLEAS  ALONG  IT💎

Left by two then up to get raw

   IMPLICITLY  UTTERS
 EASING BELIEFS ROUTE
WANTED     HEAL  A@CH
EARRING    POTTED RAW
SENTRY  BATTER   REAL
SMILED GREENS   CORED
BALKED SPILL   ELUDES
 INLET  FOOT MADE NOT
    PLEAS  ALONG  IT💎

Right by two then up to get ache

   IMPLICITLY  UTTERS
 EASING BELIEFS ROUT@
WANTED     HEAL  ACHE
EARRING    POTTED RAW
SENTRY  BATTER   REAL
SMILED GREENS   CORED
BALKED SPILL   ELUDES
 INLET  FOOT MADE NOT
    PLEAS  ALONG  IT💎

Left by four then up to get trout

   IMPLICITLY  U@TERS
 EASING BELIEFS TROUT
WANTED     HEAL  ACHE
EARRING    POTTED RAW
SENTRY  BATTER   REAL
SMILED GREENS   CORED
BALKED SPILL   ELUDES
 INLET  FOOT MADE NOT
    PLEAS  ALONG  IT💎

Right by three then down to get uterus

   IMPLICITLY  UTERUS
 EASING BELIEFS TRO@T
WANTED     HEAL  ACHE
EARRING    POTTED RAW
SENTRY  BATTER   REAL
SMILED GREENS   CORED
BALKED SPILL   ELUDES
 INLET  FOOT MADE NOT
    PLEAS  ALONG  IT💎

Left by two then down to get tarot

   IMPLICITLY  UTERUS
 EASING BELIEFS TAROT
WANTED     HEAL  @CHE
EARRING    POTTED RAW
SENTRY  BATTER   REAL
SMILED GREENS   CORED
BALKED SPILL   ELUDES
 INLET  FOOT MADE NOT
    PLEAS  ALONG  IT💎

Right by three then down to get chew

   IMPLICITLY  UTERUS
 EASING BELIEFS TAROT
WANTED     HEAL  CHEW
EARRING    POTTED RA@
SENTRY  BATTER   REAL
SMILED GREENS   CORED
BALKED SPILL   ELUDES
 INLET  FOOT MADE NOT
    PLEAS  ALONG  IT💎

Left by two then down to get era

   IMPLICITLY  UTERUS
 EASING BELIEFS TAROT
WANTED     HEAL  CHEW
EARRING    POTTED ERA
SENTRY  BATTER   R@AL
SMILED GREENS   CORED
BALKED SPILL   ELUDES
 INLET  FOOT MADE NOT
    PLEAS  ALONG  IT💎

Left by one then down to get oral

   IMPLICITLY  UTERUS
 EASING BELIEFS TAROT
WANTED     HEAL  CHEW
EARRING    POTTED ERA
SENTRY  BATTER   ORAL
SMILED GREENS   C@RED
BALKED SPILL   ELUDES
 INLET  FOOT MADE NOT
    PLEAS  ALONG  IT💎

Down to get cured

   IMPLICITLY  UTERUS
 EASING BELIEFS TAROT
WANTED     HEAL  CHEW
EARRING    POTTED ERA
SENTRY  BATTER   ORAL
SMILED GREENS   CURED
BALKED SPILL   EL@DES
 INLET  FOOT MADE NOT
    PLEAS  ALONG  IT💎

Right by three then down to get eldest

   IMPLICITLY  UTERUS
 EASING BELIEFS TAROT
WANTED     HEAL  CHEW
EARRING    POTTED ERA
SENTRY  BATTER   ORAL
SMILED GREENS   CURED
BALKED SPILL   ELDEST
 INLET  FOOT MADE NO@
    PLEAS  ALONG  IT💎

Down to reach the gem, leaving "no" behind

   IMPLICITLY  UTERUS
 EASING BELIEFS TAROT
WANTED     HEAL  CHEW
EARRING    POTTED ERA
SENTRY  BATTER   ORAL
SMILED GREENS   CURED
BALKED SPILL   ELDEST
 INLET  FOOT MADE NO
    PLEAS  ALONG  IT💎

What's astonishing about this puzzle is how hard it must have been to create, since

Almost every move along the solution path is forced. There are some options near the beginning, but they quickly winnow down after you get to the simplicity -> implicitly transition. Towards the end, there are not many words near elude by going down, so it needs to be transformed by heading upwards instead.

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5
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ "how hard it must have been to create..." You got that right, friend! It was a lot of careful programming, especially for the second and third sections. People typically expect their mazes to have numerous branching dead-ends, but forced paths are often more difficult to create (and more fun to solve, I think!) $\endgroup$
    – SlowMagic
    Jan 25 at 19:32
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ A very fun solve :) $\endgroup$
    – Avi
    Jan 25 at 19:45
  • $\begingroup$ Wouldn't force-path be less fun to solve since there is only one possible way to go? (still a really nice puzzle! just curious) $\endgroup$
    – justhalf
    Jan 26 at 15:49
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @justhalf — You are correct, if the forced path is clear and simple, it is very boring. It's just a stroll in the park. But if the forced path is tough or challenging, or unclear, or it SEEMS like you have choices but you really don't, or it takes you along an interesting and unexpected route, then it can be more fun. See here for an interesting forced-path adventure: puzzling.stackexchange.com/questions/112231/… $\endgroup$
    – SlowMagic
    Jan 26 at 16:43
  • $\begingroup$ Ooh, you're right. It does feel satisfying! $\endgroup$
    – justhalf
    Jan 27 at 3:23

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