This is part 44 of the puzzle series Around the World in Many Days. Each part is solvable on its own.

Dear Puzzling,

Can you help me out here? I am trapped inside a small room that’s locked from the outside. There is a keypad next to the door, but I don’t know the combination.

Keypad with coloured digits 0-9.

There is some kind of instruction sheet taped next to it, but the text looks like gibberish to me.

Elvetway igitsday. Indfay edray eykay, enthay ueblay eykay, ellowyay eykay, enthay eengray eykay.

I’ll try to explain what I see around me so you can help me out. There are two pictures on one wall.

Two pictures on the wall: Painting of man shouting, and a black-and-white photo of a bearded man sitting.

There’s a table in one corner with what looks like a card game going on. I tried to pick up the cards to inspect them, but they seem to be permanently glued to the table.

Picture of card game on table.

There's another picture on the other wall.

Picture on the wall: Two people dancing on the street.
Image credit: Manticora87, CC BY-SA 4.0.

There’s a bookshelf with nine books on one wall. Again, can’t pick up the books as they are glued in place.

Bookshelf with nine book titles: Clare: City of Bones, Dashner: The Kill Order, Riordan: The Sea of Monsters, Paolini: Eldest, Vaughn: Kitty and the Midnight Hour, Meyer: Breaking Dawn, Gabaldon: Voyager, Collins: Mockingjay, and Pullman: The Subtle Knife.

One more picture on the opposite wall.

Picture of a city square lined with palm trees.
Image credit: Pitxiquin, CC BY-SA 4.0.

One wall is just covered in these strange characters.

Wall filled with rectangular characters.

And finally a couple more pictures on the walls. I have no idea what any of this means. Help!

Two pictures on the wall. Black-and-white photo of a man in a bowler hat smiling, and a black-and-white painting of a man with sword leaning onto a wall.

Just kidding. Of course, I haven’t actually been trapped inside for the entire day. In fact, you can be sure that I have got plenty of fresh air! Today I have taken a tour of a national park surrounding a massive canyon. Using the clues I’ve given you, can you guess where I am?

Love, Gladys.

Gladys will return in Turn Back the Clocks.


1 Answer 1


Overall Solution

The Pig Latin clue tells us we have 12 digits and also gives us 4 more instructions:

Red Key was written in Romanian.
The Romanian flag is blue, yellow red 🇷🇴
Blue Key was written in Italian.
The Italian flag is green, white, red 🇮🇹
Yellow Key was written in Irish.
The Irish flag is green, white and orange 🇮🇪
Green Key was written in French.
The French flag is blue, white and red 🇫🇷

Let's tap those colour keys in the order we can see in the spoiler above. We get:

So long as we discount a letter once it has been used (Thanks M Oehm!)

Partial solutions:

Pig Latin

Elvetway igitsday. Indfay edray eykay, enthay ueblay eykay, ellowyay eykay, enthay eengray eykay.

This is just Pig Latin and resolves to:

Twelve digits. Find red key, then blue key, yellow key, then green key.

Picture Clues

There are greek letters overlaid on the pictures.

In the first picture

  • the left is l'Echo, Bathers at Asnières by Georges Seurat

  • I see Epsilon (5th), Gamma(3rd) and Theta(8th) on the left

  • the right is Victor Hugo.

  • I see Delta(4th) on the right

In the second picture of Tango Dancers

  • I see the letter Ita(7th)

In the third picture

  • This is the government palace of Peru in Lima
  • I see the letter beta(2nd)

In the fourth picture

  • The left is Charlie Chaplin
  • I see the letter alpha(1st)
  • The right is a representation of Romeo from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.
  • I see the letter zeta(6th)

The images all depict codewords in the NATO phonetic alphabet, the Greek letters provide an ordering for them. So we have: CHARLIE, LIMA, ECHO, VICTOR, ECHO, ROMEO, TANGO, ECHO which spells CLÉ VERTE (i.e. GREEN KEY)


Following the rule of Uno and starting at with the bottom player, playing in the direction of the arrow we play:

 green 3 - C
 green 7 - H
 blue 7  - E
 blue >< - I
 red ><  - E
 red x   - R
 red 2   - O (UNO!)
 yellow 2- S
 yellow+2- I
 yellow 4- E
 Game over

CHEIE ROSIE - (Red Key in Romanian)


The books are each one of a series. Taking the series number of the book and selecting that letter from the author's name gives

chiave blu (Blue Key in Italian)

"Strange Characters"

This is the Pigpen Cipher. It resolves to:

 E    E   Z   N   A   P   M   I   H   C
 D    A   E   H   R   E   P   P   O   C
 E    U   O   B   I   R   A   C   H   R
 C    O   U   G   A   R   K   A   O   O
 H    A   C   H   N   A   M   I   A   C
 I    R   H   A   T   E   E   H   C   O
 C    B   A   O   L   I   R   W   A   D
 K    O   O   E   B   H   U   O   M   I
 E    C   O   Y   O   T   E   R   E   L
 N    N   I   I   T   A   O   C   L   E 

Which I thought was going to be another cipher, but surpisingly I found it was a

Wordsearch featuring animals - all of which appear to begin with the letter C. I've found: enter image description here

The remainder spells out

eochair bhuí which is "Yellow Key" in Irish Gaelic

Some credit to share here with Stiv and M Oehm!

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ There's quite a few more to spot in that bottom spoiler - I can see rot13(PNVZNA, PBPXNGBB, PURRGNU, PBBG naq PBNGV) as well... $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Nov 22, 2023 at 8:42
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Also, rot13(Gur vzntrf nyy qrcvpg pbqrjbeqf va gur ANGB cubargvp nycunorg, gur Terrx yrggref cebivqr na beqrevat sbe gurz. Fb jr unir: PUNEYVR, YVZN, (RPUB), IVPGBE, (RPUB), EBZRB, GNATB, (RPUB) juvpu fcryyf PYR IREGR (v.r. TERRA XRL)) Oh, and re the Uno game, rot13(purv vebfvr vf Terrx sbe UR UNF N UREB) - may prove useful :) $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Nov 22, 2023 at 8:50
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Nice progress so far! You have a small transcription error in the Uno section (there's no red card with 'i'). $\endgroup$
    – Jafe
    Nov 22, 2023 at 10:44
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ You are on the right track, but rot13(cerffvt n xrl "hfrf hc" gur yrsgzbfg flzoby). $\endgroup$
    – M Oehm
    Nov 22, 2023 at 12:11
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I'm confused as to how you get from the keys to the final answer. What does it mean to "tap those colour keys in the order ... in the spoiler"? EDIT: OH never mind it's based on rot13(gur pbhagevrf' syntf)! I think you should add that to this answer XD $\endgroup$
    – samm82
    Nov 22, 2023 at 13:42

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