# Time flies with 179 marbles

I have got a bunch of marbles, to be exact: 179.

What does this represent? To find out, you may need a bottle. The answer is one word.

Hint:

There fit exactly 11 marbles next to each other in the bottle.

Hint #2

How would you put marbles in a bottle? What would happen?

Transcription (thanks to @Lukas Rotter): w,w,w,w,w,r,w,w,w,w,r,w,w,w,w,r,b,w,w,w,r,b,w,w,w,r,c,b,w,w,r,c,b,w,w,r,c,c,w,w,r,w,c,w,w,r,c,c,b,w,r,c,c,b,w,r,c,c,c,w,w,c,w,c,w,w,c,c,c,b,w,w,c,w,b,w,w,c,c,o,w,w,w,c,y,w,w,w,c,o,b,w,w,w,o,b,w,w,w,c,o,w,w,w,w,o,w,w,w,w,o,b,w,w,w,w,b,w,w,w,w,o,b,b,b,b,b,b,b,b,b,b,o,c,c,c,c,b,c,c,c,c,b,o,o,o,o,o,r,o,o,o,o,r,o,o,o,o,r,y,y,y,r,o,o,o,r,o,o,r,o,o,r,o,r,o,r,r,r

• Does this involve some mathematical knowledge or am I perhaps off? Commented Aug 3 at 12:25
• @Prim3numbah, there is no math involved, note the [visual] tag. Commented Aug 3 at 13:30

I believe the single-word answer is:

an hourglass.

How so?

Let's play a game of Boulder Dash.

In that game, there are boulders and diamonds buried in earth. The player can burrow through the earth to collect the diamonds. When earth around boulders or diamonds is removed, the bolders and diamonds can fall. (And hit the player, of course.) The game is played on a two-dimensional rectangular grid.

The marbles here obey the game's rules for stability: A marble in the air falls down until it hits an obstacle, that is another marble or the bottom. A marble on a flat surface is stable. A marble on top of another marble falls to one side when the adjacent space and the space below the marble on that side is empty. The rules of stability are then re-applied to the new position.

With these rules, we get:

The marbles roll off the shelves with the maroon and orange marbles at the bottom first. Each marble falls down at the same x position. The bottle is 11 cells wide, as a hint tells us, so that the walls of the bottle stabilize a marble.

The title:

Time flies like an arrow, they say, and the image of the hourglass is superimposed onto a fat white arrow. Perhaps this puzzle needs a tag? ;)

(With the given gravity rules, the white cone on top is required to get the full image of the hourglass, of course. Come to think of it, the falling marbles resemble the cone of sand in the bottom part of the hourglass.)

• Well done! However I didn't think about Boulder Dash, my inspiration came from the zonks in Supaplex ;) Commented Aug 12 at 7:00

I believe this might represent

a volcano?

If we

drop marbles into the 'bottle' mentioned in the hints (of diameter 11), in each row starting from the center and going right, then left, a pattern appears:

This kinda looks like a volcano erupting to me, though I am very unconfident in this interpretation (and in this arrangement, for that matter).

• This reminds me of a programming language I once heard of from another puzzle (called Piet I believe) which uses colored blocks rather than text; Just a thought. Commented Aug 8 at 16:41
• It's actually a piranha that's farting fires Commented Aug 9 at 6:14
• You're very close, however the volcano is not correct. The actual answer is a bit more convincing ;) Commented Aug 9 at 7:13
• Time flies like an arrow, I guess. Commented Aug 9 at 8:09
• @MOehm, even closer ;) maybe try beginning at the end. That's the first marble that would fall down... Commented Aug 10 at 9:46