At my school we have this thing called the breakout box and there's a challenge. It's pretty hard, so me and some of my friends have been working on it. The idea is that there is a box with a bunch of locks on it and clues around the room to help unlock it. You have to use the clues to get the locks' codes - a 4 digit number - and open the box. So far we've opened every single lock except one. We've researched for about two days and we can't figure this out, so I decided that I would ask the online community.

The riddle is on the wall. There is this painting and we found out the painting is called 'The Woman and Bird in the Night'. It's by Joan Miro. (see below) The teacher who made the riddles wrote 'e=16' in the bottom corner on the white part of the paper. We aren't sure if this is a hint, a key, or something to throw you off. We really need help with this because we have unlocked all the locks except one. This is the only clue left, and the answer must be a 4-digit combination.

I'll be checking for answers about every hour.

Here is the picture:

The Woman and Bird in the Night

Here is a link to a larger version of the painting if anyone needs it.

It might seem like this has many answers, but there is only one answer and it is a four digit combo that uses numbers. I do have access to the lock and every day I have been going down and checking all the combos that people have thought might be a possible answer and then adding a comment letting people know if anyone was right.

Here is a pic of the picture on the wall:enter image description here enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ @Conner, welcome to Puzzling SE. The community is much more likely to help you and will be able to help you much more easily is you were to take a little time working on the formatting and punctuation of your question. $\endgroup$
    – Aggie Kidd
    Commented Jan 27, 2016 at 20:16
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    $\begingroup$ Thanks for reviewing it looks good if anyone is wondering why my spelling is bad it's because i have dislexia $\endgroup$
    – conner
    Commented Jan 27, 2016 at 21:06
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    $\begingroup$ @conner, what are the previous lock's combinations? could you give us a list? how many locks were there in total? $\endgroup$
    – nine9
    Commented Jan 28, 2016 at 11:28
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    $\begingroup$ Observation: There are 8 pairs of black circles connected together in the painting. In other words, 16 black circles. "e=16" might be hinting that this is relevant somehow? By the way, could something that teacher taught your class be relevant here? Also it might be helpful if you briefed us on some of the other puzzles you solved to open the other locks. I know you already said that you thought they weren't relevant but you can't be sure until after you've solved this one. :P $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 28, 2016 at 13:35
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    $\begingroup$ Can you show us a picture of where he wrote "e=16"? It may not actually be "e=16", it may be intended to be looked at another way which could be another clue. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 28, 2016 at 20:52

2 Answers 2


The solution requires understanding of Joan Miro's artwork. There are 7 paintings of his that are titled "Women and Bird in the Night". Each of them are different, but there are two that stand out that share a common element. The element (e) is represented as such:

enter image description here

In this case, the image represents 2 (because of two nodes). In the image you shared, there were 16 nodes in the drawing. The e = 16 could potentially point out that there are 16 nodes in the graph.

I compiled all the paintings with the same name here, and marked the nodes:

The paintings of similar names

So, the two possible combinations are 1614 or 1416


Looks like 5468 or 5408 to me...

enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ Nice. But this does not explain "e=16". $\endgroup$
    – Gamow
    Commented Mar 15, 2016 at 16:15
  • $\begingroup$ True, 5 + 4 + 0 + 8 = 17. Might still be worth a try, since some (diabolical) people I know would do that to mess someone up :D $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 15, 2016 at 16:23

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