You've prepared your whole life for this moment... This is it! You're at the entrance to the Enchanted Cave! After a whole climb up the mountain to get here, you're exhausted and pretty parched, but you put all of that aside for now - this is your moment! You step inside, looking around at your surroundings when suddenly the cave somehow closes up behind you! Your eyes take a moment to readjust to the dim light offered by the mysterious crystals that surround you...

You're in a small cavern, closed in from behind. In front of you, there's something engraved into the cavern wall:


and underneath it, a note:


This must be the first trial you've read so much about in legends! You look around for any more clues, and notice a water bottle on the ground. Excited (and thirsty), you reach down and pick it up, only to find out it's empty! The bottle has some pretty weird writing on the label...

"Keith's Fresh Water!" - Quench all but your thirst!
To every sentiment it blazed,
Fire burn and bubble!
And even the lives we lead are not allowed...
This is the ecstasy of love!

We shall, in the place where there is no darkness,
That I shall say night till it be morrow.
You'll get along a lot with all kinds of folks,
Of all the wonders that I have heard,
The great of the world, take place in the brain...

You've got to find a way through this trial!


$\theta \approx f$


5 Answers 5


Dan Russell's answer gives us the letters


And taking the first letters of the words in Gareth McCaughan's answer


Using Vigenere Cipher taking one of string of letters and using the other string as the key. I got:


And I guess this is the password to enter the cave.


Quench all but your thirst

As the hint suggests $th=f$. So the motto of the Keith's Fresh Water becomes "Quench all but your first". So only first letter remains in the words of Gareth's solution. (As I did above). Also "Keith's Fresh Water" also gives us the same clue as the hint gave. "key th is F resh water"

  • $\begingroup$ That's correct! Could you try explaining the label heading on the bottle? $\endgroup$
    – KoA
    May 21, 2016 at 8:32

I think the right way to think about the pairs of words in the list is:

The solution to the first word is one that can be made by pronouncing a series of letters (hence the puzzle's title, letter diction) and the second word is one that has those letters in it. Then we probably have to collect the differences.

So working through the list...

beer friend

A-L (ale) and pal → p

elsewhere grain

From Robert Fraser:
O-A (away) and oat → t

town animal

C-T (city) and cat → a

rotting nice

D-K-N (decaying) and kind → i

foe average

N-M-E (enemy) and mean → a

void rug

M-T (empty) and mat → a

monotonous spots

T-D-S (tedious) and dots → o

alright tree

O-K (okay) and oak → a

basically decoration

S-N-T-L-E (essentially) and TINSEL → i
Thanks Deusovi

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ (D-K-N + KIND) and (S-N-T-L-E + TINSEL) are two of the pairs. $\endgroup$
    – Deusovi
    May 19, 2016 at 2:09
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, @Deusovi. I'd thought of S-N-L or S-N-N (essence) but didn't make the connection to the second word. $\endgroup$ May 19, 2016 at 2:17
  • $\begingroup$ Also, if one of those leftover As can be replaced with an R somehow, we get an anagram of "paranoia". $\endgroup$
    – Deusovi
    May 19, 2016 at 2:18
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ I think 2 is O-A (away) and oat, giving "t" $\endgroup$ May 19, 2016 at 6:03
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Maybe cinnamon = cassia = K-C-A. There are lots of words that anagrammatize to _ACK. $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    May 19, 2016 at 11:21

Not an actual answer (so far, anyway), just saving other solvers some labour: The lines on the water bottle are

fragments of famous texts with a single word omitted from each. The omitted words are, in order: altruistic, cauldron, miserable, very; meet, good, better, yet, events.

I'm sure other solvers will have noticed the equality of

the number of items in the first list and the number of lines on the bottle;

I guess we need something whose overall shape resembles

"find synonyms for a pair of words on the list, and manipulate them somehow to give something related to the corresponding omitted word on the bottle; then take the first letters of the results and combine somehow with 'cinnamon' to yield the password"

(most likely every individual detail in that is wrong, but it seems likely to be that sort of thing).

  • $\begingroup$ Are you sure about the word that isn't missing? I'm certain there must be one! $\endgroup$
    – KoA
    May 15, 2016 at 22:49
  • $\begingroup$ There is one; I'm an idiot. Just fixing it. (Now fixed, which I'm afraid means KoA's comment looks nonsensical -- my answer used to claim that one line was unlike the others, which was just plain wrong and resulted from my gross inability to read.) $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    May 15, 2016 at 22:51
  • $\begingroup$ @GarethMcCaughan Too hard on yourself. $\endgroup$ May 17, 2016 at 16:10

For the first part, the clues all seem to be

Pairs of words that can both share a common synonym or related word.
I imagine the next step is to somehow combine them with the words from Gareth McCaughan's answer.

Here's what I got so far, I'll make a wiki answer so some people can fill in other clues if they get them. (The ommitted words from the lines on the bottle in the second part of this puzzle are included in brackets at the beginning of each line from the first part, in case there is a connection/clue there.)

[altruistic] beer friend: Bud (Budweiser/Buddy)
[cauldron] elsewhere grain:
[miserable] town animal: Buffalo
[very] rotting nice:
[meet]foe average: mean
[good] void rug: bare/bear(?)
[better] monotonous spots:
[yet] alright tree: OK/oak
[events] basically decoration

  • $\begingroup$ 2 of those are right, but not in the way that you think ;) $\endgroup$
    – KoA
    May 17, 2016 at 15:25
  • $\begingroup$ I had first thought about a similar connection, but couldn't find many pairs. I thought that the right synonym was the left plus a letter or two. I had "ok/oak", too, and "blank/blanket" and the unconvincing "pale (ale)/pal". That's not much and I couldn't make it stick. $\endgroup$
    – M Oehm
    May 17, 2016 at 16:32
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The recent edit suggests that for each pair of words we need to find equivalents and then take their difference; so e.g. oak-ok = a. Dunno how that relates to the missing-word list, though. (Corresponding place is occupied by "yet"; if there's something obvious to do with a+yet, it escapes me.) $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    May 18, 2016 at 12:34
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Getting close! You might want to consider the title of the trial ;) $\endgroup$
    – KoA
    May 18, 2016 at 14:14
  • $\begingroup$ @GarethMcCaughan: You could rewrite it as okay/oak and remove a "y" instead of adding an "a". That would give you "et" or "te". (That could be part of a French or Latin sentence. It also involves reordering the letters and would require a minus sign rather than a plus sign in the caption. Clutching at straws here.) $\endgroup$
    – M Oehm
    May 18, 2016 at 16:44

My method on the left half of this is a strategy that came to me at first considering this puzzle:

puzzling analysis

As I followed through, I think this crack at the first part is not correct. Is it on the right track, or wandering into the wilderness?

  • $\begingroup$ Very far from the solution, I'm afraid, but that's one good try! $\endgroup$
    – KoA
    May 18, 2016 at 14:12

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