This is an entry to the 12th fortnightly challenge

log 10:53 Approaching Yaruka-X for inspection
log 10:55 Lovely green planet, but a dense cloud cover. Reducing speed.
log 10:58 We are entering the planet's atmosphere. Need to getting closer to surface.
log 11:03 Reporting a minor collision. Something has hit. Maybe a bird?
log 11:13 Damn. Jet engine one is failing. I repeat, jet engine one is failing.
log 11:34 We are going down! All system set for hard landing.
log 11:35 ... .**/-/*++-/+-/-/+9-/

"Mothership? Mothership can you copy?"

"Mother is listening. What is the situation?"

"The capsule has crashed 15min ago. It doesn't seem like an easy repair. Requesting evacuation. However, I've landed in what seems to be a very dense bog. I narrowly escaped being sucked in and don't dare to move a step without terrestrial scanning."

"Understood. We will guide you through the bog. Only perform steps as instructed. Do you have your mobile navigation device ready?"

"Device ready and aligned north. Expecting transmission..."

as aligned, long
plus 75, long
plus 615, short
plus 35, long
plus 455, short
plus 880, short
plus 45, long
plus 60, long
plus 15, short
plus 240, short
plus 725, long
plus 45, long
plus 420, short
plus 55, long
plus 50, long
plus 625, short
plus 707, long
plus 641, short
plus 609.5, long
plus 112.5, long
plus 680, short
plus 170, long
plus 550, short
plus 1147, long
plus 358, long
plus 655, short
plus 1201, long
plus 359, short

The bog

From the information given, can you tell which of the black arrows the astronaut will be coming out of? (And why?)

  • North = up on the map.

  • Position of astronaut before first instruction is carried out: as drawn

Hint 1:

The trick to this puzzle relies in identifying the "navigation tool".

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I have a feeling the astronaut is going to be very dizzy after getting through the bog $\endgroup$
    – Areeb
    Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 0:45
  • $\begingroup$ Nobody with an idea? I though that one will be solved within hours.... $\endgroup$
    – BmyGuest
    Commented Jul 27, 2016 at 2:44
  • $\begingroup$ I have an idea, but I haven't had time to test it yet. $\endgroup$
    – dcfyj
    Commented Jul 27, 2016 at 11:59
  • $\begingroup$ Are we to assume he can only possibly walk where there are gray circles? If so, the first instruction seems incorrect...since he's aligned north but can't go that way ("as aligned") $\endgroup$
    – Rayanth
    Commented Jul 30, 2016 at 0:03
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Alconja When you think you have the solution, but it fails, you might still want to post the answer/idea, as this wouldn't be my first puzzle with a flaw in it :c( . On the other hand, I'm pretty positive that this time I got it right :c) $\endgroup$
    – BmyGuest
    Commented Aug 8, 2016 at 6:56

1 Answer 1


The navigation device is an analogue watch. Each number corresponds to the number of minutes to add to the time. The "short"/"long" commands correspond to which clock hand you should use (short = hour, long = minute) when determining which direction to walk in. The small trick in this puzzle is that the last log is at 11:35 and the survivor reports in 15 minutes after the crash, making the starting time 11:50. "Aligning the device north" simply means that the watch is placed flat with the 12 pointing north (upwards).

For example, with the starting time at 11:50, the second instruction is to add 75 minutes to the time (bringing it to 1:05) and to then use the long pointer. The minute hand is now pointing roughly NNE, so you head in that direction to the next point.

So I had a try after thinking I had it figured out, but ran into a few inconsistencies halfway through (clocks marked in red, I tried to adjust a few to make sense, but in the end clocks were way off)

See below for my trail of progress. I'm not sure if I math'd wrong, my answer is wrong, or the directions given have accidentally left the survivor to a smelly, swampy, doom.

Edit: Note that this answer is based on a previous collection of instructions from the mothership, and has been corrected in a later dispatch to the survivor.

enter image description here

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ The poor astronaut was doomed by mothership (who didn't like him very much.) Because, as you've pointed out, the method is correct, but some of the instructions weren't. Nevertheless you've found the solution to the puzzle. (And the instructions have been corrected by mothership now, to disguise the crime.) $\endgroup$
    – BmyGuest
    Commented Aug 8, 2016 at 14:22
  • $\begingroup$ I wish I could additionally +1 you for the nice visual solution you've added. If you don't mind, though, I'm editing in spoiler tags. $\endgroup$
    – BmyGuest
    Commented Aug 8, 2016 at 14:50
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Absolutely, be my guest! :) $\endgroup$
    – Sean
    Commented Aug 8, 2016 at 14:51
  • $\begingroup$ +1 beat me to it, well done. Had it solved yesterday, but for an error in my code calculating the angle of the hour hand. And thanks @BmyGuest for another nice puzzle. :) $\endgroup$
    – Alconja
    Commented Aug 8, 2016 at 23:23

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