3
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You wake up sitting in a chair, hands tied behind you and ankles strapped to the legs. A looking around you see you are in the middle of what looks to be the inside of a dimly lit log cabin; the windows all look dark.

The furnishings are sparse, except for a clock on the wall, a table in front of you, a game of Battleship, and across from you is an empty chair.

Seeing you stir, your host appears from behind you and casually sits in the empty chair and places a loaded .45 on the table with the hammer cocked. As if your predicament was of no consequence, he reaches into his jacket and pulls out a pack of cigarettes, rapping them smartly in his hand, he takes one out, places it in his mouth, and lights it.

He draws the smoke in deeply, lifting his head and exhaling slowly as if he had all the time in the world. Looking you in the eye he finally speaks...

"I've heard you're very clever, solving puzzles with ease,
solve each of my puzzles, to earn yourself some keys.

The puzzles will start out easy, but harder each time you play,
fail to solve even one, and I'll have to end your day.

I'll give each one at a time, if your solution's sound,
you'll earn yourself your freedom, else a long nap in the ground."

He pauses to give you a moment to process. Is this guy for real??? And what's with all the rhyming? Crap...this does not sound good at all. But you don't panic, you take a look around and the only thing to "play" is the game of Battleship that looks as if it's been left in mid game. All of your ships are sunk, save your little submarine, but it has only one hit left. Your targeting board is be-speckled with white and red pegs. A quick count tells you nearly all of the opponent's ships are also sunk, save one. But they are so clumped together, it's impossible to tell which are sunk and which aren't, but based on what you remember of the game, he only has one hit left as well.

enter image description here

Calming yourself you take a deep breath and looking up at your demented host you say, "Bring it on!"

Smiling your host continues...

"This game's already started, you have one move to beat me,  
Here's the first puzzle, giving you your first key."

    A long due south you'll find my face, just short of north,
    just half way to my place, a new day will come forth

Puzzle two from puzzle one, hope you're keeping up,  
Don't think in 12's but 24's, or you'll get tripped up.

    Forward unto dawn, you will see a bright halo
    brightest in the heavens, you'll see fiery day-glo.

    Two plus one is three, as every school child knows,
    Solving me is easy, as far as puzzles go.

Almost there, you're doing well, soon you will be free,  
but one last puzzle, one last clue, or else a shooting spree!

    Now think of two and a rose, you'll need a part of me,
    But only one and not three, I will be your pre

    Before two I will go, if you want to stay alive,
    Hurry now, solve it quick, or your end is nigh."

Riddle One Hint

One of the objects in the room is used to mark the answer to riddle one

Actual Grid Coordinates - guessing at the arrangement is futile if you want to be 100% sure

enter image description here

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  • $\begingroup$ Can you edit this to clarify how many ships of which sizes are in the game being played (or is it meant to be part of the puzzle to find this out)? I think there are different variants of Battleships with different selections of ships. $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Sep 15 '16 at 16:49
  • $\begingroup$ Red peck is a hit, white is a miss, I suppose. A quick count tells you nearly all of the opponent's ships are also sunk, save one. But they are so clumped together, it's impossible to tell which are sunk and which aren't. $\endgroup$ – Matsmath Sep 15 '16 at 16:52
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    $\begingroup$ Both of these questions come from a knowledge of the board game. $\endgroup$ – Steve Mangiameli Sep 15 '16 at 16:57
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    $\begingroup$ @randal'thor I'm pretty sure he's using these standard ships. $\endgroup$ – dcfyj Sep 15 '16 at 16:59
  • $\begingroup$ Best I can tell, there are only 6 possible location that the last hit could be. Unless I'm not thinking of a certain possibility(ies). $\endgroup$ – dcfyj Sep 15 '16 at 17:06
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Fire at

E6

Because

The 5 in a row must be the carrier. If the carrier weren't yet sunk, then there would be too many hanging 1s. The ship sizes from left to right are: [3+2 or 3+2], [4], [5], [3]. It isn't important if it's 3+2 or 2+3, just that the final shot is either above or below the first column.

This means

It's either E1 or E6 and this "A long due south you'll find my face, just short of north,
just half way to my place, a new day will come forth
Puzzle two from puzzle one, hope you're keeping up,
Don't think in 12's but 24's, or you'll get tripped up." This is indicating "6 o'clock" and E6 sounds like it matches better than E1.

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  • $\begingroup$ The idea is to solve the riddles to get the answer. So based on your host's rules, you are dead. "The puzzles will start out easy, but harder each time you play, fail to solve even one, and I'll have to end your day." $\endgroup$ – Steve Mangiameli Sep 15 '16 at 17:11
  • $\begingroup$ The column of five doesn't have to be the carrier. The carrier fits quite nicely into the far left column, which incidentally doesn't change your answer. $\endgroup$ – dcfyj Sep 15 '16 at 17:12
  • $\begingroup$ @dcfyj I guess that's true, yeah. $\endgroup$ – Ian MacDonald Sep 15 '16 at 17:30
  • $\begingroup$ @Steve But didn't I sink the ship? What kind of pedantic pirate* is this? *yes, I assumed he was a pirate because there were ships and treachery involved. $\endgroup$ – Ian MacDonald Sep 15 '16 at 17:30
  • $\begingroup$ You will never know. You have a .45 slug between your eyes. $\endgroup$ – Steve Mangiameli Sep 15 '16 at 17:31
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Wrap-up, the making of: Sink me and live

This is not a solution to the puzzle but notes from its poser. This type of answer has been approved by the community.

Caution: This post contains spoilers.


Inspiration

After spending 2 days on Alconja's puzzle Read. Learn. Live. Escape., I was impressed by the multifaceted nature of the solution. It combined a lot of the puzzling elements I find fun as well as a little story telling, besides.

I didn't want to do a maze as he did, but the grid brought the Battleship game to mind. I liked the "danger" aspect of his puzzle story and thought another dark predicament would be fun to escape.


Logical Steps

I started with the premise - figure out the firing solution to a well known game. Then I had to answer why I wanted the puzzler to do this, hence the back story. After that, I had to design on paper what the puzzler would see if they were in this predicament. Finally came the riddles. This was the most fun part of creating the puzzle and also the hardest.


Evolution

Originally, this was going to be an "escape" room type of puzzle. Eventually I'd like to take another stab and build something more along those lines. But it takes a lot to build something even as simple as this and it seemed way beyond me, for my first puzzle anyway.

So it turned into a riddle that build upon itself in order to come to a final solution and win the day.


Takeaways

  1. I should have omitted the visual. The riddles became second fiddle as everyone took what they knew of the game and attempted to solve it rearranging the ships. This resulted in some good guesses. The problem with this type of puzzle is that the puzzlers on this site don't feel the anxiety or the apprehension of making a wrong guess. So throwing out partial answers is too easy without the thought going into what needs to be done to be 100% sure.

  2. I should have sat down and logically walked through this, pretending I had no knowledge. That would have resolved having redundant riddles as is the case with the first and second riddles as explained below.

For instance...

A long due south you'll find my face, just short of north,

just half way to my place, a new day will come forth

Puzzle two from puzzle one, hope you're keeping up,
Don't think in 12's but 24's, or you'll get tripped up.

Forward unto dawn, you will see a bright halo
brightest in the heavens, you'll see fiery day-glo.

Two plus one is three, as every school child knows,
Solving me is easy, as far as puzzles go.

The answer to the first riddle should have been a time on a clock, 12am. The host suggests converting to 24 hour time. The second riddle was supposed to give you another number in addition to a direction, as directed by the third riddle. Unfortunately, I gave away too much in the second riddle, providing, in essence, the whole firing solution, making this waaaay too easy to figure out and making the first and third riddles mostly redundant.

  1. A last minute change had to be made due to inadequate research. I thought I knew the game. In the future I'll need to make sure I know and make sure it makes more sense.

Originally, the grid coordinate was going to be in the teens, but I didn't research the board well enough to know it's only 10x10! I should have spent a little more time making sure the number in the grid didn't match the clock face so much.

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  • $\begingroup$ ^vote with a note: This answer looks like a great candidate to be presented as a "wrap-up," as described at Wrap-up posts: What should the formal part of it contain? and being experimented with at Sample commentaries on puzzle creation. $\endgroup$ – humn Sep 16 '16 at 19:27
  • $\begingroup$ Possibly. But I'm so new to this, not sure I could even do those justice with this one. If I were to give it a go, I'm not sure where the wrap-up gets posted. $\endgroup$ – Steve Mangiameli Sep 16 '16 at 19:31
  • $\begingroup$ Wrap-ups are already being posted with their puzzles, so all it would take is to add a header here, not to move it anywhere. The text you can revise if/when you'd care to. $\endgroup$ – humn Sep 16 '16 at 19:33
  • $\begingroup$ But where are they being posted? That's what I'm trying to figure out. And then what do I do with this answer? Remove it? Leave it? Direct the curious to the wrap-up? $\endgroup$ – Steve Mangiameli Sep 16 '16 at 19:33
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    $\begingroup$ (If I don't mention it someone else will: Such an original and multifaceted puzzle usually takes more than a day or two to be noticeably appreciated, and some, like me, really enjoy working quietly on less trendy puzzles over the course of days and longer. I think this puzzle has lasting value and you will be surprised by occasional votes of approval for months to come.) $\endgroup$ – humn Sep 16 '16 at 19:53
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I believe the answer is

E1

Forward unto dawn, you will see a bright halo
brightest in the heavens, you'll see fiery day-glo.

I believe represents the compass heading East, for E

Now think of two and a rose, you'll need a part of me,
But only one and not three, I will be your pre

Before two I will go, if you want to stay alive,

I believe this represents represents row one.

The possibility space was narrowed by looking at the pattern, and discovering the 7 locations an additional ship-piece could be:

E1, D2, F2, D5, E6, F7, G8


Or perhaps, treating each part of the riddle as describing a single ship:

A long due south you'll find my face, just short of north,
just half way to my place, a new day will come forth

This could be referencing the Carrier the long, facing south, just shy of the north border. Halfway to the place a new day comes forth being a reference to an east facing ship.

Forward unto dawn, you will see a bright halo
brightest in the heavens, you'll see fiery day-glo.

And this is that east-facing ship, the Destroyer, because that's the only ship that fits.

Two plus one is three, as every school child knows,
Solving me is easy, as far as puzzles go.

This represents one of the three-length ships, probably the F ship. We know it's vertical, but don't know its facing,

Now think of two and a rose, you'll need a part of me,
But only one and not three, I will be your pre

I don't understand this one fully, it looks like it's describing Two Rows, which could mean the Battleship and other 3-ship next to eachother, which matches the picture... but they're arranged in columns, not rows. the one prefixing the not-3 could be the Destroyer in front of the Battleship? Meaning these ships are facing north?

Before two I will go, if you want to stay alive,
Hurry now, solve it quick, or your end is nigh."

I believe this is telling us which of the two possibilities for the Carrier in E is correct, meaning E1. Coincidentally what I originally guessed looking at only parts of the riddle.

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  • $\begingroup$ You got part of the riddle, but skipped the first two parts. You sir are dead. $\endgroup$ – Steve Mangiameli Sep 15 '16 at 17:12
  • $\begingroup$ How are you getting G8 as a possible? $\endgroup$ – dcfyj Sep 15 '16 at 17:13
  • $\begingroup$ @dcfyj battleship at E2-E5, subs at F and H 4-6, destroyer at F-G3, Carrier from G4-G8 $\endgroup$ – Sconibulus Sep 15 '16 at 17:16
  • $\begingroup$ Ah ok. I see how now. Hadn't thought of doing that. $\endgroup$ – dcfyj Sep 15 '16 at 17:18
  • $\begingroup$ The first riddle is incorrect - it actually has nothing to do with the ships or the direction they face. The second only partially correct and the third is way off. Nice try, but I'm afraid you'll have to die again ;-) $\endgroup$ – Steve Mangiameli Sep 15 '16 at 19:48
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Answer:

E1

Details:

2 hit ship, vertical G7 & G6, 3 hit ship - vertical H6-H5-H4, 3 hit ship - Vertical G5-G4-G3, 4 hit ship F6-F5-F4-F3, 5 hit ship E5-E4-E3-E2-(Final hit) E1. "Only one not three" seemed to be the deciding factor for choosing E1 over E6.

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  • $\begingroup$ Why did you choose this possibility over all the others? $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Sep 15 '16 at 17:28
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    $\begingroup$ You didn't solve any of the riddles. You sir are dead. $\endgroup$ – Steve Mangiameli Sep 15 '16 at 17:30
  • $\begingroup$ " A long due south you'll find my face, just short of north" This made me thing that the ships are all vertical. no mentions of east or west in the riddle itself. (I am terribly new to this, I appreciate the additional questions to pick my brain about understanding how I came to this conclusion). $\endgroup$ – Duck Sep 15 '16 at 17:31
  • $\begingroup$ @SteveMangiameli That is indeed true. $\endgroup$ – Duck Sep 15 '16 at 17:32
  • $\begingroup$ @Duck especially with riddles, but with all puzzles it's good to cite your reasoning completely. With riddles it's customary to cite why each line refers to your answer to invariably prove that your answer is the answer. $\endgroup$ – dcfyj Sep 15 '16 at 17:36

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