39
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I...I've just seen something. Something wonderful. Something beautiful. I don't know what it is...I don't have the least idea, to be honest. But, its innate beauty is unmistakable.

$\qquad\qquad\quad$Puzzled

But I don't remember what it was like...I have such a bad memory! And it's troubling me a lot - so much, that I've decided to go there again. This time you will come with me. You will, right?

And oh, you may take this conversion table. I don't know what it's good for...but, you'll need it.

    A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   U   V   W   X   Y   Z
1   t   2   r   v   P   6   a   Q   Z   5   M   s   g   w   i   j   d   x   m   p   1   f   0   G   e   W
2   k   l   d   w   R   U   C   y   t   Q   j   8   0   9   h   z   c   e   p   u   2   X   P   m   F   w
3   2   e   T   Y   h   x   9   Y   U   C   m   d   E   q   t   W   s   u   G   T   I   K   b   x   7   e
4   w   V   Q   9   o   p   d   g   H   M   S   Y   6   b   r   y   5   4   t   q   E   c   4   d   N   M
5   a   v   i   g   r   a   i   l   Q   X   Z   w   d   t   7   d   5   3   x   Y   0   K   J   F   b   s
6   6   w   F   l   c   q   l   K   I   g   T   Y   v   s   Q   Z   a   w   B   j   u   c   r   w   V   Q

So, what are you waiting for? Click on me above, and begin your journey!


It seems like people are stuck with the final part of the puzzle, so here are some hints. Don't look at them if you want to solve the first few parts on your own.

Room specific hints:

  1. "Hey,buddy...": Think steganography. Think rand al'thor.

  2. "I live in...": It might be easier to solve the other parts first and then reverse-engineer this one.

  3. "This will...": Follow the instructions. MOehm has a useful idea in chat, but he's missing something.

  4. "Do this..." and "All you've...": Quite straightforward; think literally.

Overall:

Do you remember anything famously beautiful, that resembles the relative positions of the rooms?

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  • $\begingroup$ Clarification- What do we have to do apart from solving the riddle? $\endgroup$ – Sid Oct 12 '16 at 5:42
  • $\begingroup$ @Sid After solving the riddle, one has to figure out what to do next. (Minor hint: this is sort of an imgur image maze.) $\endgroup$ – Ankoganit Oct 12 '16 at 5:46
  • $\begingroup$ @ArbitraryKangaroo Don't you mean 1073741823? $\endgroup$ – Jonathan Allan Oct 12 '16 at 8:21
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Beautiful riddle indeed $\endgroup$ – oleslaw Oct 14 '16 at 13:14
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I want to have dreams like this :P $\endgroup$ – Beastly Gerbil Oct 15 '16 at 16:19
16
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(OP Edit: This answer solves the final (and crucial) part of the puzzle. For a complete answer, please see BeastyGerbil's answer, which includes the works of BeastlyGerbil, olesaw, MOehm and Xenocacia.)

I feel bad posting this as an answer when other people have done so much of the work, and I'm missing some of the details, but I believe the answer to the final riddle is

Euler's famous mathematical formula $e^{i\pi}+1=0$

which is widely considered

one of the most beautiful things in all pure mathematics. (Clues in that direction: all the talk of beauty and depth, with the suggestion of timelessness in the title's Keats quotation; the graph-paper aesthetic in the pictures, suggestive of mathematics generally and 2-dimensional geometry -- hence complex numbers -- more specifically. Perhaps "my eyes" in the last panel is meant to be a bit of a hint towards $i$.)

Its shape corresponds loosely to that of the building we have been through, and each room's riddly sign clues one part of it.

First room: "Hey, Buddy! Do you really know who I am? No? Alright, I will tell you all about myself. Okay, listen. I am now describing myself, bit by bit. Seriously. I hope you are following me so far? That's great ..."

This describes $e$. The sentences contain successively 2, 7, 1, 8, 2, 8, 1, 8, 2 words, and the decimal expansion of $e$ begins 2.71828182. (Thanks to oleslaw for spotting this; I looked at letters per word but not words per sentence, a longstanding blindspot of mine now I come to think about it.)

Second room: "I live in your imaginations."

$i$ is the canonical imaginary number.

Third room: "This will make your head spin! d"

Clearly something to do with $\pi$, but I confess I'm not sure exactly what beyond the obvious remark that spinning and $\pi$ both have something to do with circular motion. Perhaps the "d" signifies diameter? Or maybe there's something anagrammatical going on ("pi" is contained in "spin", but that may be pure coincidence). M Oehm suggests that perhaps the "!d" at the end is meant to be viewed upside down (having spun one's head) to make "pi". I really hope not, but it's certainly possible.

Fourth room: "Do this if you like this."

"+1", fairly commonly used to mean upvoting or other sorts of approval and Google+'s equivalent of the Facebook "like".

Fifth room: "All that you've seen so far are worth nothing."

"=0". That is, the previous stuff turns out to equal zero.

(I am in no way satisfied with what I've said about room 3 and am still thinking about it.)

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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The first clue is about the number of words in the sentences in the decimal representation. And the "..." means this is not all of them :) $\endgroup$ – oleslaw Oct 14 '16 at 12:50
  • $\begingroup$ Oh, number of words per sentence rather than letters per word. Of course. Will edit, with due credit. $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Oct 14 '16 at 12:51
  • $\begingroup$ This will make your head spin - I believe it is about the circle. $\endgroup$ – oleslaw Oct 14 '16 at 12:52
  • $\begingroup$ An obvious guess, but how exactly and why the d? Just something to do with pi times diameter = circumference? It seems like there should be something more specific here. $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Oct 14 '16 at 12:53
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Bravo! I'd never have gotten that. Now that we know that the 3rd room means π I think you turn "!d" on its head to get "pi". ( I had proposed to turn the d to get a p in chat and Ankoganit has confirmed that I was on the right track but had missed something.) $\endgroup$ – M Oehm Oct 14 '16 at 13:00
14
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Clicking on the picture gives an image with the text


https://i.stack.imgur.com/9jOLj.jpg

It all started with a door. A door I had never seen before. "Where will this door lead me to?", I wondered.

Ere the job, after the day
I am armed but gone astray
Close your eyes and look at me
Dive deep down, what do you see?

The answer must be 5 letters. It is

Dream - The first line refers to the phrases 'Dream job' and 'daydream' ; 'armed' is an anagram of dream - armed astray, you close your eyes to sleep and dream, and it has to be a deep sleep.

Which using the conversion table gives

vxPtg.jpg which is


enter image description here

Assured that my own dreams wouldn't betray me, I stepped in. I found myself in a room. What route did I take next?

Many of us make it a case
It is I that the star does embrace
Stir a stir, put air down street
I go up and down but lack feet

Which is

Stair - Stairs make a 'staircase', 'star' embraces 'I' to get stair, stir (anagram) 'a stir' for stair, put air down street(St.) for stair, they go up and down with no feet.

Which is

pukte.jpg which is this image


enter image description here

The stairs took me above, to another room. Half-noticing the writing on the wall, (I live in your imaginations) I went _____

Coming, I lead; hence, I follow
Find me in scarf or the pillow
Front of the face or top of the head
Call me, hold me, set me. 'Nuff said

@oleslaw got it. It is

Forth - The first line is a reference to the words 'forthcoming' and 'henceforth'. Scarf or the pillow contains the word forth; Front of face +or+top of the head=forth. Call forth, hold forth, set forth.

Which is

xtuTY.jpg which is this image:

enter image description here

The next room looked no different from the other ones, except for the apparent nonsense on the board. Wondering what all these might mean, I went ____.

Be mean, it's just a direction
Bowel moves; it's preposition,
Shake elbow, it's not a noun
All this means: it's diving down.

@oleslaw got this too, it is

BELOW - Be mean=be low; bowel moves to form below, so does elbow, it is a preposition and you go below when diving down.

Which is

VoYr4.jpg which is this image


enter image description here

After I went downstairs, a new room welcomed me. Seeing no other way, I went to the ____.

Some letters of Ron Tomise
Make a party, face or guise.

The answer (from @MOehm) is

Front - of Ron Tomise, is a party in france and can be the front of something.

Which is

a37tY.jpg which is this image:

enter image description here

By now I had become tired of walking, but something told me that the apparent gibberish on the walls conceals something beautiful. But now it was time to say _____.

A promotion, that is, you,
It is heard that it's a due,
To the leavers, it's not new,
Got to go, to say ?????

The answer from @MOehm is

Adieu - it means goodbye.

Which is

6llcu.jpg which is this image

enter image description here

I walked out of the mysterious, dreamy rooms. My journey came to an end. But still, I cannot help wondering what was the thing of beauty that evaded plain sight. I cannot stop thinking there was more to what I saw on the walls.

You've been unexpectedly kind to me so far. Yes, I mean you. You have accompanied me this far, undaunted by the challenges you had to face. Will you do me another favour, by finding out what is the deep truth that eluded my eyes in course of this journey?

So we must look at the signs we've seen through our journey:

The last image shows how the rooms are supposedly ordered. We entered through the far side and came out the near end. I have copied @MOehm's code here:

    -----  -----        
2 3
----- -----
----- ----- -----
1 4 5
----- ----- -----

Here is a list of the signs:

Room 1 - Hey, Buddy! Do you really know who I am? No? Alright, I will tell you all about myself. Okay, listen. I am now describing myself, bit by bit. Seriously. I hope you are following me so far? That's great ...

Room 2 - I live in your imaginations.

Room 3 - This will make your head spin! d

Room 4 - Do this if you like this.

Room 5 - All that you've seen so far are worth nothing.

Well done Gareth for solving this...

It is

Euler's formula - $e^{i\pi}+1=0$

Going through:

1 - $e$ because the sentence contains 2, 7, 1, 8, 2, 8, 1, 8, 2 words, and the decimal expansion of $e$ begins 2.71828182. @oleslaw spotted this

2 - $i$ is the canonical imaginary number.

3 - $!d$ upside down looks like $pi$

4 - on many sites you upvote ($+1$) if you like something

5 - I managed to correctly guess this one, it is $=0$ as that is equal to nothing and everything we have so far is indeed equal to nothing

The final answer is:

$e^{i\pi}+1=0$

and that matches the positions of the rooms in the final image

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  • $\begingroup$ Good start! Mind adding explanations for the lines of the riddle? $\endgroup$ – Ankoganit Oct 12 '16 at 6:43
  • $\begingroup$ Also, keep in mind that the answer to the riddle should answer the question in the accompanying text. $\endgroup$ – Ankoganit Oct 12 '16 at 6:49
  • $\begingroup$ @BeastlyGerbil Probably stair and not steps... (due to staircase).. $\endgroup$ – Sid Oct 12 '16 at 6:56
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @BeastlyGerbil Explanations for the other lines: (3) the first letter of "face", followed by "or", then the first letters of "the" and "head"; (4) replace "me" with the word to get three phrases involving the word. $\endgroup$ – paolo Oct 12 '16 at 10:59
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ It may also be worth mentioning the words "forthcoming" and "henceforth". $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Oct 13 '16 at 17:27
10
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Continuing from oleslaw's answer:

After I went downstairs, a new room welcomed me. Seeing no other way, I went to the ____.

Some letters of Ron Tomise
Make a party, face or guise.

I go to ...

the FRONT,which is hidden in "of Ron Tomise". The Front National is a political party in France, a front can be a face of a building.

This leads us to ...

... the code a37tY.

a37tY

By now I had become tired of walking, but something told me that the apparent gibberish on the walls conceals something beautiful. But now it was time to say _____.

A promotion, that is, you, It is heard that it's a due,
To the leavers, it's not new, Got to go, to say ?????

So I say:

ADIEU. It's a charade of A, D (doctor, a promotion), IE (id est or "that is") and U (homophone of "you"). It also sound a bit like "a due".

The last image has ...

... the code 6lIcu.

6lIcu

I walked out of the mysterious, dreamy rooms. My journey came to an end. But still, I cannot help wondering what was the thing of beauty that evaded plain sight. I cannot stop thinking there was more to what I saw on the walls.

You've been unexpectedly kind to me so far. Yes, I mean you. You have accompanied me this far, undaunted by the challenges you had to face. Will you do me another favour, by finding out what is the deep truth that eluded my eyes in course of this journey?

So there's a final answer that we can find in the journey.

The last image shows how the rooms are arranged. I have entered from the far side and come out through the exit seen in the front:

    -----  -----        
2 3
----- -----
----- ----- -----
1 4 5
----- ----- -----

The signs throughout the journey say:

1 Hey, Buddy! Do you really know who I am? No? Alright, I will tell you all about myself. Okay, listen. I am now describing myself, bit by bit. Seriously. I hope you are following me so far? That's great ...

2 I live in your imaginations.

3 This will make your head spin! d

4 Do this if you like this.

5 All that you've seen so far are worth nothing.

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  • $\begingroup$ Very nice! Just the final part remaining! And BTW, there's a period after "Okay, listen". :) $\endgroup$ – Ankoganit Oct 12 '16 at 8:49
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Fixed. I thought the breadcrumbs were lodged under the "Y" key, but the full stop was affected, too, it seems. (And I can't shake the feeling that your comment is hintish in nature.) $\endgroup$ – M Oehm Oct 12 '16 at 8:54
  • $\begingroup$ @Ankoganit Was that period really necessary? Because, it makes me think of morse code. But, there is no cipher tag... $\endgroup$ – Sid Oct 12 '16 at 8:55
  • $\begingroup$ @Sid Isn't it cipher-like to get the real values of letters from the table anyway? $\endgroup$ – oleslaw Oct 12 '16 at 8:56
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Ankoganit knows how to send the denizens of PSE on a wild goose chase with a single, well-placed comment. :) $\endgroup$ – M Oehm Oct 12 '16 at 8:58
7
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Continuing from Beastly Gerbil's answer:

pukte.jpg which is this image


enter image description here

The stairs took me above, to another room. Half-noticing the writing on the wall, (I live in your imaginations) I went _____

Coming, I lead; hence, I follow
Find me in scarf or the pillow
Front of the face or top of the head
Call me, hold me, set me. 'Nuff said

Which is

I went FORTH
Find me in scarf or the pillow
Front of the face or top of the head = F + OR + TH
All other clues are to make you think of leading, going, calling, setting etc. forth.

Using the table gives

xtuTY.jpg
enter image description here

The next room looked no different from the other ones, except for teh apparent nonsense on teh board. Wondering what all these might mean, I went ____.

Be mean, it's just a direction
Bowel moves; it's preposition,
Shake elbow, it's not a noun
All this means: it's diving down.

And again

I went BELOW
Bowel moves - anagram of below, Shake elbow - another anagram of below
below is a preposition and not noun and it means diving down

Which is

VoYr4.jpg

enter image description here

After I went downstairs, a new room welcomed me. Seeing no other way, I went to the ____.

Some letters of Ron Tomise
Make a party, face or guise.

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  • $\begingroup$ "Front of the face or top of the head" could be interpreted this way: Front of the Face = F + OR + "top of The Head" = TH ? $\endgroup$ – Hunter Oct 12 '16 at 14:07
  • $\begingroup$ @Hunter Thanks for this. I'll add it to the answer. $\endgroup$ – oleslaw Oct 13 '16 at 6:19
3
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Wrap-up: The Making Of A Thing Of Beauty Is A Joy Forever!

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

Caution: This post may contain spoilers.


Inspiration

This puzzle hinges on two main ideas:

  • Using actual words to extract imgur links by means of a look-up table; and
  • Spatial exploration of something abstract like a mathematical equation.

I had been mulling over the first idea for some time. This was a time when the relatively new concept of s was slowly taking shape; and I really liked this idea that allows one to hide several components of a multilayer puzzle in a nice-looking way. However, the fact that we're merely extracting meaningless five-character strings for an otherwise interesting puzzle seemed somewhat unappealing to me. So I decided to give this conversion table thingy a try.

The trick of encoding important information in spatial positions of puzzle components was inspired by humn's excellent puzzle The Case of the Missing Rebus. Following a protagonist in his journey through the components, revealing one scene at a time, sounded interesting. Euler's identity, which often represents mathematical beauty in pop-science, was an obvious choice.

Creation

Now that I had a rough idea of the basic structure of the puzzle, I had to fill in the details. Now I noticed a constraint on this kind of attempt; the answer for each step had to be a five-letter word; what's more, it must have five distinct letters. So for example, AGAIN couldn't be a possible choice since I had no way of guaranteeing that the first and third characters of the imgur address would be the same. After some trial and error, I came up with six answers that could be somehow squeezed into the story:

DREAM, STAIR, FORTH, BELOW, FRONT and ADIEU.

Of course, I had to make a puzzle for each of them. Riddle seemed to be a natural choice, since rhyming riddles fit nicely into the dreamy, poetic theme. Making riddles that specifically pinpoint a particular word (and not any of its synonyms) usually requires some sort of wordplay; Hugh Meyers' brilliant riddles were my guiding examples in this respect.

But, not everyone is Hugh Meyers (which, incidentally anagrams to Huge rhymes), and rhyming is hard. I had zero experience in rhyming, and my first attempts were terrible. After some rather discouraging early attempts, I came up with some moderately decent riddles. Our fellow puzzler dcfyj's suggestions in chat were extremely helpful for me. Thanks, dcfyj!

As for the images, the graph-paper-ish background was chosen to hint at mathematics, and the stick-figure style simply because it's easier to draw :P.

Resources

The images were drawn using a combination of MS-Paint and Adobe Photoshop. Also, I used the xkcd font for the hints on the walls, because they go nicely with the cartoonish feel of the overall 'art'work.

Trivia

Some solvers may have noticed the little rebus-y thing in the last room, just above the door:

enter image description here

This wasn't supposed to be a part of the puzzle. It was entirely based on a whim, and intended to be a silly half hearted easter egg. The idea was to mimic the chinese exit sign and create some sort of visual pun. It didn't come out too well, honestly. Oh well.

Takeaway

I made the clues of the individual elements too obscure. It contained a variety of mostly unrelated clue types, and each one admitted of too many possible interpretation, so the solving process turned out to be heavily luck-dependent. So I learnt a good lesson: always ensure there's a natural solution path!

Also, thanks to my sloppy paint-skills there was an unintentional speck in front of the stickman in the penultimate room, as pointed out by olesaw. But when I noticed it, it was too late to edit. I guess that's another drawback of imgur-mazes in general; editing anything after posting is almost never an option.

That aside, I'm quite happy about the way the puzzle was received, and the fact that it inspired another nice puzzle by olesaw.

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