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My acquaintanceship with Mortin Myes' began in college, where I admired his minimalist artwork - we parted ways amicably within a few years of meeting, and as I went on with my life, I wondered what had become of his. An eccentric fellow, he never quite became a household name. Indeed, he was barely known in his hometown.

It was a few months ago that I read the most peculiar thing in the newspaper - Mortin Myes' was the featured artist at the local gallery. Needless to say, I made some time to visit.

The paintings were split into groups, and each group was strangely referred to as a 'cryptic gallery'. I don't think their artistic worth was appreciated much by any other gallery-goer, but knowing Mortin's unusual tendencies, I took down some notes on each set of paintings to see if I could make head or tails of any of his work.

Below is my humble Microsoft Publisher replication of 'Cryptic Gallery 1'. Actually, it's a not-quite replication. Cryptic Gallery 1 consisted of three paintings - two shown below, and a third, very different in style to these two. I've since worked out that these first two paintings in fact describe the content of the third, so I've left that one out! The puzzle for you is - what rare object has Mortin depicted in the third painting?

I don't consider this first gallery to be particularly difficult, but I hope you enjoy this little puzzle that Mortin has made.

1.1

1.2

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  • $\begingroup$ Is the apostrophe at the end of his name intentional? $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Dec 10 '16 at 21:03
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    $\begingroup$ He added an apostrophe to his surname, don't ask me why... $\endgroup$ – TheGreatEscaper Dec 10 '16 at 21:21
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The second painting is a grid with holes. Place it over the first and rotate it several times to get the following:

??


For the first picture, read the letters from top to down, left to right. For the second, turn it upside down and do the same. The third needs to be rotated 90 degrees counter clockwise, the the fourth needs to be rotated clockwise. Reading the letters, we get the message: THE CODE WORDS ARE HIDDEN FROM CORNER TO CORNER.

Now,

Read the diagonals of the first painting, which say: CRIMSON DIAMOND. I believe this is the description of the third painting.

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    $\begingroup$ Argh, beat me to it! Nicely done, and nice puzzle @TheGreatEscaper; +1 to both. $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Dec 10 '16 at 21:02
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    $\begingroup$ Nice! That is indeed the answer :) The orientation of the numbers on the frame of the first painting tell you how the visible letters should be read, but it's not really necessary to notice that. I hope you enjoyed the puzzle! $\endgroup$ – TheGreatEscaper Dec 10 '16 at 21:19
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Partial answer

Firstly, just for ease of reference, here's a text representation of the first artwork:

N E R D T T D
D O H O O I E
C C S H A O N
N O C M D R E
W E O R I R F
E N O A M R E
D R S R D . C

Now three of the edges have the numbers 2, 3, 4 on them. Taking the fourth side (presumably number 1) as the 'top', i.e. turning the whole square upside down, we find:

C . D R S R D
E R M A O N E
F R I R O E W
E R D M C O N
N O A H S C C
E I O O H O D
D T T D R E N

Superimposing the second artwork onto this, and selecting only the letters corresponding to the black squares, we get:

ROWEDOCEHT

Reading this backwards, we find

THE CODE WOR...

... clearly the first part of a message!


greenturtle3141 has successfully finished the solution of this puzzle, but I just thought I'd add the rest of my thoughts, to show how much progress I'd made before seeing their solution.

Following the numbers around from the absent 1 to the 2 on the right-hand side, I tried rotating the first artwork again so that the right-hand side was at the top:

D E N E F E C
T I O R R R .
T O A D I M D
D O H M R A R
R H S C O O S 
E O C O E N R
N D C N W E D

Superimposing the second artwork onto this and reading the letters corresponding to the black squares, we get:

IRDDHASEED

... which doesn't make much sense even when reversed.

Taking the first artwork in its original orientation (with face 3 at the top) and superimposing the second artwork onto it, we find:

OONNCRFEMR

... which again doesn't make much sense however you read it. I tried various anagram techniques, but essentially got stuck at this stage.

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  • $\begingroup$ Nice start! Looks like someone got to the end just a few minutes after ya, hope you had fun with the puzzle anyway :) $\endgroup$ – TheGreatEscaper Dec 10 '16 at 21:23
  • $\begingroup$ @TheGreatEscaper Definitely! Looking forward to Cryptic Gallery 2 :-) $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Dec 10 '16 at 21:32
  • $\begingroup$ The 1 isn't absent at all - it's the I in CRYPTIC. $\endgroup$ – Deusovi Dec 10 '16 at 22:18

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