# The Ooh-Aah Cryptic Maze

As you come to consciousness, your first thought is not of the cold stone floor beneath you, nor of the skull-adorned torches hanging on the walls.
ugh... I stayed up too late on PSE last night... My brain's a little fried.
'I see you're finally awake.'
With a start, you leap to your feet and look around for the source of the voice, finally getting a gauge of your surroundings.
Uh oh.
'Welcome to my MAZE OF DOOM! Also known as the Ooh-Aah Cryptic Maze, but we all know which one sounds more intimidating.'
The room is small, with a 6x6 tiling of large stone slabs on the floor. You quickly note that there is no door.
'You had a little sleep, so I took the liberty of putting you in the north-west corner of the room. At least that corner is safe!'
There's a speaker attached to the ceiling, causing your captor's voice to echo throughout the room.
'Anyway. Enough chitchat. I've made you a little test. To escape this dungeon, you have to find a correct path to the magic tile, and say the magic password. What's that? You want to know which tile it is? Too bad. Also, stepping on a wrong tile will lead to immediate DOOM!'
This is totally unfair!
'Here's some cryptics which could guide you to safety. Good luck...'
You notice a piece of paper wrapped around the handle of a torch right next to you, and you carefully peel it off. It reads:

Here are six cryptics to guide you through.
The password might be ne ws to you.
The clues aren't ordered, though, so,
Any ooh-aah, go!

Parses dysfunctional extras.
Vehicle decay is orange.
Sounds like grace upon toxin.
Messy rats begin Abraham Lincoln's cosmically related business.
Female birch, Australian Pine.
Layout inappropriate expenditure.

Confused, you look around for an extra clue, and you notice a faint 'A' marked in the tile you woke up on.

(Have a visual representation)

What is the correct route to the magic tile, and what is the magic password?

EDIT: I had to flip the dungeon orientation vertically. Sorry for any inconveniences this might have caused.

EDIT: And I flipped it back to the original orientation, because that was actually correct in the first place. Whoops! It's all good now :)

• I assume the space between ne and ws in news isn't a typo? Relevant, maybe? – MildlyMilquetoast Jan 8 '17 at 6:30

The cryptic clues:

Parses dysfunctional extras.

SPARES
Anagram ("dyfunctional") of "Parses", def: "extras"

Vehicle decay is orange.

CARROT
CAR+ROT ("Vehicle decay"), def: "is orange"

Sounds like grace upon toxin.

POISON
Homophone ("Sounds like") of "poise on" ("grace upon"), def: "toxin"

Messy rats begin Abraham Lincoln's cosmically related business.

ASTRAL (@Will)
ASTR (anagram ("Messy") of "rats") + AL ("begin Abraham Lincoln's), def: "cosmically related business"

Female birch, Australian Pine.

SHEOAK (@Will)
"She"-"oak" ("Female birch"), def: "Australian Pine"

Layout inappropriate expenditure.

OUTLAY
Anagram ("inappropriate") of "Layout", def: "expenditure"

We can arrange these answers in the grid

so that the diagonal starting from the south-west square going north-east (clued by "ne ws") spells the word SPIRAL. (Thanks @MOehm for pointing this out)

A S T R A L
O U T L A Y
C A R R O T
P O I S O N
S P A R E S
S H E O A K

Now, notice that

starting from the A in the top left, the vowels trace out a single path:

A s t r A l
O U t l A y
c A r r O t
p O I s O n
s p A r E s
s h E O A k

Critically,

the last four letters are OOAA, and the title verifies that this is the correct solution.

Therefore,

The magic tile is the second A in the top row (second from the right), the correct path is along the vowels, and the password is "spiral".

• (psst: you can fit the words into the grid but I'm not sure how) – greenturtle3141 Jan 8 '17 at 4:28
• @greenturtle3141 :) ... – TheGreatEscaper Jan 8 '17 at 4:32
• The password might be hiding diagonally. – Techidiot Jan 8 '17 at 6:25
• @Techidiot: The solutions can be rearranged to spell SPIRAL diagonally left to right. – M Oehm Jan 8 '17 at 7:00
• (I've changed the markup for the second maze with the path, but I'm not convinced it is better. Feel free to roll back. Perhaps working with small and capital letters will make the path stand out better?) – M Oehm Jan 8 '17 at 7:41