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A party is being held at a local mansion. The host is very rich and her apparently miraculous success is entirely due to her famous recipe for spaghetti. A friend of yours gatecrashed one of the earlier parties and found where the recipe is hidden - in one of the many wardrobes in the host's bedroom - but he was caught by security before he managed to steal the recipe. Your task is to get into the current party and steal the recipe.

At the entrance to the mansion is a security guard. You know that the only guests that may attend are people who answer his questions correctly, so you hide nearby and listen to the passwords, hoping to guess the pattern.

The first guest arrives, his fingers covered in rings. The guard greets him by name and says "6". The guest replies "5" and is admitted.

The second guest arrives on a sleigh. The guard greets her as an old friend of the host, and says "7". She replies "6" and is admitted.

The third guest comes galloping along on his horse. The guard recognises him, but when he says "5" the guest answers wrongly ("4") and is dragged away by lions. "You should have said '7'," the guard mutters. "That can't have been who I thought it was; must have been his twin brother."

By now you've realised that this time there is a guest list: to be admitted, you need not only to figure out the key to the passwords but also to be recognised by the guard. You creep further away from the entrance, hoping to find someone you can impersonate. As you leave, you hear the guard say "2" to the fourth guest, who says "8" and is admitted.

The mansion is situated very near the sea, and you find the fifth guest arriving on a boat. As he is securing it to a post, you sneak up behind him and stun him. Quickly you dress up in his clothes. You search his pockets in case he's brought written instructions he was given on how to answer the security questions, but you find only

an inkwell, a map of the Hebrides, a box of staples, and a copy of Thomas Hardy's book 'Jude the Obscure'.

Back at the mansion, you walk up to the guard, who takes you for the man you attacked and says "3". What do you reply?

Hint:

You hear music by Gustav Holst coming from inside the mansion. You also notice another entrance where animals are coming to the party; you're lucky you came to the humans' door.

Required methodology (read this if you think you have a very simple answer):

The underlying idea type is the same as that of this question. More explicitly, you need to think of a real-life person (all the pocket items point towards this person) and then use this person's best-known fictional works. So (clues) -> (person) -> (works) -> (answer)! There are also more clues towards these works hidden throughout the story.

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  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Why has somebody voted to close? Is it one of the usual suspects trying to dampen the party spirit? $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Nov 17 '14 at 9:58
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    $\begingroup$ The close vote appears to be because the question is not fully defined and may invite speculative answers. $\endgroup$ – Psychemaster Nov 17 '14 at 10:10
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    $\begingroup$ Some vandal has removed a lot of comments here too, some of which were relevant to the puzzle! $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Nov 18 '14 at 10:40
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    $\begingroup$ If the comments are relevant to the puzzle, they should be edited into the question. $\endgroup$ – Psychemaster Nov 18 '14 at 10:49
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I think the password is

9

and the person in question is

C.S. Lewis

The individual guests have the following hints towards certain aspects of his works

The first guest's rings symbolize the rings used by Digory Kirke and Polly Plummer in The Magician's Nephew. The second guest's sleigh symbolizes the sleigh used by the White Witch in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (assuming since it's a female getting out of the sleigh, although it could also be Santa). The third guest's horse symbolizes the horse in The Horse and His Boy. The fact that they were dragged away by lions can refer to Aslan and the guard mentioning twins points to Shasta/Cor and Corin being twins.

As for further hints in the text

A wardrobe is mentioned as the hiding place of the recipe, as in the wardrobe in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. The animals having their own entrance also alludes to the animals in The Chronicles of Narnia being intelligent and human-like.

The contents of the man who you stunned pockets also point to the individual.

The inkwell, as mentioned by A E, could mean that the person is an author. It could also point to The Inklings, a group which C.S. Lewis was a part of. Lewis writes about both the Hebrides and Gustav Holst (the music that is playing) in his letters. The northern part of the Outer Hebrides is also known as Lewis. The 'S' in C.S. Lewis' name stands for Staples. And the book 'Jude the Obscure' was mainly written by Hardy in the pub The Lamb & Flag, which was also frequented by C.S. Lewis.

As for the numbering of the password

The guard's number is bogus, it doesn't matter what they say. The number that the guest is meant to say is the number of the fictional work, considering that he wrote/published The Pilgrim's Regress and the "Space Trilogy" novels prior to writing and publishing The Chronicles of Narnia. This would mean that the first book of The Chronicles of Narnia would be the fifth overall. The first guest stated "5", and since it was determined that the book they are associated with is The Magician's Nephew, this would mean that the order of the books is in the series' chronological order and not the order that it was published. This is backed up by The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe being second chronologically (6th overall) and The Horse and His Boy being third (7th overall). This would mean that the boat, considering that it's either a major plot point or associated with a key person, would be linked to The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and is the 5th book chronologically and 9th overall.

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    $\begingroup$ Excellent work! I confused things slightly by associating each guest with a particular book - the answer to the guard's number "n" was supposed to be the number of letters in the last word of the title of the nth Narnia book (hence 6->5, 7->6, 5->7, 2->8, 3->3) - but your answer also works, so have a bounty! :-) $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Dec 3 '14 at 11:00
  • $\begingroup$ I've accepted this even though the answer 9 isn't what I was looking for; you got the main point of the question, which is what counts! $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Dec 3 '14 at 15:07
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Likely not the answer but...

You should respond with 4.

Explanation:

Regardless of what the guard asks, you respond with the number corresponding to the number of letter for your transportation.

so...

Guest 1 arrived on a "horse", "5" gets her in (H-O-R-S-E)
Guest 2 arrives on a "sleigh", "6" works (S-L-E-I-G-H)
Guest 3 arrives on a "horse", says "4", should have said "5" (same as the guard)
Guest 4... don't know what "8" corresponds to, but the gatecrasher doesn't see it... maybe by "carriage"? :)
Guest 5 arrives by "boat", should answer "4".

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  • $\begingroup$ Nice idea! +1 from me. But the modes of transport were just supposed to be hints towards the underlying theme, or more like confirmation for anyone who got the right answer. I see now they're actually quite confusing, so I'll edit the question slightly. $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Nov 17 '14 at 9:41
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Could the person be Samuel Johnson?

enter image description here

I can't think of a connection to 'Jude the Obscure' though...

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    $\begingroup$ Nice one! Not the right person, but you're right that all the four pocket items link to a person. Each one gives you a word, and each word is associated with this person. Then once you've found who the person is, how do you proceed? $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Nov 17 '14 at 17:29
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    $\begingroup$ The 'Jude the Obscure' link is slightly ... obscure :-p $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Nov 17 '14 at 17:29
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I believe the password should be...

9

Since...

Each correct answer simply increments by one. It could be the first guest you saw was the fifth to actually enter, and the password is simply the guest #, or maybe the first guest you saw was the first to enter, making the function (guest # + 4).

I suppose, it's possible I just found an unintended pattern, though. Besides, I'm clueless on the disguise as of yet.

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  • $\begingroup$ +1 for spotting an unintended pattern, but have a look at the 'required methodology' paragraph in the question. $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Dec 1 '14 at 16:24

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