# The mysterious equations - Clue Twenty Seven

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A note from @Mithrandir: I have given explicit permission for @Volatility to post this, and gave him the answer to encode. If you want to post one, ping @Mithrandir in chat and we'll talk.

You speak the answer. And of course, a trapdoor opens up and you fall.

You land on something soft, but everything is dark. Then a light flickers on, and you see that you're in a small space. On the far wall is a plaque:

Here's an for you, again. Are you good enough to solve it? You cannot pass until you do, as you very well know...

it != pile_of(rhythms)
jpg == (10**3)*moor
judgement.oz == acuity.noise
[thumb, palm, wren, fingers] == [trees, philosophy, trees]

Hint 1:

Take a look at the paper the puzzle's painted on.

Hint 2:

What's it worth to solve this puzzle?

Edit: Having received feedback from various people that the puzzle was severely underclued, I have decided to modify it to make it (hopefully) more accessible. Apologies to anyone who spent a lot of time on the previous version(s), whose difficulty I grossly underestimated.

Next clue--->

• Disclaimer: I haven't hijacked Mithrandir's "Clue" series; he gave me the desired final solution in private and I constructed a puzzle around it. Commented Jan 18, 2017 at 8:38

Each one has a letter changed from the phrase with worth found by Gareth

First is

A hill of beans -> beaTs

Second is

A thousand words -> Lords EDIT: Actually woLds.

Third is

pound -> Sound of wit

Last is

two -> tAo (actually spelled tau though?) in the bush

Finally

Use the changed letters to spell SALT, EDIT: by taking them in the order of the changed letter in the word. Sound, tAo, woLds, beaTs

• Sorry about the TAO/TAU error; I've edited the puzzle to fix that. Commented Jan 29, 2017 at 2:49

I think I now understand some of what is going on in this puzzle, with Volatility's latest (substantial) edit. Each line points at

a proverb of the form "X is worth Y" (or perhaps "X is not worth Y") with one word changed.

it != pile_of(rhythms)

"It's not worth a hill of beans." (BEANS -> BEATS)

jpg == (10**3)*moor

"A picture is worth a thousand words." (WORDS -> ???WARDS???)

judgement.oz == acuity.noise

"An ounce of judgement is worth a pound of discovery." (POUND -> SOUND)

[thumb, palm, wren, fingers] == [trees, 2*pi, trees]

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. (BUSH -> ???LUSH???)

and now we have two pointers to

the idea of being "worth one's salt": first, all the "X is worth Y" sayings; second, the wrong letters, which I think will end up being those of the word SALT.

However, I'm very unconvinced by

the substitutions that seem to be necessary in the second and fourth lines

so it's extremely possible that I may be barking up a wrong tree here.

[EDITED to add: stacksfiller has a better version of this that actually works, apart from one minor error in the puzzle itself. Go see his answer.]

• There's "An Ounce of Discretion Is Worth a Pound of Wit" for the third. Commented Jan 29, 2017 at 2:26
• That's interesting. If it's right -- and it sounds plausible -- it's hard to square with my crackpot wrong-letter theory. Commented Jan 29, 2017 at 2:33
• Actually, it works well. I posted the full thing in another answer Commented Jan 29, 2017 at 2:34
• (I'm not sure why I thought it didn't fit. Duh.) Commented Jan 29, 2017 at 2:40
• Before this puzzle, I know of only line 2. Guess no one ever runs out of new things to learn. Commented Jan 29, 2017 at 3:56

This looks like a poem to me. As far as I understand:

"Noise of acuity" means a really sharp noise
"Not a pile of rhythms" means the noise doesn't fit into any rhythm
"Ten hundred moors" means we should be able to find it in wastelands
"Two pies in the wild"... I don't know what it means

So we need something whose name makes a sharp noise that is easily discernable since it can't fit in any rhythm. Other than that, no clue.

My best guess would be...

Salt
"Noise of acuity": Salt has only one syllable that is sharp
"Not a pile of rhythms": That syllable is too loud even for Rock music to cover up
"Ten hundred moors": Rock salt can be dug up in any given wasteland
"Two pies in the wild": But since salt can also be acquired by boiling sea water, cooking in the wild shorelines can be as easy as using local animals and salt

• Nice guessing, I suppose, but this is not the intended solving process. There is a far more convincing means to arrive at the answer. Commented Jan 26, 2017 at 21:29
• The reason I solve this as a poetic riddle is that I don't see enough information to tell me otherwise. In fact this puzzle being enigmatic-puzzle means I cannot ask many, if any, questions about the puzzle, but to just try whichever solution i can think of that helps to solve (or solves) it. Commented Jan 28, 2017 at 2:57
• @Volatility As for the intended solution, is it required to explain how the two versions of this puzzle would arrive at same result, just different intermediate steps? Commented Jan 28, 2017 at 3:01
• Just an explanation of the current version will do. The steps are practically the same anyway ;). The (very) stretchy nature of your solution should suggest that the approach probably isn't right. Commented Jan 28, 2017 at 3:23
• I've modified the puzzle to make it more accessible, after receiving feedback that it was insufficiently clued. Sorry for making the puzzle too difficult, and please see the updated version. Commented Jan 29, 2017 at 1:51

After a little spitballing, I came up with an idea for "Archaisms and noblemen":

"Archduke": first four letters of "archaisms" + the noble title "Duke"

This gave me an idea for "Not a pile of rhythms":

Franz Ferdinand: not the British band (a "pile of rhythms") but the actual archduke

This in turn gave me an idea for "The noise of acuity":

"Who": bit of a stretch, but owls are associated with acuity (wisdom, sharpness), owls go "hoo", hoo -> who. The second syllable of "acuity" also kinda sounds like "who".

I can't figure out the second line but I can infer that together, the answers to the four lines spell out the question:

"Who shot/killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand?"

To which I believe, from memory, the answer is

Gavrilo Princip

(I'll check later)

TBH I'll be amazed if this is right, given the piecemeal thought process that went into it, but it seems plausible enough to me.

• Good try, but this isn't correct. (It may also help to know that every solution in the Clue series so far has been an element or cooking ingredient, and this is no different). Commented Jan 20, 2017 at 21:47
• I've modified the puzzle to make it more accessible, after receiving feedback that it was insufficiently clued. Sorry for making the puzzle too difficult, and please see the updated version. Commented Jan 29, 2017 at 1:51
• Looking at the solution, I never would have been able to get this anyway as I've never heard of half those sayings. Thanks for clearing things up anyway, though! Commented Jan 30, 2017 at 14:08