I want to share one more chapter of the puzzle crime story I make for my website. All of the information for solving this puzzle is contained in the text and the image below. As usual, any feedback will be highly appreciated. Thanks!

In the moment Sanders entered the hut, the electricity inside got turned on. A bulb lightened up the small room and revealed a man in a cage, desperately trying to escape. The man looked at the detective and said:

"You should be Sanders? Some crazy man kidnapped me and locked me here. He said that once you enter, you have exactly 13 minutes to set me free. After that the entire place will blow up. Please hurry, we need to figure out the correct 4-digit combination which unlocks the safe over there. The key which opens my cage is inside."

Sanders listened carefully, tried to calm the person down to best of his abilities, then started examining the room. He could see Teddy's peculiarities all around - a pair of mismatching shoes on the ground, a picture flipped upside down on the wall, three old electronic clocks, negligently thrown around... He noticed that even though the clocks were functional, all of them were few hours wrong, and also 15 of their segments were not working. The detective wondered for a moment why Teddy would even keep such useless items, then focused his attention on the safe.

enter image description here

Sanders spent the next few minutes trying to figure out the correct combination for the safe. Time was running out quickly, and he was getting more and more anxious. Suddenly, with just 2 minutes remaining on the clock, an insight hit him. He entered a 4-digit number and the safe cracked open.

  • $\begingroup$ Do we know if Teddy would be more likely to use 24 hour or 12 hour time? $\endgroup$
    – Morgan G
    Aug 17, 2017 at 21:01
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    $\begingroup$ @AimanAl-Eryani Probably I should have explained that better. Yes - this is what the detective saw when he entered the hut, and also he concluded himself that 15 segments were not working (the last part should not influence the solution though). $\endgroup$ Aug 18, 2017 at 14:58
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    $\begingroup$ @AimanAl-Eryani Thanks, the website is puzzleprime.com. I mostly add interesting things I find around on the net, but once in a while also make something original. $\endgroup$ Aug 18, 2017 at 15:14
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    $\begingroup$ Comment not on the puzzle, but the storyline. Based on accepted solution, if the clocks come on when "the electricity inside got turned on", these aren't clocks. With non-battery backup clocks the time would show 12:00 because it lost power. If they are battery backup clocks, they would hold the time based on when they were set. Suggested change: The detective happens to arrive 13 minutes before noon (shown on a correctly working analog clock on the wall, or per the detectives own meticulously accurate watch) and the prisoner states the villain told him the bomb would explode at noon. $\endgroup$ Aug 18, 2017 at 15:45
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    $\begingroup$ Minor grammar correction: lightened --> lit $\endgroup$
    – jpmc26
    Aug 19, 2017 at 7:13

2 Answers 2


I think the code is:


I started by figuring out which of the segments were broken. To do this, I used the following rules:

1) The first number on each clock has to be a 1 or a 0. If it was most of a 0, that meant the rest of it had to be filled in.
2) The third number on each clock has to be less than 6. This meant that, even though there were multiple possible numbers that could come from some of the partial numbers, there was only one that worked.
3) After those, I filled in numbers that could only be one other thing. There were only a couple pieces left at this point, so there weren't too many possibilities.

Using those rules, I found that the times on the clocks were:

09:57, 06:55, and 10:28.
Adding 11 minutes, the times become
10:08, 07:06, and 10:39

This means that, 11 minutes into the escape, taking broken lines into account, the clocks would look like:

Clocks after 11 min

Flipping the last clock back over, to what Sanders would see, we get:

Last clock flipped over

With 2 minutes left, Sanders reads the code, as clear as day:

ONE-NINE-TEN, or 1910

Also, props for the amazing artwork! I look forward to seeing where Sanders' story goes from here!

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    $\begingroup$ What is the importance of 11 minutes? $\endgroup$
    – Reti43
    Aug 18, 2017 at 8:49
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    $\begingroup$ @Reti43 From the question, when entering the room, they had 13 minutes left. In the final paragraph, he discovers the code with 2 minutes left. Therefore, he discovers the code after 11 minutes. $\endgroup$
    – Apep
    Aug 18, 2017 at 10:25
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    $\begingroup$ Ah, of course! Somehow I didn't notice the quoted text after the image, as I immediately started looking for clues. It blended so well with the pink floor. $\endgroup$
    – Reti43
    Aug 18, 2017 at 10:45
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    $\begingroup$ Thank you for providing such great explanation. The artwork was made by a lovely girl I found on Fiverr, this is her behance profile. behance.net/katerina15b82c $\endgroup$ Aug 18, 2017 at 14:53
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    $\begingroup$ Might also add that the criminal is likely the man on the framed picture holding the cross - evident by the by the carpet that says "Faith" and the mismatched shoes that are on the ground and that the guy on the picture is wearing. $\endgroup$ Aug 18, 2017 at 15:12

I might be way off, but this is what I got:

The code is 1059.

First of all, it is mentioned that Sanders has observed that the clocks are a few hours apart. So, the minutes part of the clocks are the same. It is only the hours part that is different. Also, as Sanders can look at the clocks from upclose he knows the exact number of segments that are not working, which is 15.

With 15 segments that are not working we can have the following times on the clocks possible: 09:59 on the first clock, 06:59 on the second clock, and 08:28(non matching minutes) on the third clock. But as the third clock is inverted and taking cue from the inverted picture we might consider the time on the third clock to be inverted. So, for the third clock the inverted time is 10:59(after keeping the number of non working segments to be still 15). Now, we also have matching minutes on all three clocks. Why does 1059 be the code? My wild guess -> 10:59 + 13 minutes = 11:11. The bomb might explode when there are four 1's on the clock(bomb runs on binary, so four 1's detonate it).

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    $\begingroup$ Except... 10:59 + 13 minutes is 11:12, which is some weird binary to me. $\endgroup$
    – Patrice
    Aug 18, 2017 at 12:24
  • $\begingroup$ Unfortunately this is not the intended answer, but there are some very interesting ideas here:) $\endgroup$ Aug 18, 2017 at 14:54

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