On a walk through the Aelordern forest, a young man found a small brass compass on the ground next to the overgrown forest trail he was strolling on. He opened it eagerly and admired the elaborate engravings on the lid, only to notice that the compass point was spinning. It would turn to one of the four cardinal points, pause, and continue to another point. Sometimes there would be a longer pause than usual. He soon realized that the needle's movement was in a pattern, bounded by an even longer pause. When he got home, he quickly wrote down the pattern:

south, east, north, north, south, west, west, north, east, south, south, east, north, west, south, west, north, east, north

He wrote the brief pauses in normal script and the medium pauses in a heavy script, and, as mentioned before, used the long pause to determine the beginning and end of the pattern.

What was the compass pattern describing?

  • $\begingroup$ Just one question, How did he distinguish the pauses between two norths? He should've recorded one north with a longer pause. $\endgroup$ Jun 19, 2019 at 12:24
  • $\begingroup$ @SmarthBansal it spun around 360 degrees. The story, by the way, isn't that important to the solution. $\endgroup$
    – Brandon_J
    Jun 19, 2019 at 12:31
  • $\begingroup$ It could be a morse code - but than why four state? Looks like something related to a weather cycle? Related to religious? Chinese year cycle? $\endgroup$
    – Moti
    Jun 19, 2019 at 15:38
  • $\begingroup$ Which way is the needle spinning? Clockwise? $\endgroup$ Jun 19, 2019 at 18:31
  • $\begingroup$ @zeethreepio doesn't matter. $\endgroup$
    – Brandon_J
    Jun 19, 2019 at 20:18

1 Answer 1


It's the directions you run when the cops are chasing you, a.k.a.

A magic square

The way you get this:

Start at the center of a 3x3 board. Travel in the direction given, and if the word was bold, write the next number (1, 2, ...). The square you end up with is
4 9 2
3 5 7
8 1 6

(Sorry if my formatting sucks, I'm still new to this site!)

  • $\begingroup$ Great formatting and great answer! $\endgroup$
    – Brandon_J
    Jun 19, 2019 at 20:19

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