Having solved the complaint at the PSE lounge, I leave the lounge and see a door I haven't noticed before. The door has a large sign. At the top it has a rhyme:

Rotations are red
Or are they blue?
One or the other
The choice, it is two

Are there no ends to rhymes in this place? Apparently not, as this is followed by another one:

Mostly a clue, is but a clue
One will just hint, what we should do
Rare is the need
Such more than lead
Exceptions occur, but they are few

Hmm. Pretty bad rhyme if you ask me.

Below this travesty is a picture:

enter image description here

Seems to be abstract. Nice colors, though.

Under the picture is the sentence: Beware crimson pisces. I'm guessing they meant "pieces"?

At the bottom of the sign it says

FA: 9,7,7

Some kind of code?

Out of curiosity I try the door handle. Unfortunately, nothing happens. Seems the bloody thing is locked.

Can you help?

What does the sign say?

Hint 1

What sort of rotations are used on a daily basis here?

Hint 2

Another word for root is base.

Hint 3

The colors of the figures in the picture are a diversion. They could be any color.

Hint 4

Rainbow colors. RotRed, RotBlue

Hint 5 (final hint if there is no response ;-))

The meaning of the "code" at the bottom of the sign should be clear for anyone who has tried a Density™ puzzle.

Hint 6

Each row of the top figures and each row of the bottom figures, is a letter.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ I'm not good with ciphers, but I see that the acrostic says root and morse. $\endgroup$
    – Dooper
    Commented Apr 22, 2020 at 22:34
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Also (maybe a stretch) I can make out some numbers if you turn the sign upsidedown. $\endgroup$
    – Dooper
    Commented Apr 22, 2020 at 22:36
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ With 241 views so far, rest assured people are looking at this puzzle. It's just very hard to know where to begin! Clearly we are expected to do something with the image and that's most likely the way to begin, but right now it's not clear to me - even with the clues - what exactly I should be doing with it! :) $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Commented Apr 29, 2020 at 9:31
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Okay, I've had a few ideas finally - nothing coming up gold yet, but working on it at least! $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Commented Apr 29, 2020 at 20:39
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Stiv Glad to hear it! It's funny how hard it can be to judge the difficulty of one's own puzzle. :) $\endgroup$
    – Jens
    Commented Apr 29, 2020 at 21:22

1 Answer 1


The final answer is:


This fits, as the text at the bottom of the sign that reads "FA: 9,7,7" represents FINAL ANSWER: 9,7,7 where the 9 and two 7's represent the lengths of the words which make it up.

To solve this, first consider the two poems. These provide some clues as to what is expected of us. Most notably:

1. In poem 1, the use of "the choice, it is two" conjures up the idea of binary. This is further emphasised by its acrostic spelling 'ROOT', which is a synonym of 'BASE' and suggests we should be looking at arithmetic in some base or other - binary is base 2.

2. In poem 2, the acrostic spells 'MORSE', which suggests we should also be utilising Morse code somehow.

3. Furthermore (coupled with the hints), the talk of 'Rotations' in poem 1 suggests the use of a Caesar shift at some point (like PSE's favourite, rot-13). Plus the emphasis on the colours 'red' and 'blue' indicate we may end up using their positions in the rainbow - 1 and 5, respectively.

Turning to the top half of the diagram:

If we ignore the colours altogether (a 'crimson pisces' - or 'red herring' - perhaps!) and realise that the black line separating them should also be considered an important part of the puzzle, then we have 7 rows of 5 (binary) bits. If we treat the coloured cells as 1's and the black cells as 0's, we see the binary numbers:
01000 / 01011 / 11010 / 10010 / 10010 / 00010 / 00010

Converting these to decimal, we get:
8 / 11 / 26 / 18 / 18 / 2 / 2

Converting these to A1Z26, we now get:

We'll come back to this later...

Now for the bottom half of the diagram:

Again ignore the red-herring colours, and notice that we have 7 rows comprising a combination of 1-cells and 3-cells. Since a Morse code dash is 3 times the length of a dot, this suggests this is where the Morse comes in. The diagram now translates to:
-. / ..- / --. / --.. / .--. / ..- / -.-

These are equivalent to the letters:

We now have two strings of letters - what do we do with them?

Well, recall the talk of 'rotations' from earlier, and the fact we have not yet used our colours and their rainbow positions... If we apply rot-1 ("rot-Red", perhaps) to the first and rot-5 ("rot-Blue") to the second, our strings become:

HKZRRBB -- (rot-1) --> ILASSCC
NUGZPUK -- (rot-5) --> SZLEUZP

Using the tag means these will rearrange to:

CLASSIC and PUZZLES, which conveniently fits two of the 7-letter words we expect to find in the final solution (which, recall, has format 9,7,7).

Lastly then, to find the remaining 9-letter word, note that we already had a set of 9 letters that might be 'anagrammable' - the two acrostics: ROOT and MORSE. These conveniently anagram to STOREROOM - and a storeroom of classic puzzles could very well be an appropriate room to lie beyond the PSE lounge!

  • $\begingroup$ Congratulations! I was close to abandoning this puzzle so I'm glad it was finally solved! Must admit I didn't expect it to require so many hints. I introduced the "crimson pisces" because the puzzle seemed too obvious otherwise! Mea culpa. BTW, the point of the second poem, aside from its acrostic, was to hint that the two acrostic clues, were more than clues, i.e. they were part of the answer. Anyway, well done! $\endgroup$
    – Jens
    Commented Apr 30, 2020 at 23:10

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