Our local used book store is going out of business, and I ran in to pick up another copy of Lord of the Rings. When I picked up a likely copy, a scrap of paper fell out of The Two Towers...I've done my best to reproduce it here: Scrap of Paper

It looks like a puzzle to me...anybody care to take a crack at it?

UPDATE: @Deusovi's solution noted that there is a spelling mistake in the original diagram. For any future solvers, please use the diagram below instead: Updated Scrap of Paper

  • $\begingroup$ Is this actually a true story? Or did you get this puzzle from somewhere else? $\endgroup$ – matt Jun 20 '20 at 19:57
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Nah...just giving the puzzle a little color. I wrote the puzzle. But there might be information that you find useful. $\endgroup$ – Jeremy Dover Jun 20 '20 at 20:11

The symbols around the lower boxes are

Tengwar digits.

enter image description here

These form

two Skyscrapers logic puzzles.

Rules of Skyscrapers (for a 7×7 grid): Place a number from 1 to 7 in each cell. Every row and column must have all digits from 1 to 7 exactly once. These numbers represent buildings of that many stories; outside clues count how many buildings an observer looking at that row or column could see. Higher numbers block sight of lower numbers.

The solutions to that part:

enter image description here

These solutions have an interesting property:

every possible pair of digits is used exactly once. These can be used as coordinates for the grid of runes: the first is the row, and the second is the column. The runes, transliterated, spell a message:

enter image description here
"Hero of Pellenor [sic] facing down despair? Yes and no."

And finally,

this is a cryptic crossword clue. The definition is "Hero of Pelennor"; "facing down" is an indicator to reverse the next component, and "despair" is WOE. "Yes and no" are Y and N; together, these make EOWYN, the person who killed the Witch-King at the Battle of Pelennor.

  • $\begingroup$ Nice going! It looks to me like what you have there is a question AND it's answer straight afterwards - I don't think you need to try and get that question mark to the end, you probably just need to work out the cipher and both the question and its answer will fall into place... $\endgroup$ – Stiv Jun 20 '20 at 23:25
  • $\begingroup$ Hang on, rot13(Vafgrnq bs neenatvat gur eharf vagb 1-1 gb 7-7 beqre, unir lbh gevrq whfg znxvat n tevq bs cnvef naq fhofgvghgvat gur eryrinag eharf va cynpr? v.r. cheryl erneenatvat gur vavgvny tevq gb zngpu gur cnverq neenatrzrag?) $\endgroup$ – Stiv Jun 20 '20 at 23:31
  • $\begingroup$ @Stiv I'm not sure what you mean by that exactly. Do you mean using the pairs as coordinates for the top grid? Ah, I didn't try that earlier because there are multiple ways you can do it, but I think you might be right. One second... $\endgroup$ – Deusovi Jun 20 '20 at 23:42
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Stiv Alright, that was it! Thanks for the suggestion - I had originally stayed away from that because there were multiple ways to use coordinates to index into the grid, but the first thing I tried worked. $\endgroup$ – Deusovi Jun 20 '20 at 23:55
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ GAH! I re-checked everything, except the spelling of rot13(Cryraabe)...thanks for picking it up! Awesome job, and excellent teamwork with @Stiv! I hope you figured out why this puzzle was stored in The Two Towers, versus the other two books of the trilogy :-) $\endgroup$ – Jeremy Dover Jun 21 '20 at 1:37

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.