I found a large 4-page maze that I made a while back. Made entirely with pen and grid paper.

picture of maze

Here's a digitally scanned and cleaned-up version

digitally edited maze

Your goal is to find a path from the start to the finish, picking up the key along the way.

  • $\begingroup$ Do the colors mean anything in particular? Or are those the keys? $\endgroup$ – Chipster Jul 1 '20 at 3:23
  • $\begingroup$ @Chipster the colours look like "portals" to me. $\endgroup$ – anon_user Jul 1 '20 at 4:42

Following the illustrated paths:

We can go:

Start to Green
Green to Purple
Purple to Key
Key to Purple
Purple to Green
Green to Blue
Blue to Yellow
Yellow to Finish


While this maze is already well solved by Avi and (alternatively) pfg it also provides an excellent example for demonstrating a general solving technique of highlighting some walls in order to divide a maze into sections. Here are some good places to begin highlighting this maze.

Normally each of these beginnings would be highlighted much further before moving on to the next one, culminating with a partitioning into outlined sections with narrow entries and exits.

On this maze these highlit-walled-off sections first make clear how to reach the Key (black dot), working backward from it.

• The Key is in a section shared only with a Purple portal.
• The other Purple portal is in a section shared only with Green portal.
• The other Green portal can be reached from Start.

Then it is clear how to reach Finish, working backward from there.

Finish is in a section shared only with a Yellow portal.
• The other Yellow portal is in a section shared with Red and Blue portals.
• The other Blue portal is in the Green portal’s section accessible from Start.

Note that a shorter path from Start to Finish is revealed as well that uses Red and Yellow portals but fails to visit the Key.

Some benefits of highlighting maze walls

  • Highlighting any medium-length or long winding wall is useful. Interesting branch points along the way may be marked with thick dots that are easy to find and continue from later.

  • No need for erasing. Highlighted walls can only help, as long as highlighting is judiciously discontinued in any area that begins to form a thicket of highlights, in which case the result still causes no harm.

  • It is surprisingly easy to scan fairly far ahead before deciding to highlight a specific portion of wall.

  • Highlighted walls break up a large maze into smaller mazes that are each easier to solve.

  • Highlighting a wall is a stress-free way, with no chance of mistakes, to explore and annotate a maze.

  • Walls reveal much of the methodology behind a maze’s construction.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Excellent explaination! Yes this was exactly the first step I did while creating this maze. The sections were intentionally made to be oddly-shaped, to make the maze more difficult $\endgroup$ – thesilican Jul 20 '20 at 21:37
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    $\begingroup$ Thank you making such a fun large maze to analyze, @MrSiliconGuy , with enclosed sections and by hand! I especially appreciate the tempting red (herring) portal, the way the green-portal sections intertwine to interfere with each other, and the vast blue-red-yellow portal wilderness covering most of the left side. So much variety. I also appreciate the trouble you took to align the picture, making clean highlights easy to plot. I've been looking forward for years to finding a good maze for markup. $\endgroup$ – humn Jul 20 '20 at 22:00
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    $\begingroup$ An excellent answer, worthy of publication in the Wall Street Journal. $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Jul 21 '20 at 7:12
  • $\begingroup$ Hahaa, @Rand al'Thor, they'd have to change their name to Wall Path Journal $\endgroup$ – humn Jul 21 '20 at 16:17
  • $\begingroup$ @humn The red portal is not a red herring though - it presents an alternative (and shorter) path out! S -> R -> Y -> Exit! $\endgroup$ – rinspy Jul 22 '20 at 9:21

Another solution, unless I missed a wall somewhere (follow the red path, ignore the yellow)



Start → Green
Green → Pink
Pink → Key
Key → Pink (backwards)
Pink → Green (backwards)
Green → Red
Red → Yellow
Yellow → Exit

  • $\begingroup$ Hmm looks like there was probably a mistake in the scanning, because there should've been only one correct solution to the maze... $\endgroup$ – thesilican Jul 21 '20 at 15:02
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    $\begingroup$ Nice find, pfg! I should mention your alternative solution in my nonsolution. @MrSiliconGuy , i did notice what might be a partly-darkened construction line (click for image) that would indeed isolate the upper Red portal. If something like that is what happened you could mention it as a postscript in the puzzle statement and perhaps even credit pfg for finding an unintended solution. I, for one, enjoy how tidbits about construction and surprises add to a puzzle's personality. $\endgroup$ – humn Jul 21 '20 at 16:04
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    $\begingroup$ @humn if you zoom in to the same location on the original photo of the map, the line is clearly there. It looks like it didn't scan very well initially, especially near the joins of the pages, and lines had to be re-drawn afterwards, with that one missed. $\endgroup$ – Steve Jul 30 '20 at 10:27
  • $\begingroup$ You solved the mystery of the unintended solution, @Steve , good one! (I'll write a quick comment to let MrSiliconGuy know.) $\endgroup$ – humn Jul 30 '20 at 10:39
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    $\begingroup$ Hello again, @MrSiliconGuy , in case you don't already know, Steve solved the mystery of the unintended solution in the comment above $\endgroup$ – humn Jul 30 '20 at 10:42

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