perplex city

Perplex City: Season 1, Cards #033 - #036

Continuing my Perplex City solutations. Spoilers!

  • #033 - Turnabout: "Can" is the question, not "How". This is an age-old and standard puzzler: given items pointing in this direction, can you move a small subset and have them all point in the opposite direction? Perplex City only cares for answer "yes", but to solve it "for realz", take off the three corners of the triangle (so you have a hexagon remaining) and swap sides - the two top corners become the two bottom corners, and the once bottom single becomes the new top single.
  • #034 - Cocktails: I know crap about mixed drinks, even though they're the only sort of alcohol I like. You should see my soul searching when there's a fruity and colorful concoction advertised at the local chain restaurant, but drink gender gets in the way ("Appletinis are girly, tee-hee!", etc.). About the only thing I recognize in this card is a screwdriver: orange juice and vodka. But, the question is a bit tricky: "what is the end result of all of these cocktails added together" could be answered as "another cocktail". Maybe. The actual answer is tongue-in-cheek: the drink names, in order are: Tequila Sunrise, Income Tax (or Inland Revenue, the tax form on the table), Pina Colada, Screwdriver, and Yellow Bird. The first letter of each drink spells out "TIPSY", which is what you'd be if you drank them all. ROFFLE.
  • #035 - Smile: A relatively simple one given enough Google searching: Portrait of The Laughing Man (A) was painted by Ted Blackall in 1993 and matches to (2), Self Portrait by Jean Etienne Liotard (B) to (4), The Laughing Violinist (C) by Gerrit von Honthorst matches to (6), The Laughing Cavalier (D) matches to (5), The Mona Lisa (E) to (1), and the Advertisement for 'Lou' Bras (F) to the remaining (3), which is the only female of the bunch and most likely to wear a bra.
  • #036 - Catcher: My first initial thought was Catcher in the Rye, simply because of the card title, the proximity of Y, R, and E in the center of the card, and the ability to spell SALINGER with some of the remaining letters. This also hints back to stupid childhood paper games: I can't remember the damn name (apparently, it's a "simple flower" in origami, or a "cootie catcher", but "fortune teller" seems to ring more of a bell), but you'd have someone pick a word or number, manipulate the paper that many times, then lift up a flap to find the message. With this card built, reading the outside, then inside, would spell out "childish dreaming".

Perplex City: Season 1, Cards #029 - #032

Continuing my Perplex City solutations. Spoilers!

  • #029 - Beware The Puzzle Monsters: MmMm, puzzle mOOonsters. Four of the six Earth cities were easy (Rome, Oslo, London, and Paris) which initially led me to believe that the odd city out would not be in Europe. Being lovingly Amerikkkan, the last two cities gave me some pause: they're Barcelona (whom I can only recall from the Olympic games) and Stockholm (which, sure, I've heard of, but certainly couldn't tell you anything about). Of those six cities, the correct answer is Barcelona, and apparently because it has four vowels in its name whereas all the others have two. Uh huh. Lame.
  • #030 - End of the Line: No wonder I didn't recognize anything on this card: Gyvann exists only within Perplex City and is "a Cubist prophet and founder of The Brother of the Six". The riddle initially had me thinking of a die -- six faces, power of three, twelve edges, but that didn't fit in with the rest of the clues ("aid the builder, but am not bricks" and "my self is one, divine, holy"). After examining the wiki entry above some more, we see "the first to achieve one-ness with the Cube", and there's definite spiritual significance. Its full name is the "Receda Cube" and that is an acceptable answer.
  • #031 - St. Ives: I've heard something very similar to this before, so checked Wikipedia for "St. Ives", which lead me immediately to the nursery rhyme "As I Was Going to St Ives". The rhyme has a number of possible solutions depending on how you actually interpret it: 1 (the narrator met these folks on their way FROM St Ives, not to), 0 or 1 (the narrator is not of "kits, cats, sacks, and wives" unless, of course, the narrator is, in fact, a wife), 2800 or 2801 (assuming count the sacks as animate objects and/or the husband who isn't included in the list) and so on and so forth. Perplex City accepts 1 as the answer. The cat pictured on the card is Melvin, owned by Mind Candy's graphic designer Olli Leivers.
  • #032 - Cow Cow Cow Cow Cow: Erm. OoOok. Sheep in cow's clothing? Sheep in a cowstack? The solution form just asks "What's the odd one out?" and, nearly as easy as #007 Easy As..., "sheep" is the proper answer. This card refers to the Whipsmart Ice website which, in "Pastures Green", has a single sheep leaning on the fence staring at all the cows. Clicking on him causes him to say something really fast ("bloody clever cows").

Perplex City: Season 1, Cards #025 - #028

Continuing my Perplex City solutations. Spoilers!

  • #025 - Read Between The Lines: This was the first card I ever solved, having been in the booster included with Scrye #100. It seems so simple now when compared with the other pictograms (ideograms? netherregionograms?) that flummoxed me in #003 and #005. The hidden text here says "Blondie Album?" and a quick hop to any music site will show you they had an album entitled "Parallel Lines", the answer to this puzzle.
  • #026 - Paint Factory Explosion: Bah, this card is simple, but time-consuming: just follow the regular ol' ROYGBIV (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet, though there's no "indigo" here - the proper color pattern is also shown in the border of the header) and you'll find the shape, which looks vaguely like a gigantic piece of turd with no relation to anything I've ever seen in my life. That's another name for a half-eaten "apple", with the stereotypical stem and leaf.
  • #027 - Bar None: Nothing incredibly difficult: "vowels in syzygy" (which was also Perplex City's previous name) could be 0 or 3 depending on the "sometimes Y" rule (it was 0), "corners on a cube" is 8, and there are 7 "deadly sins". Initially, I thought "null in German" was similar to "no", which is "nein" (pronounced like "nine"), but I was just being too tricky (the right answer is 0). "Love in tennis" is a score of 0, there are 4 "strings on a violin" and 6 "degrees of separation", the "atomic number of lithium" is 3 along with 4 "horsemen of the apocalypse", 7 "colours of the rainbow" and, to my delight, a "quincunx" refers to the 5 dots on a die, though it originated as a Ancient Roman bronze coin. Violet's phone number is 08700 463475. Calling it (months ago -- it's apparently disconnected now) reveals a personal message from Violet: ("Hello and welcome to Violet's phone. Well, it's not really Violet's phone, did you really think that I'd let Kurt print my *REAL* number on the card? Anyway, if you're that creepy guy from the bar, you're out of luck. Anyone else who wants to contact me can do so at")
  • #028 - Laundered: Another easy one. The message left is annoyingly reversed and reads (punctuation added): "Hi, Garnet. I was in a rush and all the machines were busy so I borrowed yours. Hope you don't mind. Tips. PS Someone left a massage [sic] for you at the office. Think it was Kurt." Tippy, who goes by the nickname of "Tips", ruined Garnet's shirt. I used "Tips" to solve the puzzle on the Perplex City site - not sure if "Tippy" would be acceptable too.

Perplex City: Season 1, Cards #021 - #024

Continuing my Perplex City solutations. Spoilers!

  • #021 - Divide By Three: This only took me a few minutes of dri... thinking (ROFFLE. SEE WHAT I DID THERE? HOoOOoO BooYYY!) Each of the three persons gets 2 full glasses and Person A gets the extra remaining full glass. That leaves 7 half glasses. We'll give Person B two half-glasses (he now has 3 "full" glasses), and do the same for Person C, which leaves us with 3 half-glasses left. Each person receives one of those remaining half glasses. There are a number of other possibilities.
  • #022 - Cold Fission: The name of the poem is The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost. There's some heat-sensitive ink which reveals "The password is YIISTIA" (stick it under a lightbulb or near a candle, as the card picture itself hints at). According to Unfiction, "the password [grants] access to the Wave Three-only pre-order from Firebox on the April 06 release date" when used on Violet's Blog (whose favorite poem this is; the password is now unenterable). The card's title refers to Frost ("Cold") and Robert Oppenheimer ("the father of the atomic bomb" for "Fission").
  • #023 - Pack O' Stars: I listen to an awful lot of music, but I certainly don't pay much attention to anything besides the sound itself. Cards like this, and a number of others that seem musically based (like "identify these guitar frets", forthcoming), will always leave me flummoxed. My best guess without hinting about would be Elvis (the sneer and the "King" of the clue, although he also appears to be carrying a hamburger), Madonna (blonde hair, lipstick, and pointy 5318008) and, oh, I dunno, Boy George (only because it's a male on a Queen of Diamonds). I had thoughts of Iggy Pop too (for "Pop" of "Rock & Pop"), but he doesn't seem to fit on the Jack of Spades, which isn't a King or Queen. Needless to say, I rooted around for help: Elvis and Madonna were right, but the Jack is Michael Jackson (ah, yes, the sparkly glove - that's what that was!), and the Queen of Diamonds is Freddie Mercury, whom I can only just barely recall ever hearing his name.
  • #024 - Double Vision: After what I thought was a studious glance and a proclamation of "TRICKERY!", my first tongue-in-cheek guess was the two Os, the two Ts, and the fact that his signature is on the left hand side. That felt too riddle-y (riddlin'? ritalin!) though. Over the past 23 cards, I've slowly come to the conclusion that the way the solution form is displayed on the Perplex City website gives a grande hint as to exactly how the puzzle should be solved. For this card, first time evah, I scratched it before I knew the solution, ran to the site, and received five text fields with labels "Begins with A", "Begins with B" (twice), "Begins with R", and "Begins with T". It became pretty obvious after this: apple, bird, button (from her dress; though I originally inferred that the hidden part of the tree was a missing branch), ray (from the sun), and tile (from the roof).

I'm now at rank 7825 with 209 Perplex Points, having solved 26 cards.

Perplex City: Season 1, Cards #017 - #020

Continuing my Perplex City solutations. Spoilers!

  • #017 - Easy As...: You're kidding, right?
  • #018 - Natal Name: The mother of my child solved this one a lot faster than if I Googled for it. 1910 is D, 1930 is B, 1970 is A, and 1990 is C. If I had done the Googling, I'd probably have ended up at the Top 10 Baby Names by Decade which concisely reveals the solution. There's dozens of these lists floatin' around.
  • #019 - Magic Numbers: Oh lord - another memory from elementary school, where we'd revel in the magick of showing our mad calculator skills by making it talk to us. I remember 5318008 fondly. The answer is "hello" (0.7734 upside down). Elite.
  • #020 - Barbeque: After thinking on this for a while and noticing a growing interest in Perplex City on #swhack, I broached the topic to Sean B. Palmer who pointed out my mental hurdle. Draw a table with 3 rows and 2 columns. If numbers represent burgers and letters sides of those burgers, place 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B, 3A, and 3C in each table cell, making sure that no one burger appears twice in a single row. With that visual aid, it becomes quite easy to solve, and a number of possibilities exist. Going by the entry dropdowns on the solution page, I did: Start (A: Top, B: Top, C: Off), After 5 Minutes (A: Bottom, B: Off, C: Top), After 10 Minutes (A: Cooked, B: Bottom, C: Bottom), After 15 Minutes (A: Cooked, B: Cooked, C: Cooked).

Perplex City: Season 1, Cards #013 - #016

Continuing my Perplex City solutations. Spoilers!

  • #013 - Sphinx: I first heard this riddle in elementary school, probably spurred on by an early lust for devious questioning or the inevitable Greek courses taught as part of History. Even without prior knowledge of its origins (or its first solver Oedipus, who answered "Mankind!, The human crawls on all four when it is a baby and at its weakest, when one is an adult one walks on two and when mankind suffers old age, it walks on three - with the help of a cane." -- depending on your source, of course; Perplex City only accepts "man"), a quick hop to Wikipedia's Sphinx gives it away. The card's painting is "Oedipus and the Sphinx" by Jean-Auguste-Dominque Ingres.
  • #014 - Cracked Crackers: Some of these I didn't actually understand at first and had to poke around to determine their meaning (though some I still don't "get" - lemme know!) The correct matchups, helped along by process of elimination, are: "What do you get if you cross a river with a bike?" ("Wet feet"), "When do astronauts eat?" ("At launch time"), "What's ET short for?" ("Because he's only got little legs"), "How does Bob Marley like his doughnuts?" ("Wi' Jammin"), "What goes 'Splish Spolsh' and comes from cows?" ("The Isle of Wight Ferry"; I've read that Cowes is a port of the Isle of Wight), "What do you call a man who has lost his spade?" ("Douglas"), "What's purple and shouts 'Help'?" ("A damson in distress"; being a purple plum), "How do you spell 'hungry horse' with just four letters?" ("M.T.G.G."; GG or 'gigi' is slang for a horse?), "Which bird always succeeds?" ("A budgie with no teeth"; why no teeth?), and "What do you call a reindeer with no eyes?" ("No idea").
  • #015 - Milo: I started with no clue on this one. The three phrases certainly looked and sounded like a crossword puzzle (a 5 letter word for pinnacle being "crest", with enough Google results for "needle crest" to make me believe it was right), but the picture of the cat or the title of the card (Milo of The Adventures of Milo and Otis?; though he was a tabby not Himalayan) left me puzzled. After a few hours of fruitless searching and "not thinking about it", I devolved for a hint: this was a cryptic crossword, something that isn't entirely common in the United States. No wonder -- I was treating the clues too literally! "Cool, teach" is an anagram (or "mixed") of "chocolate", which is a candy. It's not "crest", but "point", also the first letters of each word in that clue. Finally, the answer to "he's a-restin' in the mountains" is "him-a-layin'", or Himalayan. Together, the puzzle's solution is Chocolate Point Himalayan, the breed of cat on the card, whose name is Milo. Milo is owned by Jason Berkovi, who was an answer on card #008.
  • #016 - XXX: This one took all of five seconds - to guarentee a win, Tippy would need to play her next X in either the bottom middle or bottom right squares.

Perplex City: Season 1, Cards #009 - #012

Continuing my Perplex City solutations. Spoilers!

  • #009 - Ishihara: Blatantly easy, much more so because you can find the answer (45) linked from the Wikipedia article that makes up the bulk of the card's text. Of more interest, however, is the hidden number within the text: the sentence "Others feature a circle..." appears to start with the number zero, not the letter O. I've not seen this reported elsewhere.
  • #010 - Spot Anything?: Wow, a pictogram (ideogram? neitherogram?) I actually see without handholding: it's a dalmatian ("dog" is also acceptable) with its hind toward us and its head sloping forward to the ground to sniff something. The name of the card has the obvious clue of "Spot", being a common (if not stereotypical) dog's name, and the drawing, Dog Picture, "illustrates the Gestalt principle of emergence" and was used in Salvador Dali's painting The Hallucinogenic Toreador.
  • #011 - Revelation: Another -gram thingy! Jesus! Yawn.
  • #012 - Alcopoetry: I don't drink beer (I'm a hoity-toity mixed drink drinker), but my initial suspicion was "Rolling Rock" (which is correct), because there aren't any other brand names that were jump on your face obvious (like "Bud" or "Michelob" or "Miller").

This batch of cards was incredibly easy. These first 12 cards, plus the two freebies available on their site (which I'll get to when they come up sequentially), have pushed me into the "less than 10,000 club": I'm now at rank 9759 with 89 Perplex Points, having solved 14 cards. Meagre excelsior.

Perplex City: Season 1, Cards #005 - #008

Continuing my Perplex City solutations. Spoilers!

  • #005 - Out on a Limb: Another pictogram, like #003, but one I couldn't even hazard an intelligent guess. ("The canceled HBO series DEADWOOD?" *splutch* /me respawns.) I seem to suck at pictograms (ideograms? neitherograms?) and my chief failing is I'm not looking hard enough: hidden within the branches of the trees (much like "Jules Verne" in #003) is the phrase "I speak for the trees" which is an (obvious) pointer to Dr. Seuss' The Lorax. I say again: bugger all.
  • #006 - Winning Lines: One of those cards in which babelfishing in the dark works wonders. 1 is Italian ("I would want to kiss to you!"), 2 is Spanish ("We are going to dance?"), 3 is Dutch ("I love my bike - do you love me?" according to some #drupal native speakers, though it appears the last word, "mir", should be "mij"), 4 is French ("One eats Chinese or at home?" Probably along the lines of eating out versus eating at home.), 5 is German ("You wake the tiger in me."). 6 is Swedish and the devs of #drupal say it is literally "what are you sweet", though probably intended as "my, you're cute/sweet!".
  • #007 - Aromarama: MMm, scratch and sniff. Coconut, mint, banana, and chocolate. The colors gave them away really. You can also use the Whipsmart Ice ("Expanding waistlines and IQs since 242") flavor names as well, which are Coconundrum, Benjamint Franklin, Monkey Puzzle, and Choca Bloch.
  • #008 - Mind Candy: The folks of Mind Candy are the brains behind Perplex City, and they rightfully want us to match up their artistic representations with their earthbound photos (Perplex City finds photography passé: "But, looking a bit closer, it seems like you're asking why we use drawings a lot, not photographs ... I asked my sister, and she showed me in some old books and papers that we used to use photos a lot more. So... I think it's a "cool" thing. Like, when photos were pretty new we seemed to use them a lot, and now that they've been around for a while, not so much. I mean, it's not like we need them for ID, and you can get a lot of live feeds with your key so... they're a bit irrelevant." -- The Scarlett Kite). You can find 'em over at their Meet The Team page (save for Sente, of course) though this puzzle is unsolvable without further research: some of the drawn employees no longer appear on the Mind Candy site (like Justin Berkovi). Thankfully, the order in which the names appear in the "tell us your answer" form is actually the solution: A is Dan Hon, B is Michael Smith, C is Adrian Hon, D is Hannah Boraster, E is Justin Berkovi, F is Andrea Phillips, G is Adam Martin, H is Mike Whitaker, I is Fiona Silk, J is Naomi Alderman (unpictured), K is Jack Dixon, L is David Varela, M is Paul McCormick, and N is Jey Biddulph.

Perplex City: Season 1, Cards #001 - #004

Due to a freebie insert in Scrye #100, I've fallen in love with Perplex City, a game I had heard about before (due to regular reading of ARG news sites), but never had time to self-examine until it was shoved in my face ("Ooh, puzzle cards. Wait, Perplex City is about puzzles? SwoOOoon!"). Always loving a good puzzle, I ran off to order a booster box of Perplex City cards (entirely optional of course, but PuzZlzllES!) and set about reading the backstory and solving the free demo cards available on their website. Below I present my solutions but, more importantly, the journey taken on the way. Why? Because I'm a collector and these cards, along with their solutions, are going in a specially marked binder along with all my other paper valuables. Yes, it's worse than you imagine. I'll be starting with card #001 and progressing ever upward -- cards get more difficult the greater the number. You can track my solving progress at

Some introductory notes:

  • Puzzle solving can, and sometimes must, be a team activity. I'd be lying if I said I solved these all by my lonesome, but I tend to be overtly honest and will quite proudly proclaim myself retarded (like, say, on card #003, the third easiest card in Season 1, quote unquote). There's nothing wrong with solving a puzzle with the help of others and, naturally, the folks behind Perplex City encourage this behavior. More players is never a bad thing and, generically, withholding information in ARGs is frowned upon, not rewarded.
  • Spoilers abound. I'll be linking to the Perplex City Card Catalog as a reference point for card images (which are deliberately low DPI per the game's TOS), but you should expect everything in this and future Perplex City entries to contain more than enough to ruin the ending of your most favorite, yet unseen, movie. One of these days I'll make one of those swanky spoiler mouseover hover thingies, but I'm a lazy git. LAZY GIT!

Onward. Per my link dumps and fascination with bullets, four at a time:

  • #001 - Dem Old Bones: Being the first card in the set, this is a simple dinosaur silhouette to dinosaur name process of elimination. 1 is a Tyrannosaurus Rex, 2 is a Triceratops, 3 is a Raptor, 4 is a Pteranodon (think "pterodactyl"), 5 is a Spinosaurus, and 6 is the Stegosaurus.
  • #002 - Designer Flakes: A variation of Dem Old Bones - instead of matching silhouettes to names, you're matching paper snowflakes to the folded and mutiliated paper that generated them. 1 is A, 2 is E, 3 is F, 4 is B, 5 is C, and 6 is D. Took me two tries on this card - I had flake 1 and 4 reversed, erroneously believing that pattern B was slightly bigger than pattern A, and therefore must be related to flake 1. The real truth lies in the patterns surrounding the claw in the center edge.
  • #003 - Earth, Sea and Moon: I asked a couple of people about this one, feeling it must be so blatantly obvious that I was just being retarded, it being the third card and all (to what travesties must be forthcoming if I can't solve #003!) I bounced around the idea of RED PLANET or JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH, but gave both up without trying due to their ill relation to the "Sea and Moon" of the card title. I second-guessed myself - the answer is, in fact, (spelling counts) JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH by Jules Verne. Apparently, the raised grooves of the circles spell out "Jules Verne" - after about five minutes of anguished believing, I saw the letters too. Now that I look a second time, the letters seem painfully obvious. Bugger all.
  • #004 - Zoo Zanyism: oOOh, pixel city animal hunt! WheeE! I see a lion (#1), a polar bear (#2), a giraffe (#3), a zebra (#4), an elephant (#5), a snake wrapped around a pole (#6), and zomg, a monkey! (#7) A monkey in a tree! (#7!)


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