Perplex City: Season 1, Cards #049 - #052

Continuing my Perplex City solutations. Spoilers!

  • #049 - Bookworm: This card caused a lot of confusion: were the books on a shelf (you'd assume "yes") and are "pages" considered single sheets of paper (in which case a volume of 1000 pages would contain 500 sheets of paper)? If the books are placed vertically on a shelf, then page 1 of Volume 1 is closest to page 1000 of Volume 2, meaning that the worm skipped the physically first 999 pages of Volume 1 and stopped at the first physical page of Volume 10 (page 1000). The accepted, but contentious, answer is 8002 (an assumption of 1000 pages regardless of sheets, but you could complain about how the worm could eat through page 1000 without it also breaking through page 999 on the other side). 8000 is also considered an acceptable answer. This is apparently a well-known puzzle - the BBC once asked a similar question.
  • #050 - Eight States: Grumble, cards that don't entertain me, grumble: Denver, Colorado, Boise, Idaho, Salem, Oregon, Tallahassee, Florida, Madison, Wisconsin, Dover, Delaware, and the final sentence has two: Juneau, Alaska and Augusta, Maine.
  • #051 - Jigsaw: Cancun! Hawaii! Florida! Any of a thousand other vacation spots I'll never visit! Excelsior! When you place the actual puzzle pieces together, you'll receive the answer: "not here" is spelled out in the remaining whitespace. Maybe a hidden chastisement for not actually doing the physical puzzle.
  • #052 - The View From Here: Cancun! Hawaii! Florida! Any of a thousand other vacation spots I'll never visit! Excelsior! New York is the answer, but Empire State Building is also acceptable. /me sighs: this set of four was just boring and unexciting.

Perplex City ARG Starts Season 2

With a £100,000 prize for Season 1, and the promise of smaller but more frequent rewards for Season 2, the alternate reality game (ARG) promises "new mysteries, new adventures, [and] new gameplay" for its 50,000 UK and US players, and began yesterday with the news of a grisly murder. If you've never heard of, or played, an ARG, you're certainly not the first. While Microsoft, Electronic Arts, ABC (for its show LOST), Nine Inch Nails, and others have dipped their hand into the ARG arena (sometimes twice, as with Microsoft's A.I. and Halo 2 ARGs), they all share the "This Is Not A Game aesthetic ... [dictating] that the game not behave [like one]."

Wikipedia continues with other key factors of the ARG experience:

"... the design was directed at a collective of players that shared information and solutions almost instantly, and incorporated individuals possessing almost every conceivable area of expertise. While the game might initially attract a small group of participants ... they would reach out and draw in others with the knowledge they needed to overcome the obstacles ...

Although more recent games like Perplex City offered prizes (for the finding of the Receda Cube, which took three years and earned its discoverer Andy Darley £100,000; read his endgame discourse), ARGs share a communal aspect where solutions and answers are never hoarded but always shared: it's the game playing community, not the individual, that keeps the game moving forward. The BBC continues:

[ARGs] use real world events and clues planted on the internet, television and newspapers to guide players on a real-life treasure hunt ... Perplex City also used puzzle cards, bought in shops and on the internet, that contained optical illusions, cryptography, and riddles. The rarest cards have traded hands for more than £200 on online auction sites.

With the finding of the Cube, designers Mind Candy Design concluded Perplex City's Season 1, drew back the curtain to give the players a look and, wasting no time, launched Season 2 on March 1st, 2007. Season 2 puzzle cards have either been shipped, or are on their way, to retailers in the UK and the US. They are also available online at

For Season 2, however, they've made a clearer line in the sand: the primary site, We Love Puzzles, collects many different types of "casual" online puzzles, including Daily Puzzles that increase your standing in the Season 2 Leaderboard, as well as the physical puzzle cards themselves (granted to us Earthlings from the intellect-loving puzzlistas of Perplex City). The alternate reality game, on the other hand, was renamed "Perplex City Stories" and has started trickling teasers at, with a full launch in April.

Perplex City: Season 1, Cards #045 - #048

Continuing my Perplex City solutations. Spoilers!

  • #045 - Snake Eyes: This 'ogram was immediately recognizable as Albert Einstein, as too the mirror'd quote attributed to him (also hinted at by the card): "I shall never believe that God plays dice with the universe." There's also the teaser, "The Clue is in th", in the upper right corner of the card, a trick I've played in the past too. The card title refers to his quote but also to the image, which is made up of black dice.
  • #046 - Sum Shortcut: I am, most assuredly, not a fan of math, but this "sum shortcut" would be, I think, pairing numbers: 1 and 99, 2 and 98, 3 and 97, et cetera et cetera. I'm being told this is "(50 * 100) + 50" (or 5050, the accepted answer) and, more generically, "(n^2 + n) * 1/2". This is apparently some sort of arithmetic progression but, you know what? I find Pokemon evolutions more fascinating than this. 5050. Moving on.
  • #047 - Opposites Attract: Relatively simple, though some take a bit of a leap of faith: "Look before you leap" (1) to "He who hesitates is lost" (6), "Don't look a gift horse in the mouth" (2) to "Beware of Greeks bearing gifts." (10), "Too many cooks spoil the broth" (3) to "Many hands make light work" (18), "Never judge a book by its cover" (4) to "Clothes make the man" (8), "Seek and ye shall find" (5) to "It's better to be safe than sorry" (11), "Time waits for no man" (7) to "Haste makes waste" (9), "Curiosity killed the cat" (12) to "Nothing ventured, nothing gained." (17), "Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander" (13) to "One man's meat is another man's poison" (16), and "Silence is golden" (14) to "The squeaking wheel gets the grease" (15).
  • #048 - Pop Words: Without poking around, my guess would be 2000 (A), 1950 (B), 1960 (C), 1980 (D), 1970 (E), and 1990 (F). There's a Guardian article on Dent's book, which suggests I was off a bit: 1990 (A), 1910 (B), 1960 (C), 1920 (D), 1970 (E), and 1980 (F).

Perplex City: Season 1, Cards #041 - #044

Continuing my Perplex City solutations. Spoilers!

  • #041 - Whipsmart Wordsearch: The wordsearch here is not actually related to the puzzle - simply going to the Whipsmart Ice site will score you the answers of Coffee Annan, Cube Berry, David Hassletoffee, Isaac Neopolitan, Monkey Puzzle, Pear De Fermat, Piquant Pecan, Quantum Cherry, Rummy Descartes, and Vanilla. With that said, if you ROT13 the first three rows of the wordsearch, you'll find the hidden message "wordsearches are the puzzle equivalent of watching paint dry". In addition, there's a "wordsearch" easter egg on the "Pastures Green" section of the Whipsmart site (the same image that the wordsearch of the card overlays) where rubbing in the bottom right corner (underneath the "Home" sign) will reveal the word "hello".
  • #042 - Pirates vs Ninjas: Two of these statements are true ("The treasure is not here" pointing to Dog's Isle, and "It's not on Dog Isle") and the other, pointing to Catan ("The treasure is buried here"), is false. Therefore, the treasure must be buried on the remaining island, Rompecabezas (which is Spanish for "puzzle" and break [romper] heads [cabezas]).
  • #043 - Use Your Anterior Cingulate: From Wikipedia: "According to research by Alcino Silva and colleagues at the University of California, Los Angeles, the anterior cingulate cortex is responsible for rendering new memories permanent ... The classic Stroop task involves naming the color ink of words that are either congruent (RED written in red) or incongruent (RED written in blue). Conflict occurs because people's reading abilities interfere with their attempt to correctly name the word's ink. A variation of this task is the Counting-Stroop during which people count either neutral stimuli ('dog' presented four times) or interfering stimuli ('three' presented four times) by pressing a button." The "Stroop effect" is named after John Ridley Stroop and was first published in 1935.
  • #044 - You Are Here: Remember: it's only the second level of difficulty and a sad number of people don't actually recall our planets and their specific order. The mnenomic on the side of the card, "My very excellent memory just sums up nine planets", is yet another clue to the answer, being: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto.

Perplex City: Season 1, Cards #037 - #040

Continuing my Perplex City solutations. Spoilers!

  • #037 - Muscae Volitantes: Another pictogram (ideograms? neitherograms? netherregionograms?) The text in the image looks like GOOD. Learned something useful with this card (and this is one of the grandest gifts that Perplex City is giving me): "muscae volitantes" is Latin for "those goddamn things that float in front of my eyes". In actuality, the hidden word is "Wood", and, with enough effort, you can see tree trunks and their leaves. The idiom? "Can't see the wood for the trees".
  • #038 - Heist: With the USA Dollar matching image 1, it was a simple matter of Google Imaging the rest: the Euro matches to image 2, the Australian Dollar matching to image 3, the Indonesian Rupiah matching to image 5, and Japanese Yen matches to the final image 4. BooOorriIing.
  • #034 - 4 Colour Theorems: Gah, you know, I remember seeing a simpler version of this question in math or geography class or some such and absolutely hating it. I still hatesss this question. The four color theorem "states that given any plane separated into regions, such as a political map of the counties of a state, the regions may be colored using no more than four colors in such a way that no two adjacent regions receive the same color." The answer is "yellow" but, and I suspect they'll be more like this as the cards go on, I can't rationalize why. Given enough effort with Photoshop or markers, I could Playskool all the colors in myself to "prove" it. But I'd still hatesss it.
  • #040 - Baby on Board: MmMm, more search engine love. Dolphins could be pregant for 10 to 12 months (276 days) and lions for "one hundred to one hundred twenty days" (108 days from the available options). Rhinos have a long pregnancy at 15 to 18 months (450 days from the available options), and rabbits for 28 to 35 days (32 days from the available options). Mice snatch up the remaining 21 days, which leaves our own Fijjit Mejora at 640.

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").

World of Warcraft Quest Tracker Updated to 1.2

I've released a new version of my World of Warcraft Quest Tracker today, bringing it to version 1.2:

  • removed "Unknown" categories/zones.
  • checks reported quest IDs vs. active quest IDs.
  • 30 second wait, then re-request, if zone URL returns no data.
  • removed "Updated" images that showed up next to quest titles.

You can see the latest output for my level 60 Troll Shaman, Morbulin, here. One of the new features, "check reported quest IDs vs. active quest IDs", will probably fail more often than not: for my Horde character, there were a number of quests that are flagged as only Alliance, so I got about a dozen bogus reports there. Otherwise, a very basic incremental release - I was surprised to see it still worked since the last release a year ago.

Yes, I bought the Burning Crusade. No, I've not played it for more than a few hours. Sigh.

Terminator CCG Set List

An unannounced but recent portion of, my Collectible Card Game trade lists, is something I've been meaning to do for a while and is a perfect mesh of my love for card games, collecting, and list creation. However, it does require a fair bit of time and effort and, often, unanswered questions. For example, take the Terminator CCG - it was published by the now defunct Precedence and never had any expansions. Due to its meagre popularity, there is very little information on the web. And therein lies the investigative problem: just how many cards does this set actually have?

  • Precedence closed up shop on April 12th, 2002. Thanks to, we can still access its site and the cached version of August 15th, 2001 suggests two particular answers: in it's Gallery, we would purportedly be able to see images of 353 cards in the base set, though it's Release Information would suggest a sum of 393. Neither of these numbers are entirely accurate: the Gallery lists 5 promo cards (which reduces that number to 348), and it is unclear whether double counting occurs in the Release Information - of the 68 unique cards that appear in the starters, upwards of 38 are also Common cards (potentially reducing that number to 355).
  • The Second Edition of the Scrye Collectible Card Game Checklist & Price Guide says 349 cards, but contains numerous card title errors and one particular card, "Extrapolate", that doesn't have a price. The only other mention of this card is Richard Weld's review site which quotes 351 cards, and who also contributed to the Second Edition in question. Richard's two additional cards (at least in relation to Scrye's 349) are "Remington Police Model 870 F" (a possible duplicate of the known "Remington 870 C") and "Skills Upgrade: Marksman" being counted twice, once as a Common card and once as a Fixed.
  • There are two other major players when it comes to online card lists: Jeff Allender's House of Checklists! and Mahasamtman's Trading Post. Jeff's House has 348 cards (which matches Scrye's and Weld's 348 with "Extrapolate" and other errors removed, and the old Precedence website without the 5 promo cards). The Trading Post also reduces down to 348 from 361 - 1 ($Cash$), - 5 (Promos) - 7 (Uncut sheets).
  • A fan-created data file for CardTable doesn't list "Extrapolate" (in either the data file or as a scanned image), nor does it show up in the data downloads for the more modern CCG Workshop. Actual counts here were considered irrelevant.

The ultimate decision comes down to this "Extrapolate" card:

  • No one but Richard Weld and Scrye report its existence.
  • Scrye's record for it shows no price data.
  • It's not listed on the Precedence site archives.
  • An active trading community hasn't reported the card.

I am going to mark the set at 348 with 5 promos. Scrye's published errors include:

  • Scrye: "Cover Charge"; Card: "Cover charge".
  • Scrye: "Caught Off Guard"; Card: "Caught Off-Guard".
  • Scrye: "Firebase Delta"; Card: "Firebase -Delta-".
  • Scrye: "Late Breaking Story"; Card: "Late-Breaking Story".
  • Scrye: All M## cards (save for M-16A1) are missing dashes.
  • Scrye: "MD301 Bio Spray"; Card: "MD301 Bio-Spray".
  • Scrye: "Obstruction"; Card: "Obstructions".
  • Scrye: "Uzi 9mm"; Card: "UZI 9mm".
  • Scrye: "Wetware Processing Facility"; Card: "WetWare Processing Facility".


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.


Subscribe to RSS - games