View profile

Enigmida: A special RECON-undrum

Enigmida: A special RECON-undrum
By Matthew Stein • Issue #14 • View online
I have a fun puzzle collab to share with you all today: I designed a phoenix-themed word puzzle for Kominers’s Conundrums, a weekly puzzle column in Bloomberg. I had a blast writing it, and I hope you enjoy solving it! And if you mention the puzzle answer at check-in for the online Reality Escape Con (August 22-23), you’ll gain access to an exclusive “Conundrums Club” lounge.
Additionally, an erratum from the last issue: I linked to a podcast episode about the armchair treasure hunt book “Masquerade” and mistakenly wrote that it was from Serial, when in fact it’s actually from Criminal. Shoutout to Rita for catching this mistake!
As always, make sure to read to the end for the 👉 Puzzle of the Week 👈 and a solution to last issue’s stamp puzzle.

Reviewing in-person escape rooms
Since then, I’ve started visiting in-person escape rooms again, and it’s been a delight getting to play IRL with vaccinated friends. While I’ve thoroughly enjoyed many of the virtual games of this past year, I didn’t realize quite how much I’ve missed in-person interactions.
Along with this, I’ve started reviewing some of these in-person escape rooms for Room Escape Artist!
In Richmond, Virginia, I reviewed Gnome & Raven’s Magic Lamp and River City Escape Room’s Alice. In Allentown, PA, I covered some rooms from Captured LV - The Soul Collector and Murder of 89. I have a slew of other reviews of eastern PA rooms going up over the next few weeks and of some SF Bay Area rooms after that.
If you’d enjoy vicariously learning about far-off experiences through my pun-filled writing or if you’re just looking for some local escape room recs, make sure to follow along on REA and my social media.
Puzzle of the Week
In this ambidextrous puzzle, the answer to each clue is a 2-word made-up phrase with a transformation between the two words: L changes to R or R changes to L. The L/R can be anywhere in the word, and there might be other Ls and Rs that don’t change. For example, “faithful prince” clues a LOYAL ROYAL.
This also can be a phonetic transformation - the spelling of the word might change, but the words sound the same other than L/R substitution. For example, “weapon with an interwoven hilt” clues a BRAID BLADE.
There’s no extraction, so your answer will just be a list of phrases.
  • Flowers and trees do a jig
  • Instrument made from a pineapple
  • Protection for an inanimate pet
  • Surly Santa
  • Butterfly pea flower tea, before turning purple
This is also a creative challenge! After solving the above clues, I encourage you to think up one of your own. I’ll share my favorites in the next issue. Submit your answers here.
Solution to last issue’s puzzle
There was a ton going on in this puzzle! The solution is fairly long so I’m not going to rot13 it… so stop reading here if you still want to solve it yourself.
As noted, there were answers of lengths 4, 5, 16, 20, and 8. The answer lengths themselves led to the answer of length 5: DEPTH (with 1=A, 2=B, etc).
Around the edge of the stamp, dots and dashes in the eyes were Morse code for: MORSECRETS FOR YOU.
In the bottom left, the color swatches match colors in the main part of the image, visually indexing letters from the original design (which had the message MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE.) Double swatches clued taking the second instance of that color in the stamp. This led to the message: RESONATE.
Some of the letter blocks had solid frames and others had double frames. Treating these as 0s and 1s, or As and Bs, in a Baconian cipher (5-bit binary encoding), this gave the word PLAY.
And one final message used the Crayola color names of each color block. (But unfortunately, everywhere I uploaded the image slightly changed RGB values and this layer became nearly impossible to solve.) These colors were: Asparagus, Denim, Denim, Electric Lime, Denim, Lavender, Asparagus, Yellow Orange, Electric Lime, Razzmatazz, Shocking Pink, Outer Space, Fuzzy Wuzzy, Mango Tango, Electric Lime, Asparagus, Neon Carrot, Indigo, Neon Carrot, and Granny Smith Apple, forming an acrostic of the final message: ADDED LAYERS OF MEANING.
Congrats to everyone who submitted a correct answer: Sandy, Brett, Deejed, Diane, Maude, Jonathan Sheffi, and Scott Kominers.
Cryptically yours,
Did you enjoy this issue?
Matthew Stein

I'm an Oakland, CA-based puzzle and alternate reality game designer. I create experiences that guide participants to connect through play and to find wonder in the mundane.

In this newsletter, I share behind-the-scenes content, puzzle design thoughts, project updates, and other miscellaneous whimsy I think puzzle lovers will enjoy.

In order to unsubscribe, click here.
If you were forwarded this newsletter and you like it, you can subscribe here.
Powered by Revue