Philosopher’s Quest: Riddles   22 comments

There’s a messy “danger room” segment which involves either using DASH, CRAWL, JUMP or SKIP to avoid deathtraps in a rotating room while answering riddles.

> dash north
What a strange mode of locomotion!
You decide to enter the room by running fast. Your movement activates an air pressure sensor somewhere. Five spears shoot out of the wall at random intervals, at various
heights. Fortunately, your speed is fast enough to let you dodge them, to your relief.
You are standing in the middle of the Danger room. Everywhere you look, there are peculiar contrivances set into the walls and ceiling, and suspicious-looking panels in the floor. Indeed, it was one of these which nearly killed you just then. The whole place is obviously booby-trapped to the ultimate, and not a place to stay long in.
> dash east
You decide to leave the room by running fast. Your movement activates an air pressure sensor somewhere. Five spears shoot out of the wall at random intervals, at various heights. Fortunately, your speed is fast enough to let you dodge them, to your relief. You are standing in a square stone room to the east of the Danger room. Passages exit west and north. Above the north passage there is a dimly illuminated sign which reads:
Crooked as a rainbow, slick as a plate,
Ten thousand horses can’t pull it straight.

Each danger room is connected to three riddle rooms. Each riddle has a single-word answer. There’s another mechanism which swaps between four different danger rooms, so in total there are 12 riddles. They were pretty solid as far as riddles go so I thought I’d share the rest. I’ve numbered them for convenience. (They are randomized in the game and do not appear in any particular order.)

1.
Crooked as a rainbow, slick as a plate,
Ten thousand horses can’t pull it straight.

2.
Little Nancy Etticoat,
With a white petticoat,
And a red nose.
The longer she stands,
The shorter she grows.

3.
What is it that every man overlooks?

4.
A rich man has and wants more of,
A fat man has and doesn’t want,
And a poor man wants but can’t get?

5.
Lives in winter,
Dies in summer,
And grows with its root upward.

6.
A skin have I,
More eyes than one,
I can be nice,
When I am done.

7.
What goes with a train,
And comes with a train,
And the train doesn’t need it,
But can’t go without it?

8.
My first is in people but not in crowd,
My second’s in shower but not in cloud,
My third is in apple but not in pie,
My fourth is in purchase but not in buy,
My fifth is in Peter but not in Paul,
My whole is a state desired by all.

9.
What has many keys but no locks?

10.
When first I appear I seem mysterious,
But when I’m explained, I’m nothing serious.

11.
The beginning of eternity,
The end of time and space,
The beginning of every end,
And the end of every place.

12.
A tea-kettle is a tea-kettle,
A tea-kettle has what everything has,
Now what has a tea-kettle?

For the last riddle I needed to get help from team euphoria, with Emily Short eventually coming up with the answer.

Now, as is par for this course for this game, getting through this segment and solving all the riddles (which took a long time due to the danger room choreography) was still not enough to yield results. Each riddle room opens an empty cell:

You are in a bare cell, riddled with passages too small for you to enter. The only exit lies south.

I didn’t find anything in any of the 12 rooms, and leaving with all riddles solved only has the result of the danger room being closed off entirely.

You’re in the bare anteroom. The exit north is barred by a huge, obviously immovable, iron sheet.

The pain just keeps going.

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Posted February 23, 2016 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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22 responses to “Philosopher’s Quest: Riddles

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  1. 2. candle
    3. nose
    6. potato
    9. piano
    10. riddle?
    11. e

    …does the riddled pun have any significance in the cells? What if you try “riddle”? Or do you need to have brought in some drink-me?

  2. Aside from the ones mentioned above:

    1. arc
    4. dough?
    7. engine? track? Yikes. I’m also thinking train of a dress, and would have tried bride
    8. peace
    12. everything?

    For 2 I would have said ice cream sundae (vanilla, red cherry). I always associate flames with yellow.

    Like matt w, “riddled with passages too small” sounds like you need a magnifying glass or something to read them.

  3. Is 12 tea-kettle? It sort of seems like a logic problem but the answer doesn’t particularly seem to follow. Does “A tea-kettle has what everything has” mean
    (x)(Tx -> (y)(z)(Hyz -> Hxz)) “Every teakettle has everything that anything has”
    (Ex)(Tx & (y)(x)(Hyz -> Hxz)) “Some teakettle has everything that anything has”
    (x)(Tx -> (z)((y)Hyz -> Hxz)) “Every teakettle has everything that is had by everything at once”
    (Ex)(Tx & (z)((y)Hyz -> Hxz)) “Some teakettle has everything that is had by everything at once”
    Fancy logical notation included because reasons. The third one is a tautology and the fourth one follows from “There is a teakettle.” Anyway even if you read it one of the first two ways I don’t think you get “A tea-kettle has a tea-kettle” (Ex)(Ey)(Tx & Ty & Hxy) unless you assume “Something has a tea-kettle” (Ex)(Ey)(Ty & Hxy)… or in the case of the second, you’d need “Something has that very tea-kettle” which I can’t put in my notation. Perhaps the question “What has a teakettle” presupposes that something has a teakettle? As the presumptive audience for this sort of thing (my job description is in the title), I say harrumph. Or more likely, I’m going down the wrong path completely.

    Also, are you about to tell me that I need to send you something by tomorrow?

    • #12 is definitely the hardest one.

      That’s impressively elaborate, but (to give a nebulous hint) you probably would be better off using philosophy instead of mathematics.

      • Logic is philosophy, I say!

      • I have looked up the remaining answers–1, 7, 12–and they were among the things I might have guessed (I cannot provide you with any independent evidence for this), but I don’t find them quite fair. Number 1 is pretty unspecific (plates aren’t even that slick), number 7 could apply to several things, and number 12 doesn’t even seem to make sense.

      • Substitute rose for tea-kettle and it might jump out at you a little more.

        Not wild about 1/7 but I did figure them out ok.

      • @matt w, how did you look up the answer to #12? I can’t find it!

        But based on Jason’s hints, is the answer “name”?

      • Ant, I ctrl-Fed for the answers I knew in Richard Bos’s walkthrough. (Beware! Will probably ruin the fun.) And you’re correct… but in what sense does a name have a tea-kettle? Or a rose? Or if tea-kettle means “name,” in what sense does a name have a name? I just don’t get this.

        I’m a little more reconciled to 7–my thought was that “smoke” or “steam” would serve equally well but there are trains that go without them (and trains that have steam need them, I guess). A big part of my beef with 1 is that rivers are crooked in ways very unlike rainbows. And you probably could straighten one out with ten thousand horses, harnessed to proper digging equipment. “Reducing the length of the channel by substituting straight cuts for a winding course is the only way in which the (effective) fall can be increased,” that’s on Wikipedia.

        Oh well, it seems as though complaining about unfairness of these particular riddles in this particular game is probably beside the point.

      • @matt, some quote marks might help.

        A “tea-kettle” is a tea-kettle

        That is when you refer to something by using the name “tea-kettle” you are referring to the actual thing tea-kettle.

        As pointed out on euphoria, the unfair part is the fact arguably not everything has a name.

        But names sure have a name — it goes by the letters “n” “a” “m” and “e” in order.

        The rose hint has to do with “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet” (via Shakespeare) and “Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose” via Gertrude Stein.

      • I remain grumped. There is the fact, as you say, that not everything has a name (there are only aleph-nought possible names, so there are continuum-many real numbers that lack names, for instance); but also, I don’t think the answer to “What has a tea-kettle?” or “What has a name?” should be “a name.” For one thing, I don’t think it’s true that names have name; what is the name of my name, “Matt Weiner”? “Name” isn’t its name but its kind. (This is one reason it’s silly when the White Knight say “The name of this song is called ‘Haddock’s Eyes”; the name isn’t called anything.) And even if we grant that, “name” certainly isn’t a unique answer to “What has a name?” Or if the question is to be read as “What has a tea-kettle” or “What has a ‘tea-kettle,” I don’t see how “name” is even a correct answer.

        Grump grump grump grump grump. In some respects it’s like a joke, I suppose the reasoning is convincing to some but not to others. (You could argue that “piano” could as easily be “typewriter”–but caps lock! Ho ho. And actually a piano often has a lock on its fallboard. But that’s nitpicking.) And the riddle is fair enough that it was one of the things I thought of trying.

      • Ant’s note about the syntax of “What has a tea-kettle?” is noted and added to the pile of grievances.

      • “Now what has a tea-kettle?” is in more conventional grammar “What does a tea-kettle have?” but it’s not out of bounds, especially in olde-timey grammar as used by riddles.

        Having said that, remember I never solved this by myself and even after I saw the answer I had to have a couple people explain it to me. So it’s definitely on the bumpier side.

    • Aha, the ever-present Bos. Of course!

      Re “name”, see “A rose is a rose is a rose” and perhaps also “A rose by any other name…”

      “What has a tea-kettle?” is archaic syntax for “What does a tea-kettle have?”!

      Not sure of the vintage of the tea-kettle riddle, but I saw it claimed that the “crooked as a rainbow” one might date from the 13th century, which might explain its, er, quirkiness. Or not.

  4. 4. pounds?

    7. passengers ?

    12. T ?

  5. Pingback: Philosopher’s Quest: Finished! | Renga in Blue

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