Stupid Question

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LFrench106

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Jun 18, 1997, 3:00:00 AM6/18/97
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What's the cruelest puzzle in all IF, mewonders.

The Enigma from Jigsaw?
The Baseball Diamond from Zork 2 (But not the mainframe)?
The ending of Sherbet?
The mousehole in Curses?

(Notice the author of three of these items. Please, remember his example
kiddies: just because you _can_ inpliment something, doesn't mean you
_should_ impliment it. (Except as part of a Cruel world puzzle set...
(Hmmm, that sounds like a punishment for flamers and people who talk to
mu- Doh!)))

Any other nominees?

Neil Brown

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Jun 18, 1997, 3:00:00 AM6/18/97
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In article <19970618035...@ladder02.news.aol.com>, LFrench106

<lfren...@aol.com> wrote:
>What's the cruelest puzzle in all IF, mewonders.
>
>The Enigma from Jigsaw?

Definitely very cruel. I gave up and decided to use the walkthrough, but
even then there's a lot of trial and error before you get a result.

>The Baseball Diamond from Zork 2 (But not the mainframe)?
>The ending of Sherbet?

Which part? I *sort of* completed Sherbet the first time, but without
full points, resulting in a draw. That last point, connected to the
last-but-one puzzle, wasn't immediately obvious but I wouldn't say that
it was cruel.

>The mousehole in Curses?

The mousehole puzzle was quite easy once you worked out that you had to
talk to a piece of scenery. The mousehole puzzle in The Magic Toyshop
was very cruel, however. The key word for this game is 'cheat'. There
are no 'fair' ways of winning in most puzzles.

>Any other nominees?

Well, some people don't like the opening section of Christminster
(personally I loved it and thought that it was spot on), and timed
puzzles are a bit nasty as well, leaving little room for experimentation
(the beginning of Jigsaw springs to mind - how many attempts did people
make before finding the solution with as few moves as possible?).

Then of course there's A Change in the Weather. I only managed to get to
the second half (waking up after sleeping in the cave) through pure
fluke, and any puzzle that requires an exact sequence of moves is just
sadistic. Perhaps 'Time: All Things Come To An End' should fall into
this category as well.
______________

Neil James Brown
ne...@highmount.demon.co.uk
http://www.highmount.demon.co.uk

Nulldogma

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Jun 18, 1997, 3:00:00 AM6/18/97
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Having finally played through it with the help of the Invisiclues and
simultaneous running advice from someone on the I-F MUD, I'd nominate the
"darkness" section of So Far. Any puzzle I don't understand before,
during, or after I solve it scores pretty high on the cruelty index.

Neil


---------------------------------------------------------
Neil deMause ne...@echonyc.com
http://www.echonyc.com/~wham/neild.html
---------------------------------------------------------

Urpo Lankinen

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Jun 18, 1997, 3:00:00 AM6/18/97
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On 18 Jun 1997 03:58:21 GMT, LFrench106 <lfren...@aol.com> wrote:
>What's the cruelest puzzle in all IF, mewonders.
>
>The Baseball Diamond from Zork 2 (But not the mainframe)?

Hah. I solved that with luck.

>The mousehole in Curses?

Uhh. Tough.

--
Urpo Lankinen || www...@iki.fi || http://www.iki.fi/wwwwolf/


Graham Nelson

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Jun 18, 1997, 3:00:00 AM6/18/97
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In article <19970618035...@ladder02.news.aol.com>, LFrench106
<URL:mailto:lfren...@aol.com> wrote:
>
> What's the cruelest puzzle in all IF, mewonders.
>
> The Enigma from Jigsaw?

> The Baseball Diamond from Zork 2 (But not the mainframe)?
> The ending of Sherbet?
> The mousehole in Curses?

Just what kind of utter sadist sets these puzzles, eh? However,
I nominate:

The bees (Adventureland)
The freezer banks (Snowball)
The maze (in any of the early games, but Zork 1 will do)
The Bank of Zork (Zork 2)
The wait-and-something-happens events in Zork 3

Of course "cruel" is not the same as "difficult". The temporal
puzzle in Spellbreaker is far from easy but is so infinitely
satisfying when one works it out, that it justifies its difficulty.
I've cited only early games -- standards have changed, I think.
(As for the Curses mousehole, I think that's as nothing in
trickiness terms to working out the rods.)

--
Graham Nelson | gra...@gnelson.demon.co.uk | Oxford, United Kingdom


Matthew T. Russotto

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Jun 18, 1997, 3:00:00 AM6/18/97
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In article <5Kla3LAF...@highmount.demon.co.uk>,

Neil Brown <ne...@highmount.demon.co.uk> wrote:
}In article <19970618035...@ladder02.news.aol.com>, LFrench106
}<lfren...@aol.com> wrote:
}>What's the cruelest puzzle in all IF, mewonders.
}>
}>The Enigma from Jigsaw?
}
}Definitely very cruel. I gave up and decided to use the walkthrough, but
}even then there's a lot of trial and error before you get a result.

To each his own, I guess, but I really liked the Enigma puzzle.

Now, the first part of the bomber puzzle from Jigsaw was another
matter -- very difficult and frustrating at first. As was the first
part of the Enigma section, where you are insubstantial.

}>The mousehole in Curses?
}
}The mousehole puzzle was quite easy once you worked out that you had to
}talk to a piece of scenery. The mousehole puzzle in The Magic Toyshop
}was very cruel, however. The key word for this game is 'cheat'. There
}are no 'fair' ways of winning in most puzzles.

Again, I liked the cheating puzzles in Toyshop.

--
Matthew T. Russotto russ...@pond.com
"Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice, and moderation in pursuit
of justice is no virtue."

Shawn L. Reed

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Jun 18, 1997, 3:00:00 AM6/18/97
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In article <ant181000f7fM+4%@gnelson.demon.co.uk>, Graham Nelson
<gra...@gnelson.demon.co.uk> wrote:

>> What's the cruelest puzzle in all IF, mewonders.

> Just what kind of utter sadist sets these puzzles, eh? However,


> I nominate:
>
> The bees (Adventureland)


Playing Adventureland in my youth, I never had much trouble with the
bees. It was that damn bear that plagued me. Did anyone else have this
problem? I swear my brain almost overloaded several nights trying to
think a way to get past him without feeding him the *HONEY*. I believe I
finally hit on the solution (ŚSCREAMą) not out of any brilliant insight
into how to scare the bear, but because I myself felt like screaming.
Since then, I have noticed I have a pathological tendency to type scream
whenever I come to a puzzle I canąt solve. This hasnąt resulted in much
success to date, but at least many authors have humored me with a
cathartic scream response. Some of my favorites:

- Zork : Aaaarrrrgggghhhh!

- Wearing the Claw: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHH

- Path to Fortune:
Ggggrrrrrrraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrgggggggghhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!

- MacWesleyan: Rrrrrraaaaaaaaaaaaaaagh

- I/O : Courtney Love youąre not.

- Shawn

Jon Conrad

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Jun 18, 1997, 3:00:00 AM6/18/97
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Matthew T. Russotto <russ...@wanda.vf.pond.com> wrote:

>Again, I liked the cheating puzzles in Toyshop.

Me too. They were all satisfyingly obvious once I was past them (though I
spared a moment of pity for those who'd never played Trinity at one
point). Except for the final one, generating the number. There was no
elegant simplicity to that that I could (or can) see. You just have to be
a math whiz; though I grew up on Martin Gardner et all, this one was too
much for me.

Jon Alan Conrad
Department of Music
University of Delaware
con...@udel.edu


Carl Muckenhoupt

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Jun 18, 1997, 3:00:00 AM6/18/97
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Neil Brown wrote:
>
> In article <19970618035...@ladder02.news.aol.com>, LFrench106
> <lfren...@aol.com> wrote:
> >What's the cruelest puzzle in all IF, mewonders.

[various suggestions deleted]

> Then of course there's A Change in the Weather. I only managed to get to
> the second half (waking up after sleeping in the cave) through pure
> fluke, and any puzzle that requires an exact sequence of moves is just
> sadistic. Perhaps 'Time: All Things Come To An End' should fall into
> this category as well.

If requiring an exact sequence of moves is sadistic, then the cruelest
has got to be the Island where Time Runs Backwards from Spellcasting
101.

Well, okay, maybe not. The opening to "The Light: Shelby's Addendum" is
pretty cruel, actually. The first thing you have to do is find a
cleverly-hidden item within a time limit. Fail, and you die. What
makes this particularly cruel is that the environment is so very rich.
The player will use up most of his time limit just examining items in
the first couple of rooms, at first out of habit, later on in an earnest
search for the life-preserving item mentioned above.

--
Carl Muckenhoupt ca...@earthweb.com
EarthWeb http://www.earthweb.com/

ct

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Jun 18, 1997, 3:00:00 AM6/18/97
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>I nominate:
>
> The freezer banks (Snowball)

Nah! Any puzzle i solved at such a tender age has to be both fair and
simple. Now the laser at the end...

>(As for the Curses mousehole, I think that's as nothing in
>trickiness terms to working out the rods.)

Eh? Rods were obvious surely? Or did playing all the even-numbered versions
from six upwards make some things simpler? (Oh, and one odd one...)

Cruel puzzles? Well, most of So Far, obviously. But I'm still unimpressed
with finding the second jigsaw piece...

regards, ct


David Dyte

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Jun 19, 1997, 3:00:00 AM6/19/97
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Neil Brown <ne...@highmount.demon.co.uk> writes:

>>The mousehole in Curses?
>
> The mousehole puzzle was quite easy once you worked out that you had to
> talk to a piece of scenery. The mousehole puzzle in The Magic Toyshop
> was very cruel, however. The key word for this game is 'cheat'. There
> are no 'fair' ways of winning in most puzzles.
>

I thought the mouse hole puzzle in Magic Toyshop was great fun. Of course
having never played Curses before I played Magic Toyshop, I had to come
upon the idea of talking to scenery independently, but it seemed pretty
logical to me the way that whole game worked. Just read the rules of each
puzzle carefully.

And lfrench asked for other nominees:

The small dog in HHGTTG is surely the all time grand champion for "You mean
I have to go back that far and do all that again? Aaaarrrrggghhh!!!!"

Of course this is all made up for by having the all time best ever puzzle
in the very same game :-)

- David Dyte

Mary K. Kuhner

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Jun 19, 1997, 3:00:00 AM6/19/97
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>Playing Adventureland in my youth, I never had much trouble with the
>bees. It was that damn bear that plagued me. Did anyone else have this
>problem?

First and only game where I ever did "strings" on the source code in
order to solve a puzzle. I had done everything else--man, that was
frustrating! So I got a list of verbs, and went through them all
in alphabetical order.

Some others:

The puzzle (there's really only one) in Change in the Weather
The bomber from Jigsaw (I thought the Enigma was easy enough,
actually, once one "got" being insubstantial). For me this
falls into the category "Okay, now I've looked up the solution,
could someone please explain the clue?"

For some reason the snail from Christminster, though I solved it
quickly enough, just annoyed heck out of me.

Mary Kuhner mkku...@genetics.washington.edu

Matthew Daly

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Jun 19, 1997, 3:00:00 AM6/19/97
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con...@copland.udel.edu (Jon Conrad), if that is your REAL name, said:
>Matthew T. Russotto <russ...@wanda.vf.pond.com> wrote:
>
>>Again, I liked the cheating puzzles in Toyshop.
>
>Me too. They were all satisfyingly obvious once I was past them (though I
>spared a moment of pity for those who'd never played Trinity at one
>point).

Yeah, I think that there is a difference between a tough puzzle and
a cruel one. In Toyshop, you know that Tic-Tac-Toe can't be won, so
you know that you have to find a way to bend the rules in order to
win. After that easy example, you are alerted to the fact that
cheating might be required for future games. I count that as pretty
fair.

>Except for the final one, generating the number. There was no
>elegant simplicity to that that I could (or can) see. You just have to be
>a math whiz; though I grew up on Martin Gardner et all, this one was too
>much for me.

Ah. It would have been more natural if you had grown up on Raymond
Smullyan, as I did. "The Lady or the Tiger" has a section on such
puzzles, which has a mathematical name that escapes me at the moment.
Combinatorial Algebra, perhaps. The operator that said that if
X generates Y, then 3X generates Y+1 was a new wrinkle to me, though.

-Matthew
--
Matthew Daly I feel that if a person has problems communicating
mwd...@kodak.com the very least he can do is to shut up - Tom Lehrer
My opinions are not necessarily those of my employer, of course.
--- Support the anti-Spam amendment! Join at http://www.cauce.org ---

Magnus Olsson

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Jun 19, 1997, 3:00:00 AM6/19/97
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In article <1997Jun1...@vaxc.cc.monash.edu.au>,

David Dyte <dd...@vaxc.cc.monash.edu.au> wrote:
>The small dog in HHGTTG is surely the all time grand champion for "You mean
>I have to go back that far and do all that again? Aaaarrrrggghhh!!!!"

For the umpteenth time: you *don't* have to go back that far and do
all that again. You get a second chance much later in the game.

--
Magnus Olsson (m...@df.lth.se, zeb...@pobox.com)
------ http://www.pobox.com/~zebulon ------
Not officially connected to LU or LTH.

Andrew Plotkin

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Jun 19, 1997, 3:00:00 AM6/19/97
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Matthew Daly (da...@PPD.Kodak.COM) wrote:
> > [Magic Toyshop]

> >Except for the final one, generating the number. There was no
> >elegant simplicity to that that I could (or can) see. You just have to be
> >a math whiz; though I grew up on Martin Gardner et all, this one was too
> >much for me.

> Ah. It would have been more natural if you had grown up on Raymond
> Smullyan, as I did. "The Lady or the Tiger" has a section on such
> puzzles, which has a mathematical name that escapes me at the moment.
> Combinatorial Algebra, perhaps. The operator that said that if
> X generates Y, then 3X generates Y+1 was a new wrinkle to me, though.

Oh, yeah, like I didn't immediately pull all my Smullyan books off the
shelf as soon as I got to that puzzle.

It didn't help at *all*. I read through all the Smullyan puzzles and all
the solutions. The Toyshop puzzle still complete baffled me. I eventually
got it by accident.

--Z

--

"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the
borogoves..."

Paul Francis Gilbert

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Jun 19, 1997, 3:00:00 AM6/19/97
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dd...@vaxc.cc.monash.edu.au (David Dyte) writes:

>Neil Brown <ne...@highmount.demon.co.uk> writes:

>>>The mousehole in Curses?
>>
>> The mousehole puzzle was quite easy once you worked out that you had to
>> talk to a piece of scenery. The mousehole puzzle in The Magic Toyshop
>> was very cruel, however. The key word for this game is 'cheat'. There
>> are no 'fair' ways of winning in most puzzles.
>>

>I thought the mouse hole puzzle in Magic Toyshop was great fun. Of course
>having never played Curses before I played Magic Toyshop, I had to come
>upon the idea of talking to scenery independently, but it seemed pretty
>logical to me the way that whole game worked. Just read the rules of each
>puzzle carefully.

>And lfrench asked for other nominees:

>The small dog in HHGTTG is surely the all time grand champion for "You mean


>I have to go back that far and do all that again? Aaaarrrrggghhh!!!!"

Huh? You didn't have to. You go back to earth again as Ford near the end, so
you could do the thing then. The game wasn't go going out of it's way to make
itself unfair.

>Of course this is all made up for by having the all time best ever puzzle
>in the very same game :-)

>- David Dyte


--
Paul Gilbert | p...@yallara.cs.rmit.edu.au
Bach App Sci, Bach Eng | The opinions expressed are my own, all my own, and
Year 4, RMIT Melbourne | as such will contain no references to small furry
Australia | creatures from Alpha Centauri.

Carl Muckenhoupt

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Jun 19, 1997, 3:00:00 AM6/19/97
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Matthew Daly wrote:
>
> con...@copland.udel.edu (Jon Conrad), if that is your REAL name, said:
> >Matthew T. Russotto <russ...@wanda.vf.pond.com> wrote:
> >
> >>Again, I liked the cheating puzzles in Toyshop.
> >
> >Me too. They were all satisfyingly obvious once I was past them (though I
> >spared a moment of pity for those who'd never played Trinity at one
> >point).

The Trinity-reference puzzle is optional. It's possible to complete the
game without it, albeit without the maximum score.

> Ah. It would have been more natural if you had grown up on Raymond
> Smullyan, as I did. "The Lady or the Tiger" has a section on such
> puzzles, which has a mathematical name that escapes me at the moment.
> Combinatorial Algebra, perhaps. The operator that said that if
> X generates Y, then 3X generates Y+1 was a new wrinkle to me, though.

Smullyan wrote another book, "To Mock a Mockingbird", composed enitrely
of such puzzles.

Carl Muckenhoupt

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Jun 19, 1997, 3:00:00 AM6/19/97
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Mary K. Kuhner wrote:
>
> The bomber from Jigsaw (I thought the Enigma was easy enough,
> actually, once one "got" being insubstantial). For me this
> falls into the category "Okay, now I've looked up the solution,
> could someone please explain the clue?"

SPOILERS for Jigsaw follow:


As I've said before: when I played Jigsaw, it never ocurred to me that
being insubstantial could allow one to fly. Instead, confronted with
something too tall to see on top of, I tried jumping. And it worked.

This is just one example of a trend I've been noticing: Given a puzzle
that has two solutions, the more obscure one will somehow make it into
the walkthru and thus become better known. The tears in Christminster
are another example, as is quite a lot in Kyrandia 3.

David Dyte

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Jun 20, 1997, 3:00:00 AM6/20/97
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> I wrote:

>>The small dog in HHGTTG is surely the all time grand champion for "You mean
>>I have to go back that far and do all that again? Aaaarrrrggghhh!!!!"
>

And Magnus Olsson wrote:

> For the umpteenth time: you *don't* have to go back that far and do
> all that again. You get a second chance much later in the game.
>

Yes but you *do* have to go back some way and you still have no reasonable
way of knowing to do that without playing through first and dying. This is
the same complaint many folks have about Suspect etc.

But, as I say, this is more than made up for by the Babel Fish. Who was it
said *that* was an unfair puzzle? No way, it is absolutely brilliant.

- David Dyte

Who has nothing more to say on the subject, honest. No more "Yes it is"
"No it isn't" "Yes it is" "This isn't an argument it's just contradiction"
"Look if I argue with you I must take up a contrary position" "Yes but that
isn't just saying `No it isn't'" "Yes it is" "No it isn't" posts from me.

Paul Francis Gilbert

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Jun 20, 1997, 3:00:00 AM6/20/97
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dd...@vaxc.cc.monash.edu.au (David Dyte) writes:

>> I wrote:

>>>The small dog in HHGTTG is surely the all time grand champion for "You mean
>>>I have to go back that far and do all that again? Aaaarrrrggghhh!!!!"
>>

>And Magnus Olsson wrote:

>> For the umpteenth time: you *don't* have to go back that far and do
>> all that again. You get a second chance much later in the game.
>>

>Yes but you *do* have to go back some way and you still have no reasonable
>way of knowing to do that without playing through first and dying. This is
>the same complaint many folks have about Suspect etc.

And again, I really don't see why you have to go back at all. When I first
played it, and was killed by the dog, ws before I was incarnated as Ford, and
had a chance to prevent it, then redo the ship puzzle. There was no undo
involed at all.

>But, as I say, this is more than made up for by the Babel Fish. Who was it
>said *that* was an unfair puzzle? No way, it is absolutely brilliant.

Yeh. That was one cool puzzle. Also the entire gathering-the-tools puzzle
for use at the end. Marvin "I think you ought to know I feeling very
depressed" the android is certainly a memorable character.

>- David Dyte

>Who has nothing more to say on the subject, honest. No more "Yes it is"
>"No it isn't" "Yes it is" "This isn't an argument it's just contradiction"
>"Look if I argue with you I must take up a contrary position" "Yes but that
>isn't just saying `No it isn't'" "Yes it is" "No it isn't" posts from me.

Joe Mason

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Jun 22, 1997, 3:00:00 AM6/22/97
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"Re: Stupid Question (MAGI", declared Matthew Daly from the Vogon ship:

MD>Ah. It would have been more natural if you had grown up on Raymond
MD>Smullyan, as I did. "The Lady or the Tiger" has a section on such
MD>puzzles, which has a mathematical name that escapes me at the moment.
MD>Combinatorial Algebra, perhaps. The operator that said that if
MD>X generates Y, then 3X generates Y+1 was a new wrinkle to me, though.

For the nth time:

I have not solved this puzzle. I have given up. Last time I checked
GMD, there was no walkthru for Toyshop, but that was quite a while ago
since my Internet access is down more then 90% of the time (why I
registered for A Mud Forever Voyaging, since I'll probably never get to
use it, is beyond me). Can somebody please send me the solution?

I've posted this request at least three times now, and nobody ever
answers me!

Joe

ş CMPQwk 1.42 9550 şThe future of Usenet: a foot stuck in a human mouth -- forever.

Dan Shiovitz

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Jun 22, 1997, 3:00:00 AM6/22/97
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I posted an explanation of how to solve this puzzle as well as the
answer back when the game came out .. it's on dejanews if you check
the old database for "scythe toyshop solution chest". If you just
want the number, it's

453251453251

>Joe
--
dan shiovitz scy...@u.washington.edu sh...@cs.washington.edu
slightly lost author/programmer in a world of more creative or more
sensible people ... remember to speak up for freedom because no one else
will do it for you: use it or lose it ... carpe diem -- be proactive.
my web site: http://weber.u.washington.edu/~scythe/home.html some ok stuff.


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