Happy Prologue Day


Happy Prologue Day to all Mazers! Perhaps better known as Pi Day, March 14 (of course) is the day on which to celebrate all things mathematical, and especially pi in all its irrational glory.

Should your notion of celebration include imbibing cocktails as you recite your times tables, solve differential equations, or memorize pi to 100,000 digits, may I recommend a piña colada piled high with pineapple pieces. For more refined tastes, a spirited pinot grigio should do the trick. Beer drinkers can enjoy a pint of piquant pilsner. Kanpai!

Back to the Prologue. The entrance gate is unusual in that you can go through it even though it does not have a number above the door. Instead it has “THE NEXT PAGE”, which is preeeeeetty unambiguous. Nevertheless, like the rooms inside the House, the entrance seems to have a puzzle or three to solve to confirm you’ve got the right door, even though it isn’t necessary here. That’s how I interpret the pi symbol–shaped gate on the prologue page: it is a door indicator puzzle when combined with the umbrella.

This is the idea (see also the Abyss): the way the umbrella with its r-shaped handle is propped against the pi-shaped gate gives you πr. What does πr signify? The equation for the circumference of a circle is C = 2πr, where r is the radius of the circle. Divide both sides of the equation by two, and you get ½C = πr – pi times the radius of a circle is equal to half the circumference of that circle. And there’s that half circle right over the door, a visual representation of the solution to the puzzle.

White Raven’s theory about red herrings is that things that seem to connect one room to another, things that you have to peek into the next room to see, are usually red herrings (e.g., BALLerina in Room 10 and the BALL in room 14). If that’s true, then the Prologue page can be seen as a kind of teaching page: the clues indicating the door to 41 (the fact that it’s the only door you can see, the path of light, the highlighted handle) are misleading. The reliable clue comes from objects within the “room” – in this case, outside the gate.

An additional Prologue clue for door 1 comes from an observation vewatkin made in the chat a while ago: the two round stones by the umbrella could be intended as Morse code for I. If this is intentional, I could be meant as a reference to Roman numeral I, indicating Room 1. (In fact, the door itself could be an “i”- again, the Roman numeral 1, lowercase this time.) These ideas appeal to me because they add to the “teaching page” notion: the point illustrated here would be that each room contains multiple different puzzles pointing you to the correct door.

In general, there doesn’t seem to be all that much in the way of mathematical clues in MAZE; at least, there are few if any of any complexity. Sometimes you have to do some simple addition, and there seems to be a multiplication thing going on in Room 30, and there’s still the geometric transformation shenanigans in Room 3 to work out (or not), but that’s about it. I keep hoping to find something related to the golden ratio, which seems like it would fit thematically, be relatively easy to incorporate into visual clues, and be up Manson’s alley, but so far no dice.

LATE-BREAKING NEWS: a math-related solution has just been revealed by White Raven. You can find the solution here, the hint thread here

Finally, I will leave you with this fun fact about pi that I feel Manson himself might enjoy: when you hold “3.14” up to the mirror you get…