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 Discuss The Sign of Four here Goto page Previous  1, 2
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Stained Glass
Icarian Member

 Posted: Fri Sep 23, 2005 1:26 am    Post subject: 41 The game they are playing doesn't have to be Scrabble. It might just use the tiles and point values. It's just a thought...
3iff
very unbifflike

Posted: Fri Sep 23, 2005 7:49 am    Post subject: 42

 Stained Glass wrote: The game they are playing doesn't have to be Scrabble. It might just use the tiles and point values. It's just a thought...

But that would make it Scrabble or something as near as...and if it had different rules, how would we know what those rules are?

Well, I'm stuck. Playing the words as listed (as if it were a Scrabble game) gets me so far until I hit an impasse.

My reasoning so far. (some parts might be wrong)

Scrabble game, English tile set, two players.
Words are listed in play order.
One or two words (or more?) are missing from the list.
The puzzle is solvable from the information given. (Hard to believe - )
/dev/joe
Guest

 Posted: Fri Sep 23, 2005 4:49 pm    Post subject: 43 Not hiding any of this any more; this post discusses the key issues we have to resolve in this puzzle. If it is Scrabble, we need to somehow account for the fact that there are letters missing. Either one (or more) of the words on the board is not given to us, or some letters are missing from their set, or they are playing some other game that has a lot of resemblances to Scrabble but is not actually Scrabble. If we assume that the words are played in the order listed, we have an anomaly at the end of the game. For Watson to have had six tiles left when Holmes went out, one of two things must be true: either Holmes played all seven tiles in a long word (and that word is not given to us, since the longest word we are given has six letters), or Watson played only a single tile on his previous play when the bag was already empty (but the words at the end of the list do not seem to support this). In the words-in-order assumption, I believe I have exhaustively searched the space of legal Scrabble games played using these words in order and no other words on the board at any time; the farthest you can get is to HE. Perhaps what we need to consider now are plays which may create some additional words that later get extended into some of the words later in the list. That is to say, the list is in the order that the words were first formed, but any words which later got extended were omitted. For example, perhaps Watson's last play was to add a Y to the end of GLUE, which had been played previously. OFTEN could be built up by playing a letter between OF and EN, or OFT and N, or O and TEN. Etc. In the words-out-of-order assumption, we need some additional information. I don't believe there is anywhere close to a unique way of fitting all these words on the Scrabble board, though I have not yet explored this possibility to prove it. And if so, why are the words presented in this odd order, which works so well (though not completely, using the methods we have tried so far) for our assumption that they are the words in the order formed?
Guest

 Posted: Fri Sep 23, 2005 8:44 pm    Post subject: 44 i just noticed this: the words he and to are followed by high and often, respectively. this strongly suggests, also in view of the excess H's, that the words high and often are "hung", that is connected, in the same possible wife/(we)/node configuration. this may help free up room for successive words. i.e. graze/(he)/high and float/(to)/often. may break it open.
darkveggie
Icarian Member

 Posted: Fri Sep 23, 2005 8:45 pm    Post subject: 45 oh, that was my idea. i don't have time to try it though, until tomorrow. must write paper.
Foggy
In the clouds

 Posted: Fri Sep 23, 2005 9:31 pm    Post subject: 46 Just a thought but since Holmes states that reconstruction of the board will reveal the stakes, I'd have to imagine that the seven+ letter word that he plays is intentionally left off the list, and including those letters will use the extra U and R, plus 5+ letters. (If it's the sign of four, maybe there playing for QUARTERS? Also, and this I won't hide, if the words are the finished grid, then perhaps their intended to go top down or left right (e.g., WIFE/NODE is the highest row, WE... the first column, etc).
Thok
Guest

 Posted: Sat Sep 24, 2005 1:50 am    Post subject: 47 Quick clarification Should the second line of words be wet, tamed, we, daze?
MatthewV
Daedalian Member :_

Posted: Sat Sep 24, 2005 2:28 am    Post subject: 48

 Tahnan wrote: I'll lay one fear to rest: there are, to the best of my knowledge, no errors in the puzzle as posted.

And if you are talking about the solution, I won't help.
Stained Glass
Icarian Member

 Posted: Sat Sep 24, 2005 9:42 am    Post subject: 49 Because the problem seems to be mapping out the board, I wonder if the story is meant to help us solve that piece of the puzzle. For some reason I think the answer will become obvious once the board is completed. But there still is the problem of the missing letters... I'll blame the cookie monster.
marcusI
Daedalian Member

 Posted: Mon Sep 26, 2005 2:23 am    Post subject: 50 I think I can help here. I'm afraid this might be too much of a spoiler. So you hardier puzzlers might not want to know. I haven't pursued the puzzle myself but have followed the discussion. A cable channel was kind enough to play "the sign of four" tonight and I might know the missing word. Central to the story was a steamship named Aurora this seems to fit the bill nicely.
MatthewV
Daedalian Member :_

 Posted: Mon Sep 26, 2005 2:37 am    Post subject: 51 However...I do not see the correct answer anywhere in your post. Keep trying
3iff
very unbifflike

Posted: Mon Sep 26, 2005 12:48 pm    Post subject: 52

 /dev/joe wrote: If we assume that the words are played in the order listed, we have an anomaly at the end of the game. For Watson to have had six tiles left when Holmes went out, one of two things must be true: either Holmes played all seven tiles in a long word (and that word is not given to us, since the longest word we are given has six letters), or Watson played only a single tile on his previous play when the bag was already empty (but the words at the end of the list do not seem to support this).

Another option is that Watson might have played 3 or 4 letters and collected only 2 or 3 letters (making 6 in his hand). Holmes might then have played 4 and 3 (for example) with Watson passing his turn. However, the story does not suggest this happened. Furthermore, Watson must have been unable to play a letter (to IF, IN, IT, IS, PI, OX, AX [American spelling!] or FIX - plus any others!).

What is certainly plain though is that the word list is not the COMPLETE word list. Perhaps, by the terms of the story, it makes the puzzle unsolveable! (or perhaps not...)
Thok
Guest

 Posted: Tue Sep 27, 2005 7:44 pm    Post subject: 53 Perhaps one of the missing lines is sign, of, four?
Stained Glass
Icarian Member

 Posted: Thu Sep 29, 2005 6:27 am    Post subject: 54 I think the number four has a role somewhere. These are the three words Watson says. "Hmmm" "Hush" "Done" When I have time, I will try to work with this more.
Oscar
Daedalian Member

 Posted: Thu Sep 29, 2005 11:38 am    Post subject: 55 I can see something in Watson's eyes. More to follow...
Amb
Amb the Hitched.

 Posted: Fri Sep 30, 2005 11:46 am    Post subject: 56 There remains one other possiblity - they are playing upwords, where the tiles are laid on top of each other - obscuring some letters completely :p I think the Sign Off Our is the major hint. I might try and construct a board myself over the weekend.
Amb
Amb the Hitched.

Posted: Fri Sep 30, 2005 11:55 am    Post subject: 57

 Quote: wife, node, wet, tamed, daze, famous, quotes, caws, cranky, boys, event, patty, pride, blaze, jails, groan, graze, he, high, lover, alone, float, to, often, gluey

This is the final list - and not the list as it was played

So
 Code: 1.      WIFE 2.    WIFE NODE (Making NODE and WE) 3.    WIFE NODE    TAMED (Making WET in the process)

So WET was never directly played, but formed. I dont know if that helps any.
Tony Gardner
Daedalian Member

 Posted: Fri Sep 30, 2005 1:00 pm    Post subject: 58 But then why is 'wet' included in the list given and 'we' isn't?
Foggy
In the clouds

 Posted: Fri Sep 30, 2005 1:17 pm    Post subject: 59 Tony, the puzzle clearly states the list is the final list of the words on the board. Holmes states that intermediate steps (like WE) are not known.
Tony Gardner
Daedalian Member

 Posted: Fri Sep 30, 2005 1:29 pm    Post subject: 60 Ah. Sorry about that, I didn't realize that making 'wet' eliminates 'we' from the board. Bit slow today...
Sineish
Daedalian Member

 Posted: Fri Sep 30, 2005 2:39 pm    Post subject: 61 I think I've got all the words supplied to fit in a grid (it's 26 by 22, I don't know if this is too big or not). WIFE NODE with the E finishing next to the W in WIFE, also making WE TAMED with the T next to WE, also making WET DAZE through the D in TAMED FAMOUS through the O in NODE QUOTES through the E in DAZE CAWS through the S in FAMOUS CRANKY through the C in CAWS BOYS through the O in QUOTES EVENT through the N in CRANKY PATTY through the Y in CRANKY PRIDE through the P in PATTY BLAZE through the E in PRIDE JAILS through the L in BLAZE GROAN through the A in JAILS GRAZE through the G in GROAN HIGH with the first H next to the E in GRAZE, also making HE LOVER through the R in GROAN ALONE through the E in WIFE FLOAT through the O in ALONE OFTEN with the O next to the T in FLOAT, also making TO GLUEY through the G in HIGH The following letters are shared: A, C, D, 5Es, 2Gs, H, L, N, 4Os, P, R, S, 2Ts, W, Y I don't know what this means in terms of solving this puzzle though, whether it is the correct solution or even the only possible one. S.
Tony Gardner
Daedalian Member

 Posted: Fri Sep 30, 2005 2:50 pm    Post subject: 62 A Scrabble board is 15x15 squares (and the first word has to have one of its letters in the center of the board, just thought I'd mention that). Still, nice work on the grid.
Nauplius
Crustacean Member

Posted: Fri Sep 30, 2005 4:42 pm    Post subject: 63

I believe that the "Sign of Four" refers to the number of tiles each player must play each turn. Using this assumption along with amb's suggestion I think step three should be:

amb wrote:

 Code: 3.    WIFE NODE    TAME and then TAMED is formed by playing DAZE down. 4.    WIFE NODE    TAMED        A        Z        E

Sineish
Daedalian Member

Posted: Fri Sep 30, 2005 5:01 pm    Post subject: 64

 Tony Gardner wrote: A Scrabble board is 15x15 squares

Ok, this one fits exactly then:

WIFE with I on the center square
NODE with the E forming WE with the W from WIFE
TAMED with the T forming WET from WE
DAZE through the D of TAMED
FAMOUS through the F of WIFE and the M of TAMED
QUOTES through the O of NODE
CAWS through the S of QUOTES
CRANKY through the A of CAWS
BOYS through the Y of CRANKY
EVENT with its first E through the E of DAZE
PATTY with its first T throught the T of EVENT
PRIDE through the second E of EVENT
BLAZE through the E of WIFE
JAILS through the L of BLAZE
GROAN through the A of JAILS
GRAZE through the G of GROAN
HIGH with its first H next to the E of GRAZE, also forming HE
LOVER through the R of GROAN
ALONE through the L of LOVER
FLOAT through the A of ALONE, also forming TO with the O of LOVER
OFTEN through the F of FLOAT
GLUEY through the Y of PATTY

S.
Sineish
Daedalian Member

Posted: Fri Sep 30, 2005 5:33 pm    Post subject: 65

 Arthur Holmes wrote: In fact, with a simple application of logic to the situation, one could even determine the stakes.

EDIT: I think this is the answer:

Could the unaccounted for letters be an anagram of the stakes Holmes refers to? Specifically, MURDER

S.
Amb
Amb the Hitched.

Posted: Fri Sep 30, 2005 11:04 pm    Post subject: 66

This is the board
 Code: O          HIGH  FLOAT  GRA*E  T  LOVER  E  O   O B  N  N  JAILS     E   N A      Q    *      U WIFE     NODE A   P      T TAMED R      E   O A I P   CAWS   U Z D A   R      S EVENT   A            T   N        GLUEY   K BOYS

IIIX left over, missing UR, Blanks making up 2 Z's

What is interesting with this combo is that Every play is exactly 4 letters.

Last edited by Amb on Fri Sep 30, 2005 11:30 pm; edited 1 time in total
Amb
Amb the Hitched.

 Posted: Fri Sep 30, 2005 11:16 pm    Post subject: 67 Assuming all 100 tiles and that Holmes starts 7 in Tray each (86 in bag) Each play 4, (78 in bag) Each play 4, (70 in bag) Each play 4, (62 in bag) Each play 4, (54 in bag) Each play 4, (46 in bag) Each play 4, (38 in bag) Each play 4, (30 in bag) Each play 4, (22 in bag) Each play 4, (14 in bag) Each play 4, (6 in bag) Holmes plays 4 (2 in bag) Watson plays 4 (Watson had 7, loses 4 to the play, gains 2. He should have had 5 tiles. Not 6) Well that doesnt work; Try again with 6 tiles each (100 in Bag) 6 in Tray each (88 in bag) Each play 4 (80 in bag) Each play 4 (72 in bag) Each play 4 (64 in bag) Each play 4 (56 in bag) Each play 4 (48 in bag) Each play 4 (40 in bag) Each play 4 (32 in bag) Each play 4 (24 in bag) Each play 4 (16 in bag) Each play 4 (8 in bag) Holmes plays 4 (4 in bag) Watsons plays 4 (0 in bag) Holmes plays 4 - Has 2 tiles left, Watson has 6 - Cannot move further, and no tiles left to draw The rules are clearer just by me doing this. I think they are playing with 6 tiles each not 7 as I was working on above. * Holmes has the UR left in his tray. * The stakes are that you must play exactly 4 tiles at a time from a pool of 6 and no more and no less than. * With Holmes still having the U and R in his tray and unable to play further, that means he has 'gone out', thus Watsons six tiles left are "IIIIIX" without him being able to make any further plays. (And even were it allowed, what Four letters would he play anyways) The other possibility I was entertaining before this, was that the U and R were drawn from the bag to see who STARTED and not replaced, with Watson drawing the U. The Sign Off UR is a misleader, yet brilliantly ties in. Great puzzle.
Guest

 Posted: Sat Oct 01, 2005 2:15 am    Post subject: 68 amb- the way you set up your board does not fit on a regular scrabble board. You have a height or 17 right now.
Amb
Amb the Hitched.

Posted: Sat Oct 01, 2005 4:56 am    Post subject: 69

I didnt make the board, I used Sineish's instructions :-p

 Code: O          HIGH  FLOAT  GRA*E  T  LOVER  E  O   O B  N  N  JAILS     E   N A      Q    *      U WIFE     NODE A   P    C T TAMED R    R E   O A I P   CAWS   U Z D A    N     S EVENT    K           T  BOYS      GLUEY

With correction to the board - rest of the answer is still correct.
d8P
Daedalian Member

 Posted: Tue Oct 04, 2005 8:16 pm    Post subject: 70 Excellent puzzle. That layout must be correct. The scrabble board is 15 x 15, exactly four tiles for each move, and it means there are six tiles left over, excluding the tiles in Watson's tray: 1 D, 1 E, 1 M, 2 R and 1 U: murder [edit: Oh, duh. Didn't read the spoilers. Congrats, Sineish.]
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