# The Master Theorem

So I’m a fan of puzzles of all varieties, and when I find one online that is stumping the heck out of me, I come running over here to find out how twickster or someone else solved it. I’m a cheater like that.

But here I get turned on to this fantastic new puzzle site, and lo and behold, there isn’t a damn thread on the Dope about it!

The main puzzles on The Master Theorem so far are of medium difficulty, but searching out and solving the hidden puzzles on the site is just as fun as working your way through the main ones. Explaining it is sort of confusing, but a brief jaunt through the site will show anyone interested what I mean.

Right now, I’m stuck on the clock puzzle: that is to say, when you click on the time, a clock puzzle opens up, wherein if you click either one of two buttons on the side of a picture of a clock, the hour and minute hands move, and the number you land upon switches with the number you started with. This puzzle can’t be so simple as to leave the puzzle in its starting state, and waiting until noon or midnight, can it?

I dislike puzzles where you’re given no idea what you’re even supposed to do. The one on the front page was incredibly easy once I read one hint, but before that I had absolutely no idea where to go. The previous one was similar in that regard. Having a bunch of data is meaningless unless you know why you’re given that data.

That said, there’s a way to find out what you need to do in the puzzle you mentioned in spoiler text, something that should come up naturally the more you play around with it. Puzzles that you can interact I generally like due to being able to tinker with different things and see how the outcome changes.

Two other things can happen when the hands are stopped.

not the solution, but a generous hint: you can swap numbers if the hands point to two different numbers, but what if they both point to the same number?

All of the puzzles that I’ve seen so far have had an incredible lack of depth. I’ve ended up needing hints for the most recent two, but that’s only because there effectively were no instructions as to what you were supposed to even be trying to find - the hints needed to push me in the right direction. Unfortunately, it appears that the push is almost a spoiler; once you see the process to get the answer, there’s no effectively no further work to be done at all. If you don’t see the trick, you could stare at it for days.

I’m not impressed at all.

Thanks B. Squid!

That’s a very interesting site, and the puzzles are great.

Yowza! Now I get it!

Okay, much like the main puzzles, it seems taking the hint option makes the puzzles quite simple to solve. I suppose that I just plain enjoy decrypting the puzzles using only the sidebar intro piece as my only clue. The fact that the puzzles all have the format of ‘find a workable phrase using a variety of standard puzzle solving formulae’ is enough of a framework for me, even without a specific genre of puzzle to work through. The lack of depth is made up for by the breadth, I suppose.

YAY! I got this weeks puzzle without any hints! Fun site, thanks!

How do I get to the clock puzzle?

Click on the clock? The only time I see on the page is on the lower corner, but it doesn’t appear to be clickable.

I think you have to be logged in.

So I found a puzzle on this site linked from the About page. It apparently has something to do with the origin of it at Columbia. There’s a negative copy of a newspaper article from Columbia’s student-run newspaper about some previous thing the guy did. There’s a sound clip, and the numbers 1 through 8 scrambled below red lines as if they were an entry blank.

Just in case, spoilering the rest of what I’ve found so you can go explore the page yourself if you’d like.

The sound clip is from a Jekyll & Hyde musical. The name of the song is Facade and finding that out required googling what few lyrics I could understand. When I tried to click on the supposed entry blanks, I noticed the window was movable and there was a map underneath. On one the buildings were 8 upside numbers. The mouseover text says “You might want to take a trip for this one.” I checked out the Columbia University map, and the building with the numbers is Butler Library. My guess is that those numbers correspond to something on the facade of the library that has the numbers. I resigned myself to having to take a trip if I wanted to see this. But the next week looking over it I wondered if the building might be famous enough to have pictures on the web…

The puzzle actually ended up with a decent amount of depth and a lot of detective work, unlike most of the puzzles that you either get or don’t get.

There’s also a puzzle called “Recursion” available that’s interesting. I got stumped for a while on multiple aspects of it, then gave what I thought was a really lame answer considering the form of the puzzle, but it ended up being right.

shrugs. To me, the goal of the puzzles is to figure out what to do; that’s the fun, puzzling aspect. But, yeah, you probably want to avoid the hints.