Isis Adventure: Worst. Puzzle. Ever

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This is the worst thing ever to be associated with the word “ISIS!”


So many times I looked at this thing thinking my dad would love it as a present. Glad I didn’t waste my money or his time


Googled “Isis Adventure” … and now I’m on a list.


Just reading this makes me sad and annoyed. Most of the victims will be puzzle fans who receive it as a gift, and many such people would make a point of not looking at the online stuff at all, at least not until they’d spent hours trying to crack it themselves.

It’s basically a machine to turn your loved ones’ thoughtful gift-giving into the biggest disappointment since the Red Wedding.


A good “puzzle” is a battle between the setter and the solver in which the setter must always lose, but not trivially.
But just as crucially, the process of solving must follow a series of steps that will seem completely logical after the event but entirely opaque before that point. It’s critical that the solver should never say “how the hell was I supposed to guess that?” afterwards, but they should instead say “but of course; that makes sense now.” That doesn’t mean the puzzle shouldn’t contain intentional red herrings (quite apart from the blind alleys that solvers create for themselves!), and a really good puzzle should be able to mislead you in multiple ways. There’s also an elegance to them that is generally not immediately apparent (compare, for example, hand-crafted sudoku puzzles to those created automatically; there’s often something indefinable about the human influence that makes them feel different.)

It’s not necessarily easy to achieve this goal, but it certainly sounds as though this puzzle (which I did come across years ago but rejected as being clearly a scam) fails totally in all respects.


This story reminded me of a quote found in Malcolm Gladwell’s great profile of the inventor/marketer Ron Popeil, The Pitchman. S.J. Popeil (Ron’s father, another inventor/marketer) is supposed to have said this to a designer who didn’t think his new product, the Pocket Fisherman, would be very useful: “It’s not for using; it’s for giving.”

That is, Sonic Warp likely succeeded in their real goal. They made the kind of object that most would never buy for themselves, but many with the right kind of income would enjoy buying for others (most of whom, presumably, would also enjoy this level of apparent quality). Few people would complain about a gift (in fact, the author does not want the giver of the gift to learn of his disappointment), but they might go through with handing over even more important information, which will form part of another valuable item to sell, an opt-in mail list.

Diabolically clever, actually.


How would it look on an xray tomograph? Could it be solved with such aid?


For some reason — probably because I’m getting to the age where everything reminds me of something — this reminds me of the Richard Harris movie Juggernaut, wherein Harris plays a bomb disposal expert dropped onto an ocean liner in the middle of the Atlantic to defuse seven bombs, all of which are filled with cunning devices to kill the unwary bomb disposal expert. (Youtube has some clips featuring a host of very young-looking famous British actors.)

I suppose that Ron Garret is lucky that the device did not contain explosives, nerve gas, magically-preserved cannibal beetles, or the key to the Dungeon Dimensions.


…or the Cenobites.


It almost seems fraudulent to call it an “Adventure”. It’d only be valid if getting your dick caught in the space between the wall and a pocket door counts as an adventure as well.


There is one saving grace here: the heiroglyphs on the outside of the sphere-thing weren’t being used in crude monoalphabetic substitution for English letters, as is customary in the ‘write your name in hieroglyphics!’ mind-blowing misunderstandings of how languages work.

That one was always good for getting the Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations majors worked up, though…


It appears that, with this puzzle, all configurations are the lament configuration.


An easier way to track who is and isn’t selling your information, is to use different middle initials when you sign up.


I like the recent tattoo craze of “my initials in Chinese” as if that made any sense at all. (At least one could - depending on one’s name - actually write it in hieroglyphics because they sometimes stood for sounds, as it was a writing system based on the rebus principle.)
In this case it seems like the “puzzle” is so bad that using hieroglyphics merely as a cypher for Roman characters wouldn’t have been used simply because it would have been too straightforward…


While I’m remembering things from the dawn of time, there was a Madonna album that used Katakana to spell her name and the album title… except they didn’t; the designer had merely gotten a Katakana font installed, and typed the words on an English keyboard, resulting in nonsense.

This was before handy OS hacks that could transliterate what you typed into at least an approximation of the proper form; those days, foreign characters were just assigned willy-nilly to keys. But even so, the designer should have known better. I despair of my fellow slaves in the design mines, sometimes.

Edit: The DVD for the Drowned World Tour:

モチシラミミチ reads ‘mochishiramimichi’ which doesn’t mean anything, but notice that the characters follow the same pattern as ‘Madonna’: same number of letters, and characters 5 & 6 and 2 & 7 identical.


as my frustration tolerance level is set fairly low I give stuff like this a miss. Just get The Room/2/3 on on an Ipad or android tablet at least you will accomplish something.

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However, now I have a burning urge to get a mochishiramimichi tattoo.


Any body else expecting a music box?


Behind the scenes of the puzzle company is just as bad

Thought I could totally forget ever working for them and now they’re brought up on Boingboing!