17:23 ST
[Challenge] The Monster's Statue (Solved, solution posted!)
Challenge solved! Solution here.

Note that you can still earn the Cave Challenge sticker by completing the challenge for up to a week!

Need something to puzzle over while you wait for the DING?

Have you been waiting to get your hands on a shiny
Gold Medallion?

Welcome to a new Cave Challenge! It’s been a while since we’ve done one, so for those of you who haven’t seen one before: a Cave Challenge is a race to solve a puzzle created by glitch and Myla. The puzzles aim to be unique, and do not center around a particular skill-set. The solution describes an action which you must take in order to solve it, and the first* person to perform this action wins. You can see some past examples of Cave Challenges here: 1, 2, 3.

Cave Challenges have little-to-no hand holding, and no hints beyond what is in the challenge itself will be given. This means that it will get solved as soon as the right inspiration strikes. Some Cave Challenges have been solved in as little as a few minutes. Others have lasted over a week.

The reward for being the first to complete the puzzle is eternal fame and glory, along with a fancy Gold Medallion. You’re welcome to work in groups or share progress and solutions if you like, but be aware that only the first player to solve the challenge will win the medallion. If you do post hints and such (whether in this thread or anywhere else), please do so in spoilers out of consideration to players who may not want to see them. All players who complete the puzzle, even up to one week after the official solution is posted, will receive a Gold Medallion sticker to commemorate the accomplishment.

Good luck!

* as is now tradition, if the first person to solve the challenge is a member of staff, then non-staff players will continue to be eligible to win until the challenge is solved by a non-staff player.

The challenge will be posted in this thread tomorrow at around 21:00 Server Time, at which time this thread will be unlocked. Keep your eyes peeled!
The challenge has been posted!

Posted 11/20/19, edited 11/22/19
The Monster’s Statue

Look,” said Aliza at last, “I can probably be of more help if you actually let me see the map.”

Professor Sprocket, leading the way down an ancient uncharted passageway with his nose inches from an old scrap of parchment, grunted something nondescript in response and kept walking. He’d told her he needed her help, that he’d found a map, and that there was treasure at the end of it. Most of that is true, he thought to himself. The map is real, the treasure is real. I just don’t need her help.

His relationship with the Cave — not to mention Aliza — had been complicated since his recent escapades, in which he’d mobilized a good fraction of the Mycenian population to collect and build parts for his Marvelous Meteorologic Machine. Aliza had investigated him, and gone through his private journal. In the time since, he’d learned that life was easiest when he followed — no, when he made the appearance of following — the norms and customs of the Cave. There was sleuth-work to be done, and When There’s Sleuth-Work To Be Done, Aliza Is Involved was apparently some kind of unspoken rule, so he’d asked her to come along. It didn’t do to anger the Cave.

Professor Sprocket came to an abrupt stop.

“We’re here,” he said.

“We are? Where are we?” asked Aliza.

“Look!” exclaimed the professor, scattering a number of marble-like devices from his bag. As they landed, they immediately began to glow with a bright white light, sprouted legs and scurried off until they had spaced themselves evenly across the cavern walls, illuminating the entire space with a soft light.

Professor Sprocket and Aliza found themselves in a relatively small cavern, round with a diameter of perhaps the size of eight or nine Ineki standing side-by-side, and about twice as tall.

As her eyes adjusted to the sudden light, Aliza gasped. In the very middle of the otherwise bare cavern, on a pedestal, stood a statue. Not just any statue, but an ancient statue. Its features were strange, both familiar and alien. It sat, perched upon a pedestal, daring any to approach. As the two got closer, a particularly unusual feature came into view.

“Would you look at that,” mused Aliza as she got out her magnifying glass. “There’s some kind of marking at the base, right under the foot. Here, let me get a better look.”

Professor Sprocket shot her a glance that was almost pitying. “A magnifying glass? Really? You? In this day and age?” He started rummaging in his pack, then pulled out something that looked like a cross between a camera and a small locomotive, with altogether too many gears on it. “Stand back!” he shouted as he pushed a prominent red button on its side.

A loud “Bang!” filled the cavern, and Aliza was flung backwards as a thing appeared, right where she had been standing. It looked to be an exact replica of part of the statue with the marking on it, except it was twelve times the size of the original.

“Professor!” Aliza cried, picking herself up off the ground, “Was that really necessary?”

“Yes of course it was, Aliza,” he responded smugly, “You can’t expect me to fumble around in the dirt with analogue lenses when I can simply make a larger copy with my Fantabulous Grenumbulator, can you? Look, it’s exactly the same as the original, only much larger and a lot easier to see.”

Aliza had to admit that this device was impressive, but something just felt off about his approach. New tools were certainly nice, but they were no substitute for the old ways, which had served her well throughout her entire life, and on which she was not ready to give up. She approached the statue once again, magnifying glass in hand, while Professor Sprocket examined his replica.

“Hm, It appears to be some kind of zipper pattern, did you notice?” asked Sprocket. Aliza ignored him. “Funny how well the colors survived the years. There’s a lot of pink. Perhaps pink is less prone to fading. I wonder what color these white spots were.” he went on.

Aliza ignored his comment, looking closely at the pattern. Suddenly, she jolted as realization zapped through her. “Oh… oh my…”

Professor Sprocket looked up from his work, a dozen small mechanical beetles scurrying over the pattern, scanning it and feeling for irregularities. “Did you finally notice the fact that the lower row is shorter, then?” he asked condescendingly, “my Corrulators are scanning the pattern now, if there’s anything to be made of it, they’ll discover it.”

“No, I don’t think they will,” began Aliza, “you see, you—”

“Nonsense!” the professor interrupted, “of course they will. I just need to tweak the vedudium parameters. The top-heaviness is part of the key, see? And the pink, too. Stands to reason, stands to reason.”

“Sprocket, listen, I’ve got it,” Aliza tried again. “I know—”

“—that the ancients who made this statue were fond of bright colors, yes yes, I figured that out ages ago. Just look at this thing. Try to catch up, Aliza!” the professor interrupted again. “The vedudium parameters are clearly fine, it’s the krelmetometry that’s off,” he said, twisting a small dial on the back of one of the devices that were apparently called Corrulators. “Here, tell me what you think of these stripes.”

“Look, your machines are impressive and all, but they are no substitute for actual detective-work!” Aliza exclaimed in exasperation. “You won’t find your answers in your replica, because it isn’t the real thing. There’s no magic in it! It’s not the real thing.”

Professor Sprocket sighed at Aliza’s comment. Her superstitious mumbo-jumbo and her general attitude were getting on his nerves. She thought she could lecture him? About this? About how squinting in the dirt with makeshift tools was somehow better than his perfect machines? What utter nonsense.

He met her eyes with an exasperated look, and was irritated when Aliza appeared to take it as an invitation to go on. Apparently he paused for too long, because Aliza took it as an invitation to speak again. She got a “You just need to—” before he cut her off again.

“Yes, Aliza, I know. The Corrulators’ lenkshafts have wound down and I need to tighten them. Look, I’ll be right back with my tools,” he snapped as he began briskly heading back the way they came. “Try not to get discouraged while I’m gone,” he called over his shoulder, “I know these things can be complicated for the uninitiated mind.” And with that, he was gone.

“No, you utter fool,” sighed Aliza under her breath, putting her magnifying glass safely back into her bag. “What I’ve been trying to tell you that I’ve solved it.”

Posted 11/21/19

The challenge has survived its first half-hour, which is a good sign that it will last a while :D

When I see that this puzzle has been solved, I’ll post in this thread to let everyone know, and I’ll write up a solution. That said, if you solve the puzzle, you’re encouraged to post here yourself, since it’ll likely be a while before I see that you solved it. Also, if you see someone claiming to have solved the puzzle, you can easily verify their claim by checking out their stickers page on their profile.

Posted 11/21/19, edited 11/21/19
Posted 11/21/19

Bah this is driving me nuts. Aliza is a lot better at patterns than I am~

Some things I’ve poked at so far:

“You won’t find your answers in your replica, because it isn’t the real thing. There’s no magic in it! It’s not the real thing.”

I checked the patterns between the two images and they seem to be the same.

There’s a lot of pink. Perhaps pink is less prone to fading. I wonder what color these white spots were.”

What interests me a lot is the line on the bottom row, second from the right. It’s the only line to have more than two colors appear in it, and both pink and white are not there. There are however, blue and cyan, which is the only place these two colors appear. I’m willing to bet a lot of money that this line is a key of some sort, but I can’t figure out how.

Posted 11/21/19
Thoughts from someone who’s really bad at cyphers.

The bars are RGB and CMY(K). They remind me of printing test pages.
There are only two bars with more than one colour — the first and the second-last. These two bars are also the only ones where red appears with either pink or yellow. Red also does not appear with green, with the exception of the second-last bar. I have yet to figure out any other colour patterns to determine where the missing blue/cyan (thanks Chimerical!) pieces would go.

For reference for later: mathematicalmulticore.wordpress.com/2011/05/08/rgb-cipher


Posted 11/21/19, edited 11/22/19

Hyasynthetic On that note

CMY and RGB makes sense. Let’s see.

R appears with Y and M, but only in the first bar, otherwise it’s on its own.
G appears with M only
M appears with G, Y. R in the first bar only.
Y appears with M. R in the first bar only.

White appears with R, G, and M. Never Y!

So they’re not separated by primary sets. Thx for pointing out the first bar on the top row, I’d missed that it had three colors.
Because they’re not separated by primary sets, a solution with color-mixing doesn’t seem likely.

Posted 11/22/19

Well… it’s apparently a zipper pattern… maybe we could zip it? I’ve tried a couple of combinations, but it hasn’t looked meaningful so far.
Also, just for funsies, my f.lux turned back on (it turns my screen very orange-y) and now white-yellow, pink-red, green-cyan, and black-blue pairs are nearly indistinguishable. Seems too random to be useful, but thought I’d mention it.

Posted 11/22/19, edited 11/22/19

I think pretty much everything Sprocket says is a red herring, tbh.

Also, aaaaaaaaaaaa.

Posted 11/22/19

At first I was thinking this was some kind of take on a 6 color binary alphabet but the more I look at that and I cant help but wonder if this is actually a code or a trick question since glitch comments no one solved it. Are we supposed to name the color? If so I suspect its orange just based off the aforementioned 6 color alphabet. But of course it couldn’t possibly
be that simple lol. Yay trying this stuff in the middle of the night

Posted 11/22/19, edited 11/22/19
Opened the first image in Notepad++ and it’s kinda funky at the bottom, I opened a few other random PNGs I have saved on my computer and nothing looked even remotely similar. Specifically it’s the characters on the bottom few lines that are making me go ???

Compared to the zoom image:

Compared to one of the site templates I’ve had saved on my computer for a while:

Though I don’t regularly open PNGs as text files to see what pops up, with everything about magic being gone from the second image I was curious. :D

Posted 11/22/19
Completely agree with Stanari and was actually just about to mention that. The fact that Aliza was ignoring everything he’d been saying and she came to the conclusion tells me we too should ignore Sprocket.
Posted 11/22/19

Stanari: messes around for a while to figure out the enlargement factor
Also Stanari: realizes it was mentioned in the post


That’s pretty normal for a PNG, I think. As far as I can tell there’s nothing weird happening in the enlargement.
Posted 11/22/19

I’m just sitting here wondering how big the statue is and whether or not it’s big enough to potentially climb on top of for pictures like the ones at amusement parks. Am just picturing Sprocket trying to balance on it for a photo and being super annoyed at having to pose while also trying not to fall off and it’s making me giggle. I’m easily amused.

Also puzzle is hard. The embiggening losing magic is weird but idk how this is relevant so hm.

Posted 11/22/19

I got something but I can’t figure out what to do with it and it’s driving me up the wall, haha.

The flavor text in general feels pretty misleading to me but I may just be missing something.
Posted 11/22/19
I believe I’ve got it, but I’m waiting for a reply. I’m not sure if I should post the answer or just give you guys a hint? Do you guys want a hint/the answer (if its correct)?? Are we even allowed to post any of that info??!? I’ve never done one of these before ;o;
Posted 11/22/19

You’re allowed to give all the hints/answers you want, just make sure to put them in spoilers. Just be aware only one person can actually win to get the medal, so send in your answer before telling us.

Posted 11/22/19
polygone Thanks! I did some digging and realized Bone Monster’s reply is supposed to be instant if you’ve got it correct, so considering I’ve had no reply I’m incorrect :’) Gonna keep trying with some other things though before I mention anything here, I don’t want to lead people down an incorrect path if I’m not even on the right track!
Posted 11/22/19


I’m not very good at clues, sorry, but here’s one:


And here is another one;

R - Left
G - Middle
B - Right

maybe this too?

Try treating each stick as a 3x5 rectangle

here is a third clue but it’s not going to make much sense if you’re not following with the first ones

This is mostly just to reread glitch’s OP:
The solution describes an action which you must take in order to solve it
Posted 11/22/19, edited 11/22/19
GO JACQ!!!!!!!!!! 8D
Posted 11/22/19
I was thinking it may be in morse code, semaphore code, or RGB code. Morse code because of the patterns, semaphore because if you have the right shape the flags can represent letters or numbers, and RGB for the obvious reason of the colors.
Posted 11/22/19

The challenge has been solved. Stickers will continue to be distributed for solving this puzzle for the next seven days, so if you want to keep trying to solve it on your own, keep it up! If you’re ready to give up, or you just want the sticker, you can expand the spoiler in this post to see the solution.

A lot of ideas are floated in the story between Professor Sprocket and Aliza. The key point here is that Aliza solves it quickly, all while Professor Sprocket spouts nonsense and won’t let her get a word in edge-ways. As such, focus on Aliza.

What does she do?

  • She only looks at the original, and ignores the enlarged version
  • She examines it with a magnifying glass

That’s really all you need.

With that in mind, just look at the original image with a magnifying glass. Seriously. If you have camera with decent zoom, you might not even need the magnifying glass, but it helps.

Click on the above photo if necessary to see it in full size, and look closely at the marking. They spell letters!

We’re exploiting subpixel rendering to spell out a message. On an LCD screen, each individual pixel consists of three sub-pixels: a red one, then a green one, then a blue one. So if you look really closely, the shape of a pixel displaying pure red is in fact [X][ ][ ], pure blue is [ ][ ][X], pink (red+blue) is [X][ ][X], and so on. That means that in a single vertical line of five pixels, we actually get a 3x5 grid that we can use to make letters. This is also why zooming in or using Sprocket’s enlarged version doesn’t work: the magic is gone, because when you have a solid block of a given color, you lose these the sub-pixel shapes.

Looking at the letters, we get:


Pack lunch for Boney to make him blush.

So you got the message “Pack lunch for Boney to make him blush”. There’s three things to unpack here.

First, we need to do something to “Boney”. This is a reference to the Bone Monster.

Second, we need to pack a lunch for him. There are a few ways to interpret this, but the solution involves gifting him an item that sounds edible. When you gift an item on Mycena Cave, it gets packed into a box.

Finally, we need to figure out what item to use. There are two readily available items on Mycena Cave that involve blushing and seem vaguely edible. We wrote this challenge to accept either one, but for the sake of simplicity lets just pick one: the Blushroom.

So the end result: Give a Blushroom to the Bone Monster

Give a blushroom to the Bone Monster.

I hope you enjoyed the puzzle!

Posted 11/22/19, edited 11/25/19

glitch are you saying that this puzzle would not have been solvable on an AMOLED screen?

Edit: Any OLED screen really.

Edit: putting this in spoilers just in case but I don’t actually think this is a spoiler.

Posted 11/22/19, edited 11/22/19

Huh that’s interesting.

My display settings must be tuned differently somehow, because the magnifying glass trick isn’t working for me.
Posted 11/22/19

I’m screaming dskjdldsjdsljdsljdslj.

So, I actually had the gift page open to send a Blushing Heart Mushroom but I chickened out because I thought it was dumb lolololololol

Also, condolences to the person or persons that had to read me losing my mind in my echo dfsksdfsldkskfsklds

Thank you for taking pity on me xD

I actually just converted each color into 3 bits of binary by hand (with an image editor to help out with the color identification). So it’s always doable regardless of screen, just maybe not the intended way (which actually didn’t even occur to me).

Posted 11/22/19, edited 11/22/19

Stanari Last night, when I saw the post I was pretty sure the key was looking at the statue version over the sprocket mega-size. I was pretty sure that the RGB split of the columns was the answer. However, I also didn’t care to spend the time to solve it by hand because this wasn’t anything I personally care about.

However, glitch‘s explanation says:

the shape of a pixel displaying pure red is in fact [X][ ][ ], pure blue is [ ][X][ ], pink (red+blue) is [X][X][ ], and so on.glitch

This means pink would have been [x][x][ ] instead of [x][ ][x], which would have been an issue. After scrutinizing the post more, I think this might just be a typo, as what the image shows is [x][ ][x] for pink.

I still do feel that this was slightly unfair in general as it significantly disadvantaged a pretty random portion of the MyceanCave population. Though in my personal case, I just was more interested in my new Z&Z Switch Lite and the new Pokemon games than splitting RGB by hand so *shurgs*.

Posted 11/22/19
fwiw, I solved it the same way Stanari did. Though…

Turns out it also works if I use my smart phone to zoom in on my monitor, rather than an analog magnifying glass:

Thoughts about the narrative’s relationship to the solution, though:

It was actually Sprocket’s line here that helped me stumble on a solution:
“Funny how well the colors survived the years. There’s a lot of pink. Perhaps pink is less prone to fading. I wonder what color these white spots were.” he went on.

There is a lot of pink. And we know that white spots (at least in additive/light colour models) “used to be” ALL the colours:

So, using that, I approached it with the assumption that the grid would be 3x5, because of what I guess you could call insight/outside knowledge involving old digital displays
(frankly because I assumed the would be number.)

However, going through the sticks starting with “White = 3 bars across” and pink = “one bar on either side with nothing in the middle”, it quickly became apparent that the solution wasn’t numbers, but letters. Once I picked out some of the “easy” letters (C, H, E, A) you can intuit some of the others (e.g. the K could be X but “_ACX” that doesn’t make sense as a letter), and then that lends itself to figuring out the rest of the solution “by hand”, as it were.

As much as I’m kicking myself for not thinking of getting there the “easy” way, I’m glad the solution itself didn’t necessarily rely on having access to specific objects/technology.

(Non-spoilery aside, though, I’m forever after going to think of Sprocket as Professor Mansplain now.)


yo any way I can get my PB & J back, boney?
edit: TY! nom nam snarf chomp blargh

Posted 11/22/19, edited 11/22/19
Do we need to gift the Bone Monster a Blushroom for the sticker?
Posted 11/24/19
Posted 11/24/19

Could anyone please gift me a Blushing Heart Mushroom to gift to the Bone Monster? I don’t have enough nuggets to buy one myself.

Edit: Thank you!

Posted 11/25/19, edited 11/25/19