Who is Benjamin Stove?

Puzzle # 5 – New York - a puzzle in 3 parts

Associated Story Elements: The materials Darby receives from Martinez’ niece are letters from Ben Stove to Martinez from three different time periods. The first four misplaced notes would have happened during the two later time periods, during college through right after (the young adult) and when his life was falling apart (the transition years), and the puzzles will reflect the information sources he was researching during those time periods.
Intended Payoff/Solve: information leading to the fourth library location and book title, yielding the fourth of four misplaced notes from the letter writing period.
Delivery Vehicle: marginalia notes from materials sent to Darby by Martinez’ niece, or through info provided by Stove in his reappearance via new website.

City: New York
Library: New York Public Library
Mid-Manhattan Library
455 Fifth Avenue at 40th Street
New York, New York 10016
212.340.0833
Book: The Egyptians, Aldred, Cyril, London : Thames & Hudson, c1987 NY Public Library call # 83050637.

Alternate Books: Secret of the Andes. With drawings by Jean Charlot. by Clark, Ann Nolan, New York, Viking Press, 1952.

Puzzle Concept: Pieces in various early letters from Ben to Dr. Martinez contain puzzles and codes he has created; as their topics of discussion have grown increasingly strange or controversial, Ben has taken to hiding secret messages in these puzzles as a means of communicating his activities and discoveries to Dr. Martinez. Later, when Ben creates his website, symbolinthecrop.com, he intentionally hides puzzles and clues in the site to lead clever readers to the notes and items he has hidden in libraries around the country.

Part 2: Letter Maze – One of the pages on Ben’s website contains a background image of a grid / maze pattern, as well as another of Ben’s text entries.

Puzzle Design: The background image is the key to finding a message hidden in the text of the page.

* Here is an image of what the background graphic should look like:

This doesn’t have to be the background image; it could be placed somewhere else on the page if that’s easier to work out. The image is blurry above but I can provide and will post a higher res version to be used; it needs to be put on the web page so that it is large enough for the small arrows in the two entrances at the bottom of the maze portion to be discernible.

* Here is the short text entry for the page:

And so it comes down again to one thing. Have we captured the only geographic cases we need for the pattern hidden there to be seen? Dare we dream that the lines we are drawing are trails to some overall meaning, mysteries, or secret truths?

The Solve: There are two components to the background image that reveal the secret message here. The first is the empty 12 x 16 square empty grid pattern. This is a clue to the player that the text from the page needs to be put it into a grid the same as this one, resulting in a text box like this:

a n d s o i t c o m e s
d o w n a g a i n t o o
n e t h i n g h a v e w
e c a p t u r e d t h e
o n l y g e o g r a p h
i c c a s e s w e n e e
d f o r t h e p a t t e
r n h i d d e n t h e r
e t o b e s e e n d a r
e w e d r e a m t h a t
t h e l i n e s w e a r
e d r a w i n g a r e t
r a i l s t o s o m e o
v e r a l l m e a n i n
g m y s t e r i e s o r
s e c r e t t r u t h s

The second part of background image that helps locate the hidden message is the filled in, maze-like grid pattern. There is only one complete and direct path through the maze. Following that same path through the “maze of letters” yields the secret message, “Cyril Aldred The Egyptians.”

a n d s o i t c o m e s
d o w n a g a i n t o o
n e t h i n g h a v e w
e c a p t u r e d t h e
o n l y g e o g r a p h
i c c a s e s w e n e e
d f o r t h e p a t t e
r n h i d d e n t h e r
e t o b e s e e n d a r
e w e d r e a m t h a t
t h e l i n e s w e a r
e d r a w i n g a r e t
r a i l s t o s o m e o
v e r a l l m e a n i n
g m y s t e r i e s o r
s e c r e t t r u t h s


Puzzle Notes: The solution of this puzzle provides the name and author of the next target book, The Egyptians by Cyril Aldred. Ben’s New York visit came right after his trip to Egypt so it makes sense he would be doing further academic research based on his findings and experiences over there.

Read Part 3 of the New York City puzzle.

All puzzles, websites, images, character names, and story descriptions are copyright 2007 - Dave Szulborski