Solution: Phase 4 Object and Metapuzzle

Written by Tom Weisswange

Each of the four "direction" webpages under the heading "The Clues" contains a list of 61 or 62 sets of five words. Each such set is a single clue for a phrase consisting of two or (occasionally) three five-letter words, with the result that each page clues 125 five-letter words (including some duplications).

The five webpages under the heading "The Grid" each contain a "level," consisting of five 5x5 grids of boxes (where each box contains five letters). These can be thought of as constituting a 5x5x5x5 hypercube of boxes, with the four mutually perpendicular directions being rightward within a given grid, downward within a given grid (Y), through the grids on a given page (Z), and cutting across the levels (W). To each direction corresponds one "direction" webpage; the one-line introduction on each such page contains two instances of a word ("right," "down," "though," and "level," respectively) that hints at the appropriate direction.

For each direction, then, we have 125 five-letter words clued by the corresponding "direction" webpage, and 125 straight paths through the cube in that direction, each consisting of five consecutive boxes. The solver must match each word with a path such that the word can be spelled out by selecting (and crossing off) one letter from each box in the path, in sequence. If this is done properly (here is the list of clue answers and the paths to which their words correspond), four of the five letters in each box are crossed off (one by each of the words in the X, Y, Z, and W directions whose paths contain that box), leaving one remaining letter. The resulting grids, with crossed-out letters shown as dots, are given here.

Note that each 5x5 grid of boxes now contains 25 of the 26 letters of the alphabet, with one letter remaining unused. The unused letters in the five grids on each level are as follows:

Level 1: OUIJA
Level 2: BOARD
Level 3: THING
Level 4: IHTFP
Level 5: FNORD

The solver must, therefore, run the Ouija Board program that may be found by clicking "Ouija Board" on the "Welcome to Phase 4" page, and spell out on it the three words THING, IHTFP, and FNORD.

A) When the solver spells out THING on the Ouija Board, the URL "" appears. This page gives the specifications for the Phase 4 object, a Rube Goldberg machine that rings a bell, opens a book, and lights a candle.

B) When the solver spells out IHTFP on the Ouija Board, the following changes occur to the board:

1) "+T" is added to the lower right-hand star, and "RE" and "T" on either side of the lower left-hand star. The stars have thus become rebuses for START and RESTART, respectively.

2) A slash appears between the 3 and 4, and a # appears as a superscript on the F. (The significance of these changes is discussed in (C), below.)

3) Twelve sets of six squares each appear, into which letters can be typed. (To clear all the squares, one clicks the RESTART star.)

4) Two blank rectangles appear, in which the program will be displaying text.

When the START star is clicked, the Ouija Board pointer moves by itself in a set pattern among the squares from (3); whenever it touches a square, the letter that has been typed into that square appears in the rectangles in (4). (Since the motion of the pointer is always the same, this procedure amounts to an animated version of an ordinary double crostic; a particular square in (3) corresponds to a particular position in the text the program displays.)

If the solver puts the twelve solution words into the boxes in the following order:


the resulting text is:


The first name of Rayburn is "Gene," and the partner of Mason was Dixon. Thus, we have the name of the Phase 4 entity: Jeanne Dixon.

C) When the solver spells out FNORD on the Ouija Board, a message box appears containing the following text:

Still looking for those Fnords? What are you afraid of, 'The
Man'? (Who knew?) Too much information is dangerous, so here's a
little: Goose Low Trickle Spruce Batter Wrap Fall Wear Run Drop

Each of the eleven words at the end of the message occurs in a phrase with UP or DOWN: Goose DOWN, Low DOWN, Trickle DOWN, Spruce UP, Batter UP, Wrap UP, Fall DOWN, Wear DOWN, Run DOWN, Drop DOWN, Buck UP.

The initial letters of the twelve ordered solution words in part (B) spell out NB: UNUSED ONES. Each solution word contains one letter that is not used in spelling out the part (B) message; these are, in order, G F E C E F A G E D G B, which are musical notes. Moreover, the 3/4 and F# that appeared on the Ouija Board in part (B) specify a time signature (three-quarter time) and key signature (G major), and the sequence of DOWNs and UPs seen above indicates whether each note is higher or lower than the one preceding it. All of these combine to specify a melody, the first two lines of the chorus of "Que Sera, Sera":

Que Sera, Sera!
Whatever will be, will be!

(The song was most famously sung by Doris Day in The Man Who Knew Too Much; the film title appears as a sequence of consecutive words in the message text, as an additional clue.) These two lines, sung in the proper melody, constitute the Phase 4 incantation.