Josh Randall, Karen Robinson, Erin Rhode


NOTE: An improved, more detailed solution is coming soon. Stay tuned! Or contact the authors for more information.

First part of introtext is a quote in Latin intended to convery that the trinity (the three elements of this puzzle in this case) should be considered together. The only way to do this is on a map.

Second part of introtext is a quote in Latin by Galileo Galilei, which says: "Thus, moving to the heavens, it assigned to the familiar and eternal orbs of the most brilliant stars the names of those, who because of their illustrious and almost divine exploits, were judged worthy to enjoy with the stars an eternal life."

I. TABULAE: a set of "paintings" of places around MIT, with dates, signed by the painter "niotca" Follow the path laid out by the location of the paintings, plot them on a map with the dates.

II. VISI: a flyover of cambridge, titled "vmcmn" and dated with month and year. plot on a map with the dates.

III. STATUARIAE: a set of 17 transparancies (given in hardcopy?). all 17 overlain together shows "umgrar" in the title bar. each transparency has a latitude-longitude pair and an area with missing details and crosshairs. go to the latitude-longitude locations with the transparencies. sight through the overlay in free space until it lines up with reality. note what you are looking at through the crosshairs. note that each one is looking at a specific body part (on a statue, etc). mark these body parts on your map.

With the statue body parts labelled on a map, you should notice they can form people... two people. Recognize the constellation gemini. match up "umgrar" and "gemini"

Gemini is not the answer, so look at the other two things on the map and look at the sky (on saturday at midnight, even? or else simulate with a planetarium program...) and see that there is a bright thing (very bright during the hunt!) which is not part of gemini. This is saturn. Match up "niotca" and "saturn"

so, you have two astromical bodies that are close together and you have both on a map. but, there is another path on your map! what does that correspond to? use sky charting software to simulate the sky saturday at midnight to find that ceres' path is what the flyover is following. Match up "vmcmn" and "ceres"

insert three answers in their respective "blanks" :

vmcmn niotca umgrar
ceres saturn gemini
try single-letter replacement key:


try them in order:


in order, we see the key is consistent.


or the other way


now what to do with it?

apply the key

we have the "solutio confusa:" ATRANSSUMCINGARE

since we have an 's' we need to use the key the (b) way.

remember, the solutio was confusa! iocianntgvrauicm has only one 1-word english anagram: circumnavigation

and that is the answer.

the end.


The archivists of Beginner's Luck in 2010 do not have the promised, more detailed solution, but at least we made this page available once again, after this page replaced it in 2005.