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Wizard's Hollow

The Wizard's Escape

by Evan Davis, Todd Etter. With special recognition to the awesome vocal talents of Nina Hinrichs, Rachel Petterson, and Stribs

The Escape Room our inept solvers fail to extract themselves from consists of twelve puzzles. We hear each puzzle being “solved” in the room (usually the wrong way) and each solve is indicated by a “ding” and a different congratulatory exclamation from the Wizard. Each puzzle is then represented by an online representation of a button console in the room. Clicking on any of the exclamation buttons opens its respective puzzle.


The first puzzle we hear solved is Huzzah!, the cauldron puzzle. A sign on the cauldron reads “Deliver three things Copper, Silver, and Gold, and soon your reward from the mist will unfold.” Throughout their time in the room, the solvers find three items that meet those descriptions:

  • Copper Pipe (found after “solving” the AWESOME! puzzle.
  • Silver Pear (found on the tree stump)
  • Gold Bookends (found on the bookshelf)

Placing these items in the cauldron (or typing any variant of their names into the respective text boxes) solves the puzzle, returning users to the main menu.


The second puzzle is a classic liquid-measuring puzzle. The beaker requires exactly 3 ounces of liquid, and for those of us not gifted with 3oz mouths, the room also contains a 9oz vial (the result of solving HUZZAH!, and a 5oz vial (from solving KUDOS TO YOU!). There are several possible ways to use those two vials to get exactly 3oz of liquid. The shortest path is:

1 Barrel to 9oz
2 9oz to 5oz
3 5oz to empty
4 9oz to 5oz
5 barrel to 9oz
6 9oz to 5oz
7 5oz to empty
8 9oz to 5oz
10 9oz to beaker


The direction lock puzzle requires quite a few inputs in order to solve. First, the lock is noted as containing several symbols (triangles, some of them bisected with horizontal lines). A piece of paper found when EUREKA! is solved contains similar symbols while listing a few elementals:

  • Elteron – Earthquakes
  • Ventria – Volcanos
  • Frastic – Floods
  • ?????? – Hurricanes
  • ?????? – Tornadoes

A final piece of paper reveals an ordering, "Helgardt, Frastic, Frastic, Ventria, Frastic, and Elteron."

The symbols on the lock are those associated with the four classical elements:

Each elemental can be interpreted as controlling one or more of these elements:

  • Helgardt – Hurricanes – Air and Water – SW
  • Frastic – Floods – Water – W
  • Frastic – Floods – Water – W
  • Ventria – Volcanos – Fire and Earth – NE
  • Frastic – Floods – Water – W
  • Elteron – Earthquakes – Earth – E

The final answer for WUNDERBAR!, then, is SW,W,W,NE,W,E.


A wand found on the table in the NE corner of the room holds two important clues. First, it says “cast only upon reflection,” indicating that is intended to be “cast” in front of the mirror, and it reveals the encoding mechanism of the wand:


In this encoding, consonants are SWISHes and vowels are FLICKS. Any word ends with a TAP.

Breathing on the mirror, hinted by the plaque on the mirror, "A soul's breath will reveal my secrets,” reveals the message, “Spell Spell with Wand.”

The correct way to spell the word SPELL is SWISH, SWISH, FLICK, SWISH, SWISH, TAP.


The birdcage contains 6 buttons, and a hole into which to place the seventh (revealed by solving EUREKA!). Combined, the 7 buttons are labeled:

Burdenus metaphorus
Canadius baseballus
Blusterus grandus
Lookus outus
Two-underus parus
Atticus surnamus
Buttockus pokus

These silly, not at all Latin, names are clues for bird names that have alternate meanings, which start with the letters A-G.

Burdenus metaphorus Albatross
Canadius baseballus Blue Jay
Blusterus grandus Crow
Lookus outus Duck
Two-underus parus Eagle
Atticus surnamus Finch
Buttockus pokus Goose

These can be played as music notes to replicate the first 14 notes of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star (as requested by the Seven-Headed Warbler in the cage Blusterus grandus, Blusterus grandus, Buttockus pokus, Buttockus pokus, ______ _______(the seventh missing button is listed on the console as blank), ______ _______, Buttockus pokus, Atticus surnamus, Atticus surnamus, Two-underus parus, Two-underus parus, Lookus outus, Lookus outus, Blusterus grandus.


Three snippets of a poem can be found by solving other puzzles. Aligned by where the paper is ripped (bottom only, top and bottom, top only, to form a complete page) results in the following six lines:

No rose can hold my secret sell;
 So pay this poem my heat will tell.
A word mad from six runs away.
 One from each thee line will tray.
My close door wine will soon be free,
 When magic maxim viced rally.

Each of those lines is missing all instances (2 or 3 per line) of a unique letter to make a marginally more sensible poem:

No (p)rose can hold my secret s(p)ell;
 So p(r)ay this poem my hea(r)t will tell.
A word mad(e) from six run(e)s away.
 One from each the(s)e line(s) will (s)tray.
My close(t) door (t)wine will soon be free,
 When magic maxim v(o)iced (o)rally.

The magic maxim, taken from six runes strayed from each of these lines, that will cut free the twine on the closet door, is therefore PRESTO.


The pedestal contains 4 metal panels of hybrid animals:

  • Griffin (Lion/Bird)
  • Hippogriff (Horse/Bird)
  • Cockatrice (Bird/Reptile)
  • Chimera (Lion/Goat/Reptile)

Five stuffed animals can be found throughout the room that, when squeezed, make a different number of appropriate noises:

  • Lion (1 Roar)
  • Horse (2 Neighs)
  • Snake (unknown)
  • Goat (4 Bleats)
  • Bird (unknown).

The pedestal contains the following rhyme:

“My soft pets value 1 through 5. What values these four, if alive?'"

Only one combination of 3 and 5 for snake and bird results in 4 single-digit numbers for the 4-digit combination lock:

  • Griffin: Lion(1) + Bird(5) = 6
  • Hippogriff: Horse(2) + Bird(5) = 7
  • Cockatrice: Snake(3) + Bird(5) = 8
  • Chimera: Lion(1) + Goat(4) + Snake(3) = 8


A piece of paper found upon solving BRAVO! reads as follows: 'Most any touch, a sock, a kiss - Can join both queen and...'

Brad and Colin inadvertently trigger this puzzle while handing a copper (conductive) pipe back and forth while playing with both the bookshelf (where the statue of the QUEEN resides) and one of the metal panels on the pedestal. One of those panels, the COCKATRICE, nicely completes the above rhyme. The answers to this puzzle are the two things connected by touch (QUEEN and COCKATRICE).


The UV light, when shone inside the tree stump, reveals the clue “It's 804 and 2, 278 and 5, 85 and 2, 1629 and 3, 859 and 1, 65 and 3, and 398 and 4" near “a drawing of an island and a big storm.” These are line and word numbers for The Tempest, findable both in the room and at https://www.opensourceshakespeare.org/views/plays/playmenu.php?WorkID=tempest.

The words on those lines read out SORT BOOKS BY THREE LETTERS OF MONTH.

The twelve books on the bookshelf can be sorted by the appearance of three-letter month abbreviations in each title:

Jan The Trojan Woodchuck
Feb Lifeblood, the Friendly Vampire
Mar Grammar for Sorcerers
Apr Capricornucopia
May Lord Mayor Gigglesnout
Jun Adjunct Spellcasting
Jul Varmint Juleps
Aug Laughing Potions
Sep Horseproofing your Home
Oct Nocturnal Sunbathing
Nov Mandrake Turnovers
Dec Double-Decker Bicycle Design


A less inept team would solve this puzzle by viewing the birthdays on the four paintings (only two of which we hear on the audio – October 2nd and December 9th), and then using the horoscope found after solving MAGNIFIQUE! To determine the four corresponding zodiac symbols and then step on them at the same time.

We know two of them from the birthdays (Libra and Sagittarius) but have to infer the remaining two based on the two we know people are currently standing/sitting on. We know that Toni is sitting on the one next to Aries (Taurus, as the floor panels appear to be in zodiac order around the room) and the puzzle triggers as soon as Brad nears the bookcase (Aquarius).


The dragon puzzle is Rock-Paper-Scissors (hinted by the names of two of the dragons, Granitas and Papyrosaur. Matching orbs to the dragons does not work, but using the orb that beats the dragons in RPS:

  • Confetti Bomb for Granitas (green),
  • Cutting Blow for Papyrosaur (white), and
  • Rockslide for the unnamed dragon that must be scissors-related (orange)


It turns out one does not need to try all, what, 68 combinations to solve this one 😊 . The wooden blocks with arrows in a 3x3 grid on them do not refer to directions for the directional lock but rather spell letters. When the blocks are oriented appropriately (so that the Z facing to the right becomes an N facing North), the two known blocks (numbered 1 and 3) spell “R” and “N,” respectively. We know Toni ends a word with an “E,” making the final word “R_NE” or almost certainly “RUNE.

Final Meta

Once all 12 puzzles are solved, puzzlers have one additional challenge; they must click on the 12 congratulatory exclamations in the order in which the room was intended to be solved. By figuring out which puzzles rely on tools or information only available after solving other puzzles, it is possible to reconstruct the correct path: (once all 12 puzzle are solved/green): MAGNIFIQUE, GOOD WORK, SUPERB, KUDOS TO YOU, AWESOME, HUZZAH, EUREKA, EXCELSIOR, BRAVO, INCREDIBLE, WUNDERBAR, WELL DONE.

After the team enters this sequence, the text of the console's buttons changes, to (in reading order): R, E, S, C, U, E, D, E, V, I, C, E. Astute solvers read the solution: RESCUE DEVICE.