The Clock | Magical Treasure Hunt 2013

Shortly after opening the four boxes in the flour cupboard, we examined the clock and assembled it by attaching the hour and minute hand to it.

The pendulum was actually a stud which could be pressed like the switches on the box in which we had found the lantern.

It seemed reasonable to assume that the riddle from the page bearing Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring¬†was pertinent. I reproduce it here:

Both hands upon the keyboard place
Observe the figures which they chase
At midnight hands must rise to face
And indicated hours trace


Jeanette played Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring on the pianoforte, and many of the search party were attentive to the figures which her hands traced, but we initially turned up nothing. We used the lantern to shine the light of joy on the clock, but it made no response. Jeanette tried playing other songs on the pianoforte, and we watched her hands. Still we had nothing.

Another thing that we considered was that the tiny bones from the telegraph’s bundle might be finger bones (for a hand 1/5 the size of a human’s) and that they must be placed upon the piano keys for some effect, but this proved fruitless.

After much frustration, Eldred mumbled almost absently that the four wooden blocks when assembled constructed a keyboard.

Much forehead thumping ensued.

We pulled the two hands from the clock and placed them on the keyboard. The two faint marks mentioned earlier (raindrop and flower) matched two of the designs cut into the clock hands. When placed against these marks, the point of the hour hand indicated a “6”, and the point of the minute hand indicated a “4.”

Understanding the meaning of the riddle at last, we reattached the hands to the clock face, starting at midnight, and then turned the minute hand until the clock read six and twenty. A press of the stud on the pendulum elicited a melody from the clock.

We reproduced this melody on the pianoforte, and the lantern glowed yellow.

Shining the light

It was clear now what “the light of time,” referenced in one of the telegraph riddles, meant.

We found the place of make believe in short order: the large house actually had a small theater in it, and with Remy’s eye and the light of time, we found yet another invisible beacon. Attached to it was the silver key.

The box from the attic

I should emphasize that the order in which I relate all these proceedings to you does not reflect the order in which our party went about our discoveries but only the order in which I think they make the most sense. If I were to tell you the disorganized facts of everything we tried and how many times we left a riddle to come back to it later, this account should be ten times as long.

At this point, I return to the box I mentioned in an earlier post, the one we discovered behind the door with no hinge. There were on this box, as I mentioned, seven tiny jewels and one larger, black jewel.

With the solution to the clock’s puzzle, we now could elicit five colors from the lantern, and we proceeded to shine each one on the box, with no result until our final color: blue. No sooner had the blue light hit the box but the leftmost of its seven white jewels blazed with blue light, brighter than I had thought possible from such a tiny thing.

Invigorated, we returned to the piano with more enthusiasm and repeated several colors from before. The box next responded to the orange light. With the first two jewels alight, glowing blue and orange, it didn’t take Dash long to call out the answer: blue, orange, green, blue, red, yellow, green.

The solution

We asked him how he had determined that sequence, and he explained that the initials of those colors spell “Bog Bryg.”

Box of bog bryg

Sure enough, this sequence lighted the white jewels in turn until we had a brilliant but disorganized rainbow, and when the final jewel was glowing, the box clicked audibly. We lifted the lid and discovered to our wonder an opera.

Another disappointment arose at this point. Some time prior to discovering the answer to the riddle but after plugging in the electrical leads on the clock, the clock went awry. Luther mentioned he smelled burning and pulled the electrical leads. I guess that they had been plugged in backward because in fact we found that the board had burned out. I had to rewire it and find a new power supply after the hour had been entered on the clock and the pendulum stud pressed to no avail.

Building the clock

The clock was powered by a wall wart, and the program ran on an ATtiny85. The code is available on my github repo. The clock was in fact an old mechanical pendulum clock, which Dad and I modified to close a circuit at 6:20. When the ATtiny detects a rising or falling edge on the I/O pin connected to the pendulum stud, it plays the song if the circuit formed by the clock is closed.

Building the box of Bog Bryg

The Box of Bog Bryg is essentially a conglomeration of the spirit beacons mentioned earlier and the other solenoid latch boxes mentioned earlier. It’s driven with an ATmega328. The code is available on my github repo.

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