Ferret: Bristling With Fame, Loves Anchovies, Participates   77 comments

Here’s another “brief update” post on Ferret (the almost-nearly done text adventure that has gone for 30+ posts to write) mainly intended to entice the cryptic crossword fans out there.

One of the rooms from last time, a Vestry in the zombie/cell area, had a secret passage. This passage is one-way, meaning you aren’t supposed to go in on the “main route”, but as has been typical for Ferret, the information might be useful anyway.

A small dimly lit area with various coathooks and clothes racks. There is a bead curtained exit to the south. The east wall is panelled in dark wood, above which is a beautiful icon depicting a heavenly female figure. Set in the halo surrounding the figure in a spectacular jewel.
Exits: -S– ——– —
There are some wireless headphones here
-> press jewel
Part of the wood panelling springs back to reveal an opening.
-> e
The wood panel springs closed behind you as you squeeze through the opening.
Priest Hole
A very small dark room only large enough for a person to crouch. The west wall consists of badly made wood panels that allow a little light to enter.
There are some interesting objects here:
a newspaper cutting
a blank sheet of paper
a piece of notepaper

The blank sheet of paper is very meta and I’ll get to it in a moment. Here’s the “piece of notepaper” first:

Must remember to reach out to Jeff with these ideas for clues for his wonky crossword for the Parish Magazine.

1. Hector can feel the pressure (8, 2).

2. Right in tout in large stream (5, 5).

3. Get away, morf back, too much heat on Independent Television (6, 4, 3, 3).

4. Top footballer, winning trophies (6, 4).

5. Bristling with fame, loves anchovies, participates (1, 6).

Followed by the newspaper cutting, which requires an image:

If you are having trouble reading that, I’ve filled in some squares:

Note that the middle word (7 across) seems to not have an associated clue, suggesting the word is important for the main game (unless this is a red herring in general).

Now, the blank paper which I’ve been saving:

-> read blank paper
There is nothing written on the paper although it has a strange feel with a lustre that gives it the appearance of very faint highlights and shadows.

There’s a piece of charcoal from back in phase 15 that can be carted over here to find both an extreme meta-reference and a clue.

InFiRe The Retroview November 2056

Just 2 games for this issue, a classic and a wannabe.



A game-changer written in the seventies (yes, 1970’s) that broke the mould of Adventure and Cave and created a new genre of full sentence parser games. It features all the classic tropes of mazes, dark tunnels and superficial puzzles, some requiring divine inspiration. Everybody should play this game if only to understand the development of games before the move towards more friendly devices. The game was significant enough to inspire a number of sequels and lookylikies. On the downside it appears that the original game is just a collection of ideas thrown into a big pot with no gesture towards an over-arching narrative or plot. This might be due to its origins in MIT where the science of the design challenge possibly offered more interest to the game builders than the need to tell a story. Despite that minor short-coming we awarded it 4.5 stars for its trail-blazing and parsing.



This game admits to being inspired by Zork, or do the authors mean it’s a bit of a rip-off? Possibly not, due to the sheer size of the thing with a narrative going from end to end, featuring a B. O. Darkins being resuscitated in a land now foreign (after the [unspecified] apocalypse event – naturally). Said Darkins is then on a mission to find survivors and the game claims to contain all the information necessary to solve the puzzles – we beg to differ, it seems to assume access to a good search engine to find some of the more obscure references. Early parts of the game echo Zork with the standard puzzles of the time but once it gets into its stride it becomes more inventive with some elements straddling multiple phases of the game. Phases are an important part of the game as it was designed and released in batches of rooms called Phases – originally a limitation of 16-bit technology, the authors leveraged it to allow the game to continue development in an incremental fashion. 40 years (yes, 40) after inception a final release was posted with an end game – which, as far as we can ascertain, has never been cracked. The final conceit has heavy overtones of a TV series popular at the time of the games’ original release – an innovative (for British TV) series called Blake’s 7 (this was in the early Star Trek era). Players have noted that the Phase is called Liberation (Blake’s ship is called Liberator), that there are 51 rooms (with curious names) on the ship, yet 52 episodes in the TV series. Many theories have been expounded but most seem to revolve around the notion of finding Room 52 – there is a Teleport that understands the room names of the ship so that might be the way in. The Authors – a bunch of plucky Brits (this is definitely a British game) have stayed anonymous but are still accessible through their website. There are innovative features in the game, e.g., a Test feature that runs every action verb on an object – this may have been included due to the usual ‘guess the verb’ problem, and this game uses a lot of verbs. We have awarded this game 4 stars for sheer scope, but it does seem old-fashioned by modern standards.

As always, games reviewed here can be found on ifdb.

Interactive Fiction Review Draft Page 20

For those who don’t want to stare at that block of text trying to find the clue, the part about “Players have noted that the Phase is called Liberation (Blake’s ship is called Liberator), that there are 51 rooms (with curious names) on the ship, yet 52 episodes in the TV series. Many theories have been expounded but most seem to revolve around the notion of finding Room 52 – there is a Teleport that understands the room names of the ship so that might be the way in.” is quite suggestive of something useful for later.

Just as a reminder, I’ve set the game-finish deadline as the 31st, so 9 days remain. Again, I’m willing to have a bit more work happen in the comments if we’re not quite but almost there, and I’m willing to make one more “finished” post if we hit the actual end of the game past deadline, but I’m otherwise switching gears from Ferret to elsewhere.

Posted January 22, 2023 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction, Puzzles, Video Games

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77 responses to “Ferret: Bristling With Fame, Loves Anchovies, Participates

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  1. So far I have:

  2. Second breakthrough! I have figured out the purpose of causing an explosion at the mine. And this is a *really* satisfying solve. On par with escaping the burning theater, in my opinion.

    Given how satisfying this was, I’ll full-Invisiclues it:

    1. Guvf fbyhgvba qbrf abg vaibyir npprffvat gur zvar be nalguvat vafvqr gur zvar.
    2. Pnhfvat guvf rkcybfvba pna pnhfr fbzrguvat ryfr gb punatr va gur ybpny raivebazrag…
    3. …*vs* lbh’ir gnxra cebcre cercnengvbaf orsberunaq.
    4. Gur zvar hfrf oynfgvat gb ybbfra hc, naq gurerol zbir, irel ynetr bowrpgf (va gur zvar’f pnfr), ebpx.
    5. Jung bgure irel ynetr bowrpgf ner cerfrag va cunfr 16 gung zvtug or fvzvyneyl cebar gb orvat ybbfrarq hc naq zbirq?
    6. Erzrzore cunfr 4, jurer orvat noyr gb bofreir sebz bar cngu gung nabgure cngu ena cnenyyry gb vg, jnf xrl gb fbyivat gur eryngvbafuvc orgjrra gur Gevnffvp Pnirf naq gur Pngurqeny?
    7. Nalguvat fvzvyneyl bofreinoyr sebz nal bs gur cunfr 16 cnguf?
    8. Jung ehaf cnenyyry gb gur cngu gung yrnqf gb gur zlfgrevbhf fvqr-bs-n-jnerubhfr qrnq-raq?
    9. N envyebnq genpx.
    10. Fcrpvsvpnyyl, gung’f gur genpx bhe gehfgl ybpbzbgvir ehaf ba…
    11. …naq vg yrnqf evtug gb gur jnerubhfr.
    12. Gbb onq gur rkcybfvba qbrfa’g frrz fgebat rabhtu gb zbir gur ybpbzbgvir.
    13. Be znlor vg vf, jvgu gur evtug cerpnhgvbaf?
    14. Be, creuncf zber npphengryl, gur checbfrshy *ynpx* bs n cerpnhgvba?
    15. Orsber tbvat guebhtu gur gheafgvyr, tb onpx gb gur Ybpbzbgvir naq ERYRNFR UNAQOENXR. Gura pnhfr gur rkcybfvba naq tb ivfvg gur jnerubhfr… be jung’f yrsg bs vg.

    • nice! I have the explosion now … (thanks to doing TEST on the plunger twice after testing out different number of Clunks), I’ll have to chew on the ramification a bit. Haven’t revealed rot13 yet.

      I’m guessing this doesn’t reveal what NAPIVS is talking about?

      (my guess has been _maybe_ one of those weird pieces of paper we’ve been finding counts as a pass, but I realize I had some of them disappear due to the container bug, but I’m not feeling in the mood to restart from phase 9 yet again just to check that)

      • NAPIVS is still a mystery to me.

        The second breakthrough (i) earns another 10 points, and so is presumably “critical path,” and (ii) provides an interesting new item that has so far proven very effective at killing our avatar stone dead. Progress, Ferret-style.

      • holy


        that puzzle was absolutely brilliant

      • I survived picking up the item in question and moving it around.

        Hasbeghangryl, vg erdhverq _abg_ gnxvat gur gryrcbeg oenpryrg, fhttrfgvat vg vfa’g gur evtug fbyhgvba, ohg vg fgvyy zvtug or tbbq sbe zrffvat nebhaq, be znlor va hfr jvgu n dhnaghz rpub.

        Gur nforfgbf ont naq avpxry xrl obgu svg ng gur fnzr gvzr. Lbh pna gura rzcgl gur erprcgnpyr gb trg gur cryyrgf vafvqr (qba’g cvpx vg hc bgurejvfr!) naq gura CHG CRYYRGF VA ONT. Lbh pna gura pybfr gur ont naq gbgr gur cryyrgf nebhaq fnsryl.

      • Ah, clever! Now, what to do with the item, that’s the question. (I haven’t come up with anything useful yet.)

      • might be past the lift — certainly haven’t seen anything obvious yet

        Just to make sure I’m summarizing correctly, our physical problems are

        1. the hangman room with the trapdoor (this one feels like a red herring, but who knows)
        2. the zombie where the banner says something we can’t see without going into the cell but the zombie kills us
        3. maybe escaping the gaol (seems likely one-way, but just for completeness sake)
        4. the lift

        Our information problems are
        1. the five cryptic clues from the priest hole
        2. what the weird panel in the lift means (which will probably let us solve the physical puzzle)
        3. what the 1984 book thing is all about
        4. what the answer key is about
        5. what the number sequence things with the Blake sarcophagus etc. are doing
        6. (maybe) the various party invitations, like the flyer hanging out randomly in the middle of the Mastermind puzzle

        I think we can safely discard anything in the sewers. There were a couple other random things like the Jocasta inscription but nothing too notable. Anything else?

      • Iterating on your solution, I discovered [gurer vf nabgure pbagnvare gung pna pneel gur cryyrgf fnsryl – gur yrngure jnyyrg (?!?). Orggre lrg, gur jnyyrg vf fznyy rabhtu gung lbh pna oevat gur avpxry xrl, gur jnyyrg, NAQ gur gryrcbeg oenpryrg nyy guebhtu gur gheafgvyr gbtrgure.]

        And I agree you’ve summarized the outstanding Phase 16 questions well!

  3. Got one answer for you:
    9A: ROVER.
    Roamer: definition
    right: R
    above: OVER

  4. (And I swear the first reply wasn’t there when I posted that)

    • WordPress gets lag sometimes, alas.

      The set of five is still being baffling. My best guess is that all of them are charades, except without the definition part, and it just happens to be if you split along the numbers it gives you’ll get sensible answers.

      • Ah, good thought on these lacking the definition part. #2 of the list of 5 could then be TROUT RIVER, for example. Whatever that means.

      • 3 clearly has “from” in it. I’d guess “escape from the…”? But I can’t figure out any Independent Television stuff that might go in.

        “Loves” in 5 could be OO (because love is zero in tennis). No clue about it though, and the 1, 6 is very unusual.

        I’d bet the second word in 4 is “Best” for the football player George Best. In fact the answer could just be “George Best” though I don’t see why.

        2 looks like it might have “trout” in it and I sort of want to say “brook trout” though a brook isn’t a large stream so that’s probably not right.

      • I understand the crossword that has already been solved, but how are the numbers in parantheses in the list of five to be interpreted? (Are they coordinates in a grad, but why then does #3 have 4 numbers?!) I guess this question is not really a puzzle for someone who is familiar with the type of crossword?

      • The way those numbers usually work is to give you the number of letters. If there’s more than one number then that gives the number of letters for each word. So (5,6) means a phrase that is five letters, then six letters.

      • OK, then I know the answer to number three, thanks to the phase 17 glitch from before.
        Rfpncr sebz ubg VGI

        Not sure if that makes us any happier though.

      • Trying my non-skills at this puzzle. It seems more a matter of me learning the style than actually having a chance of contributing. Here are my thoughts though:

        1. Hector can feel the pressure (8, 2).
        Hector is a commonly used clue. Anagrams of hector are often used, it could use the second or third word too. Hector also means subst/verb bully, torment(or), browbeat (8 letters!), etc. Two letter word could be “on” – slightly related to pressure? BROWBEAT ON, hmmm, not so good. Anagram is probably a better path.

        4. Top footballer, winning trophies (6, 4).
        Does the clues have to be in the “right order”?
        Top footballer in 6 letters could, besides names, be forward, centre (less likely) or goalie (less likely).
        Winning trophies in 6 letters could be medals, ribbon (less likely) or riband (less likely). Or just winner… Or some verb.
        Winning trophies in 4 letters then – gold, first, place, prize. But it should be something with the plural – sweep, clean… There must be something better.
        FORWARD FIRST? But should the plural of trophies not indicate a matching plural in the answer? Probably not right then.

        5. Bristling with fame, loves anchovies, participates (1, 6).
        I think the two first parts indicates a cat or some bristled marine mammal? “With fame” perhaps some known (fictive?) individual/character? Not sure how we can get this together with the last one. First letter probably just an A? Some 6 letter ideas: member, player, kitten, walrus. Nothing that really unites the whole clue…

        Am I in any way going in the right direction of how to think about this?

      • I am thinking that probably this sequence of five answers together could provide a clue for a puzzle involving the answer-to-number-three-thing in phase 17.

      • Having had the same Phase 17 glimpse but forgotten about K’s linking it to #3 above, I agree that these answers likely will be relevant once we finally get there “for real.” (And the clues themselves may make more sense once we’re there. Or at least we’ll have a better “vocabulary” of possible answers based on what we find in Phase 17.)

      • Winning trophies = CUPS perhaps?

      • >Rfpncr sebz ubg VGI

        Man. If the answers are going to be like that, I’m out.

      • > Rfpncr sebz ubg VGI

        Yes, if the answer is going to be a thing like this, I feel like there’s not much point working on it until you get to phase 17. Because that is not a phrase in common parlance at all.

        I’m going to remark again, though, that “top footballer” is very commonly BEST for George Best.

  5. I found a source online with scripts of all of the Blake’s 7 episodes: https://www.hermit.org/b7/Episodes/scripts/index.html

    I haven’t delved deeply into them yet, but I have discovered that the message you can hear over the headphones inside the Gaol area (about “Civil Administration ship London”) is a direct and exact quote from Season 1, Episode 2 (“Spacefall”).

  6. Extra hint from hivemind


    Amaurotic Ambulatory

    A short room.

    Exits: N— ——– —

    There is an identity card here

    • “Amaurotic” refers to loss of sight.

      My first thought is the room in the Gaol where medicinal fumes apparently make us hallucinate a vision about the south wall. Although if that’s where the ID is, that brings up the second issue of “how to escape the Gaol alive.”

      • if you try to “open door” in the hallucination room, it says “it’s locked”

        Now, the mechanic here is a bit confused nearby (and why I was confused on the wooden door) — if you try to open door in either of the two rooms to the west it also says “it’s locked”, but there is at least a door there. If there is no door it all (like to the north) the game says it doesn’t see anything like that. Since there is no door in the room description of the dispensary that means there is a hidden one, I would guess to the south.

      • You can COUNT DOOR (and even TEST DOOR), to further prove its existence.
        Maybe this could be the door of the cupboard? There are possible hints that we could find some perhaps useful medical product in the cupboard here.
        The view to the south is suspicious indeed, I have tried to do things with the south wall, with no result.

      • The “DOOR” being referenced in the Infirmary and Dispensary also responds to the noun “ARMOURED,” which suggests to me it’s a buggy echo of the “armoured door” in the Jailhouse room proper (i.e., the door that shuts and locks behind you when the enter the Gaol area).

        Of course, the hallucinative Dispensary *could* still have something hidden with its south wall, but I am less than sure that the “ARMOURED DOOR” noun (which also is present in the Infirmary) is our answer, as opposed to simply a bug like wonky room connections (incidentally, I think I figured out why some room connections in the Gaol basement area can get confused – if you open the hidden passage in the Vestry but then leave by going south, you wind up in the Dock).

    • Another more worrisome possibility is that this could be tucked away in *any* of the earlier phases, with the ID being something we’re meant to bring with us through the phase 16 turnstile, and we missed it.

    • It looks to me that it is just a copy+paste of a standard room description of a room we have not seen yet. But of course it could be any level of convolution involved.
      Amaurotic is full/partial loss of vision yes, normally used for the biological function but it could also be a reference to dimness/fogginess or other degradation of vision due to environmental factors.
      I think ambulatory could be in the common adjective sense but also the substantive, i.e. a place to walk or where walking occurs.
      To take the more far-fetched interpretations somewhere for an example it could be a place where we walk in the dark (and that is also “short”).

      Also see the two new bug issues just posted on https://www.jugglingsoot.com/news.htm

      • I just spent some time re-combing through the dark crater maze (where the life jacket is) on the off chance we somehow missed a room exit there. Did a lot of testing for moving south in every single room (along with up and down, just in case) but my “rooms visited” counter never increased further (I’d already visited every square inch of the dark crater maze so that if I somehow stumbled into a new dark location, I’d hopefully be alerted by seeing the “rooms visited” tick up).

        Haven’t dug further into the Phase 14 dark-maze-to-Satan’s-Bumhole, but I guess technically that might also be hiding something?

      • Phase 14 seems more likely, I was extremely thorough combing through the dark crater maze but not at all with the matching path.

      • For the record: I totally exhausted the phase 13 maze when I did it. I have not tried looking for secrets around the phase 14 dark path.
        But the “dark” idea was just an example. Another idea is something ambulatory, like a vehicle or an NPC, with somehow less than normal vision.
        Or it is just a room name and no hint at all…

        It seems clear that what we need for the lift is something that we do not already have. That is nice to know, if correct. One of the first things I tried in getting the lift to work was the aviators passcard.

        I wonder if we could find any purpose for the pellets before the lift. I tried putting them with the zombie, but it seems invulnerable to the radiation.

        For reference, here are the items that I have been able to bring past the turnstile:
        asbestos bag
        aviators passcard
        beautiful ruby rod
        blank manila envelope
        cellophane bag
        chunky bracelet
        damaged communicator
        glossy voucher
        iron ring
        laminated scroll
        leather wallet **
        long duralium spanner
        nickel key *
        pair of tweezers
        piece of fur
        piece of linen
        puce transparency
        pvc envelope
        rubber charger mat
        security capsule
        silver key
        silver obol
        smudged pamphlet
        stick of charcoal
        teleport bracelet **
        tiny rectangle of mica (the damaged one)
        transistor radio
        translucent fruit bowl
        vermilion transparency
        zinc key

        * almost certainly needed
        ** probably needed

        These are items that can be brought together with nickel key, leather wallet and teleport bracelet:
        aviators passcard
        blank manila envelope
        cellophane bag
        glossy voucher
        iron ring
        laminated scroll
        long duralium spanner
        pair of tweezers
        piece of linen
        puce transparency
        pvc envelope
        silver key
        silver obol
        smudged pamphlet
        stick of charcoal
        tiny rectangle of mica (the damaged one)
        vermilion transparency
        zinc key

        Items that I have been too lazy to test so far (choice made at Bachelor Pad roof hole bottleneck):
        ancient paper map *
        gold key **
        indigo pin *
        leather pouch **

        * instead of aviators passcard
        ** only if teleport bracelet (and security capsule) turn out to be red herrings

      • At this point, I think it most likely that (i) the radioactive pebbles are a fuel source we’ll need once finally on the Liberator, assuming that’s where we’re headed (which the charcoal-blank page certainly suggests); and (ii) the fact that they can be carried safely via the wallet may be an unintentional bug. (I’m anticipating we might find a container on the Liberator that is more clearly suited to transporting such dangerous cargo. Or maybe the asbestos bag is intended? I struggle to understand why a leather wallet would serve to protect us from radiation poisoning, and as we’ve seen with the whole vanishing-objects issue, the containers of Ferret are prone to bugginess.)

        I also remain *deeply* suspicious of the book (and/or the whole warehouse setup). We still have yet to use it for anything, and yet reaching its location earns us points. And while it can be carried into phase 16, it can’t be brought in alongside the teleport bracelet. I can’t shake the feeling we are missing something there.

    • Given what is presumably the name of the room (Amaurotic Ambulatory), I’m wondering if it’s something missed in phase 11. Maybe something to do with the Hovel on the Western side of the map? That particular location has always felt conspicuous to me.

      • Huh, I forgot that place existed. Good call-out. I’ll test there next when time permits.

      • Very conspicuous, yes, and now with the alliteration and that row already having CoC DoD BoB.
        Also the “distressed” timber reminds me of the “ancient” cedar planks.

  7. I just blundered around the phase 14 dark path, testing all exits in all locations, without success. (It’s actually a kind maze by Ferret standards. No randomization on wrong movements; no trapping you in a room where all exits loop back on each other.)

    I wonder if any of the other phase 15 Milligan items (chalk, osmium cube, ebony pebble, driftwood) can be brought back and used to some effect in phase 16? The chalk perhaps, assuming it weighs the same as the charcoal?

  8. one other place to maybe try

    Cramped, poorly lit hovel.
    Exits: N–W –NW—- —
    Score increment of 10 points.

    in the middle of the plum ticket maze

    gets 10 points, kind of random spot
    somewhat dark
    name suggests eye problems

  9. devs made a meta-suggestion, and:

    Phase 12 (Delinearisation)
    Mode: Master
    You have scored 1185 (out of 1670) points in 3735 moves.
    Rooms visited: 617. Rank achieved: Captain.
    -> goto Amaurotic Ambulatory
    Plotting a course…
    No way, jose.

    this does not happen with the other phases

    • Argh, we should feel ashamed for not having tried this. At least I do now.

      • I vaguely thought the “goto” command only provided a meaningful response after you’ve already visited the location in question at least once? But I haven’t used it much so I could just be plain wrong.

        (For readers wondering what this “goto” is about: One of the commands unlocked by reaching Master mode, upon achieving Phase 9, is “goto.” It lets you type in the name of a location (exactly; no truncation-to-first-five-letters here) and the game will automatically walk you from your current location to that destination. The path needs to be “clear” – i.e., no obstacles blocking you, and all exits taken “visible” – for this to work. And it doesn’t save on turns; it’s still one turn per move like usual.)

    • messing with the mastermind some. Tried to induce white white white white to go with black black black black.

      the game’s combo is violet yellow orange yellow

      I tried in the next row reversing the order, so:

      yellow orange yellow violet

      -> push button
      The lights are showing: White White White Unlit

      By the rules, wouldn’t it be four white? What’s weird is I tried duplicating VYOY and I got the same all-black thing, so this might just be a bug.

      • I remember having the same result (not being able to get to four Whites) when I was messing with the warehouse earlier (I was trying to get some really bright lights going, to help with possible projector assembly). At the time I chalked it up to the game’s Mastermind coding getting confused by having two colors of the same light, both in the wrong spots. I.e., a bug. But, I mean, this *is* Ferret, who knows?

      • Could we need to play several consecutive games of Mastermind?

      • I’ve messed with it enough to say the lack of four whites is just a bug. It still otherwise is the same correct combo for all-black.

        Still don’t have anything else useful to toy around with, though.

    • In Retreat to Desiccation you can refer to ROCKS which I have tried to play with before. I was thinking I could somehow move them to discover a secret, but never succeeded in doing anything constructive or revelatory.
      Similarly but less promising there is GRASS in Irriguous Cul-de-sac. What could make us able to continue north here, dropping everything does not help. I have not tried the pvc vessel to “brute force” my way through…

  10. thinking a different direction. what about the disco references and the flier?

    Jenny Taylor’ Promotions
    In association with the Rigid Digit Troupe
    are delighted to announce a new collection
    Juicy Lucy and the Suppurating Slits
    with Hardlong Pipe and the Plumbers will play
    The Come and Get It Adlib Concert
    for one night only
    Do not miss this once in a lifetime show
    31st October 1985
    An aural orgasm – The Voice of the Streets
    Promoting Agents: Throbbing Vain Acts

    A Jenny Talls’ Promotion
    The Fashion Event of the year featuring:
    Heady Grobuttucks
    Noni Nonutts
    Hugh Ampleforth
    This voucher admits one only.
    Non-transferable. Not for sale.
    Validation Number: 55378008

    MC Emsee and the Enormous Possie
    A Rave to Remember
    * DJ Spong
    * Fardy Snapwit
    * The New House Bandeleroos
    * Aching Vomit and the Wretches
    12th December, Late till Later
    Warehouse on Conduit Road
    Zonndo Promotions init
    Max schtumm to avoid babylon

    • “Ampleforth” is a minor character in 1984, but damned if I can figure out how to use that.

      “Max schtumm to avoid babylon” has always been confusing to me. I know “schtum” or “schtumm” is British slang for keeping quiet about something (like “mum’s the word”). But “to avoid babylon?”

      I also can’t help but think the puzzle here is to do the right thing in the +10 points Broom Cupboard to reveal a way to our prize.

  11. After a whole bunch of fruitless pondering/tinkering, I’m now wondering if we need to build a projector for *this* problem as well. There are, after all, two different transparencies (one in phase 9, the other in phase 13). What if one of them is the map to the plum ticket in phase 14, and the other is a clue to reaching the elusive id card in phase 12?

    • musings on the components of a projector. no solutions here, just a collection of thoughts for consideration/reactions.
      seems like we need:

      1. a light source
      2. some means to funnel light through the transparency – this could involve some combination of (a) a lens, (b) an opaque outer container that the light source is within, (c) a translucent or transparent surface on which the transparency sits
      3. a lens and/or mirror that the light shines through after it’s passed through the transparency, to widen it so it can be shown on a larger screen or other surface
      4. said larger screen or other surface

      and what do we have?

      1. No light source. the big issue. I did discover that Ferret recognizes the noun “ILLUM” and, after some testing, that it’s referring to the orange button on the toy robot from phase 8 (?) – not the robot, but specifically the orange button on it (???). This of course is an object we’ve never gotten to do anything useful with. But given how all the other phase 8 devices stop working in phase 9+ (especially, and most annoyingly/illogically given what we are trying to do, the flashgun) I am skeptical that the robot is somehow our answer here.

      2. We do have a projector *screen* in the phase 15 building (awkward to shuffle inventory there but at least possible with a properly working cradle). We also have a mirror.

      3. The acrylic orb that is somehow part of this is specifically described as “opaque.” Is this somehow our outer container? Or are we somehow intended to slice up the orb somehow and make one or more lens(es)? Acrylic lenses *are* a thing, but they are manifestly transparent, NOT opaque. More to the point, we don’t have any sort of slicing tool (nor do I recall an environmental hazard of that kind) or any means to open the orb to serve as an outer container. I’ve tried making holes in the orb using the indigo pin, but even that does nothing.

      4. The mysterious translucent fruit bowl that we’ve never used for any purpose. “Translucent” though means that light, while *some* of it will pass through, will get scattered and de-focused. That’s not what we are looking for here.

      5. There are some items that apparently are truly transparent in that you can “look through” them. The list I have is: the ruby rod, the black cylinder, the flashgun (sigh, if only it worked), the sealed PVC vessel, the toy robot, the toy truck, the security casket, the cellophane bag, and the two transparencies themselves. Maybe the ruby rod is important? Both transparencies are shades of red (“vermilion” and “puce”) so perhaps there’s a connection there?

      • wait

        I just loaded up a save I have in phase 10 and the flashgun DOES work

        I definitely have other phase 9+ saves where the flash manifestly does NOT work because the game no longer lets you refer to the red button that triggers it

        a very quick load through of my recent saves suggests that the red button on the flashgun ceases being recognized by the game after you’ve gone through the lake section in phase 11. perhaps the “red button” that’s in the control center under the lake somehow “overwrites” what the game recognizes to be a “red button” and once you’ve seen that, the flashgun can no longer be used?

      • I did some testing and it seems like you say, when we see the Control Centre red button it “breaks” the flashgun red button. But in Ferret style we could still use it any place before the turnstile, we just skip the lake tour in phase 11.

        It would be nice if the translucent fruit bowl turned out to be shaped like a fresnel lens, just like a transparency projector uses…

      • Fresnel lens bowl example: https://noma.org/object-lesson-corning-lens-bowl/
        Example of a transparency projector construction: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overhead_projector

      • And a Fresnel lens would seem translucent…

      • If (a big if) the orb is a light, maybe it needs a power source. The automaton got its power remotely but I can’t bring the two things together to try it. Has anyone got the two things in the same place?

      • OH MY GOD

        ->turn knob [of the generator]
        The orb starts to emit a bright light.


        (If anyone is having trouble moving the “mobile generator” from phase 9 – the automation’s power source – forward to other phases, the issue is that Ferret gets confused by TURN KNOB at the locomotive if the generator is also in the room. (It defaults to the generator’s knob instead of the train’s knob.) The solution is to use the command TURN KNURLED instead, so Ferret knows you mean the *train’s* knob and not the generator’s.)

        (Joke’s on me for using the generator to keep sinking the Dock at phase 11!)

      • For what it’s worth, I have both transparencies, the generator, and the orb in phase 13. I can get the orb to light up fine, but can’t figure out how to make it shine a light on the transparencies. Not sure if this is a matter of guessing the right verb or if something else is needed as well.

      • I think their exact words were to build a projector, so I assume we need to at least put the thing in another thing? I have tried a bunch of combos and no dice.

        I had been using the rug for the pier drop, nothing else is needed if the pockets in the suit are loaded.

      • Medal for Mustelid indeed!
        I always use the full name for things to avoid confusing myself and/or the parser. :D
        BLACK KNOB or KNURLED KNOB is useful depending on what you want to specify.

        I am now playing with our newfound toy in the Stonewalled Cavern and Under Deck areas.

      • To save someone else the tedium, the Under Deck area revealed no surprises in the light.

      • Just revisiting the Staffroom (P13) with the angled ceiling. Wondering what the precisely angled ceiling is all about. It actually kinda like resembles one of those old-fashioned office projectors with the light box(cupboard) and angled reflector(ceiling). You would put slides on the light box and view them on a screen(wall?). You can put things in the opening(bowl?, orb?) but you can’t always get them back. Haven’t gotten together all the things I need at the moment, maybe someone else can have a look? Bit of a stretch but who knows with Ferret-logic.

      • I think you might very much be on the right way again! I had been thinking about the Staffroom too, but I didn’t remember that it was (almost) repeated in phase 13, and in phase 10 it was too early for the orb (and the puce transparency) and that made me put it away again. I think it is wise to try more things here. (Could there be something important in that the room is repeated?)

      • -> turn knob
        The orb starts to emit a bright light.
        -> put orb in sink
        A rectangular area of the angled ceiling is brightly lit.
        -> put bowl in sink
        The rectangular area of the angled ceiling is diffusely lit.

        This is better than we have been doing in a long time. I definitely think this should be the way.

        I would like some way to attach things to the angled ceiling. Like the mirror.

      • OK, I did it. Very disappointed in the transparencies so far though. :|

        Full direct spoilers in ROT13 below.

        Va cunfr 13 Fgnssebbz, jvgu gur zbovyr trarengbe ninvynoyr, qb guvf:
        chg chpr genafcnerapl va genafyhprag sehvg objy
        chg irezvyvba genafcnerapl va genafyhprag sehvg objy
        ghea oynpx xabo
        chg npelyvp beo va fvax
        chg genafyhprag sehvg objy va fvax
        rknzvar prvyvat

      • can we collectively dub Mustelid the “Potentate of Projectors” because wow. brilliantly done.

  12. I posted a comment some time ago that must be held up requiring manual processing, probably because there were two URLs in it. The first URL showed a typical example of a glass bowl that is also a Fresnel lens and could easily be described/used/perceived as a fruit bowl. The second URL linked to Wikipedia “overhead projector” (for projecting transparencies) article, describing the simple construction of such a projector and how a key part of it is a Fresnel lens.
    The point is that I find the bowl a strong candidate for being part of the construction of a projector for displaying transparencies, but perhaps it would require some more clue that it is actually Fresnel lens shaped, I find it difficult to know with this game how strong clues we should expect.

    • I’ve been trying to mash the mirror in together with the bowl and the orb, since this gets close to the contraption in question, but the game really doesn’t understand any kind of “put X on Y” combination. You can “cover X with Y” but I have yet to find a scenario where that actually gets parsed.

    • I feel like “POINT X AT Y” may be important syntax here, although I too haven’t yet had any luck.

  13. Pingback: Ferret: Feeling Well Dead | Renga in Blue

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