This puzzle was introduced in a CTA official twitter video posted by Sami :
Link to the tweet : https://twitter.com/chlagousami/status/1501649696980414464
In this video, some details should obviously catch your eye, or at least some of them:
• The newts: the 3 salamanders on the desk making a repetitive sound:
• The written board: over the same desk, the 3 salamanders are standing on a board
with an encryption and some English words, both with blanks:
♦ Mantris encryption :
If you followed the previous puzzles, you could easily tell that’s mantris language.
But this time there’s something quite different about it if you look closely :
♦ English words :
The second part of this panel is a grid of words in English and you can see that they are missing some letters; just as the mantris encryptions – the missing gaps being marked by dashes.
So, how do we solve this now? What are we looking for here? What are the salamanders doing? Why is Aiolos standing there out of the blue?
Your first instincts are certainly pushing you towards deciphering the mantris language with the alphabet you already discovered in previous puzzles, aren’t they? OR maybe they’re trying to make you guess the English words and find the missing letters, right?
Well as they say: “You should always trust your instincts!”
Actually, both of them are a good step to start with, since there will be a time when you’ll have to inevitably explore the other one. Even better if you explore them both, and feel a connection between the two of them, but let’s talk about that later!
Keep reading to know more…
(See instinct attempt 1 & 2 below)
• Aiolos figurine: over several figurines laying in the background, one has been chosen as an ornament on Sami’s desk: Sagittarius Aiolos from “Saint Seiya” manga. But is it really just an ornament!?
• The telephone: this device has been oriented in a weird way, since it usually turned toward the user sitting at the desk!
As mentioned before, there’s something odd about this mantris langage this time: the spacing between mantris characters is not the same! Some of them are almost sticked together, which has never been seen so far in previous puzzles. If you use the mantris alphabet you know so far, here are the possible deciphering combinations you get:
1. Considering each character separately
|Translation||A A B _ _ E D||T A A _ A B|
|Possible words||(0 English words)||(0 English words)|
2. Considering each 2 close characters as one (even without the dot above)
|Translation||A A B _ _ E D||T A A _ A B|
|Possible words||ALFRED ALINED ALLIED ALLIPED ALATED||(0 English words, unless it’s a proper noun)|
At this point, the most relevant approach is the second one, since it is the only one providing us with some relevant possibilities. So if we assume that the new Mantris way of writing is correct (sticking characters together and discarding the dot above the first one), then why the U is written differently? That’s incorrect!?
That’s the whole point of it: if the U is not written correctly, this means it’s a mistake to write it this way…so there’s a mistake on the letter U! See where we’re going with this?
The letter U is here an indication to say the right way to write mantris alphabet now (or the new appropriate variant of it) is “to stick the letters together & remoe the dot above the first one” (for all the letters beyond J)…and therefore, the letter U is not the correct letter you should be looking for in the second word either («UA_L».
So, we have 5 possible words for the 1st mantris word, none for the second but with a “mistake” on “U”. If the only way to get a word from the second is a proper noun, that means the first can only be a first-name, otherwise it won’t make sense. And the only first-name on the list is ALFRED.
If we go with ALFRED then…what can his last-name be? Keeping in mind that U is not a correct letter…
A quick search for famous personalities on Google would give you the answer right away, but let’s leave it there for now!
NB: considering the center top position of these 2 mantris words, one can easily think they are the title of this board and that the person who goes by this name must hold a central meaning to the puzzle.
First, from that camera angle, some letters may be confusing, because you couldn’t tell exactly whether what letter they look like… So this adds up a little fun to the puzzle: Trying to zoom-in or clear them out with a computer software for instance.
Once you’re sure about what you see, you will try to guess the words and maybe even try to make sentences out of them. But soon you will notice that you’re lacking some verbs, subjects and conjunctions that make it impossible to do so, unless you’re speaking «Yoda langage» :).
At the end, you’re left with this scope of possibilities (not knowing what exactly to do with them yet) :
|Possible words||PINK, PUNK||FROM, ZOOM, WHOM, BOOM, PROM, DOOM, GLOM, ATOM, LOOM, ROOM, TOOM||SPECIAL||BOOK||SKIP|
|Possible words||THE, SHE||LIE, LEE, LYE||HIM, HAM, HEM, HUM, HOM||WORD, WOAD, WOOD, WOLD||LACK, LARK, LANK|
|Possible words||BACK||VERY||STEP, SEEP, SKEP||GLASS||LAST, LASE, LASS, LASH|
|Possible words||WOLF, WOLD||SHUT, SHUL, SHUN||DOOR, DOOM||SIDE, SADE||WIFE|
|Possible words||SHE||AN, AT, AS, AD, AM, AW||WENT, WENS, WEND||MANKING, MANKIND||NEWS|
|Possible words||IN, ON, AN, EN||AND||YEARS, YEANS||TAKEN, OAKEN, WAKEN||MORE, MOUE, MOPE, MODE, MOLE, MOVE, MOKE, MOBE, MOME|
NB: As in the Mantris encryption, here again you have been pointed towards a new error “MANK_NG”. This was the way to tell you, as it was printed as a G, kept this way in the video, then explicitly corrected to MANK_ND (in case you didn’t guess by the inappropriate word itself), that the G/D letters is for you to see and keep in mind for future use (the need of 5 letters in next puzzle #4). These letters do not change the way to solving the puzzle but gives you a twist at the end to confirm you’re on the right track (see solution at the end).
In the following analysis, we’re making total abstraction of Aiolos figurine, the sounds from the salamanders and the phone. We’re focusing only on making something logical out of this board alone. Let’s say we’re doing it the “Mantris style” to find all the missing letters.
First, in the mantris encryption we can assume we found some: F and R from the word ALFRED.
Second, in the grid of English words, you can notice that some words are plain (without missing letters), and some others are missing one letter with only one possible word solution:
• Words without missing letters (plain possible words in bold). Those words don’t have missing letters for a reason. It was to point out the fact that the letters forming those words aren’t part of the missing letters. So among all the possible letters, you can eliminate those used in these words already:
⇒ remaining letters: I, U, F, R, Z, P, T, Y, M, V, K
♦ Words with only one possible letter to fill the blank. Those words are here to confirm that this letter is actually one of the letters you’re looking for: SKIP, VERY, WIFE, MANKIND (Here “I” and “R” are confirmed).
If we combine these two pieces of information, and use only remaining letters and considering those confirmed first in case of multiple choices (I, F, R, U, Z, P, T, Y, M, V, K) to try and fill the words with blanks once and for all. Then you get this :
|Possible words||PINK, ||FROM||SPECIAL||BOOK||SKIP|
|Possible words||THE||LIE, ||HIM, ||WORD||LARK|
|Possible words||BACK||VERY||STEP, SKEP||GLASS||LAST|
|Possible words||WOLF||SHUT||DOOR, ||SIDE||WIFE|
|Possible words||SHE||AT, AM||WENT||MANKING, MANKIND||NEWS|
|Possible words||IN||AND||YEARS||TAKEN||MORE, |
Moreover, now that we did this, some words with only one solution remaining appeared: THE, WENT, TAKEN. Which provides an additional confirmed letter here: T
And now you’re starting to see a pattern for the correct missing letters: I, F, R, T,
U, Z, P, Y, M, V, K, or I, F, R, T or rather… R, I, F, T.
Now, if we take a look at the other elements of this puzzle, what can they tell us more to solve this puzzle?
Starting with Aiolos’ figurine, you can notice that it’s missing its bow-arrow. Meaning, Aiolos is not there on “combat mode”, but rather as a sign pointing towards something. Could it be the salamanders? But then, why would he point towards something we already see and hear quite clearly? It must be something else less obvious don’t you agree?
We hear the salamanders making a repetitive sequence of 2 sounds on a loop:
First sound x 1 time
Second sound x 3 times
There’s obviously a code here, but how is it related to the written board of words or Aiolos? How can a sound be related to words, or more particularly to letters?
This sequence actually looks like a Morse code but it is not. It is there to make you think about it, but anyone who knows a bit about Morse code would know that it cannot be a code the way it is; it will only result in repeated letters at most. Moreover, there’s no short/long sounds here, there’s only 2 different sounds and a pace of 1/3/1/3…
But, actually, It is an indication to find a key that will lead you to a Morse code afterwards, because as we know it, in Morse code:
A short signal = 1 bip
A long signal = 3 bips (1 long bip that lasts 3 times as much as the short one)
Here’s where Aiolos indication is useful, if he’s not pointing towards the salamanders, he’s then pointing toward the phone, which has been turned to face the camera and for you to see its buttons.
And if you think of it, the phone is a device that combines sounds and letters through its buttons/keys. If you click on a button, you can hear a sound and depending on how many times you click it you can reach a particular letter.
Also keep in mind that the Morse code is the ancestor of the telegram, and hence…the telephone. And the inventor of the Morse code is no other than?…yes, ALFRED VAIL: the central persona in the board title. And No, it is not Samuel Morse! Through this puzzle we also wanted to give credit back to the real inventor of this code and correct this hystorical common belief. Learn more about it here :
NB: Back to our puzzle, since each phone can have different tones on its keys nowadays (depending on the model, year, mobile/desk, personal configuration…) we cannot base this sound sequence on music notes since everyone would get a different result and it would be confusing.
So the 1/3 sound sequence is the pace/cadence of the sounds rather than notes, which can now be translated as follows:
• Indication about Morse code (1/3)
• Use this cadence on the phone = 1 time on “a button” and 3 times on “another” one
• Which buttons should be used?…Well, always the same sequence: the 1st button with letters and the 3rd one (i.e 2 and 4)
From here you have only 2 combinations:
1 time x 1st key + 3 times x 3rd key = 1 x 2 + 3 x 3 = AI
1 time x 3rd key + 3 times x 1st key = 1 x 4 + 3 x 2 = GC
Trying to look for a meaning to AI or GC is the key now to the whole puzzle. Which combination is the key?
AI can only mean Artificial Intelligence, and translating it to Mantris alphabet gives no particular clues. Whereas…GC, translated to Mantris alphabet:
Now you can see, or rather confirm, the connection between the key you just found and the missing letters on the written board, right?
All the missing letters are letters from the word R.I.F.T, whether it is for the mantris encryption or the English words. Replacing them in the board leads you to a unique solution:
Now that we have deciphered the whole panel for good, we can start to look for the Morse code that we have indications of all over the place (Alfred Vail, the salamanders’ sounds, the 1/3 sequence, the telephone).
Considering that we can’t have any audible Morse code (from the salamanders for example, or anywhere else in the video actually), we can assume that we’re looking for a written Morse code (since we just deciphered a written board), which is combinations of dots and dashes. Remembering that, in the written version of a morse code, 1 dash (–) = 3 dots.
So eventually, you need to find dots somewhere! And the only way to have them written here is through the mantris langage, and more specifically the basic version of it (as seen in puzzles #1 and #2), where all characters are distinct and dots are not removed:
Well this leads us to one possible way: translating all the English words into Mantris alphabet to get dots in the place:
Now, if you remember the 1/3 sequence from the salamanders, you’ll notice that all the mantris words contain either 1 or 3 dots. All of them but one: MANKING/D which have 4 dots.
So, if this word makes all your theory wrong, you should remember that it is this exact same word that has been affected by a mistake all along, so your theory is correct and you’re on the right track. You just have to ignore the additional dot… And that’s the Morse code we have been looking for all along:
This puzzle was to announce an important date for «Cross The Ages» project, March the 18th 2022 which was discovered later on that it was the UBISOFT partnership officially presented at that same date.