I'm stuck, I can't figure out anything new. I'm writing everything I figured out so far, along with some guesses. I won't give all details about all the solutions I mention in these notes, so the other participants have some problems to solve
I don't want to use spoiler tags in order to avoid confusion with the official clues and hints.
But to spare the spoiling to the people who want to try themselves some more, I painted the text white. So if you want to read it, you have to select it. Apologies, if someone uses a theme with a dark background.
Be warned that if you read everything, you might be influenced and get just as stuck as me
Drawing room 1 - books
As explained earlier, these refer to "Pantone". This is useful for Scullery 3 (work desk), in case one doesn't recognize the image there as Pantone color swatches.
Drawing room 2 - guest list
Can't make anything of it, except that two names are in different color. Which probably is due to them starting with a small letter.
Drawing room 3 - window symbols
As said earlier, these are alchemy symbols for sulfur, gold, mercury, silver and tin. There are probably other connections in play here, I haven't figured them out.
Head Butler's Office 1 - pyramids
Thanks to the provided hint we know these are part of the game Zendo. You can check the rules in Wikipedia. The idea is to figure out which of the figurine configurations should have a white stone and which - a black one. Then, using that pattern and applying it to the second line of Shakespeare's sonnet 18, one obtains a word (an anagram, actually) that points to the key location.
Head Butler's Office 2 - picture frame
I have no idea about the meaning of the letters at the bottom of each picture.
The vehicles are, from left to right, 1928 International Harvester truck, 1918 Buick pickup truck, 1918 Dodge.
There are plenty of sites where the truck is said to be an 1918 model, which, in my opinion, is not correct. This makes it difficult to understand this clue - whether the idea had been for all the vehicles to be models from 1918, in order to point us to sonnet 18, or the model years are irrelevant.
Head Butler's Office 3 - poster
As mentioned already, the line on the poster is from Shakespeare's sonnet 18. Which is used in finding the key, as we know from the provided hint.
Armory 1 - lockers
The text on them is going to be used together with the message from the Scullery. You get the message in Scullery 3 and convert it to text. Then you realize it's only half a message. The business card in Scullery 1 points at cell 3c and gives some directions. Applying this knowledge to the set of lockers, we get the other half of the message in Scullery 3.
That message gives us a keycode for a cipher, but it actually is of little use, since it was easier to brute-force the key for said cipher.
Armory 2 - safe
There is an ouroboros - or a soft of - on the lock.
No idea about this.
Armory 3 - suit of armor
The mentioning of "fourth rail of the visor" is a reference to the railfence cipher used, that has a period of 4. However, I didn't realize that before the hint given abouth that cipher - mainly because I had no idea such a cipher existed.
The messsage on the paper is encoded with said cipher and a period of 4. It gives one possible location for the key.
The same applies to the other 3 pieces of paper with handwritten text - they are encoded with the same cipher and period and contain possible locations of the key.
The clues in the Head Butler's office had told us which of the 4 notes is the correct one. But even without them we could guess.
As for the scrubbed patch on the armor, I have no idea.
Scullery 1 - pin-board
The business card gives directions to finding the second half of the message in Scullery 3.
The handwritten text, as already said, is encoded with a railfence cipher and refers to the key.
Scullery 2 - chopping board
No idea what to make of the knife with the yellow tape and the letters.
Scullery 3 - work desk
"Vigenère-brand T-square" is a hint at the Vigenère cipher which is used later, in the Boiler room. I don't know whether the T-square itself has any significance.
The color cards are Pantone color swatches.
The message in the notepad can be converted to text, having in mind these Pantone colors. However, it turns out to be only the first half of the message. The other half is written on the lockers in the Armory. And as I said, all in all it was easier to find the key to the cipher by brute force.
Wine cellar 1 - wine casks
After applying the numbers to the names of the vines, I got "dendrology".
Wine cellar 2 - tasting table
The handwritten text refers to the key.
Wine cellar 3 - bottle rack
No idea about this.
Solarium 1 - sundial
The numbers the shadows point at, are quite obvious. I have no idea where to apply them though.
Solarium 2 - tea set
No idea whether the type of the tea-ware has any significance.
The handwritten text refers to the key.
Solarium 3 - rug
No idea about that.
It's called "sun-motif rug". Maybe the sundial numbers refer to the keypad under this "sun", but I have no idea what should be there.
Kitchen 1 - refrigerator
Kitchen 2 - noticeboard
Handwritten note consists of 3 sonnets by Shakespeare - 52, 27, 41. No idea where these numbers go.
Safe lock - has a cogwheel on it. No idea how to open it. At some point I thought the cogwheel meant that this lock actually could be opened, while the ouroboros on the other lock meant it turned forever. However, I don't know anymore.
Kitchen 3 - knife block
No idea about the knife with the read tape, letter S and in the 3rd of 5 holes.
Boiler room 1 - door
Door with a keypad and 3 asterisks. Don't know how to open it.
Boiler room 2 - tool chest
The text is encoded by a Vigenere cipher. The main key is the one from the message in the Scullery and Armory. However, I just found it by brute-force, before decoding the other message.
The different lines use different keys, which are variations of the main one.
Boiler room 3 - manuals
No idea whether they mean something. "What to do When Your Boss Asks You to Clean Up a Murder" looks a little too obvious.
Nursery 1 - play table
Poker hands with different values. Still don't know the meaning.
Nursery 2 - painting
Don't know how to open the safe (or whatever it is) behind it. I thought the painting was related to the "dendrology" in the wine cellar, but I can't open the keypad.
Nursery 3 - poster
Don't know what to make of it.
North Guest Bedroom 1 - wardrobe
Numbers on casino receipt. No idea yet. They look like some kind of bitmap or maybe a letter map that has to be applied to a text.
North Guest Bedroom 2 - vanity
The pill box has the Yggdrasil tree on the lid. Maybe it's a coincidence and in fact the idea was to have just an image of a tree, keeping in mind the "dendrolgy" in the wine cellar.
North Guest Bedroom 3 - bedside table
The mentioning of "coopers" in the note led me to believe the information from the wine casks in the cellar is related to the victim's dossier. I still don't understand the meaning of "trace of the half-shell". Could this refer to the circles on the poster in the nursery?
Edited by Bendida, 07 September 2017 - 08:46 AM.