Solution to The Writing on the Wall

by Joel Corbo and Allen Rabinovich

This puzzle consists of a "series of hallways" that are presented as a set of linked webpages. In each hallway, there is a statement, and the hallway's background is either black or white.

The six sets of hallways are actually six seven-segment displays, laid out like this:

|        |
h5      h6
|        |
|        |
h2      h3
|        |

Hallways that are white are lit, and hallways that are black are not lit. The hallways' backgrounds change to match the current time in Boston in 12-hour HH:MM:SS format.

The statements in each digit all refer to a particular book (each of which involves time travel). In order from left to right, these are:

The statements are all either true or false. Interpreting true statements as lit and false ones as unlit, the display reads 91:47:96. Indexing into the book titles by these numbers produces TAURUS.

Here are all the statements used in the puzzle, ordered by the hallways they appear in. (For example, "1-1" refers to the first digit (tens of hours), segment h1, and so on.) The false statements (where segments shouldn't be lit) are marked (F):

Tens of hours:
"1-1" → "The conductor of the bus is named Stan."
"1-2" → "The fat lady is strangled." (F)
"1-3" → "Seamus and Dean live in the same house."
"1-4" → "The kiss is interrupted by a stag."
"1-5" → "A student receives a Firebolt as a gift."
"1-6" → "A rat is found to be a traitor."
"1-7" → "An execution at sundown is averted."

Ones of hours:
"2-1" → "The eclipse occurs on the 19th." (F)
"2-2" → "The blacksmith is invited to a dinner at Polo's." (F)
"2-3" → "The king has a sister who kills a page."
"2-4" → "500 men arrive on horses to save Arthur from hanging." (F)
"2-5" → "Nine men are stabbed before the charge breaks in panic." (F)
"2-6" → "'Camelot Weekly Hosannah and Literary Volcano' costs two cents."
"2-7" → "Earl Garth and his men save two people from a mob." (F)

Tens of minutes:
"3-1" → "A motor yacht is named Nebuchadnezzar." (F)
"3-2" → "The plane crashes into Saltleaf Mountain." (F)
"3-3" → "A man takes classes at an optometry school."
"3-4" → "A sticker on the Cadillac reads 'Visit Ausable Chasm'."
"3-5" → "Billy has an amber paperweight with three ladybugs in it."
"3-6" → "A man is told that babies on Earth can't be born without male homosexuals."
"3-7" → "Spooning maple syrup is a crime." (F)

Ones of minutes:
"4-1" → "Petronius the Arbiter is a dog." (F)
"4-2" → "A girl is nicknamed Nagaina." (F)
"4-3" → "A couple is married in Yuma."
"4-4" → "Colonel Plushbottom causes a man to lose out on a Nobel Prize." (F)
"4-5" → "Three coins are marked with initials." (F)
"4-6" → "A woman changes her name to Schultz."
"4-7" → "A man has a class ring from Tech."

Tens of seconds:
"5-1" → "A man is spending a year dead because of taxes."
"5-2" → "The cat's name is God." (F)
"5-3" → "A building has been built with the proceeds from a copyright lawsuit."
"5-4" → "An animal wants to be eaten."
"5-5" → "The host's first name is Max."
"5-6" → "The great prophet does arrive."
"5-7" → "A ship is completely black."

Ones of seconds:
"6-1" → "There is a sibling named Fan."
"6-2" → "The potatoes are mashed by Peter."
"6-3" → "A fellow apprentice is named Dick."
"6-4" → "The dead man's shirt gets stolen and sold."
"6-5" → "The giant's robe is green and white."
"6-6" → "There are only three apparitions during the night." (F)
"6-7" → "Bob is eighteen and a half minutes late."