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Solving Desert Diplomacy: The Aftermath


by incheesuswetrust

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Beginning August 8th, something terrible happened at a two week diplomacy event hosted by Princess Amira at her palace in Sakhmet. She had invited her fellow rulers from across Neopia to discuss diplomatic topics, but instead her palace was invaded by thieves and they robbed all of her guests. The princess wanted the safe return of her guests' belongings, and said that a reward would be offered for this to happen.

All those wishing to help Princess Amira have access to her "connections" to find clues towards what happened. Starting on August 8th, a new clue was revealed each day after to aid in the investigation over the course of a fortnight (two weeks).

For those familiar of events past, this is actually a logic grid puzzle similar to the Clockwork Negg Puzzle of Y14's Negg Festival. However, this grid is actually bigger and more complicated due there being 6 factors of 4 different things to figure out, instead of only 5 of 4 to figure out like in the Clockwork Negg Puzzle.

For this puzzle, there are 6 different guilds who committed a theft. They are the Oasis Runners, Sun Chasers, Pyramid Prowlers, Desert Scarabs, Dagger Clan, and Hand of Anubis. The 6 different items that were stolen are the Illuminated Menuscript, Wedding Ring, Pocket Chess, Magical Blue Amulet, Royal Telescope, and the Grand Speech Scroll. There are also 6 different methods each guild used to steal their item. These methods are bribing a guard, invisibility, distraction, climbing the palace walls, disguise, or via the sewers. Lastly, there is the time at which the theft occurred. This includes Midnight, 1:00 AM, 2:00 AM, 3:00 AM, 4:00 AM, and 5:00 AM. Our job is to figure out what each guild stole, what method they used to steal it, and what the time was when they stole it.

Since the event is over now, some of you may be wondering how this was solved. I'm going to do a walkthrough of it, and it should make more sense as to what happened and how to start dissecting each piece of the puzzle. For easier purposes of understanding, I'm going to reorder the clues that were originally given chronologically (and seemingly random) into different groups that talk about the same things. Then I will explain what we learn from each clue as it leads into the next. I may restate a lot of sentences in different ways, so it should help in processing things. Please bear with any redundancies.

As a side note, you may want to check out my Clockwork Negg Puzzle article from issue 641 in the Neopian Times. It goes into a lot of detail about relying on only the facts of a puzzle, and how to not make assumptions or jump to conclusions. Making assumptions is a very easy and bad thing to do in logic puzzles if you aren't careful!

August 18th Clue 11: The Illuminated Menuscript was stolen by the Pyramid Prowlers.

This clue is more like one of the answers. Very straightforward and easy to start with.

August 8th Clue 1: The Illuminated Menuscript was either stolen using invisibility or by bribing a guard.

This means that the Pyramid Prowlers stole the Illuminated Menuscript by using invisibility or bribing a guard.

August 12th Clue 5: Of the guild that bribed a guard and the Pyramid Prowlers, one stole Pocket Chess and the other committed the theft at midnight.

*** Warning: This clue is tricky and we have to be careful of the way that it is worded. It begins with referencing two guilds using the word "Of". So, "of" these two guilds, ONE of them stole Pocket Chess, and the OTHER committed the theft at midnight. ***

This clue talks about the guild that bribed a guard and the Pyramid Prowlers as two separate guilds, so we know that the Pyramid Prowlers did not bribe a guard.

We know the Pyramid Prowlers took the Illuminated Menuscript from Clue 11, so they can't have also taken Pocket Chess.

We already have our second and third small answers now:

The guild that bribed a guard stole Pocket Chess and the Pyramid Prowlers have committed their crime of stealing the Illuminated Menuscript at Midnight.

From Clue 1, we know that the Pyramid Prowlers stole by using invisibility or by bribing a guard. Since they did not bribe a guard, they used invisibility.

First Complete Answer:

The Pyramid Prowlers stole the Illuminated Menuscript at Midnight by using invisibility.

All of these answers are now ineligible to be used as answers for anybody else, and can help us eliminate any contradictions with the rest of the clues given.

August 15th Clue 8: The guild that used invisibility committed the theft one hour before the Dagger Clan.

We know the guild that used invisibility are the Pyramid Prowlers, who took the Illuminated Menuscript at Midnight.

So we know that the time reference is Midnight because that is when the Pyramid Prowlers used invisibility.

Because the guild that used invisibility committed their crime at Midnight, which is one hour before 1:00 AM, this means that the Dagger Clan committed their crime at 1:00 AM.

August 17th Clue 10: The guild that committed the theft at 1:00 AM did not use a disguise.

We know the Dagger Clan committed their crime at 1:00 AM, so this clue tells us that the Dagger Clan did not use a disguise.

August 16th Clue 9: Pocket Chess was not stolen by the Sun Chasers, nor was it stolen at 2:00 AM.

Pocket Chess was not stolen by the Sun Chasers.

Pocket Chess was not stolen at 2:00 AM.

*** Warning: We cannot assume from the wording of this that the Sun Chasers did not commit their crime at 2:00 AM, we only know that they did not take Pocket Chess, so they could have stolen something else at 2:00 AM. ***

We also know that the guild that bribed a guard stole Pocket Chess from Clue 5. The guild that bribed a guard did not commit their crime at 2:00 AM, because they took Pocket Chess, and Pocket Chess was not taken at 2:00 AM.

So now that we know Pocket Chess was not stolen by the Sun Chasers, we also know the Sun Chasers did not bribe a guard. The guild that bribed a guard did not commit their crime at 2:00 AM, but this may still be a possibility for the Sun Chasers to steal something else at 2:00 AM Again, we cannot assume from this that the Sun Chasers are not eligible for 2:00 AM yet.

August 9th Clue 2: The Oasis Runners stole an item sometime before the guild who bribed a guard.

The Oasis Runners are talked about as a separate guild from the guild who bribed a guard.

So The Oasis Runners are not the guild who bribed a guard.

We know the guild who bribed a guard took Pocket Chess. So The Oasis Runners did not take Pocket Chess.

We also know the Oasis Runners stole something "sometime" BEFORE the guild who bribed a guard (who took Pocket Chess).

This means the Oasis Runners can't have stolen their item at the latest time of 5:00 AM, because another guild has to come before them.

We know that the Pyramid Prowlers committed their crime at Midnight by invisibility, and the Dagger Clan committed their crime at 1:00 AM, and did not use a disguise.

We have not ruled out the Dagger Clan as the ones who may have bribed a guard. But let's assume that they were, for a second.

The Oasis Runners are supposed to have taken an item sometime before the guild who bribed a guard, and we are assuming that this may be the Dagger Clan.

But we know that the Pyramid Prowlers stole at the earliest time of Midnight. So the Oasis Runners could not have been able to steal "sometime" before the Dagger Clan at 1:00 AM, because the earliest timeslot of Midnight is taken up by the Pyramid Prowlers.

With this in mind, we can rule out the possibility of the Dagger Clan being the ones who bribed a guard through deductive reasoning. The only methods they have left to use now are climbing the palace walls, using the sewers, or using a distraction.

From the previous clue, the guild that bribed a guard did not commit their crime at 2:00 AM.

This also means the Dagger Clan did not take Pocket Chess. Pocket Chess was then not stolen at 1:00 AM.

Time slots available for Pocket Chess being stolen are now either 3:00 AM, 4:00 AM, or 5:00 AM.

We are left with two possible guilds who did bribe a guard: The Desert Scarabs and the Hand of Anubis.

August 10th Clue 3: Of the guild that used distraction and the Sun Chasers, one stole the Wedding Ring and the other committed the theft at 5:00 AM.

The guild that used a distraction and the Sun Chasers are referenced separately, so we know that the Sun Chasers did not use a distraction.

*** Warning: This clue is tricky and worded like a previous clue. It begins with referencing two guilds using the word "Of". So, "of" these two guilds, ONE of them stole the Wedding Ring, and the OTHER committed the theft at 5:00 AM. ***

Our other clue here is that since the Wedding Ring was stolen by one of these guilds, and the OTHER one committed their crime at 5:00 AM; we can conclude that the Wedding Ring was not stolen at 5:00 AM because of the two separate guilds involved.

August 11th Clue 4: The guild that climbed the palace walls committed the theft sometime after the Wedding Ring was stolen.

This clue tells us that the guild that climbed the palace walls did not steal the Wedding Ring.

It also tells us that their crime was committed "sometime" AFTER the Wedding Ring was stolen.

This means that the guild that climbed the palace walls could not have committed the first crime at Midnight, but we already found out that the Pyramid Prowlers committed their crime at Midnight from Clue 5 that we talked about at the beginning, plus they used invisibility.

We also know the Dagger Clan committed their crime at 1 AM, and the crime committed at 1 AM did not use a disguise as said in an earlier clue, and from our deductive reasoning from before, we know the Dagger Clan did not bribe a guard.

We know the Wedding Ring was taken by either the Sun Chasers or the guild that used a distraction. The Dagger Clan still has the possibility of being the ones who created a distraction, so they may have been the ones who took the Wedding Ring at this point.

So we know that 1:00 AM is the earliest possibility of when the Wedding Ring could have been stolen. We also know the Wedding Ring could not have been taken at 5:00 AM from a previous clue. This leaves us with the Wedding Ring being taken at 1:00 AM, 2:00 AM, 3:00 AM, or 4:00 AM.

Also, we know that another guild who climbed the palace walls committed their crime "sometime" AFTER the Wedding Ring was stolen. So their time slot possibilities are now 2:00 AM, 3:00 AM, 4:00 AM, and 5:00 AM.

This actually brings us down to the last two stealing methods available for the Dagger Clan to have used at 1:00 AM. They did not bribe a guard from our deductive reasoning earlier; and from our previous clues, they did not use invisibility and they did not use a disguise. We just established that the guild who climbed the palace walls can't have committed the crime at 1:00 AM.

This leaves the Dagger Clan with the two options of having stolen by creating a distraction or using the sewers.

This is getting lengthy and may be hard to process all at once, so let's regroup and compare notes!

Let's recap what we know:

  • The Pyramid Prowlers stole the Illuminated Menuscript at Midnight by using invisibility.
  • The guild that bribed a guard stole Pocket Chess.
  • Pocket Chess was stolen at 3:00 AM, 4:00 AM, or 5:00 AM.
  • Pocket Chess was not stolen by the Sun Chasers.
  • Either the Desert Scarabs or the Hand of Anubis bribed a guard.
  • The guild that climbed the palace walls did so at 2:00 AM, 3:00 AM, 4:00 AM, or 5:00 AM.
  • The Dagger Clan stole by creating a distraction or using the sewers.
  • The Dagger Clan committed their crime at 1:00 AM.
  • The Wedding Ring was taken at 1:00 AM, 2:00 AM, 3:00 AM, or 4:00 AM.
  • The Wedding Ring was taken by either the Sun Chasers or the guild that used a distraction.

August 13th Clue 6: Neither the guild that committed the theft at 3:00 AM nor the guild that bribed a guard stole the Magical Blue Amulet.

*** Warning: This clue is different from others that only use the word "nor". This clue uses both the words "neither" and "nor" in the sentence. ***

We have two guilds referenced separately again, so we know the guild that committed the theft at 3:00 AM is not the guild that bribed a guard.

The guild that committed the theft at 3:00 AM is not the guild that stole the Magical Blue Amulet. In other words, the Magical Blue Amulet was not stolen at 3:00 AM.

The guild that bribed a guard did not steal the Magical Blue Amulet. Well we know that, because they took Pocket Chess!

We know the guild that bribed a guard stole Pocket Chess. Since the guild that committed the theft at 3:00 AM did not bribe a guard, they are not the guild that stole Pocket Chess. This eliminates the 3:00 AM possibility of Pocket Chess being stolen, so Pocket Chess was stolen by the guild that bribed a guard at 4:00 AM or 5:00 AM.

We know that the Dagger Clan is not the guild who bribed a guard from our deductive reasoning, so the Dagger Clan did not steal the Magical Blue Amulet. This means the Magical Blue Amulet was also not stolen at 1:00 AM, so it was stolen at 2:00 AM, 4:00 AM, or 5:00 AM

August 14th Clue 7: The Royal Telescope was not stolen at 3:00 AM, nor was it stolen by the Desert Scarabs.

The Royal Telescope was not stolen at 3:00 AM

So... from just learning that Pocket Chess was not stolen at 3:00 AM, and the Magical Blue Amulet was not stolen at 3:00 AM, we now know that either the Wedding Ring or the Grand Speech Scroll was taken at 3:00 AM.

The Desert Scarabs did not steal the Royal Telescope.

*** Warning: As like Clue 9, we cannot assume from this that the Desert Scarabs did not commit their crime at 3:00 AM. At this point, is possible that they could have since we only know that they did not take the Royal Telescope. ***

August 19th Clue 12: The Hand of Anubis committed the theft one hour after the guild that used a disguise.

The Hand of Anubis did not use a disguise, because a separate guild used a disguise ONE hour AFTER them.

This means they could not have done the first crime at Midnight, but again, we already knew that the Pyramid Prowlers were the ones at Midnight, AND they used invisibility (aka not disguise). We also know the Dagger Clan committed their crime at 1 AM, and the crime committed at 1 AM did not use a disguise as said in an earlier clue.

We can safely say that the Hand of Anubis could not have stolen their item at 2:00 AM because they come after a different guild than the Pyramid Prowlers and the Dagger Clan, since neither of these two used a disguise. The earliest that the guild that used a disguise could have stolen is at 2:00 AM. This leaves the time slots left for the Hand of Anubis to steal at 3:00 AM, 4:00 AM, or 5:00 AM.

As for the guild that used a disguise, they can't have stolen at the latest time of 5:00 AM because the Hand of Anubis must come one hour after them. So the guild that used a disguise did so at 2:00 AM, 3:00 AM, or 4:00 AM.

August 21st Clue 14: The guild that used the sewers committed the theft sometime after the Royal Telescope was stolen.

The guild that used the sewers did not take the Royal Telescope.

The Royal Telescope was taken "sometime" before the guild that used the sewers.

We know the Pyramid Prowlers used invisibility at Midnight. The Dagger Clan used either distraction or sewers at 1:00 AM. We know the guild that took the Royal Telescope came "sometime" before the guild that used the sewers.

The Royal Telescope was stolen at 1:00 AM, 2:00 AM, 4:00 AM, or 5:00 AM.

If the earliest time for the Royal Telescope to be stolen is 1:00 AM, then the guild that used the sewers has an earliest time of 2:00 AM. If we know the Dagger Clan committed their crime at 1:00 AM and used either distraction or the sewers, we now know they can't have used the sewers.

So the Dagger Clan used distraction! Let's go back to the third clue!

August 10th Clue 3: Of the guild that used distraction and the Sun Chasers, one stole the Wedding Ring and the other committed the theft at 5:00 AM.

The Dagger Clan used distraction, so this means they took the Wedding Ring or committed their theft at 5:00 AM. Well, we know their theft was at 1:00 AM! So it can't be 5:00 AM. Our second complete answer is that the Dagger Clan stole the Wedding Ring by distraction at 1:00 AM!

This means that the Sun Chasers committed their crime at 5:00 AM. In Clue 6, we figured out that Pocket Chess was stolen by the guild that bribed a guard at 4:00 AM or 5:00 AM. Well, the Sun Chasers did not bribe a guard, because they did not steal Pocket Chess as said in Clue 9, so they did not commit their crime at 5:00 AM. This means that the guild who bribed a guard and stole Pocket Chess occurred at 4:00 AM.

If you recall earlier in Clue 7, we figured out that either the Wedding Ring or the Grand Speech Scroll was taken at 3:00 AM. Since we know now the Wedding Ring was taken at 1:00 AM, this means the Grand Speech Scroll was taken at 3:00 AM.

So far we know the Illuminated Menuscript was stolen at Midnight, the Wedding Ring was stolen at 1:00 AM, the Grand Speech Scroll was taken at 3:00 AM, and Pocket Chess was stolen at 4:00 AM.

Clue 14 said the guild that used the sewers committed the theft sometime after the Royal Telescope was stolen. The guild that used the sewers took the Grand Speech Scroll at 3:00 AM, which means the only open timeslot for the Royal Telescope to have been taken is at 2:00 AM. This means there is only one item and one remaining timeslot left, so the Magical Blue Amulet had to have been taken at 5:00 AM due to process of elimination.

The Sun Chasers committed their crime at 5:00 AM, so they must have been the ones that stole the Magical Blue Amulet.

Clue 12 tells us the Hand of Anubis committed the theft one hour after the guild that used a disguise. We now know that the Dagger Clan did not use a disguise, because they used a distraction. We also know the Sun Chasers did not use a disguise now, because they committed their crime at the latest time of 5:00 AM. This leaves us with the Oasis Runners and Desert Scarabs to have used a disguise at the earliest time of 2:00 AM, which means the Hand of Anubis committed their crime at 3:00 AM or 4:00 AM.

Here is our final clue:

August 20th Clue 13: The Grand Speech Scroll was either stolen at 4:00 AM or via the sewers.

The Grand Speech Scroll was stolen at 4:00 AM or was stolen by a guild who used the sewers. Only one or the other.

We know the Grand Speech Scroll was taken at 3:00 AM, so now we know it was taken by the guild who used the sewers.

The Sun Chasers have two possibilities left for their method of stealing: Climbing the palace walls, or through the sewers. They must not have gone through the sewers, because they took the Magical Blue Amulet at 5:00 AM, whereas the Grand Speech Scroll was taken via the sewers at 3:00 AM, so the Sun Chasers climbed the palace walls!

We need to recap everything we have confirmed to know now and start a process of elimination for what is left:

  • The Pyramid Prowlers took the Illuminated Menuscript by invisibility at Midnight.
  • The Dagger Clan took the Wedding Ring by using a distraction at 1:00 AM.
  • The Royal Telescope was taken at 2:00 AM.
  • The Grand Speech Scroll was taken via the sewers at 3:00 AM.
  • The Oasis Runners, Desert Scarabs, or Hand of Anubis took Pocket Chess by bribing a guard at 4:00 AM.
  • The Sun Chasers took the Magical Blue Amulet by climbing the palace walls at 5:00 AM.

With every method now known for a time except disguise, we can now say that the Royal Telescope was taken by the guild that used a disguise at 2:00 AM.

Again, Clue 12 tells us the Hand of Anubis committed the crime one hour after the guild that used a disguise. This means they took the Grand Speech Scroll via the sewers at 3:00 AM.

This leaves either the Oasis Runners or Desert Scarabs to have taken Pocket Chess by bribing a guard at 4:00 AM. We know the Desert Scarabs did not take the Royal Telescope because of Clue 7. We just figured out Hand of Anubis took the Grand Speech Scroll. With every other item stolen by another guild or ruled out for the Desert Scarabs, this means that they took Pocket Chess by bribing a guard at 4:00 AM.

And with that figured out, the only item left for the Oasis Runners to take is the Royal Telescope by disguise at 2:00 AM.

That's it, guys! We know all of our answers now:

  • 1. The Pyramid Prowlers took the Illuminated Menuscript by invisibility at Midnight.
  • 2. The Dagger Clan took the Wedding Ring by using a distraction at 1:00 AM.
  • 3. The Oasis Runners took the Royal Telescope by using a disguise at 2:00 AM.
  • 4. The Hand of Anubis took the Grand Speech Scroll via the sewers at 3:00 AM.
  • 5. The Desert Scarabs took Pocket Chess by bribing a guard at 4:00 AM.
  • 6. The Sun Chasers took the Magical Blue Amulet by climbing the palace walls at 5:00 AM.

Feel free to go back through all of the clues and make sure that each of these answers fits them all, because they do! Yay!

After hearing the final clue on August 21st, a countdown timer of 96 hours (4 days) began and we were prompted to give one of the results by the end of August 24th. I personally had to make a statement on Queen Nabile's Wedding Ring: Who stole it, what the hour of the crime was, and how they managed to do it.

The final prizes for those who answered on Day 1 were:

  • Anubis Thief Plushie
  • Elegant Scarab Whistle
  • Non-Illuminated Menuscript
  • Oasis Tonic
  • Staff of the Bewed

The final prizes for those who answered on Days 2-3:

  • Anubis Thief Plushie
  • Elegant Scarab Whistle
  • Non-Illuminated Menuscript
  • Oasis Tonic

The final prizes for those who answered on Day 4:

  • Anubis Thief Plushie
  • Elegant Scarab Whistle
  • Non-Illuminated Menuscript
  • Final Prizes for those who did not guess:
  • Elegant Scarab Whistle

Those who answered correctly also received this wearable:

  • Honorary Guard Tunic

I hope you enjoyed this event as much as I did! I simply love doing logic puzzles like this, and it is actually a lot more helpful if you get into the habit of utilizing a grid to assist you. Visual aids are a great way to put things into perspective, but also writing down things like this immensely helps in keeping track of what is happening and to have the facts to back up your grid marking results. I hope you could follow along with this and understand everything better or even picked up some things you may have missed before! Thank you for reading this!

 
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