Logic behind Curses! puzzles

For a few days now I’ve been playing Curses! and—judging from the hints I found on our forum—I have hardly scratched the game’s surface!!!

Anyway, I am not going to ask for new hints, but I would like to discuss the logic behind the puzzles that I’ve encountered so far.

I don’t intend to judge the logic and the quality of the puzzles or the game’s writing—I have nothing but awe and admiration for Graham Nelson’s work. The purpose of this post is to seek solidarity for puzzles that most of the time feel too tough for a newbie.

People are welcome to add what they’ve encountered, since I am a beginner to the game.

Hint Demon

The demon confuses me. I can’t say that he has given me any useful advice. Several of my ASK DEMON ABOUTs were met with him admitting that he is “not empowered to answer.”

Then, when I showed him the robot mouse, he said “It can’t even follow orders.” What is that supposed to mean? The robot mouse actually does follow orders—“MOUSE, GO WEST” etc. This hint actually confused me and I didn’t think about trying giving it instructions.

Postcard from Champs-Elysees

The fact that nothing is written on it tipped me about some invisible writing that could be triggered by something. So why not try the darkroom’s red light? It’s not UV, but it may just work. And it did.

But I don’t yet see why this postcard from Paris should contain clues about Hamburg. There must certainly be some backstory that explains this.

Sir Joshua

This is my favourite puzzle so far. It also makes a lot of sense.

After encountering the ghost of Sir Joshua on the roof, you can look him up in the book of the ancestors. There, you read that he (1) was greedy and guilty of wildly excessive living and (2) died when he choked on a chicken bone.

Combine these character traits with the fact that he eats everything that you give him—I actually fed him my whole inventory, as well as having a chicken wishbone lying around, and the puzzle’s solution becomes evident. And no, when I fed him my whole inventory, I did not have the wishbone with me. :smile:

The chimney

I can’t do anything while in the chimney. Since the key dropped by the aforementioned ghost is not there, I suppose there must be a way of descending the chimney. There is some stick, though, that blocks the way. But I can’t take it, since I can’t do anything, while in the chimney.

Robot mouse

I liked the way you use the robot mouse. I had to look at the walk-through to see that I am supposed to order it and make it slip into the hole in the cellar’s brick wall. Still, it made a lot of sense.

I didn’t get the ordering the hole around, as in HOLE, GO WEST, since you are talking to the mouse, through the hole, and not to the hole itself. So, it was walkthrough for that one, too.

But after I got through the starting point, I loved the concept of the little maze and exploring it remotely, through the sounds the mouse makes.

Brass key

On the demijohn is the “attic key,” which falls down, through the floor cracks. So, I assume this is the one that I fish out with the robot mouse. So, what does it lock and unlock? The attic itself? I am trying hard to remember anything lockable other than the cellar’s iron door.

This is it, for now. I have more questions, but I probably have to make some progress before they make more sense.


The hint demon is easy to explain:

Ur nyjnlf yvrf; gur natry nyjnlf gryyf gur gehgu.

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@zarf Is this some obscure reference, in a “Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn” sort of way?


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ROT13 is traditionally used for obscuring spoilers.

@Nathan Thanks for the tip! I did not know this.

@zarf Thank you! I did not manage to get enough successful answers to actually realise that he always lies. Most of the time I got the “I am not empowered…” answer. Wait—is that a lie, too? :grin: