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MN0PQ6 Puzzle 4 Hints

Hints:

Click the arrow next to the hints and solution to view them!

 

Hint 1

[He was first seen in Comitium, and then Rosanna where he was seen mailing his last letter – but watch for dragons.]

Hint 2

[Any John Doe knows to pay attention to the feature names on the map.]

Answer

[Green Line 4PM]

Walkthrough

The hardest part of this puzzle is seeing where to start -it has several layers that are hard to crack.
Layer 1:
People might clue in initially on an explicit stamp on the compass rose/dragon: THE BEGINNING AND THE END. But that doesn’t lead anywhere directly. Another lead is the map ‘key’ which seems to list map features. It’s a bit strange though. One can see that there are seemingly arbitrary distance measures. And a somewhat obvious placement of the ‘capitol’ symbol at the end of the distance measure, and what might be ‘city’ symbols at various distances. If one starts at the single capitol city on the map, they can traverse from city to city if they stop at the appropriate distances. Also note that the key shows which geographic FEATURES are traversed between the corresponding cities. The cities traversed, in order, are:
COMITIUM
ROSANNA
ONETT
SUMAC
SKITCH
EUTAW
DAMALI
FLEET
ELDRICH
ANDRYC
TAJIKI
UNIONPORT
RIKARI
EXILE
SOMMERS
It’s a lot of cities. Using the clue from before, though, can produce a message. The first letters of the cities spell: CROSSEDFEATURES. The last letters of the cities spell: MATCHWITHCITIES. “crossed features match with cities”.

Layer 2:
If one makes a list of the ‘crossed features’, the results are the following (in order):
JOHN SWAMP
MOUNT TWIST
GUN HILLS
LAKE JUAN
ADAM’S RIVER
LAZY DESERT
CHARLEY FOREST
These features apparently ‘match with cities’. In what way? An inspection of available cities gives some options – a lot of options. There’s maybe too many weird city names to give an obvious pattern. But looking at the feature names again:
JOHN swamp
mount TWIST
GUN hills
lake JUAN
ADAM’S river
LAZY desert
CHARLEY forest

By taking the name part of the features, some trial and error and intuition can lead to substitution of city names with the feature descriptor. The result of all of this matching should give the proper-noun phrases:
john DOE
OLIVER twist
TOMMY gun
DON juan
adam’s APPLE
lazy SUSAN
charley HORSE

Using the previous trick from before (beginning and end), the cities will read: DOTDASH ERYNENE

Layer 3:
DOT DASH should be an obvious reference to morse code. But ‘erynene’? Erynene turns out to be the labeled name of one of the swamps in the center of the map. By reading the swamp itself as morse code, it should produce the answer: GREEN LINE 4PM