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Teams meet a pirate who wants help with knots. He gives the team a few ropes and shows them a series of pre-tied knots.
Part 1: Missing Knot
Each knot has a set of letters and numbers, that make a set of instructions about how to tie the knots. The teams should figure out that each letter corresponds to one of the entries on the "knot basics" board, in sort of a cryptogram:
A - Enlarge
B - Through
C - Loop
D - Over
E - Cross
F – Loop Object
G - Wrap
H - Bight
J – Tight
L – Under
After figuring out enough of these, they can follow the instructions on the TIE ME sign to tie a knot. (It's a Figure-8 knot, but they don't have to know the name to tie it.) Showing it to the proctor will unlock step 2.
Part 2: Knot Library
After showing the proctor the figure-8 knot, the proctor will show them to the knot library, a board with 24 knots labeled with letters of the alphabet and either the name of a knot or a set of instructions. The teams should notice that there are eight different knots, each of which appears three times:
Once with the correct name of the knot
Once with the correct instructions to tie this knot
Once with instructions to tie a different knot.
Each knot appears as wrong instructions on exactly one other knot, making a cycle. (The G knot is actually a half hitch. So next in the series is the O, which has the instructions to tie a half hitch. The O knot is actually a slip knot, so it's followed by R, which has instructions for a slip knot, etc.) Using the letters of the cycle in the correct order yields the answer, GORDIAN
G (Half-Hitch) Figure 8-> O (Slip Knot) Half-Hitch -> R (Noose) Slip Knot -> D (Over-hand) Noose
I (Curtain Tie) Over-hand -> A (Chain) Curtain Tie -> N (Figure 8) Chain
Figuring out which letters correspond to which knots is a matter of seeing which knots have which letter in common. For instance, every knot that's tied to a stick uses F, so you can conclude that F is Loop Object.
If teams have problems with knot concepts, recommend that they go to the on-site staffer, who can help them. These are the kind of questions the proctor will answer:
What is a bight? A bight is a loop with its ends next to each other
What is a cross? A cross is when the ends cross over each other.
What is over? Over is when a strand goes over another strand
What do the numbers mean? It’s a loop/hole notation. It indicates defining a loop (In the example case of C1, F3, and H2; loop, loop object, bight respectively), or indicating which loop is having an action (In the example case of B2, the strand is going through loop 2.)
A (Chain) Curtain Tie
B Slip Knot
C Figure 8
D (Over-hand) Noose
G (Half-Hitch) Figure 8
I (Curtain Tie) Over-hand
L Figure 8
M Slip Knot
N (Figure 8) Chain
O (Slip Knot) Half-Hitch
P Double Figure 8
Q Curtain Tie
R (Noose) Slip Knot
S Double Half-Hitch
V Curtain Tie
X Double Half-Hitch