Illuden `Я Us





Partial Answers

  • CATEGORY: Keep going
  • ALLBLUES: Keep going
  • TROPES or POSTER: That ordering isn't very magical
  • PRESTO: Keep going
  • RESISTOR: Keep going
  • INTHECARD: What are you waiting for?


Any sheets of instructions that teams receive are copied at the bottom of this page. Crayon and card data is in the "walkthrough" section.

Phase 1 - Vanishing Crayons

Teams are greeted by a staffer who welcomes them to the "aspiring Illuden program". They are informed they will be learning tricks of escalating difficulty, and will proceed through each phase of the program by demonstrating mastery of the previous trick. Staffer should emphasize that they are expected to demonstrate tricks to progress. Staffer demonstrates the "vanishing crayons" illusion, and then gives them their materials.

Teams receive a box of 24 crayons – three each of eight different colors (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, brown, black), a small, empty crayon box (fits 4 crayons), and scissors.

The crayons have custom wrappers with unusual color names.

Teams also receive instructions for performing "vanishing crayons", but the phrasing is a little odd and each step of instructions (8 total) are marked with a different color.

Phase 2 - Traveling Crayons

Staffer pulls out a magic box/drawer and uses it to demonstrate the "traveling crayons" illusion.

Teams are provided a magic box of their own (which contains 6 white crayons, also with custom wrappers/names).

Teams are also provided with replacement identical copies of the blue crayons they cut in half for Phase 1 (not strictly necessary to solve the puzzle).

In the secret compartment of the magic box is an unusual laminated business card.

Phase 3 - Magic Wand

Teams are given a "tool of the Illuden" (blacklight pen) which reveals additional data on the business card, the trick instructions, and their crayons.


Phase 1 - Vanishing Crayons

Teams should quickly notice that the 24 crayons have unique names, but each unique color (e.g. the three greens) fit into a category (teams discern the category, the hope is they're relatively self-evident).

Teams may notice that the trick's instructions (on the sheet they receive) spell "CATEGORY" as an acrostic - this is just a hint to get them thinking about the categories themselves.


Teams should also notice that each of the 8 steps of the instructions have weird numbering (e.g. "1.6") and is marked with a colored crayon dot (e.g. a black dot).

By indexing into the correct category based on the decimal of the instructions, they spell "ALLBLUES" (the ordering here is just following steps 1-8 in order):


Teams need to perform the vanishing crayons illusion using all three blue crayons at once to progress to phase 2.

Phase 2 - Traveling Crayons

Teams receive six white crayons and a weird looking business card. They should realize that the six white crayons each fit two existing categories:

For each color pair, they should draw a line between the two corresponding dots on the business card. With correct pairs, they will hit one letter per pair and divine the "proper magic word" referred to in the instructions (PRESTO):


CORN: Bread + Vegetable: Brown/Green: P

DONUT: Bread + Shape: Brown/Blue:R

EARTH: Element + Planet: Purple/Orange: E

FUJI: Mountain + Apple: Black/Red: S

JAZZ: Apple + Instrument: Red/Yellow: T

TRIANGLE: Instrument + Shape: Yellow/Blue: O

If they perform the traveling crayons illusion while saying the word "presto", they move on to the final phase.

Teams might arrive at "tropes" or "poster" (anagrams) - partial answers should clue them into the correct ordering.

Hints for ordering:

  • Alphabetization of the white crayon names (CORN through TRIANGLE)

  • Top-to-bottom, left-to-right reading of the letters on the business card (P top left, O bottom right)

Phase 3 - Magic Wand

Teams receive a blacklight pen. The following are marked with blacklight ink:

  • Vanishing crayons instructions (highlighted letters spell "SORT.ALPHABETBYCOLOR")

  • The business card (a path is traced through letters on the card, following the path spells out "RESISTOR")

  • Certain (most) crayons

Crayon labels are marked with dots and dashes, which will spell a message if sorted properly.

The proper sorting is:

  • Alphabetically within each color grouping (clued by vanishing crayons instructions)

  • Order colors by resistor code (clued by business card) (no gray/gold/silver):

    • Black

    • Brown

    • Red

    • Orange

    • Yellow

    • Green

    • Blue

    • Purple

    • White

If they sort all 30 crayons alphabetically by color and name, the markings spell "INTHECARD":
.. -. - .... . -.-. .- .-. -..

Full data for confirming:


Teams should cut open the business card to reveal a smaller piece of paper inside. Blacklight reveals the answer, "SPECTRUM".


Teams sometimes rathole on the first stage because they don't want to just dump the crayons out and look at them - hint whether they have thoroughly examined all of their materials.

Is it okay to cut crayons in half: "Are they suitable crayons?"

Crayons are marked with blacklight ink on both sides of the label, so every marked crayon has two identical markings (two dots or two dashes). Teams in beta/RC quickly figured out that this was intentional symmetrical redundancy in case they'd cut the wrong crayons in half and had misplaced a half, but it's possible that they double-count the symbols when decoding Morse.

Blacklight ink on the crayons is slightly visible in sunlinght, and the puzzle is outside. If teams notice this in phase 1 they won't have enough to solve the puzzle as they haven't received white crayons yet (and don't have the card to cut open). I would hedge towards encouraging them to ignore anything that is not obvious to the naked eye. If they notice in phase 2, it is possible to short-circuit the puzzle.

It's possible to miss data in phase 3 because they might have set aside the business cards or trick instructions. If they have found data on the crayons and are missing other data, ask if they've revealed everything that was hidden. It's possible to solve without those clues, but they'd have to come up with resistor > alphabet on their own.


The "Vanishing Crayons" illusion (instruction half-page provided to teams)

Colored dots are made in crayon for phase 1, yellow highlights are blacklight ink for phase 3. Colors don't show up correctly in OneNote dark theme.


  • Assorted crayons

  • Small crayon box with window

  • Scissors


1.6. Carefully choose three suitable crayons from the ones provided

2.2. Afterwards, cut chosen crayons in half

3.2. Then place crayon top halves inside crayon box

4.1. Entrance audience into thinking box is full: position top halves in front of the box's window

5.4. Grip base of box tightly to keep top halves from falling

6.6. Ominously wave hand in front of crayon box

7.4. Release grip, letting crayons fall to bottom of box

8.1. You've vanished the crayons!

The "Travelling Crayons" illusion (not really a puzzle, legit instructions except #5)


  • 3 blue crayons, intact

  • 3 blue crayon top halves

  • Magic box

Magic Box Instructions

  • The back panel of the box can be pushed slightly to the side so that it is ajar; do that when the box is closed, and it will reveal a secret compartment when you open it

Trick Instructions

  • Before performance, place three blue crayon top halves in bottom of crayon box, as per Vanishing Crayons trick

    • Show "empty" crayon box to audience
  • Place three intact blue crayons in the magic box, show them to the audience

  • Close the drawer

  • Say the proper magic word

  • Make a show of performing Vanishing Crayons in reverse, revealing the top halves through the window of the crayon box

  • Open the secret compartment of magic box and show that the crayons are gone, having "teleported" into the crayon box