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Category: Additional clues

Madits and the Minitel service

Maxval was a Minitel service which ran from March 16, 1994 to December 14, 2001 on which owl hunters exchanged questions and answers with Max Valentin. These became known as ‘Madits’ short for ‘Max dit’ or Max said. Minitel was a Videotex online service accessible through telephone lines, and was one of the most successful pre-World Wide Web online services. Max answered nearly 100,000 questions through this service.

Max insisted that all the information needed to solve the treasure hunt was available in the 11 clues of the book, but many owl hunters find the additional information useful and study the ‘madits’ religiously.

There were many topics that Max refused to answer questions about at all. These include:

 

  • The light, shadow, sun
  • The Nave (enigma 560)
  • The Sentinels (enigma 650)
  • The measure and its value (enigmas 500, 420 and 650)
  • Description of the final zone discovered on the map
  • The ‘spiral with four centres’ (enigma 500)
  • The super solution or twelfth enigma
  • The remnants and especially the nature of the leftover clues
  • Methods of decryption
  • The existence of several levels of reading in the hunt

There are some topics where Max was vague and its possible these additional clues may only confuse owl hunters rather than adding new insights to the hunt. Some excellent French blogs such as Zarquos,  Carpe Diem and WikiChouette analyse useful madits and there is also a search engine to help owl hunters find relevant madits.

 

 

The magazine and media clues

Max revealed various additional clues in magazines, newspapers and TV shows as a way to promote his treasure hunt. He made it clear that the treasure hunt could be solved using the 11 clues in the book, but these additional clues may give pointers so owl hunters can check if they’re on the right track.

France 2, October 21, 1993

ON THE BURIAL OF THE OWL I PLANTED A SHRUB.

Max later revealed that the shrub had died.

Sunday’s Diary, January 30, 1994

THERE ARE NOT 36 OPENINGS, THERE IS ONLY ONE IN THE BOOK!

Most likely a reference to the ‘Opening’ mentioned in the 530 clue. The number “36” is commonly used to designate a large quantity of objects, for example: “there are not thirty-six ways to do it” .

Sunday’s Diary, February 13, 1994

TO MAKE GOOD MEASURE, THERE IS ONLY ONE IN THE BOOK.

This suggests the game measure doesn’t change.

VOD, December 15, 1994

IMMOBILE AND FAITHFUL, TANGIBLE AND MASSIVE, SIMILAR AND DISSIMILAR, ARE THE SENTINELS.

This clue refers to the enigmatic Sentinels of the 650 enigma.

BORN KEY IN HAND IN THE 600, YOU WILL RECOVER IT IN THE 560.

This clue links the ‘key is on the black perched ship’ of the 600  enigma with the ‘becalmed nave’ of the 560. In the original French, ‘Born key in hand’ or ‘Née clef en main’ is a perfect anagram of ‘Nef encalminée.’

TRUST IN THE NEEDLE NOW. BUT KNOW THAT YOU WILL BE TRAINED LATER.

This suggests the needle of a compass, so it may refer to a change in direction, perhaps following the needle of the compass in the 780 enigma, but changing direction later?

TF1, Monday, August 2 and Tuesday, August 3, 1993

THERE IS ONLY ONE TRUTH, AND IT MUST BE FOUND. BUT THE ROAD IS AT TIMES TORTUOUS AND FULL OF PITFALLS. WHOSE FAULT IS IT? NOT ME! … I REPEAT: NOT ME!

Max said this ‘truth’ referred to the end of the game, it is different from the truth mentioned in the 530. The repeated phrase ‘not me’ is not adding anything to the clue, the broadcaster just needed him to fill time.

Coucou! on TF1, June 9, 1995

THE OWL IS BURIED AT MORE THAN 100 KILOMETERS FROM THE FRENCH COAST.

This simple clue can be taken at face value and we know the treasure is in central France not the coast.

THE NAVE IS ENCLOSED FOR EVERY ETERNITY.

A clue to the identity of the ‘becalmed nave’ of the 560. It is not clear how eternity connects to this mysterious point on the map.

What epoch epic! on France Info, February 20, 1995

STAY SIMPLE IN THE 530, IT IS ONLY A PLACE TO START THE GAME!

The 530 clue entititled ‘Opening’  revealed the city of Bourges, this additional clue suggests there is not much more going on here.

L’Express published four additional clues between July 29, 1993 and August 19, 1993. Each had a visual drawn by Michel Becker, “made of marble and precious stones”. According to Max, the illustrations do not provide any additional information for decryption.

ALMISEFORU. VSNR DS A’MAS OF SABS, MA Y DSBLUQRL.

 

 

 

Using the first word ALMISEFORU, you can replace A with L, M with I, S with E, F with O and R with U and vice versa. The sentence, once decrypted, gives:

” COMING FROM THE ISLAND OF ELBA, IT IS DEBARKED“.

This must refer to the landing of Napoleon at Golfe-Juan on March 1, 1815, which preceded the Flight of the Eagle to Paris. It should be noted that ALMISEFORU is an anagram of UT RE MI FA SOL the musical notes, if one removes the T of UT. The bee is a Napoleonic symbol.

THIS OPENING IS NOT A HEART.

 

 

 

The 530 clue, revealing Bourge is titled ‘Opening’ and there is also a reference to  a heart in the 470 clue. This clue is mysterious, but some people think cœur/heart it relates to Jaques Coeur who was born in Bourges, and there is a palace there in his name.

DB BZ T’FTU R’DRS QBTTF OZRRD FO DM M’BO K’ZM 889 667

 

 

 

The characters in each column frame those to be found. The solution is: ” IT HAPPENED IN THE YEAR 778 “. This is the year of the Battle of Ronceveaux Pass.  The knight Roland died here, and this additional clue connects to the 470 which displays a picture of a sword, most likely his legendary sword Durandal.

LARGE LIGHTS ARE MADE OF SMALL LIGHT

 

 

 

This clue may refer to the fact that white light is composed of multiple wavelengths, referring to the B enigma. It might also suggest prisms dispersing light, or small elements adding up to a larger whole.

Additional clues on FNAC

1U, 1T, 1E
1O, 1T, 1S
1R, 1N, 1T
3E
1T, 2N
1A, 1V, 1O
1L, 1A, 1G
1N, 1S, 1E
1E, 1I, 1L
1I, 1S, 1F
This is an array of 10 rows and 3 columns. Read from bottom to top and from right to left, the letters give the following sentence:

GONFLE AND HIS OPINION KEEPS THE ROAD .

 

Inflated refers to the tires of the Michelin brand, as well as its mascot character made of tires. The road refers to the Michelin road map, one of two maps used for this game. This 1/1000 000 scale map can be used for drawing lines on the whole of France.

His opinion could refer to the famous green travel guides, the tour guides published by Michelin. These could have been sources of information used by Max to create his hunt.

Additional clue for VSD and published on the Minitel server

One time is not customary: let’s play on the words since the poor wretch is old. So devout, the abbot gives two ideas. Let’s hope that Ophelia and the lawyer will help him, without hatred too … Here is the note they slip to him:

11 * 3,11,1,7,20,5 * 22,9,5,13,5,14,20,12,1,7,1 * 12,5 * 20,1,7,12,9, * 8,2,9,4,9 5,9,19, 12 , 5.19 * 1,7,5,13,5,14,20,12,5,26-22,12,9,5, 21,19 * 5,13,5,14,20 * 13,5,1,7 * 3,1,13,5,14,20,20,2,9,4,1,7,9,17, 21.5.

The numbers should be replaced by the letters that correspond to their rank in the alphabet, and then replace all occurrences (except the L in parentheses that should not be transformed), this leads to a description that is tricky without French, but see details here.

The result is: Clarity will come from three clever rendezvous in the Cantabrian Sea.

According to Max this additional clue is very important, if not the most important additional clue. He said it doesn’t concern the super solution or the beginning of the game. He said a researcher who understands its importance will have to be interested in a certain number of other enigmas. The result is a place (a reasonably accurate point). There is a reason why the number 12 is in bold (or in parentheses according to the edition of the book.)

The Cantabrian Sea is the Atlantic Ocean on the northern coast of Spain and the southwest side of the Atlantic coast of France. It’s possible that the ‘three rendezvous’ are lines drawn on the map and meeting in this sea.

Additional clues for PC-Team magazine

These clues were accompanied by the words: “Warning, if you are not an owl finder, you will not be able to decrypt this code.”

PFRU TUFRVSU AL AMGNS DS IMUS, A’FRVSUTRUS SET AS BFN GRMDFN.

This uses the code tha was needed for the clue in the Express: ALMISEFORU

The result is: To find the line of sight , the Opening is the right handlebar

This may refer to the ‘line of sight’ for Apollo and his arrow in the 420 clue, but no one seems sure.

Clues detailing where the owl was NOT buried

Max revealed a few clues, some enigmatic, about where the owl was NOT buried.

The Owl is not on an island.

Maria Theresa gained a precious Louis, but would never have found a golden bird!

This is almost certainly Maria Theresa of Austria , married to Louis XIV June 9, 1660 in Saint-Jean-de-Luz following the Treaty of the Pyrenees. So perhaps this suggests the owl is not in Saint-Jean-de-Luz.

A bay in the Channel, but no gold raptor in the game bag!

Several bays exist in the Channel . The most famous is certainly the Bay of Mont-Saint-Michel.

Even an enchanter would find no golden owl there.

The most famous enchanters is Merlin . It is said that he lived in Forest Brocéliande now called Forest Paimpont, a few kilometers south-west of Rennes.

If she was there, the Golden Owl would not chirp, she would gibe.

This refers to “Parisian banter”  so perhaps Max is saying the owl is not in Paris?

See also

Tour de France additional clues

The Tour de France clues

Max provided five additional clues on the France Inter radio station during the 1993 Tour de France.

  • On July 15, the Tour de France crossed the arrow of Apollo.
  • On July 16th, the Tour de France crossed a line.
  • The world champion could peddle fast enough for his jersey to become white.
  • On July 23, the Tour de France crossed a line.
  • On July 24, the Tour de France passed between two lines and crossed two. (A footnote in the third edition of the book says, ‘Concerns the displacement of the riders previously to reach the Paris region.)

These clues are very revealing. To solve the Golden Owl hunt we need to check these fit the lines we draw on our map.

Here’s where the Tour de France riders travelled on these dates.

On July 15, the Tour de France crossed the arrow of Apollo.

The cyclists travelled between Serre-Chevalier and Isola 2000 in the Alps.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On July 16th, the Tour de France crossed a line.

The cyclists travelled from Isola 2000 to Marseille.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The world champion could peddle fast enough for his jersey to become white.

The world champion of the Tour de France wears a rainbow jersey, so this clue seems to connect to enigma B. It suggests the science of of Newton’s Disc, the fact that a coloured circle spinning very fast blurs the colours into white.

 

 

 

 

 

On July 23, the Tour de France crossed a line.

The riders of the Tour de France travelled between Orthez and Bordeaux.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On July 24, the Tour de France passed between two lines and crossed two.

The Tour de France cyclists used a train on July 24th to travel from Bordeaux to Brétigny-sur-Orge before their final stage through Paris. It isn’t clear whether we consider this as a straight line between Bordeaux and Brétigny-sur-Orge, or whether we use the exact route of the TGV between these two cities. According to Max, a train trip is ‘more or less in a straight line.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

These clues are very useful for all owl hunters who draw lines on a map.

Further information

The Kaspius blog (French) details all the stages and provides the following map of the route.

Ilotresor (French) has a commentary on these clues.

The le dico du tour site (French) details all the stages in 1993.

Tour Atlas has a nice image of the tour stages.

The WikiChoutte (French) also has a lot of information and links on its Tour de France page.

 

 

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