I'm M, or at least that's how I'm known, and I'll be your guide.
I founded The Master Theorem long ago, as a secret society at my beloved alma mater. With cryptic invitations slipped under the doors of my first recruits, I wanted to do the same things that every mystery-shrouded founder of a secret society wants to do: cultivate bright young minds, spark forward-thinking debate, take over the world—you know. Think Dead Poets Society led by a Connery-era Bond.
At its core, The Master Theorem creates solvers. Our members from across the globe tackle the mysteries of the universe with their wits and wiles. They study the problems of the world and seek to make them right. They invent the ground-breaking technologies that drive our society forward. Occasionally they get distracted and build pumpkin-slinging catapults. But for the most part, they’re focused on solving some of the biggest challenges known to humankind.
It was always our intention to operate in the shadows, but now more than ever the world is in dire need of solvers—and my impeccable leadership of course.
I’m therefore expanding my search for those who have the motivation—and the ability—to change the world. The Master Theorem remains a members-only society, but consider this book the cryptic invitation slipped under your door.
The Herculean test of your grit is as follows: Find the word or phrase solution to each one of my puzzles, called Theorems. Doing so will earn you entry into our elite ranks. It may take you some time, but trust me—it’ll be worth it.
My puzzles, called Theorems, are not your average Sudoku or crossword puzzles. Free spirits like their creator, Theorems are more open-ended in nature, with no instructions per se. Each one is different, but solutions will always be a word or phrase.
There are 41 Theorems in the book. With somewhat of a poetic cadence to them, I recommend you solve them in order. There’s no shame in skipping one or two if you get stuck, but it’ll be more fun for the both of us if you go first to last.
Each Theorem is different, and there are no instructions per se, but the solution will always be a word or phrase. To find that word or phrase answer, you'll need to get creative.
I get that you're no James Bond yet, so I've given you 5 training Theorems at the beginning of the book. Here's the gist of what you'll learn:
Theorem-Solving Skill #1: Converting Numbers to Letters
When in doubt, see what happens if you translate numbers to letters and vice versa, where A is 1, B is 2, Z is 26, and so on. Essentially, think of A - Z and 1 - 26 as interchangeable.
Theorem-Solving Skill #2: Indexing
Indexing means picking individual letters out of words to spell something else. Like taking the 1st letter of this word and 3rd letter of that word and 20th letter of another word, or whatever the puzzle implies.
Theorem-Solving Skill #3: Ordering and Grouping
Always keep an eye out for ways to order the letters and group the words in your final answer. For example, if you see a jumbled set of numbers from 1 through whatever, it probably means you should put them back in order.
Theorem-Solving Skill #4: Using the Internet
Look, I know you don’t know everything. So if you see something obscure, it’s okay to Google it. It may even be required at times, so just imagine it’s like I’m sending you on your own personal, digital scavenger hunt.
Theorem-Solving Skill #5: Decoding Ciphers
Familiarize yourself with common types of ciphers—methods of encoding—that have been used throughout time. Be on the lookout for visual and textual clues that may hint at a particular cipher, and again, don’t be hesitant to use the internet as a resource.
I get that you’re new at this, so I’ve given you three hints per Theorem in the back of the book. Use them at your own discretion, but like Double Stuf Oreos, stay away from them unless you really need them. If you find yourself licking your lips, start with Hint #1 since it gives away the least. Move on to Hint #2 only as needed. Hint #3 won’t leave much to the imagination, so if you’re still stuck after that…well, we can no longer be friends.
Just kidding; you’re alright.
All of the hints in my book are encoded with a simple shift so you don’t see something you don’t want to while flipping through. To decode, just move each letter one place to the right. A becomes B, B becomes C, Z becomes A...you get the idea. If you need a hint to decode the hints, you may cause the universe to explode.
All that shifting can wear on your brain and you need those little grey cells for more important things. Like developing warp drive or playing Super Smash Brothers. So if you find yourself singing the BCD’s more often than not, take a look at the sanity-saving thing I made for you. (Hint: It’s neat.)
Full solutions for each Theorem can be found in the back of the book. But be careful, young Padawan; these are like Mega Stuf Oreos. A few words of advice:
Don’t get ahead of yourself. It’s possible that you may think you have the right solution to a Theorem, but are still one or two steps away. To avoid any unwelcome spoilers, I recommend that you always first check to see if your answer is right or not with my high-tech solution checker. If it gives you the green light, then by all means, indulge in reading the full solution. If you can’t check your solution online because you only have spotty internet access as you’re traveling through Siberia on a secret mission (that happens to other people, too, right?), at least decode all three hints first to make sure you’re on the right track.
Each Theorem will also indicate which page its solution is on. I recommend getting there by tightly flipping through the corners of the pages to find the right page number before fully opening the book. Solutions aren’t encoded like my hints, so don’t chance seeing something you’ll wish you hadn’t (though that always makes for an exciting holiday).
I know this may be hard for you because you’re in such awe of my book, but don’t treat it like it’s so precious. I strongly encourage you to write on and mark up the pages as much as needed to solve my Theorems and decode my hints. Your mind is the most precious thing anyway.
Here. Also at a lot of stores around the country.
My Theorems (aka puzzles) aren't exactly child's play. I recommend the book for ages 13 and up, or 10 and up for young prodigies. But don't think that means my book wouldn't be a good score for adults, too.
Getting through the whole book could take weeks to months. But what you learn will last a lifetime.
Wouldn't you like to know.