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This edition we are looking at another type of grille, following on from our earlier article on the grilles developed by Richelieu and Cardano.

Our variant this time was made by an Austrian cavalry officer back in 1880: Edouard Fleissner von Wostrowitz. Fortunately for us, this one has become known more simply as the ‘turning grille’. Why? Get your paper and scissors and we can find out!

Turning To Arts And Crafts First up, get either some stiff paper or a sheet of card. Cutting up a cereal box will do a great job. Mark out a square (that will soon become our grid of 8×8 cells). Aim for a larger one more than a smaller size – for ease of cutting – so either 8 inches or maybe 16cm. Then measure and mark out your grid to get 8 lines by 8 columns for 64 cells.

The example message for today is the following direction: “secret key is behind the fourth green statue from the left on the top shelf” Pick your own message, but limit it to not more than 64 characters (not including spaces).

This method is going to include colouring each of the quadrants for ease of reference, but you could bypass this easily enough.

Turn On The Skill Now for the tricky bit. We need to cut out specific cells, not just random ones. Follow this pattern and you’ll be fine (you will see why soon!). This can be easier with a craft knife, but if you only have scissors: please be careful.

Once we have these 16 squares cut out we can rest the grille over a piece of paper. Ideally, have the corner with the cutout on your top left position (green quadrant if you have coloured it the same as the example). Now, write out your message: going down a column, and then move to the right and across from there. Here is the grid with numbers to get you started.

Writing out our message (without spaces!) in this way will only get us through the first 16 characters.

Turn Around Every now and then I get a little bit lonely and – oops let’s focus! We need to turn the grille 90 degrees – left or right, your choice! Then continue writing out your message. Turn and continue, turn and complete. If your message didn’t get all the way to 64 characters, fill the last few spots with X or Z. Finally we have a grid with letters looking like this:

Turn It Over To Your Mates From here, you need to make sure your message recipient has the same grille to decode at the other end. If your Escape Room has a cutout grid, look for the neatly squared assortment of letters, and then turn around to reach a solution. You can vary your own Turning Grille with different dimensions (smaller, or even larger to get more characters in), strange patterns of cutout holes, or mixing up the orientations of which way or order the grille gets turned.

Here’s a wonderful quote for you to decipher using our grille pattern from above.

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