Parent Guide - Escape the Master Loop

Everyone knows there are rules to time travel. Don’t change the past. Don’t leave anything behind. Don’t bring anything back with you. But what happens if you break those rules? You will soon find out. You are about to receive an urgent message from your future self: you have caused some serious mishaps in the time travel universe. You must work together - by which we mean future you and present you - to fix your mistakes. And don’t let the time police catch on! There are only so many stern warnings they will issue before they confiscate your time pod and leave you stranded in whatever year you happen to be in.

Installment #1

What is in it?
-Brown 10” x 13” envelope stamped #1 - OPEN FIRST
-Inter-Timeline Memo (1 page)
-Instructions (1 page)
-Time Travel Tangle Tracker (large poster)
-Excerpt from a book about time travel (1 page)
-Guide to solving ciphers (1 page)
-Perforated time tokens
-Puzzle: How to Reveal your Final Message (3 pages)

What is happening in the story?
You get a letter from your future self. You (your future self) and you (your past self) have made some time travel mistakes and you have ended up in different timelines. You must work together to fix them. 

What is there to be solved?
There is a cipher to solve in the “Guide to Solving Ciphers”.

The “How to Reveal Your Final Message” puzzle is ongoing throughout the mystery, but you have the information you need to answer the first question.

You can add the first time token to the Time Tangle Travel Tracker.

Need a hint?

How to solve the Cowboy Cipher? The key can be found in the Guide to Solving Ciphers, directly above the Cowboy Cipher. The answer tells you the coordinates for the first time token to be placed on the Time Tangle Travel Tracker.

How to place your Time Tokens? Remove the time tokens from the perforated sheet and place them in order on the Time Tangle Travel Tracker. It does not matter where you start, as long as you continue to place the time tokens consecutively in either direction. Note: You can keep the poster flat and place the time tokens as you go, or you can fix the time tokens to the poster with glue or tape. Keep in mind that if you add anything in the wrong order you may need to remove them and re-stick them, so don’t use too much adhesive.

How to Reveal Your Final Message? This puzzle is ongoing, which means you will be able to answer questions as you progress through the mystery. For now, the only question you will be able to answer is the second (“Now try one for yourself). You will receive your final instructions for solving the entire puzzle in the 6th (final) installment. Keep this puzzle on hand as you will come back to it.

What to keep on hand? The only thing you don’t need to keep on hand is the Inter-timeline Memo. Everything else (the tangle tracker poster, the time tokens, the “How to Reveal your Final Message” puzzle, the book excerpt, the instructions, the ciphers worksheet) can be used, solved, or referred back to along the way.

Just give me the answer!


How to Reveal Your Final Message: The answer to “Now try one for yourself” is TANGLE.

Write the word TANGLE in the bottom row. The number “2” will be directly above the “G”.

Do I have the correct time tokens?


Installment #2

What is in it?

-Brown 9” x 12” envelope stamped #2

-Inter-timeline Memo (1 page)

-Instructions (1 page)

-Set of 8 story cards

-Grid map with a row of numbers along the top and letters down the side

-A smaller 6” x 9” white envelope stamped “Old Bones Museum”

-Full color museum map

-Bandage box with a note and a bandage inside

What is happening in the story?

You get a letter from your future self about a time travel mistake. You brought a dinosaur back from prehistoric times, you lost the dinosaur, and because you lost the flight data in your time pod control system, you don’t know where to return the dinosaur. You sent a letter to a paleontologist asking for help. You received a strange letter back. The paleontologist seems to be trying to tell you something and wants you to come to the museum (alone). The information in the museum map may shed some light on what is going on. 

What is there to be solved?

There are two sets of clues in this installment. One is a series of story cards and a grid map from your future self. The other is a museum map and bandage box from a paleontologist.

Dinosaur Story Cards: Put the story cards in order based on what happened that day. Use the instructions on the back of the cards to follow your route on the grid map. You won’t know where to start on the map until you solve the clues from the paleontologist.

The symbols on the back of the cards spell a word. This is how you know you have the cards in the correct order. The answer key comes in a later installment.

Museum Map: There is a puzzle on the museum map and a coded note inside the bandage box.

Need a hint?

All of the puzzles in this package are interrelated, and to find your dinosaur and the information you need to return him to his prehistoric home, you need to solve them all.

How to put the dinosaur story cards in order

Put the cards in order to tell the story of what happened when you went back to see the dinosaurs. The story starts with you landing in dino times and ends with the dinosaur escaping in the present day park. Keep an eye on the messages on the wrist computer and the location of the backpack. Their status and location can help you figure out the order of events.

If you have the story in the correct order, the symbols on the back will spell a word. The answer key comes in the 4th installment.

The instructions for following the grid map are on the back of the dino cards. Solve the clues from the paleontologist to find your starting point.

How to solve the puzzles in the museum map

The museum map shows the layout of the museum. The starting point for the puzzle can be found on the inside of the bandage box. On the museum map, locate the image of the dinosaur pictured on the bandage box. An arrow points to a hand-drawn dinosaur on the page. Find that dinosaur, and then follow the next arrow. Continue following the dinosaurs until you end up in one of the labs. This is where your dinosaur is being kept.

How to solve the coded note

The handwritten words on the inside of the museum map (bold, pink, uppercase, read all backwards) are your instructions for reading the coded note. Unscramble the message to find your landing coordinates.

Where are the landing coordinates?

You are looking for a number and a letter. The letter is the lab where your dino is being kept. The number is printed on the bandage.

How to find the Time Tokens

Time Token #1 is the landing coordinates: solve museum map and coded note

Time Token #2 is the release coordinates: use the instructions on the back of the cards to follow the grid map and find the location where the dino crawled into your backpack.

Just give me the answer!

What is the correct order of the dino story cards?

#1: View of flowers and trees out the time pod window (dashboard display says 77 million BC)

#2: View of volcano and water bottle: you set out exploring and stop for some water.

#3: Dino eggs: you discover a nest and drop your backpack.

#4: The dinosaur chases you up a tree.

#5: You are stuck in the tree all night.

#6: Morning: you grab your backpack and run back to the time pod.

#7: View of house and trees. You are back home.

#8: The dinosaur escapes from your backpack.

Symbols on the backs of the story cards spell: DINOSAUR

What does the note inside the bandage box say?

Dino in danger you must rescue

Bad guys stole data from your time pod

I stole it back

Landing coordinates are lab where dino is plus exit to escape museum

Do I have the correct time tokens?

Landing coordinates: D2 (Lab D, Exit 2)

Release coordinates: H5

Installment #3

What is in it?

-White 6” x 9” envelope with #3 stamp

-Inter-timeline Memo (3 pages)

-Instructions (1 page)

-Time Token Tracker***

-Yellow warning card


-Set of 6 Mona Lisa Cards

-2 perforated cards: one with dates and one with names

-Set of puzzle cards (9 total)

***Please note that there is a small typo in some Time Token Trackers. The date may say 1930 but it should, in fact, say 1931. This page is for recording your answers and does not affect any of the puzzles.

What is happening in the story?

You learn from your future self that you have been time traveling around taking pictures of famous artists at work. You then dropped your camera in another famous artist’s studio in 1503. You must retrace your steps so that the famous artist does not see all of that art from the future. You receive a yellow warning card about entering a Master Loop.

What is there to be solved?

Solve the puzzles and use the answers + logic to match the artists’ names and the dates you visited their studios to the artist-inspired Mona Lisas. The order of the Mona Lisas will determine the order of the time tokens. 

Need a hint?

You do not need any prior knowledge of art or artists to solve the puzzles. The answers to the clues and logic are all you need.

Most of the answers can be found by identification and elimination (ie this artist painted this one, this artist did not paint that one and so on) but to find one of the answers you must study the dates and figure out which two dates are exactly 31 years apart. 

Need one more hint?

Popova painted later than Munch and earlier than Mondrian.

Just give me the answer!

Paintbrush puzzle

The only straight brush points to 1981, so we know that Basquiat painted in 1981.

Cube puzzle

To annoy someone: boTHEer

Place you go to learn: SChool

Where to see the Mona Lisa? LouvRE

What you dropped in LDV’s studio: cAMera

Name of painting: THE SCREAM

We know that The Scream was painted in 1893.

Word search

MONDRIAN is the Dutch artist who did not paint The Scream and did not paint in 1912. We know from another clue that he did not paint the Mona Lisa with the face made of odd shapes and uneven eyes.

Color Loop/Kahlo and Kirby

KAHLO (purple forms the loop). We visited her studio 31 years before Jack Kirby. The two dates that are 31 years apart are 1971 and 1940, so we know that Frida Kahlo is 1940 and Jack Kirby is 1971. We know from Parker’s postcard that Jack Kirby is a comic book artist.

The painting with the odd shapes and uneven eyes

It was painted in 1912, and according to the word search Mondrian did not paint in 1912. We know from another clue that it was not Munch. Because Jack Kirby and Frida Kahlo painted 31 years apart, those two are ruled out as well. We know Basquiat painted in 1981. So the painting with the odd shapes and uneven eyes has to be Popova in 1912.

The Scream

We know that The Scream was painted in 1893 and we know from clues that it was not painted by Popova, Basquiat or Mondrian. We also know from the 31 years apart clue that it was not Kahlo or Kirby. So The Scream was painted in 1893 by Edvard Munch.

The Mona Lisa with the crown

We know that Basquiat did not paint the Mona Lisa made of rectangles and squares, so the only painting left that does not have an artist attributed to it is the Mona Lisa with the crown. So Basquiat painted the Mona Lisa with the crown in 1981.

The painting made of rectangles and squares

By process of elimination this means that Mondrian painted the Mona Lisa made of rectangles and squares in 1931.

The correct order of the artists

Edvard Munch: 1893

Lyubov Popova: 1912

Piet Mondrian: 1931

Frida Kahlo: 1940

Jack Kirby: 1971

Jean-Michel Basquiat: 1981

Do I have the correct time tokens?

E6 - Edvard Munch: 1893

L6 - Lyubov Popova: 1912

P 4 - Piet Mondrian: 1931

F5 - Frida Kahlo: 1940

J4 - Jack Kirby: 1971

J10 - Jean-Michel Basquiat: 1981

Installment #4

What is in it?

-White envelope 9” x 12” with #4 stamp

-Inter-timeline memo

-Yellow warning card

-Poster of the Titanic

-Letter from LDV

-3 paper airplanes

What happens if I damage the paper airplanes?

If you damage your paper airplanes while folding them, download these PDFs of Airplane G1, Airplane G2, or Airplane G3 and print out fresh copies. Make sure to set your printer to duplex/double sided, or else print them on separate pages and tape them together back-to-back.

What is happening in the story?

You find out that something has gone wrong with the launch of the Titanic in 1912, and you are worried that you will get in trouble for having something to do with it. You also get a strange letter from an artist/inventor who has been dead for 500 years.

What is there to be solved?

There is a message hidden in the letter from LDV.

Follow the instructions to build the three paper airplanes. You can decipher a message as you put them together. You also have to determine how well the airplanes fly.

Need a hint?

At the end of LDV’s letter there is a hint for reading his message. The hint is written backwards (LDV was famous for his backwards writing). Read it by holding it up to a mirror.

If the message does not make sense

The first word is not part of the message. It starts with the fourth word (“What”). 

Just give me the answer!

LDV’s backwards message says: To read the message start with the first word (“dear”) and then read every fourth word until the last word (“flight”)

When you read every fourth word the message says:

What happened to the Titanic was not your fault

I invented the airplane 400 years before it should have been invented

I am sorry

Your time token is the glider with the best design for flight

The message in the paper airplanes says: I INVENTED THE TIME MACHINE

Do I have the correct time tokens?

G3: the airplane that is best designed for flight

Installment #5

What is in it?

-Brown envelope 10” x 13” with #5 stamp

-Inter-timeline memo

-Letter from Parker (one page)

-Poster of your city in the future

-Travel brochure

-Departure board

-Smaller white 9” x 12” envelope

-Inter-timeline memo from LDV (2 pages)

-"True/False" puzzle

-"Where Did You Go?" puzzle

-"Hidden Symbols" puzzle

-"Parking Map" puzzle

What is happening in the story?

You get two Inter-timeline memos, one from Parker and one from LDV. It looks like you have gone to the future and left your time pod behind. Parker is worried about you. Where did you go? LDV is sorry for making you believe that you messed with the Titanic. He offers to help Parker and your present self find your future self and bring you home. 

What is there to be solved?

There are four pages of puzzles. Solve all four of them to discover where you went and to find your next three time tokens.

Need a hint?

You need to study all of the materials in this mailing, including the departure board and the travel brochure, and especially the poster of the future city.

Solve “True/False”, “Hidden Symbols” and “Parking Map” to find your time tokens.

Solve “Where did you go”? to complete the “How to Reveal the Final Message” puzzle that came in the first installment.

How to solve the "True/False" puzzle

Study the Future City poster to answer the questions. When an answer is “true”, shade in the corresponding area. Answer all of the questions to reveal the coordinates for a time token.

How to solve the "Hidden Symbols" puzzle

There is an alphabet of symbols hidden in the future city poster. To solve the “Hidden Symbols” puzzle, you must find each symbol along with its corresponding letter. The message translates to a question, but you don’t know the answer yet. You will find the answer in the next (final) installment.

How to solve the "Parking Map" puzzle

Find the one symbol that is different from all the others. If you can’t find it you can narrow down the possibilities by checking the gate numbers on the departure board.

How to solve "Where Did You Go"

You will find the answers to the 3 questions in the Future City poster. This reveals your flight number. Study the departure board and travel brochure to find more information about your destination.

Just give me the answer!

"True/False" puzzle

Shade in the areas with answers that are true and you are left with the coordinates for your next Time Token: E4

"Hidden Symbols" puzzle


Answer: You don’t know the cabin number for the Titanic. You will find the answer in the next installment.

"Parking Map" puzzle

Where is your time pod? Q6

"Where Did You Go?"

Carrots on the roof: 6

Pizza delivery guys with number faces: 5

Giant snails: 1

Flight number 651

According to the departure board you went to Bluth. If you study the travel brochure you will see that Bluth is listed as a “relocation opportunity” in the Pinwheel Galaxy. 

Do I have the correct time tokens


? : Leave blank until you find the cabin number on the Titanic



Installment #6

What is in it?

-Small cardboard box stamped #6 - OPEN LAST

-Black plastic time capsule

-Yellow warning ticket

-Puzzle postcard

-Instructions for using a time capsule

-Boarding pass

What is happening in the story?

You receive a time capsule. Inside is a yellow warning card advising you to leave a message for your future self not to get on a one way flight to another planet again. There is a postcard with two last puzzles to solve. 

What is there to be solved?

There are three time tokens to find. Solve the puzzles on the postcard to find the first two. The yellow warning card tells you where to find the third. 

Need a hint?

The puzzles on the postcard are called rebus puzzles. Rebus puzzles are made up of letters, pictures and symbols. For example, the solution to “POTOOOOOOOOs” is Potatoes (Pot + 8 Os). You don’t need any special knowledge to solve these puzzles.

In the time capsule you will find the answer to the question from installment #5: What is your cabin number on the Titanic?

To find the final time token (gate number for your flight) look at the departure board and use what you know about your flight. 

Just give me the answer!

Postcard puzzles

The answer to the first puzzle is LemONadE. The letters in the squares spell out the coordinates for the first time token: L ONE

The answer to the second puzzle is thinKoutSIdetheboX. The letters in the squares spell out the coordinates for the second time token: K SIX

The final time token is the gate number for your flight, which you can find on the departure board. The gate number for flight 651 is: Q14

The missing time token from the previous installment: P2 (What is your cabin number on the Titanic?)

Do I have the correct time tokens?




And the missing time token from installment #5: P2

Back to Installment #1: How to Reveal Your Final Message

You should now know the answers to all of the questions in the “How to Reveal Your Final Message” puzzle. Write the answers in the squares and then add the letters to the grid in Step 2.

Need a hint?

Once you have entered the letters into the grid you will see that your message does not make sense. You must follow LDV’s final instructions to decipher the message, which is “shift back 6”. If you are not sure how a shift cipher works, go back to the “Guide to Solving Ciphers” that you received in the first installment. If you are using the shift cipher correctly, the first letter of your message will be the letter I and when you shift back 6 you will get the letter C.

Do you know what the message says but you are not sure how to complete the task?

Your final set of instructions is to “change the red numbers to letters”. To do this, assign a number to each letter of the alphabet starting with A. So A = 1, B = 2, C = 3 and so on. Once you change the red numbers on the time tokens to letters, your final message will be revealed.  

Have I placed all of the time tokens in the correct order?

Depending on which direction you placed your time tokens, your message may be backwards. If so, read counter-clockwise. This is the correct order of the time tokens:

















Just give me the answer!

These are the answers to the questions in Step 1 of the “How to Reveal Your Message”










The letters in the grid will look like this:


Shift back 6 and the message says:


The time tokens should be in this order: 

C6: red number 5 = E

D2: red number 13 = M

H5: red number 15 = O

E6: red number 8 = H

L6: red number 5 = E

P: red number 2 = B

F5: red number 15 = O

J4: red number 20 = T

J10: red number 4 = D

G3: red number 15 = O

E4: red number 15 = O

P2: red number 7 = G

Q6: red number 19 = S

L1: red number 9 = I

K6: red number 20 = T

Q14: red number 9 = I

Final message (you may need to read it backwards): IT IS GOOD TO BE HOME

Welcome back!