The game area is rather small, only 33 locations plus the 14 Standing Room Only rooms (inside the Big Top during the hypnotism sequence). This walkthrough has not been divided by location because you weave back and forth between the few areas quite a bit.

You begin at In the Wings. Go south to Connection. Wait for a couple of turns. Comrade Thumb (the "midget decked out in a Russian general's uniform") seems to be having some trouble getting a drink, eh? Help Thumb. Go west to Beside the Big Top. Take the clown mask. Go south to Back Yard. Wait here seven turns and watch Comrade Thumb go through the turnstile, saying "Hello Harry". Go west to Inside Prop Tent. Examine Taft, then try to get Taft and you will discover he's a cardboard cutout. (Gosh, really?) Hide behind Taft. Listen to the conversation twice.

Go east twice to Near White Wagon. Take the pole. Go north three times to the Performance Ring. Drop the mask. Go up to the Platform and then east six times across the high wire. On the east Platform, take the balloon. Return west six times to the west Platform and go down twice to the Performance Ring. Take everything. Go south twice, west, and south to the Back Yard.

Look in the cage. Untie the balloon and inhale the helium. Harry, hello.Go south through the turnstile and west to Camp, West. Wear the clown mask. Knock on the door. Go south into Clown Alley.Close the door. (Notice that Chuckles is mistaking you for someone called Malcom.) Search the ashes in the ashtray. Take the scrap of newspaper. Wait one turn and Chuckles will realize you're not Malcom and throw you out.

Now in Camp, West, go under the wall to Inside the Prop Tent. (Ignore the "small piece of wood on the ground" for now; it's a mousetrap.) Go east, north, east, north, and northeast to Under the Bleachers. Search the garbage. Take the ticket. Punch out the blue dot to play as a man from this point forward, or pink to play as a woman. (Unfortunately, you must choose one or the other.) Go southwest and south to Connection. Put the ticket in the slot. Go east to Midway Entrance, then south and southeast to Menagerie Nook. Look in the cage. Take the keys with the pole. Unlock the door and open it. Go north to Inside Cage. Take the bucket and headphones.

For Your Amusement:
At In the Wings, wait.
Watch Comrade Thumb try to get a drink, but don't help him. (save first, I think)
Diagnose both before and after overhearing that Chelsea has been kidnapped.
Walk the tightrope without the pole. (save first)
At Back Yard, take Harry's dark glasses. Attack him. If playing as a woman, kiss him. Ask him about Chelsea. (The way out of this is to also say "did not".)
In Clown Alley, look in the mirror.
In Clown Alley, get into the lower bunk and then get into the upper bunk.

Punch out both dots on the ticket.

At Midway Entrance, ask the pitchman (Billy Monday) about the flask.
At Midway Entrance, examine the detective, then look at the monkey.
In Menagerie Nook, take the straw; answer yes. (save first? or maybe not ;) )

Go south, northwest, north, west twice, south, west, south, and east to Camp, East. Examine the trailer. Unlock the baggage compartment and open it. Take the whip. Go north, east, and north to Connection. Put the ticket in the slot. Go east three times to Far End of Midway, then north and northeast to East Half of Fat Lady. (Let's just pick up our 21st-century sensibilities and move on, shall we?) Take the stool. Go northwest, south, west three times, and north twice to the Performance Ring. Unlock the cage and open it. Go west to the Lions' Den. Look at the lions. Whip the smooth lion (i.e., the lion lacking a mane) three times. (Whip lion is interpreted by the game as cracking the whip, not actually striking the lion. Hit lion with whip gets a quite different response.) When the lion goes to lie down, lift the grate. Throw the meat in the passage. Go east, then return west. Lower the grate. Search the stand and you will find a cigarette case.

Go east, south three times, and west to Back Yard. Give the cigarette case to Harry. (So, um, how would half of a person smoke, while.... Oh, never mind.) Go north and east to Connection. Put the ticket in the slot. Go east twice and then south to Jennifer's Boudoir. Show the case to Jenny, then give it to her. Go north twice to the Hypnotist's Parlor. Give the ticket to Rimshaw. Rimshaw, hypnotize me. ("Who can I compare Rimshaw with?" "No one. He's Rimshaw the Incomparable.") Wait four times. Buy candy from the hawker. Give $1.85 to the hawker. Stand up.

Go east, up, east, down, east, up, east, down, and south to Connection. Stand in line. Wait two times. Get out of the long line and stand in the short line. Wait twice. Get out of the long line. Answer yes. Stand in the long line. Bite the banana and then drop it. Go north to In the Wings. Ask the hawker about candy. Go up, west, down, west, up, west, down, and west to Standing Room Only.  You will wake up in the Hypnotist's Parlor. Stand up and go south and west to Midway Entrance. Go under the wall to Under the Bleachers. Search the garbage. Take the granola bar. Go south, east twice, north, and northeast to East Half of Fat Lady. Show the granola bar to Tina. (*sigh* Again, moving on...) Tina, hello. Shake hands. Go northwest to West Half of Fat Lady. Take the radio.

For Your Amusement:
Diagnose while hypnotized.
Wait in the concession line.
Get out of line rather than specifying the long or short lines.
Eat the banana twice.

Have Rimshaw read your palm and your head. (You may wish to save a game first before having Rimshaw read your head bumps, since depending on how you phrase the command, it is possible to run into an interesting parser bug that will break other actions like putting things in the bucket or putting the ticket in the slot in the turnstile. See this Github issue exploring the problem for more information.)

Go south, west twice, south, and southeast to Menagerie Nook. Drop everything except the radio and headphones. Go up to Top of Cage. Set the radio to 1170. Turn the radio off. Rewind the tape. Wait (the tape will halt). Play the tape. Wait twice, until you hear Rimshaw. (This is a hint that someone else in the game has been hypnotized in this way.) Stop tape and rewind the tape. Turn the radio on. Record. Wait five times. Stop the tape and rewind it completely, waiting until it halts. Turn the radio off. Go down. (Ha ha. Don't worry about the death message.) Take everything. Go northwest to the Menagerie.

Unlock the cage and open it. Go west. Play the tape. Now that Mahler is distracted, search the straw. Open the trap door. Take the ribbon. Go east to Menagerie. Close the cage and lock it. Go north, west twice, south, and west to Inside Prop Tent. Touch the wood with the pole. Take the mousetrap and drop it. Get the cheese and put it on the trap, but don't set the trap. Go east, west, east, west. Notice that a mouse has taken interest in the cheese. Catch the mouse with the bucket. Take the mouse.

Go east, north, and east to Connection. Put the ticket in the slot. Go east and south to Menagerie. Show the mouse to the elephant twice. Wait one turn for the beast to stampede through the fence. Go southwest to Near White Wagon and drop everything. Go up. Turn the crank. Look into the wagon. (A "schlock" of hair...?) Knock on the door to distract Munrab and go in (that is, down into the trailer). Lock the office door to buy yourself a little time. Search the desk. Take the spreadsheet. Move the desk and go back up to On the Wagon. Read the spreadsheet. Hmmm, wonder who this "Eddie Smaldone" is? Go down to Near White Wagon. Take everything you left here. Go west to Back Yard. Ask Harry about Eddie. (Ooohhh, I seee....)

For Your Amusement
Eat the granola bar.
Take Tina's hand when she's not offering it to you.
Listen to the tape when it is playing Jimi Hendrix.

Wear the gorilla suit from the Prop Tent into Mahler's cage.
Turn on the radio and give it to Mahler.
Take the mousetrap without first triggering it with the pole. After, swear strongly (e.g.
fuck); then swear more mildly (e.g. darn).
Eat the cheese.
Feed the cheese to the mouse.
Set the trap and give it to Mahler, to Harry, and to the elephant (Hannibal).

Go east, northeast, and southeast to Menagerie Nook. Slide the ticket under the sideshow front. (This action can also trigger the same or a similar parser bug  as the "feel my head" thing above, again depending on exactly what verb and noun you use.) Go east. Take the ticket. Play a hand of blackjack by typing bet 25 cents. Play this hand however you like. Open the panel. You will automatically bet $1. The taps on your foot are the value of the dealer's down card, supplied by your pal Comrade Thumb. Whether or not you win, you can stop after this hand if you like. Open the panel again.

Go west, northwest, north, and west to Connection. Examine Comrade Thumb. Go south, northeast, and southeast to Menagerie Nook. Slide the ticket under the front again. Go east to the Blue Room. Look under the table. Take the suitcase. Wait. Go west to Menagerie Nook. Drop everything. Go up twice to On the Tent. Wait. Go east. Wait. Take the shaft and pull it. Go down twice to Menagerie Nook. Take everything but the key, whip, and stool.

Go northwest, north, and west to Connection. Fill the bucket with water. Go south, northeast, and north to Midway Entrance. Pour the water on the detective. Ask the detective about Chelsea. Drop the bucket. Take the ransom note and card. Read the ransom note.

Go east, south, and up to Wardrobe Closet. Take everything. Go up, north, west three times, south, west, south, and east to Camp, East. Address Chuckles as Eddie (for example, Eddie, hello). Show him the ribbon, scrap, note, spreadsheet, and card. Search the jacket pocket. Take the veil and wear it. Wear the dress (suit) and then wear the jacket (shawl).

Knock on the door. Go east to Inside Trailer. Close the door. Take the crowbar. Move the moose. Open the door. Go west twice to Camp, West. Open the door with the crowbar. Go south. Take Thumb. Go north and then east twice to Inside Trailer. Put Thumb in the hole. Wait. Take Chelsea.

For Your Amusement:
Play poker instead of blackjack.

Kick the detective.


Go west, north, east, northeast, north, west, and north twice to the Performance Ring. Clap your hands. (This activates the post-hypnotic suggestion you planted in the roustabout.) Roustabout, get the net. Take off the veil, jacket, and dress. Drop everything. Go west to the Lions' Den. Take the stand, return east, and drop it. Take the radio and climb the stand. Go up to the Platform. Drop the radio. Go back down to the Performance Ring. Take the pole, climb the stand, and go up to the Platform. (If you drop the pole when you attempt this, return down and try again.)

Take the radio and go up again. Turn on the radio to play some nice soothing music for Mahler. Go east three times onto the tightrope, then west four times back to the Platform. Drop the radio and pole. Go down, south three times, and east to the Office. Call WPDL. Go west, then north three times to the Performance Ring. Climb the stand. Go up to the Platform. Take everything. Go east five times to Left Hanging. Wait three times... and fall to victory.

For Your Amusement:
Examine the roustabout both before and after clapping your hands.
Walk the tightrope without the pole after telling the roustabout to remove the net. (save first)
In the Office, take a memo and phone home.

For Your Amusement at various times:
Applaud someone.
Read your own palm.
Wear the headphones.
Pole-vault over the fence.



For further entertainment, you may be interested in:
Lists of bugs in Ballyhoo: Nathan Simpson external link, Graeme Cree external link, XyzzyNews external link
Posts about this game at The Adventure Gamer external link, SPAG external link, and The Digital Antiquarian external link
Source code external link


You score 10 points for each of the following actions:

Cross high wire
Get past Harry by using the helium
Get into Clown Alley with the clown mask
Go under the wall of the Prop Tent
Find the ticket in the garbage
Get keys
Find cigarette case
Show cigarette case to Jenny
Finish the hypnosis scene and see the granola bar
Get radio
Play classical music for Mahler
Get live mouse
Get rid of Hannibal the elephant
Enter the White Wagon
Enter the Blue Room
Pull the elephant prod while standing atop the tent
Show implicating items to Chuckles and scare him off
Get Chelsea from the crawl space
Make the roustabout get the net
Make Mahler let go of Chelsea

Total: 200


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Last updated 4/28/2021