How to solve the clock puzzle in The Medium

the medium clock puzzle
(Image credit: Bloober Team)

If you're stuck on The Medium's clock puzzle, you're not the only one. There's me, for one; I struggled with this particular head-scratcher longer than I care to admit. But I got there in the end, so I'm here to help you, too, as you try to search the hidden room in The Medium.

Just after you meet the hair-raising little girl called Sadness on the second floor (in the nightmarish spirit world), your next objective is to investigate Thomas' office. However, as you may have found in The Medium's tie clip mini puzzle at the beginning of the game, the solution can be a little unclear.

In this guide, I'll show you how to access the secret room connected to Thomas' office in The Medium, helping you find the key to the time-hopping grandfather clock, the right points in time to visit, and the hidden switch.

(Image credit: Bloober Team)

The Medium: Thomas' office and how to get the clock key

Start the puzzle by heading behind the desk at the centre of the room. When you press X (Bloober Team recommends you play on a controller) to take a closer look of the ravaged workspace, look down to the floor: Here you'll find a flashlight and a 'Small Key'. 

With the key acquired, approach the tall grandfather clock against the wall farthest from you, next to some battered bookshelves. Look up and to the left of the clock face to use the key and access the clock's mysterious powers.

The Medium clock puzzle: How to search the hidden room 

As you hit X again to interact with the clock, you're screen will be split: One with the clock face to the left, and the other with a view of the office in the spirit world. At this point it is the farthest forward in time you can be (ten o'clock). All you can do is move time with left joystick backwards from here, and you'll notice Thomas' office in the spirit world change as you do so. In other words, the rash of pustules are replaced with gross skin. Ew.

At certain points as you rewind time, an ethereal form of Thomas appears—a sort of spiritual snapshot. Each time you see a new form, exit the clock screen with B and interact with Thomas for some new information. The times of each form of spectral Thomas are as follows:

  • 9:30: Thomas stands over his desk.
  • 8:45: Thomas looks out the window with one hand over his mouth.
  • 7:15: Thomas walks away from the secret room.
  • 4:50: Thomas reaches towards the entrance of the hidden room.
  • 4:00: Thomas stands behind his desk. A spirit well appears.

Once you get to four o'clock, you can go no earlier. You'll notice, however, that as your scrubbing through time, a door in the far corner reveals itself—this is the secret room. Here are the times that this happens:

  • 5:00
  • 6:55

To proceed you need to scroll to the earliest possible point, back out with B, and approach the desk with the spirit well blooming, and absorb it as spirit world Marianne (A). Next, go back forward to one of the times above that the secret door is open. Only spirit Marianne can enter this space, so you'll need to initiate an 'out-of-body experience' (hold B) to get in. Just make sure you don't spend too long in this form, as it can kill you if you don't return to your body in time.

Inside the room, there's a fuse box against the far wall, just like the one that you needed to power up the lift earlier in the game. Unleash the spirit energy you collected earlier (hold right trigger) and you'll see sparks running along the wall towards the hidden room's entrance. Leave your sprit form after that.

Back in the real world, the entrance to the hidden room you passed through in the spirit world is blocked by a wooden unit full of photo frames and trinkets. There's no prompt for this, but you need to inspect it and use Marianne's Insight ability (hold left bumper) to see the outline of an obscured switch. Hit both Xs that appear near the now-revealed switch and the secret room fully reveals itself.

And there you have it, you've solved The Medium's clock puzzle and accessed Thomas' secret room. But the question remains: Are you prepared for what you'll find inside?

Harry Shepherd

UK — After collecting and devouring piles of print gaming guides in his younger days, Harry has been creating 21st century versions for the past five years as Guides Writer at PCGamesN and Guides Editor at PC Gamer. He has also produced features, reviews, and even more guides for Trusted Reviews, TechRadar and Top Ten Reviews. He's been playing and picking apart PC games for over two decades, from hazy memories of what was probably a Snake knock-off on his first rig when he was seven to producing informative guides on football simulators, open-world role-playing games, and shooters today. So many by now he steadfastly refuses to convey information unless it’s in clickable online form.