2012-11-17: Puzzle - First to solve wins

Posted at 2012-11-17 02:35:21 by SHD

For years I've had an idea in my head about a way to hide some information in a bunch of numbers. I actually got around to coding an implementation and figured I'd run a competition. The first person who figures out what the famous landmark is described by the second set of numbers below and posts the correct answer in the comments wins $100.

The hint

Here's a hint. The following numbers are a reference to the Eiffel tower:

6097605100
3267672761
6268142902
2297687750
6247983028
9167997669
5629625999
3492553395
2098090022
6249662434
0573850750
3478204171
3597384241
0425851771
0122981890
0525353052
0297820208
5144955445
3443241433
5372883778
1106441116
5130939150
5957222529
9979599599
9300993095
5907522709
5160561168
5100523309
9300591717
9956486216
2529041396
3415816527
4467137125
9416053095
3405904215
8407998702
4626164212
3417417734
2549055455
8765856658
9779767972
0083774087
2444442844
3203434230
3252532532
6854472270
3791131832
1553634972
8590677237
6368834080
7502791008
3504605159
7540514327
7800684111
7895768821
3815711633
8890608906
7642266742
7504045557
7900447707
3910651417
9933451214
6395413011
2125913025
2034850091
5145151054
7555151795
1170110217
9086853098
8818881821
1452854267
8809434605
4394134887
6549214270
0253618260
7764334667
8887690786
0545858970
4405054810
1541114215
1214041012
1830080138
2983293889
9248114114
9230933206
9934163008
1208092560
1910991516
9830106015
9248093413
2225667103
6445712794
2685299126
1285644329
6670349013
1784711811
6420303226
6677367766
5285855545
2240644464
6036200060
1475555514
1789081080
5780448890
1090770009
6779586150
6685785718
6779590758
6479567990
1739064424
8013031471
8013740268
5229717947
9013989801
8003783936
5003750000
8163733618
5019151015
9942020090
1200911127
5993995743
9363633426
2269221269
3161343461
7299777929
4350293421
3516840426
8080327266
4577193946
8617475243
0104403145
9449998497
8977799788
5667571365
6784997480
0999278485
3177379187
0361309198
9930198487
9210303164

The puzzle

Given the above hint, what famous landmark do the numbers below refer to?

1483422771
6716160849
6326352622
9721184007
6781127436
1326131363
6186383688
6787485767
6501414615
9463446344
6449440296
9319990413
3003332073
2243117623
9119917994
1647012294
6089690426
8620120013
2383637094
6326590073
3012190072
7392693697
1147859391
5171019041
6249650092
4030993042
0780080076
7562557291
3933989391
0092210297
9569992395
1118116889
1716066107
2493349723
3734773641
5775219347
6784866121
1856510191
0743463193
6327746685
7455772160
9486703381
3988704780
1743648054
6238747092
7517557757
6246666604
5735853578
1988389118
3453753445
0157276627
5894956217
7526478771
1020676671
4312056707
7716771657
4222265224
5100058601
7766076070
0668666707
8433555555
5382135135
7892835131
5884473435
8249693131
5555555155
7211333132
9138198631
5594553495
8562727568
3279111780
9516232089
9704436911
1774969306
1684147312
9606990406
9586189866
3769479666
2279927929
1754227727
7257992675
3248323224
7607107607
6430246443
9718771718
3218364704
3717258629
9730959529
5648263320
6257918220
6192917953
6859916191
8599004335
8791624067
8759967114
1781991197
8799679679
6199019169
6552002554
9594994949
7768997680
1194999541
8381118366
7348747987
7171196731
0729016581
6754997580
5753297637
8782099587
9097597782
8053370796
3649403429
1836092033
5437273829
3718292476
6769990826
9877872899
7227972779
4330403534
4346463423
2911142347
7375745072
5321154684
7422343797
0114540384
0911710197
7187317933
5679169166
5414515445
2322032223
1165775115
4617004657
3910903990
0439244292
1129599525
1429564014
1815577345
0117566300
1127570897
3915236445

Post the answer as a comment below. The first person to answer correctly with an acceptable explanation to how the answer was reached (rather than just a guess) wins $100, so make sure to use your correct e-mail address so I can contact you.

Note #1: People have noted that the numbers change whenever the page is reloaded. That's as expected. This puzzle is not an encryption as much as it is an obfuscation. That the numbers change is not important, as only the pattern in them will lead to the answer, which is of course constant.

Note #2: There was a bug in my post for a short while, which made the hint and puzzle basically the resolve to the same answer. This is fixed now. If you saved a copy the numbers before, just grab a fresh set.

Solved!

The second landmark was discovered by Batuhan Bozkurt, congratulations! The challenge has not yet been met entirely, though so I've decided to set a new challenge with the same method. The same $100 prize applies.

Redditor Bearasaurus has solved the final challenge too! For hints, check the followup post.

Tags:

Comments

Big Ben

Posted at 2012-11-19 09:55:28 by Colin Edward

I'm afraid Big Ben is not it. But be sure to include some explanation as to how the answer was reached, so I know it isn't just a random guess.

Posted at 2012-11-19 13:48:31 by Steven Don

I "solved" your puzzle, but I assume not in the way you wanted.

After giving it quite some hours, I failed to find any specific pattern (with a reasonable kolmogorov complexity) that would lead me to an answer. But in Reddit, you mentioned that you would be interested in statistical approaches that would lead to an answer (which I assume you are interested for increasing the security of the obfuscation?) so I exploited the fact that your website gives fresh batch of numbers at each reload so I grabbed about 1000 sets (with intervals in between, hopefully not causing trouble to your website, it handled the requests like a champ) and got to cracking.

Now your HTML formatting implies 10x10 blocks of data for each set. So that was a starting point when I first began looking at the problem. The grid is 70 x 20 so that implies 14 secret codes, 7 for each row.

I looked for what was common for each 10x10 block in each of the samples I gathered from your site. I found out that for each 10x10 block some digits occasionally never appears; for example in block 0x 0y, not all digits have to appear but one always appears at least once.

Once I looked at the remaining digits (that are common in all blocks at a particular coordinate), for the "hint", I was faced by these digits:

0485130
0021739

These are the coordinates in the form of degrees-minutes-seconds (dddmmss as you gave away generously in Reddit) of Eiffel Tower.

Once I ran the same process for the puzzle, the result was:

0295845
0310804

Which is the coordinates for the Great Pyramid of Giza.

Maybe this is disappointing, I don't know. If the website hadn't provided fresh batch of numbers, this method would not work. I assume, to strengthen the obfuscation, you could make sure one digit always appears at least once; but as long as the distribution isn't random, I suppose the answer could be extracted.

I've tried many approaches before this; I'm pretty confident that the pattern is not based on neighborhood relationships (as the answer can appear on edges, though wrapping around could be employed but still with it I failed to detect any patterns). I think it doesn't have anything (or much) to do with arithmetic on the digits (like summing / subtracting them). I tried various row/column patterns and couldn't come up with anything.

I also analyzed the 10x10 blocks containing the answer digits only once (so if the answer is 0 for that block, 0 appears only once in that block). But saw no obvious pattern at all. So this beats me in that regard.

If I am eligible for the prize for my answer, I would kindly ask you to donate it to the Doctors Without Borders foundation. If you are uncomfortable about it for some reason, you can choose to donate it somewhere else you see fit.

Thanks for the challenge, and although my curiosity has been partly satisfied, I'm still waiting for the answer that will allow me to solve this using a pen and paper using a single set of numbers.

Posted at 2012-11-19 16:36:10 by Batuhan Bozkurt

Batuhan, the answer is indeed correct. The Great Pyramid of Giza is the one I was looking for. The method you used is indeed not the one I was hoping for, as you haven't actually figured out the way the coordinates are encoded into the sets of numbers.

Still, I'm not one to dictate how the problem should be solved. I will make a donation to Doctors Without Borders for $100 in your name and post proof that I have done so.

Since I would very much like for somebody to solve the method, I'm including this static problem for a second attempt, and another $100. Being in a comment, the following set obviously does not change and encodes a third landmark.

2626513077384364666346599932245309032974209496921885110948315551555613
6549028370497764766953274173448611231555969009312435020244378244262894
9308377132331493394457637801172312372974892873367485438142538547446457
5987478672136633636156339295109196283474021313920015080695500005010510
9318473400638833698356337893287640679475088481921818727043921551931599
5758758671181690400516397336912974972974211231362065019596695870416497
1701226107698865022553554534544375771374969996927993180831110067651597
3203310324331357320447629709425333533533932743923435767555759732852649
0008077080336367751344339394399228589625005440340517458583553308156594
7467243472134765226056779555595344734475199118911888022882025906466417
0332300493776667648725560571112261196221231229957486429403779342535143
1366338577707417047142278890548676887286598087756091175002210326130060
5863902088494574497542911473583959753975898054668946115111760583633056
3673921092972792959782223331128568968982838265801286279605628360969080
5301986352763553665223261861393193111359891776463941295493449120391390
0463999640662807648743557375531417213379281451584481179187119326988940
4352555243298062697573961379660934698929891289118894828988929160129317
1871110111741174649945428445570098658283038728302510575750510526949009
3326333663020967498782260828822839081251556075505536114445618120357157
5602990599311067698721073220721651596922796029092045295295550390501233

The challenge now is to find the answer and a step by step description of how to extract the correct digits from it.

Posted at 2012-11-19 17:10:02 by Steven Don

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