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:

5820858808
0113910311
5602350245
3990209902
2775555577
5815925616
5620936062
5902282397
5917933403
5610207935
8718558831
2187928197
4745441759
6788817786
2303332200
9311237837
4665817799
7429128307
9428621786
9944621830
2297165492
8075901191
0405435111
9574331973
4734216317
3152351323
6111116911
6232332473
6115665157
9929939992
8152407741
9728917048
6070801112
0941676912
7635276903
4010771403
3343376983
2771216742
3180808138
8067867018
8729542531
0791569414
0427345984
2722584322
2871969354
6897336789
7429077745
2921511922
0691880108
1772977779
1031501151
3619219393
6767066766
9848849884
7851517576
9719541313
3817235579
3641272536
2831597283
9858880633
4129649196
4690349633
5637676785
4706640660
7859157877
4890122597
5626366587
4036112908
4159694166
4199667601
4956378695
0123464670
0504909890
0834989191
4885079695
9292572295
9632169321
0151151613
7781887170
8088008895
0216822152
8396996969
8186481118
8040100880
6845334486
8840964583
8285330815
0040158289
8396749105
8296872437
5273227417
3026099748
9723029827
5849137923
4437277840
6427776427
8272227908
3331333813
8141881854
4084779740
7882218372
6066960596
1671873861
0044070420
8111554167
8456058197
1085273472
2454360461
1455179120
2158660127
4375243327
1433544954
3121712111
1290292929
2673733227
1373501401
4625706310
1223220447
1223585333
8493591796
9920020909
1881116831
2295697262
5950995950
6666997663
6172210903
0282397603
7346595960
8403897971
5941897953
6965356379
0599595905
2227557276
8111111858
2590994560
9865494270
9551355230
4829715970
8810097575
5488954878

The puzzle

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

3383083330
4103244320
7219379370
2696999629
0796176760
4296965938
4296165211
4786093451
0383624960
2796320391
4164291231
2301041734
9647890233
4207394234
5192890237
4394994234
9099090690
9113959331
8303700437
1323441233
2285881532
3838838848
2247228345
5350555035
2399338299
9034058399
8699828735
2244638542
5526858039
4503235398
2551150283
5738252887
4966158611
7267770139
7516672186
7150750517
8698782679
4448648886
7131377133
1791116191
8063000863
6225222252
3258838580
6295496994
5308350303
3223381830
3298963828
3225859662
6323071704
3325822236
1552444451
3535135333
8830707188
9861469168
6759373653
3752722240
1861467943
2851354409
9751126485
8865120994
0799597759
3534738334
8279979278
0613404006
8845959588
0739542112
0239996156
0899457339
0503545530
0539592380
9765118306
6674829402
1889208379
0005508819
1196215429
1989918119
3924704729
5535315352
6093029306
0740202470
7613585573
8674983531
4787272471
7125773971
3339073471
5576972592
7447343270
7913339171
5991185931
6614610466
4414358347
7100007719
1114994711
8152105182
2797719277
9145815241
8966504277
6290317342
4894904342
7814508714
5959050892
0830036080
5721552027
2264408462
2409990442
5336290022
5599096062
6230972860
3983136882
7660190020
6905808900
5797955939
1596212256
5236723367
1210111111
1716744230
1204774682
6906117428
5716837525
1906233082
3027700217
8595243658
8503685111
3063360155
1807303888
7797333777
7033663370
3507152005
1825252128
8065454845
1688568075
6636336469
3099319300
1217010721
8044776804
3933478804
4135819841
5396619075
2710916465
1656616874

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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