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:

5984995449
1031817101
1716011116
3217113121
3634994393
3281926030
3667180235
1631860912
1984935268
1614822219
5884113185
5174222215
6214000162
3921021301
4384994449
3881181096
6374926364
6384178217
5984774553
6324013698
6859982808
6510528800
3880968291
3370666685
1879580922
2370572509
3209832383
1815981118
6279897267
2580685650
5859350388
8852933664
5865830053
8753260281
8236364201
5219313991
5295995595
8736266223
8852383838
0233830273
4586396305
1968793311
0334663215
3737664365
5214498304
3933993303
9566661205
3644364344
1780108617
1666616069
3464640535
3989625346
3534602739
7543662072
3508381563
3543959443
9784378799
3904630399
7569695797
3838838303
2002100121
4544544444
0733003730
1814994151
4914394343
4704303798
0512002976
4003336311
3914934107
4544970187
7446684288
1383464289
8209676165
2448781289
5030071787
9469998249
7822787728
6876778667
8894484289
1159961195
6413969438
9439334390
4554224245
3343414383
0999955009
2061839405
7004729345
2852364330
8744215395
4904854094
8351560270
8372797361
9071505330
1371719389
9072529971
5072777020
2891592711
1081717118
8371537388
9978697867
1919995931
1373331675
3744743704
5259353572
4311535041
8437631645
0561895041
6311736774
1190555605
8530355974
6238034282
7407834925
9955343982
4687514369
8033616931
5558558925
4443333641
1883414285
9669946969
0932505932
4030111044
1314434347
5292095520
3110301131
8206118618
5190368817
5214150082
3124190233
5390147242
4016008028
9290425490
8828080330
2521151278
9949599945
5523992635
0129492495
0362589338
0396910640
2015622978
4444799435

The puzzle

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

0584890529
2684586609
1110842909
1177602788
0174182210
0175555575
1810811881
2184111412
4907677469
0673739777
8272022778
0300992003
6017001660
7029870829
4196311993
8009347953
6227066022
8076262804
7220069841
4279074785
2140123336
3203069747
3887125458
3476636650
3803107736
7112111111
3473632674
5847111457
2280500002
5806260528
2286826628
9143314938
6996606569
6449994404
0911910691
9576214994
5071886908
4498806469
5409406439
8875694631
7843443444
8772487427
4768946644
7268174267
5332935923
5748966604
7362947765
4752998653
5762412574
4762431463
4774588521
9811515494
4334967533
2660327191
3111235526
2414118421
9990777596
1145185194
3553332533
5523125231
3525485181
3510455785
3614479918
8935316705
5855924349
8819998181
5015415015
3520424007
3153353351
3634663434
8825854130
3661892031
8528546686
6521596564
6815500062
1515515555
3048550058
6821822182
6716261366
8561565515
3543061994
9902134932
3701833243
2902093482
2953366173
7539379793
3553636350
2909129992
2101010221
9742094297
6529756275
0017410745
2286681326
7606607637
0603336380
1654451675
7043136675
9071011976
9697736245
0352387347
0204629591
0158028763
2927156325
3222359722
7665459490
7828958790
3396529563
2828886422
6363666355
0290222909
8428654548
4788658867
5488833464
1926638092
8036584568
5036553465
5122825882
4438633846
8981228919
1586686881
1304463853
0328713423
6005029873
0584981411
5159611826
1144310413
9792269672
1618891856
8636626663
7838883726
1159755591
5310733300
4043943943
1995219919
5552959455
4192982410
1952975444
1979912418
5195759875
4115773540

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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