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:

2757577259
5483233532
1095209059
2105355130
6407575660
1405300241
6193564703
2087216268
6758534540
6485235876
8863989464
8665365083
7990907917
8727758472
5555735785
6970235983
9773769987
0246465483
3338338784
8904438769
7389983778
7537575535
8184444814
5177277570
4944594454
7584964068
4147246041
7147202982
8134278098
5124979838
4406468423
3462174358
2185175326
0020658423
8358678207
5023753207
2238329358
9853498453
6666661656
3225474322
6053669061
4059396131
5250394418
2557344421
2557980461
1220310133
5557675775
2699696268
6024960046
2553835535
3378783375
1806686165
1188831588
6666666347
1151115812
3965636345
9137886687
0521811385
9006586312
3061366362
4730824485
1231373455
8900854182
6709329955
5896474485
9539959539
2544224452
5355373985
4443554425
7725262751
6175805560
6322073150
6178767796
6423700805
6110701595
6303130311
5610808557
6725757726
0428022848
6176888116
3901839312
3831138334
6540137092
8257139344
1785898842
4434737544
3869359383
0033037037
3333838330
8989898892
8888588572
2332337742
8813788971
3885358383
4411551142
1340057572
0674458341
2803387141
3852927372
0701838183
5343202429
8910304845
5789825316
0089328085
5980308252
5980333058
0041331474
8319118131
8973889799
0383230320
0971888004
6516158688
7435405694
0804875218
2310878098
3588355388
7529279205
7777787717
7888778698
1020478024
2627182333
7163786302
7166128265
2686916250
7125921888
7166976797
8320112312
2928828890
0385755877
7663736737
0999997099
4465006465
6683360386
3765365631
9999119909
0344490986
0951899696
9992397090
9495015391
8531310389

The puzzle

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

5595595555
4649393964
7448944888
3321811081
0401510101
7545348611
7408374078
7441520725
9328940080
0408582636
5887887562
7714447705
4441113441
4717451174
2606559260
0146459500
5217857445
2587283260
7525351564
4521981601
7297958026
3241966894
1438268114
3431278292
1308902279
3208730057
1335252513
6496766477
6431514553
7137919917
4989615381
6974580312
1677413281
6854805271
5720815281
1323535212
1555515781
3181183381
4030340033
7706564577
7395163810
0902659116
2886465893
1822669480
3837459420
2636556423
6168669881
5671565116
0906669350
4443443843
8334483418
5602252025
1958515999
7923632392
0560770600
7328549573
0703614844
7964781090
0360689256
8530559914
8334479501
8813409152
5261296174
8422004152
2350419184
3116116521
9090404159
1121776172
8220209882
4878887404
5994059044
1610919411
7306110766
3266466344
9159331915
9206385393
9910416332
7606139428
9900148114
7965936047
1011443837
5221153497
0011979960
6661180106
5324923971
1081113188
6321881228
5962452949
5321999533
0614640404
0821303008
7014240711
1494891348
8805858508
3130313110
3814360160
3800867286
8890822362
7820318173
7105607159
9414875562
1114059568
8254130933
9452036847
0057144570
8412111244
0494040900
9164663661
1057818875
7051222770
3398883995
0092303695
5502265023
1122142261
1118918198
1459212195
7383645995
8369402091
4118348421
8375063665
2929002890
3651631860
5640605046
0007767000
2855353582
1162255080
2285537082
5050205800
0798357580
4200995060
8544555445
0548550884
2226767726
7046550900
4531555543
0544729930
0546531180
3536783489
7534587252
8526550200

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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