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:

3520555178
0586898168
4604094058
5166190972
8447654032
9993993094
5559555958
5972994172
4334202432
0119990163
8663398298
2319774721
2464274394
1844070698
7607079794
9127774291
6466692664
1212419724
1989991999
8888388398
8707450487
2229868362
1161618615
6918331896
9609393602
2423031662
9626138392
5283291605
8345468407
0308611595
9898555898
6219865968
4769060976
7211411127
9217171112
7769129072
9819645260
7211158768
9217574838
6269142396
4446114414
5496244926
4637262262
3952139533
1928550558
1642564311
4653291334
3926119103
1456254549
1426150592
9974157203
1955282935
9677278948
7665281138
0685984683
7717337777
5955955999
9989398363
1654151145
0675266665
8701701708
5252407452
4370770523
3552558237
0283338820
1137851207
4646900222
0628558426
7631458428
7528371527
7717460371
8984800571
1405573577
0224003472
3335230431
1325135931
3995935392
7600560571
8778348377
7747403477
7030243473
4149735252
0846985573
0075233583
1777633455
3434533504
4447445473
5382383552
1472245272
7575525775
8359009780
1336435414
7350461044
7890792281
8356386827
3530773337
7350372333
1756775175
7499000794
8339449383
7186998198
9300800800
4310606434
7735575525
6577777777
4370762767
7760965412
7736662738
7380765292
6186565863
7594390104
4858679753
4873490703
3170099474
4938294867
5895795875
4808494854
0116000161
8938099803
7007770707
9949939429
3229737213
8656645618
5414491455
9588979658
2243495458
5958791658
8073721418
8642041218
1035079653
7183780790
4118367533
1133379286
9536389246
1219742833
1836778783
9138393129
1513315111
4455115511
7209373797

The puzzle

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

8262262022
2124444424
0659755055
7489668949
5361331336
2251321367
7169310721
7459248657
5164212362
5319721042
5551058805
4604004216
1008581510
8055503845
0131313802
0858451212
9644903815
3921308805
1222553217
5049404212
6478405060
4093674043
4975505060
2557400315
4693650049
9900558940
0060300330
9000449069
6443463643
5171075015
9946687947
4206721268
4906972631
6106635155
5957944894
1207717018
6201901961
9940240942
4756644574
5996665659
4109543121
8278556718
5300243118
2632303141
2182053954
3301353058
2429909824
7277747723
4555545141
0051551910
8021196982
1466752527
8413287452
2326489996
2616304849
3327333073
2613123126
7021101217
8466786466
1311431114
1281987571
5880921548
3947578524
7081940694
1942906091
1826511862
7282979992
6001990100
5987459285
5040000050
0470070470
6767666787
2147294712
4099228990
5598794875
1808676475
0008360710
3888166985
5235474775
0410994290
3526314858
5949750285
7359929728
9316027028
8824259885
1212118823
5550550025
4592529845
4557527758
5880805288
7759871554
5755240379
5005762820
5805923323
5754780923
1905790917
0109702070
5029702979
5705955077
7854258852
6864030999
6420004863
7883041001
6164051111
7163129500
6864114416
3427073307
7263737353
9160000690
6526956565
8835385538
2808442084
7167077727
8627328287
3426332632
8826305188
7827411856
8138304560
5166372482
7426379201
4938717979
3908761808
5231741778
5048786980
0933700164
0732173073
3901103301
0230770720
5943739942
4708044048
4144467436
7924734319
1894848135
4245417481
6805726071
6844999499
1492845819
4908444844
0115751715
7236423262

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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