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:

2120876014
0021057083
8478697027
8235596913
6283851813
3875575823
7866676680
6053557026
1771171017
1988997918
8835668839
5071252700
5485585544
7268562878
2562959256
8068964915
7878939608
5233624434
5462513924
8432543383
9130385941
4185946604
8346622648
1498165644
3357655902
2688552608
5541945941
8222285122
5669666955
2744747344
9112227912
3675563572
8020423804
2296999629
8729758793
7422099814
4552793173
4519827512
9025093509
1616967929
8279359105
9917513018
9799882180
8772386060
0709381098
0979599597
9207770779
8382323983
3799339939
4117314744
6050506252
5699559566
8808660894
2487467421
3733731273
7270631862
0132686856
3813859424
7667201851
0279566866
0888080989
0291289212
4471474411
4447040907
0600116040
1672879941
3447680917
0221474719
4707440942
9918084201
9988669686
8586056608
9702596750
3131338312
7773332785
8508696718
0000256358
3766159758
2580808680
8735338705
9441046098
9275083872
4075415683
1276424035
9576305526
9055393995
4576044057
1174041147
4201402210
9246848344
9726161926
8586448868
6357073357
8962062019
4909119990
8707143235
9527119030
8366469926
8719086629
8359114699
6962330026
4044449044
2222520532
2222492242
8555555869
0672495022
8163035632
9719650862
5945540222
2126630062
8687661678
4534222244
0834114404
6029889982
5530730505
5537700955
5639659415
4837792236
0537127113
8810247121
6908225661
6986939917
6904944810
9987993671
2494947641
2488998988
6044774767
1996898699
6955299595
9600994996
4680888046
0499140499
9753175157
2662666662
7121911411
2792167216
7153170459
0691113392
5460693901
0629998287

The puzzle

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

3262733332
7535881878
4707777077
1997517191
9632333232
1202721974
4292378106
1231730608
1235884353
7737572486
5212221525
4466464416
1884410481
5250090598
0030533650
6813231420
0277460315
5467931510
6116491521
9073190426
9226191922
2638222222
5739993495
7904117977
3506995366
9606908686
5738975310
7004294973
3639138923
9909977893
5444515284
2428180241
7647007046
1157171271
8111198168
0792617176
5479905244
2013018248
8130018246
5057577541
5436142782
5506863842
5006178398
2225485581
5446128504
1146111614
7226171121
5006360230
5432112521
2505405445
6001982240
6776648424
6372644419
8376497690
6676922073
2151955511
8072428408
6606666666
6372632122
7306430060
7962860235
4993324131
7869135750
4023740352
7899740973
3922791793
7969767766
7803888870
6422442464
4093343440
7292626810
3219359152
3220355539
5920361236
5370520071
3912533191
3297572997
4200340304
7322373379
5979997977
8836793090
5862370875
8569188973
0564434707
0855104067
6595196163
6852485845
8864384348
0636766776
5262452265
8208402448
3443334893
5162515128
2878887882
3303370039
3624630049
0816389889
6105985828
7014600889
5443770043
4839944883
4467464446
5319449951
2820111290
0785578757
4817563170
2820439702
5367928447
5085433008
5737499124
7274246123
1458246041
4400245059
0049695615
0985896013
7573175129
4804484011
2525247625
0596096005
6767666753
8090000980
0890330789
6268888620
0120771220
1127116102
8641231620
2027070620
3567780720
7910406280
0240728780
6815947821
4749948603
6744669854
9029937854
8645818551
0383330820
3111049601
4118861814
5535838565
1175717851

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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