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:

0222222022
1577571652
2383849388
2272881722
3723732273
4062071723
8193282358
3570749722
7051471758
0699881370
5250450445
0790200770
1297597713
2685050255
6700777607
0697569093
1087003074
0795252265
5795061647
0200742560
4321713661
8780680151
0640613154
2024969154
5446893659
1212194612
6615610656
4929249321
9905190159
8366963964
1316350164
5380755400
7150453364
8303921806
3707835100
5953151399
0606003660
8660930196
5515155106
7322427834
4322242233
1681288162
5806886808
1110707171
2333393243
1407092141
3542988142
8455482143
1573943234
5948482871
2585375705
0934272583
3994071272
1373070261
2776495202
0070770503
1221211222
7815895781
2999272279
4366146185
1995891181
3662362332
7782882287
8336688639
1465754464
1685787933
7762711661
0686373960
1496863520
7662843172
1094681324
0816059355
7895581555
7814394321
2733856451
6255551552
4824285324
4444446451
9499984295
1616696361
9169410694
0685008858
3117917973
3222363232
3555535537
2777810558
9906330538
2534038838
4020023638
2537618298
0593333005
3508770558
7581665676
9210001122
8631933033
8588741231
9693984415
0538358668
0561672253
7281062777
8750101500
5946111994
3424924347
6128525515
4300550330
4950584543
6424531865
6922522321
3306998498
3740946844
9592898589
8896446886
5379872993
7732537357
4074337744
7374541788
7772496480
8032107312
4396486234
9536813066
2016032160
1811181389
5045005504
0606101016
3060399073
0879235314
1610701364
0278701010
6596291074
9936238116
3185164816
6364101985
3784302123
3424564691
6885144888
3385333833
3704600753
3664563545
6824114646
9185318338

The puzzle

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

0912019900
0431640346
0914694624
9516755971
5637113173
9411741955
0512082164
9916658900
5616134088
0418060302
7171171599
7773735797
0220202230
2453440932
2544954289
1859070592
1325040699
1694334987
7711805780
9332401299
1079400949
6551115555
6892396662
9239424949
2074331223
6852365132
6894449024
4274369815
1571358597
6074315096
7472601703
7375905577
5079056770
5472715900
7241010573
7775117526
3688686547
0000501500
7717715777
5007050273
9400700777
2005707075
0681210716
7610377306
1302991011
1600782970
7681944159
9050934866
0402255104
1000710051
1922729291
8323682232
2114711221
9715111111
0808118150
9315105855
6924770144
8913144111
0328612398
1322689248
5074895744
2974129462
4058152235
7120189330
5910104867
2929192990
5030105130
7254852444
5177677771
4615555415
7561980300
8761939171
4204193004
4206645374
7161903861
7278177773
4161614466
8764987967
1306838161
3101903311
8691226198
1917711379
0447666467
9892990982
5255979552
5718276172
0552999168
2271816968
3511546957
4783021167
6809627703
3805082100
3859388427
0809022544
5859123091
0409110000
2179297872
6700370303
3849099384
5859665868
9447445329
4054005400
5102515200
0880101487
3362979236
6473615287
4799175289
4251215280
8376379386
5150511488
3908222290
0083605003
7065606557
3820022200
7800557005
3860567268
3020510162
0925669165
3008338451
7980292189
3603333064
3852252386
1000101105
7744790474
1811353112
9183631176
2843953112
2239793374
6883953372
6009101512
3889831818
9598088445
1505185818
0094181605
5772815647
5468338645
5857885857
6197681469
1343333418
4155414745

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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