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:

2614464114
5790557980
5151051301
1411841182
2494154912
9602251981
0083157154
3871351311
6919551982
6067441184
1072070420
8262298226
3434003346
3292934992
1272175122
7780630142
0095373422
4727875226
6734630290
4562734449
1004777400
5845648544
1377477177
1307771774
2226772222
5324764709
1304797609
1245770491
2845705480
6206730398
2230303723
0455808524
1010100691
9512272259
1911911339
9371472239
2654804229
1299500321
0567172521
9525610554
4910532397
8661022211
8804427157
0911493637
4515343126
8964339982
0511000550
6312442443
2405544244
4850888050
8390366088
6158423310
4698542332
0661687573
5168760219
5660336066
8559758355
3291622663
0363466343
4168544184
9020990027
3789716271
8620132130
8608771805
3648762829
8020777070
9606206293
8689988896
3748989779
8609909098
8238663322
5616013510
4451445144
8180228028
4995119919
4656182780
4185488347
8276480709
4910605285
4480694157
6272954088
2302507112
4283171364
6620358114
0278658143
5554558084
1171941119
7776767124
9797379363
8408404948
1221202122
9956661957
6393693689
2872879825
3551554155
8219693189
3753052657
4075672989
8163751922
2603876127
5917201180
2901076277
9901051392
9112897278
9102102803
0952115090
9112011211
2903803923
5981291615
9301009091
7930939730
3939937959
6002707068
1939181391
7749556947
1909656757
8933887939
8710707990
2373757760
2657819061
1611106117
8988999086
0140418403
4383850834
5158573615
7453893407
4263928487
3003718803
1131598436
4727679806
9789870647
3243429498
0492915438
4434010491
9299210497
9944910499
4442172441
4707462457
9962820698
2290379230

The puzzle

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

9221430169
4079934214
4005578913
0298718265
4634494113
1314134201
8119918959
2224292214
4404848935
1130110163
4113614161
8832888838
7962777927
4577754774
4562959927
7563947200
4163741644
4062837412
4562651556
4112946315
5325025535
4811011514
0327200222
4257325234
3761316337
3367388492
4227228326
5321049621
4365395116
0861492926
4164641650
8852984015
3136618558
4836320200
8860361257
9158775875
4562656245
3176973133
3860360350
8638783788
3578448834
9158585515
7714970717
3720237332
9180111881
3784980325
3520170705
9184577544
9820278595
9554224179
7077676777
2938111827
5951499555
5265555652
5638753768
5971727906
5661158149
0071431154
5937638867
2658718892
7890925653
7567451503
4005533446
4450770256
4058543543
1067970807
4895758775
4448548455
4503340004
7450004005
0240240421
6651666175
3296638926
2721912902
4833338400
6132438922
7029630020
5985718102
5176160100
1471638102
4237531504
4103971054
5398653654
9296270564
4791672209
6262557269
0080070504
4516421654
5020252050
7959913579
8228350413
3268593992
8636586639
3949236926
1678747268
8246776776
3938233389
3167216141
1628222828
8979557879
1806299175
0854733658
8830937556
8842119656
3347239156
1533513815
9556698556
9994339514
1703307153
6697117618
2107266875
0081666475
9448289395
2850786200
1365436880
0643336400
2228282223
0683863280
5875738875
3592514395
1281111685
0003002350
0440110494
7074080704
6526356325
3396450384
9636502455
3080681330
5862081324
9018500650
2376791609
4332091011
6432096304
4699191471
5544676661
5707776074
0940095604
2764457426
2696981629
3166128361

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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