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:

2758852885
6064104046
2200220222
0239112833
0356737335
6309142814
6358853782
2069594010
2206117551
2200257131
9150369826
1984603424
4447983407
4403329424
0342611406
4414118464
7004001427
7688864806
9070729707
2219993921
3450430267
9392453663
9142395169
3678140692
5407835662
2203330752
5554655669
3361713697
5555555169
9932399263
9200290268
2732571523
6255961095
5959755749
5827552873
7135875528
4058155269
6949552775
6508453225
5570175073
5981555559
4695346463
7257325537
3428888984
6662336263
7297520660
4655826573
3458334241
3456358113
3965344729
4120680500
6435049798
9541688508
0977578352
0013836752
3039979390
8552636582
5787228756
7767070303
7888888788
5833433435
6356436035
2772472272
4687877848
4978333744
2873365118
6885866024
5877499877
2776428560
4872384438
5077701757
9820252809
5595553955
7462764075
9339138891
7608034875
6362953001
5390969751
1176708075
2317261871
2480332330
9990290929
2927525225
0357870338
6463335646
2460365730
2953218865
9927385442
1920330116
0320387746
4776946997
3579474473
8715074810
3616836681
0205550255
8719567369
3519490541
8715820781
4575362440
0605083999
5277784798
4293568471
3712163594
4583134642
3682542169
3156151111
4283683647
4713777773
5577665777
3662563662
8424156498
8231222489
1027424480
2527830810
3697636881
0001130811
8487958489
9800926890
6158163518
7242242720
9731988328
3120451861
3056571848
8501588226
2063258346
8778376853
3184881848
3727256327
6778878826
6888688268
5852950848
0897709757
2802838769
4858776717
0802761049
0772373776
5827999987
6858358868
4392734229
0802808808

The puzzle

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

0421371740
0433248348
0029251729
8019247601
5351301888
0323333340
2051415124
8499499949
5332255335
0226502205
9538694559
4401164149
4116381149
1728874769
5908694540
7544574540
1911191161
9359390393
4465969549
5856886458
6854262226
3868488888
6906101106
5378070675
9281599915
6388544120
3984125466
3354032152
5804797907
6854252374
3567634549
4042787209
7986736509
3039576709
8750676729
7077977709
5295995522
6566536569
9244686459
0099424209
4597552185
7798018611
1448858271
6757158461
5751678665
2516552611
8728278285
8632358263
4740478472
6002024160
2713777338
3444663434
4893484934
1224142421
9887799898
4714744330
2814723430
0794621124
1494480576
4824751041
3134111938
5111115531
0080337801
7466076408
5771117356
9171411931
7248877431
7885107956
6175516901
5569137338
1276373337
6669669666
1516611631
9462726747
0794779977
1474340249
0974301403
6412771245
9566344722
1619629635
5757858537
2996666392
1000001801
0080929068
9518315793
4839018761
8343752797
4496426592
0332209538
0520956598
4305923015
4906138133
4908197279
4908154715
2218561107
2606110610
4605564464
2248525542
7327117727
7913003960
1147612001
5902263324
9707162024
7276958034
1096612538
2323552034
1191016001
0026660024
6336663030
5835338578
4179144624
4071823604
8773155762
7513308662
8761183634
7173993977
9769669999
8479883997
1019301903
4121111111
4017655965
4069800864
8017161197
3408350621
0414344728
3429338334
4518648681
4617741771
8067606877
0004101410
8569069586
0569121571
1509665743
4539749682
0563506040
4469196451
4500005000
1533858138
8539538955
0469709476

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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