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:

9443143113
7351656111
7312812711
7258444124
9678779887
9411703169
7412861291
7351363076
7411634596
7478770530
7724685791
8530884783
5842605790
2563474784
1185475794
7457774704
4140504451
3733361733
8959885989
8877781797
3626447886
4643434173
5647918658
7947065445
4648583514
4603535340
5941454954
3627923297
7648647626
0725002570
1077791770
2213212263
9684495480
5055440555
6666995665
7240095760
2231141265
7117292263
6923341785
8585490469
4801048322
1575639543
4783230530
0648771440
5049071540
6305776330
3322230922
4345447543
0618861480
5927979952
0719070790
7117110177
4535573534
3999938918
9998938993
1871610534
3446138977
7285270914
9644230533
8138177593
1754175156
9558140574
9501718624
3841410707
3354781524
9846119464
4551411414
3304743340
3751431755
1077004717
9689603398
2031961033
9521688915
6221175656
9290963813
1381338118
9291199729
6609666666
3029430934
9530909390
0994909409
9447494979
0065560915
8033962903
7379917239
0225817919
2407667279
8789660205
0192662005
2504567979
2401098334
3210690960
1182165846
4768735544
1236890230
4763375346
3330330830
6404420264
8595596573
1195165951
1439798952
2395002618
1020662698
2986657672
6388657721
5855558752
2552292525
5375553678
7640465041
1079907912
1519299294
0516939316
5511950771
3918638779
5086987936
0641994024
2059995292
3586883558
5511212551
1988498891
7699699736
0900086074
7667677661
5338258234
7778779087
7200259071
1979079086
1250676036
1352375071
9597178674
8846586848
9022922929
6295263259
7711212712
1931737337
1921909087
1842222695
9011235172
1045209200
7006789562

The puzzle

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

0745354737
5108585058
0260606662
0081308810
4827178672
0080586294
0740762020
5741519048
4787378786
5005633505
8180101888
0259652091
1368998186
6221611122
8400110010
6250161513
6120605437
1401652742
0408142782
2189603142
8845895126
9618176558
6235395095
9690673149
3316472028
7662778226
5529576599
1559595185
4296692642
0085565058
0155050517
4222222248
9699297292
4343302234
5645556624
3347452214
0787352248
1925097214
2630852218
2517953224
6494848798
2888036058
3826449008
7674818716
9669235468
3885935798
3331149361
0800838006
5556665458
3109113310
7610078925
6491378734
3491177225
5298878221
3325672321
0440773904
5255282125
2001772021
3203087230
2128568325
3518565576
8922350112
1964328851
8919739355
1349544165
8919918619
1324731427
3088888888
1361561115
7942332242
4885445548
7394222292
1309553038
3132033231
7203932733
7894989085
4135564546
4204298104
7389967920
2303534660
3799999737
7740347135
4400049401
6233268323
1119914902
6677694427
4796119301
0393149195
8901499325
9686749303
4025503440
7177474630
4627114446
2101614432
4901292680
2624998629
3808373880
4414504415
2313182631
4134313146
3337155452
5864625846
0088866478
0953955878
3697855476
5418151458
5252525592
9408065840
0565555046
4884458874
4676260862
1916528973
4779236889
1676247689
1074907731
1047317117
4999999489
8674574788
5214545551
1076261617
8036007821
8425919786
8850513081
1014882500
7350748021
7460556561
8325882888
3736963669
1850718101
8018010000
2291121291
3678267628
7236767277
1340311364
9015510109
2330764461
7015256747
3230553323
8638533548
7011515828

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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