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:

6089146313
0872690162
1346641462
9031346163
8214016863
8749191848
4244141452
6000000766
0663690163
3144616343
6232728087
9209640686
9509547148
9239762050
8101704974
3160991906
7202972722
6531651555
8309600893
9100707980
7297586083
8884782010
0826782619
5063886089
5578612019
1013316031
7280882087
1649881569
6262122619
0344064063
2446041747
3952775153
6422645779
9765063559
1678211157
1911111579
7009740747
2527775273
8288832158
7774664117
3937333733
6012418000
1078300008
3696999633
0347555470
3697943340
6978483940
3378974374
3017494369
9076571857
5257775555
1134014500
6192869129
5492696659
1155555155
1192580114
1152653855
5455069476
1197007724
9252724398
0553374029
3099308631
9684333775
6550151328
9597344850
6056330236
3387188333
0699290690
9594854554
0750100001
5827659287
2270084372
0569615674
0636456661
7693056271
9999559697
6622986298
6626264272
8588656381
1545445464
9870177507
4802598218
3495196247
7577896548
9778696824
7740577548
9118890118
6434626364
7662276227
8668888869
2710287441
8210285086
8780748275
6279953212
8781966981
2771972777
8036808082
9210210129
5440755754
6780968686
5135535333
1694961944
4504845800
2902302222
8549994298
2939369450
4909877408
8699530369
8295964192
4535977677
2556843337
9847808476
4734508717
0967284437
6712679757
6627979612
3377743377
8500708757
3435586435
8379878836
0906200029
8336663688
2848191482
7755575759
5541554141
8145273129
0970671651
5112653749
6977954181
4733595650
2868768827
5313563135
7323767793
5060010650
2929191823
1878613833
2158310190
2069160653
9591862857
1723067155

The puzzle

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

2242552240
7799749387
6767657066
8534113845
9869196013
4763616247
6533259043
8002812580
8355099846
1595642215
8377277272
1336636031
0926022626
7657957779
1873113711
8337905374
0374028265
1373967093
1957674962
7837038961
6666864687
4237712437
0730060370
3433333389
0009937509
1416214300
7649117507
9908160980
7529910589
9601333387
1727447747
7516165116
1187579571
9872888887
0914559019
7127523074
1972560975
9127955898
7114409515
9126505434
4658255624
0334431433
5880808588
2763132272
1578158111
2754102437
4766418018
1588105807
1688473306
4368100590
6684310854
2321392555
4777803582
0708910752
6249493588
0359393509
2445454852
8288212882
8009800758
5357110735
9631534879
9431775224
9731195206
8150383853
9034528983
8631538328
5054100550
9782787279
1910331113
9431119193
0423783540
7168203778
0490815512
0537835842
6787257402
1772337712
9555815840
4450505545
4004343400
0880050078
8463594327
3820127646
3213972032
1923713662
8263780853
6022770052
3813553335
8461248461
1920102000
3245255332
4304760809
0441617854
1394621104
7314823114
0222050804
8358553882
7741717714
5990923409
1473373104
6256260852
7625553619
8305726865
9018379669
4328053806
2799679815
6673773316
1166976619
0659659605
6666676016
5328343865
2002318252
2593723542
7302789291
3462412090
0592743106
2562752777
0592229950
3372774733
7003803708
2418444482
1488110848
5329996503
7444774776
4441475441
8384338481
4187815508
3371736488
9068136803
0908496828
5692918776
6658105500
6391774706
7164497550
9442271384
8403474950
9927757952
9010794700
5000005500
6636676356
1381151381

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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