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:

3462514083
6016359617
6740698067
0710693953
3622325237
3410334303
0656950696
9142090192
6762666766
1025250820
7778645830
1595940884
0523954503
0391956552
5275948709
7258995959
5779657766
7591874188
1645959445
0353707377
0959957396
8118355928
0307150829
5228257309
5986257105
8522955209
2765757326
5095050910
6991560195
8655557826
2595374781
7730421653
4098427720
2087076746
2097140228
5798171178
2007300702
4715050027
7290277022
9586445555
8216191811
1688491810
4779991402
4148491012
5092697461
9119191819
8506684460
1921991201
2291297812
5272276522
9655906935
2882252828
9406939060
2668878268
7727772627
1079872260
2928478935
4302596668
1708432027
2233656035
4092539159
9130169759
0230900178
6107695625
9331890699
3823335258
0999999790
4667960179
5996555699
2745449725
2020699206
9435594145
3757278532
5515553521
5451510245
0509078545
2342259241
8893150236
8508254212
3214399146
2927779297
2935696595
5957455555
2399797379
1223917322
2397782972
5937732299
5227779667
1529970513
2937446106
0900330141
5095990595
0050590075
9999999999
9960916809
0531430979
1044190045
1695130901
0384290999
8247190345
3302023033
3145544513
8619996508
0448494085
6361137163
9254033518
4372496133
5104197105
2892224108
0012163503
9762626876
0205575230
2266525622
8852787528
9576597356
1211495632
3213327878
6577027330
6887727622
7742992856
9909449743
9792214279
2901290122
3343304736
7311991537
8626619236
9620591577
4806811146
0078119179
4932494520
1116638661
3838838663
8339539353
9446096404
3733773363
3469038663
4626039363
9022916653
2016578361
8842138364

The puzzle

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

4177771437
3334333324
7111878191
5832638266
5876755867
1243258127
3528471167
9408538467
0514858881
7839351864
5047690405
5654257203
7283620703
4895777713
6411075288
0277970796
5979995705
0405350413
7272277218
1511555181
8433388456
4724951455
1079357715
2096581495
6711057828
4562552446
6862866892
1781887118
5889158158
5555251225
5514626451
1724546646
0511049356
4519516898
5783585996
5724552542
1561016161
2589295202
0684486488
4113211113
2363773336
2669126627
8275785288
0340044043
8925995929
8223963558
8365743613
8679953405
2660737317
8941798738
5117111775
2422595724
8211213822
5430586405
8558558058
5322255858
0393418728
7173791725
8917616874
5749668475
8908971396
4945051510
9179115580
9334863596
2812071484
1333111593
5700171510
8886865484
6663623316
0008061500
5097479486
5007991403
5126344588
6369143180
4399851505
9191779108
4466994486
1490041805
0970093507
5505555450
7715790016
4892644225
0915004683
2810023903
3996708941
3412333441
5805008080
0700666670
7691772617
4916649466
8529969168
5324941991
9494962575
2554993199
9791569863
5396939496
2524225422
9779070779
8985555855
8431113133
1865391841
8202311782
0517860697
4962859442
3255291882
5241717492
1111651681
1999991896
4771111747
5659369345
9966396033
3944314934
8878272288
2716756716
0710117508
9267274536
9804357708
9363116988
8527097433
0673516088
6463763964
9332832922
3030430330
5028685550
6139555366
6138767067
6339905072
6362483090
6062842651
6028865589
0881305458
4827032144
4430054597
7620098474
0531905978
7871557277
4537053500
5490009000
0921321220
4083903930

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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