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:

3972059190
1950077630
3372787798
5642728443
8661147046
3370770373
1662010261
5942749575
8941014994
7672167678
5799556759
1610020618
0777709667
4004004232
1141333179
0255030639
5883853762
0195909619
6240753159
8443950697
9725795765
1874141488
4810644406
6187414646
3581333388
6885326161
4875333364
6874115637
1785355150
6818345285
2378500878
2678128888
4688634673
5218858365
2413107852
7499191918
4203634064
2011812120
9678576588
4381414411
2111921299
0454401204
8844648864
5122291852
5665515671
0336691662
7302641692
2118399894
7397025659
9663601894
7375337573
1457010050
3429222222
6670166160
9423397394
3429189653
9429393244
9879383997
6470348795
6475020579
0151151111
1727575357
4461011661
8041641048
3209333039
3759105827
4121060599
3091591032
1421014117
8201599056
4722404724
4404040244
2894494283
3713474843
3965339625
7848090623
4395694243
3800164624
2311534223
9029679724
4044034604
7606062240
7383048073
7933797433
9666996661
2441034670
0897962633
0407977063
8407647003
2738846431
0523226064
9515831245
0602015910
7755162515
0357037565
6666715667
2131132212
1068661510
0244226024
3475537545
8498827756
9543401596
4004981426
4154931299
5492237116
2727137123
2674627466
7599885799
5955333515
5010001455
9978990409
0337195678
6513798098
7198105083
6563495978
9894998495
1000915009
6776680677
5995895968
6880004888
8662366282
6898468646
0930306003
8127512778
6954151914
8157100666
8658166935
6657307570
6694323589
6870143423
6822606809
1362306259
6307638749
6355651718
3355381708
6555356665
3324624637
4827686622
0362423226
3005600055

The puzzle

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

8888789237
3262776329
2737172018
8848048780
9612992916
1669699219
2935286988
1540142039
3707786126
8553579016
2244124152
9945949751
3275763573
0006880306
3718336871
8702039173
7804069701
0610229301
0295189855
6244746751
7246000060
3238933223
3947848337
5796191190
2560756662
3297183216
5296994227
5231966939
3736868171
3567945910
2222622690
6326233262
8878678886
2991971939
1988771198
4882431990
5801771696
5179131988
5676973194
9238678980
6005959134
9005936864
5159225420
1805628614
8885924881
5850150518
1175211571
5885050608
8109900891
6089666669
4317320202
8913001473
4322149109
4680574664
8913523856
4583538385
7393333339
4697115441
8922089022
9314514545
9619592527
6865559747
0557190525
1489252622
8058056635
5092353729
5345996435
7929979642
8287852887
5585882521
6500364530
1010565102
1418736781
9219627169
4492336492
7129036792
1061334382
2495235189
3032865761
2639466100
0810410804
0800070008
7874817847
5664776365
0045550041
7903210047
8113110051
3372510004
2742850044
6560810067
5209170066
3793731136
7314237166
6110621850
6296470667
7036330657
7770971069
6558378536
3686636853
1653023160
1548151165
1642122466
5123212232
1810180101
0557170775
1818188049
4653192609
1543155102
1627216858
5520136297
6548015153
6905715176
6062931826
2927715533
3618835143
1322797123
6652135146
1727312173
1383090831
5966591566
0937590375
0228626002
0871070008
9749849779
0427777520
9421501080
0747785933
0231034474
0841573837
0129780026
8771108324
7429006215
7172418966
8243424510
7009896314
1612196215
5045919505
9996998964
2224224225
3660306316

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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