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:

5258820054
9296670602
1258321410
5202407964
9792344945
2252999252
9894449844
5268683686
5702372253
1999899911
2569888526
5086653656
4081800140
1671711171
7539797999
2571705531
4669706063
1071881853
5089833784
4635814295
7933733733
4493143791
8709680080
5027577505
7911179171
4093525180
7937115278
9939699836
8717191842
7993109489
5527627572
6833383333
0995490094
5665662666
0147910090
0845322046
5837642809
0837936775
5805695169
5165413708
8811114887
2909092909
8277778092
8878887647
7156717145
1413492895
7077284805
4134084882
7381910807
3869688197
1398398193
2582555558
3807177333
1411645114
9124334233
1324165317
1412391765
1208333046
9117389470
1492311333
4446404664
3333335273
9929929789
6755556557
0720939087
0371456087
2705139739
9618609067
5880135753
1883859277
0084832553
8990751555
3819941225
4481772265
6702079663
7255573255
1525851825
2555842558
7795979058
4616681663
4161100091
2233786986
4982266373
4152970855
2113761030
2183912221
3152133955
2130701121
4993292934
4211221141
4334333483
3218118393
4791497314
0088000858
4999559794
2149038898
3742298394
8218950783
3334037493
7264969394
3138472733
7828112001
3199856093
6040581121
6277411201
6367776153
2372111723
8921282251
2213382331
2505052007
8392037133
4916233553
0125047150
4607283569
5591837533
6256338652
4390343539
5333537353
3443434143
4264227460
6541307403
5361799456
3242499749
3340791143
2702720272
2348772848
5562442526
3531753313
6740444442
6202706222
3304230133
6564774644
7835838787
2892522228
3784557748
7365761298
2794561166
2884238442
2994555945
6702859720

The puzzle

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

1733970239
4406210320
2875333870
2533332680
1253907005
2253993333
4772227277
1506351165
4334934441
2805202522
3213276132
7097780502
6255673702
9431470448
5643273502
4707774808
5035353590
1104178104
2304770442
2233686632
7103837013
0530660606
8120222121
6349595036
8024770747
0020784941
8100628089
8040599671
8550822988
7124223572
8886886186
6116881616
2165615626
3352330281
2204992024
0131631686
5554785176
8687036686
6313382116
3105615084
1976666766
8471916784
1277777777
9935093999
3860330833
9230343892
3835375893
9276958841
6275988062
3975605933
9403690406
1017667106
3245055304
9395055931
8828332338
8028368115
8445017804
8328007711
9295646323
3215799244
4857995988
5170807187
6479669946
2022822286
7052150527
7079928721
7027120098
8472897765
7070877438
4859817489
8272825888
3344634666
3300333100
0907595077
2080515082
8131634600
2478133088
5159594076
1502215088
9208598107
2343009535
8075079485
8049504194
5245592496
2575323771
8058550885
5279557292
2547172731
2385333333
6122001122
6862862689
8929199812
0777227387
4744647968
2228352823
4301057969
0841262623
4125897888
2094957827
1388747610
6782535456
2474620871
8737670533
8667216514
2383149638
3777171173
2632626262
5784976448
8363536533
6287282227
8109293379
8731977389
2789185585
0944801387
7923275377
7077577560
1877701387
1181198281
5578885583
9738883379
1197611141
0861651721
2949932121
4010530841
0870231121
4411111044
5621156121
1117211721
2944232824
0770077007
6996804580
6929253609
0768809174
6460298757
6629167081
6199119966
6968796980
6629296226
9770807979
6426848648

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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