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:

6663363663
8281128012
3344349533
2551526559
3005550310
1230653012
9710329513
6350770033
4491946063
2886120639
7546545663
9357518860
2956303105
3859376249
9380304647
9343595333
2380000830
2557572505
3589993595
7956397666
5434080254
1004770751
1498110785
2231640784
8570895783
7289979284
3340340371
0820282703
8585598755
6267295622
3656655653
9687697186
8909974009
0111104411
2300338302
4112675006
7252874609
6734694081
0178495001
5758374136
7636051684
5021958589
9334439083
6504569553
1596831583
4890559084
3444464483
9993449699
1155151581
1311831853
0335353335
1040306143
0676567676
8692666696
1310933091
0370903696
1310627771
1375517105
8646644455
0945333724
1386723209
2987485068
5488644470
5216687834
3487703803
2388733723
1086461184
4209099300
5416615565
3307333373
1143411448
7137371603
9799149179
7999274992
8013130881
5817634608
6431671982
4104971642
6080839144
3443370643
8421340531
9577706431
4521737161
4127767129
3527947493
5427995942
4171714714
3524739552
8991717199
9524944922
8898469025
5895046819
3835657605
1832604691
9698762897
8631736833
9892002809
1635735155
3250603585
5898688558
9005535059
7733443703
0221707182
7745702757
0949939409
8669637702
4310839751
2538432789
3242509403
6698533189
8116581958
7733363777
4655165814
5055840855
6667376366
1358875957
4467243865
8782740854
8287877756
8896861864
9994992092
1711772061
9117897138
5557557655
9505950909
6793890069
3278852165
7205050008
3148592695
5663690629
7324222222
3291525535
9075000007
5160851550
0941712400
7325766492
0221842775
3974768446
7295808198
2321079656

The puzzle

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

1071117177
6686377863
0058905958
0082072820
9010910299
3342477823
6571677923
9581315829
4839102998
4053175954
0008260822
5188585488
7077227702
8664328436
5355355623
6913458432
8252427338
3645125723
3130858733
7503360802
1391734832
2220554538
9437596971
5917038927
3919690608
3997937997
8529894528
6777656771
8020650806
6656818635
6103830613
2506222205
8751478521
6826482486
6638776833
6606741324
8801422777
6508292461
6153908755
8856861355
0789708854
4159826606
3781138169
0771138807
9681748820
9271777112
8787668768
0155211215
4769890987
8672162172
2347227496
9949999460
9008990089
1373571530
6654354936
6546670599
7488499486
2216729590
4695824030
4444629289
6445350812
0392159196
5445707519
6444770416
0445105688
0185355805
6319419164
6844161664
3342244843
1490790990
3499344390
2888020888
1600370361
1611191156
0750990427
6954890366
6364691327
1762221360
1308294668
7755991361
9999880939
2622682286
9688498468
4746434679
2514315436
2314830276
1082138469
8829882488
3925185961
3740838479
2339433331
6772527677
0040540500
2870580208
1661911196
6640949982
3672523541
0661549549
2670587344
6770444002
2645656642
9303403348
3196776917
0432244402
2878117822
9493124656
2498422590
2158126920
9392681883
3496479767
1668101487
1466716488
6738226778
3868926184
5202216187
8448114187
7777616777
0144026104
0000000480
4230332468
4026093125
5104977834
2100220823
4903396415
3512891884
5599393825
8847171883
7776176118
7734497438
4111421144
6566886565
2100301032
9892639698
4645545460
0661551806
4987459692
2604126692
6495541568
4517705835
8804451865

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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