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:

0928809088
0618600688
1028112138
9838293288
3489553399
9438128717
9819582606
1488462407
0029868915
9928280935
1453541551
6885005558
0122101111
1661661666
9265397533
0153323802
1282344033
1821571894
6264314666
1451121703
3817084307
8082520337
3884543158
0027903255
1907890307
2898390328
7474084107
9333443356
0202202225
2782223287
6580457329
1926431802
3086365725
1946377768
1986387579
8000770870
6746867874
6926496664
1986396816
1588858854
7772872078
3411131431
8168865881
3333331233
3718713307
7187411031
6599371001
8307415887
3451472289
8155232237
4443334273
8404448490
3937093380
5244494245
1154554154
9675434373
5933044260
9975053385
9964894180
0971494253
1778466225
5250131653
7034281273
0942384055
4072656656
3112351153
7666764657
6567758076
2756776225
1311181341
7709682888
5539455024
5209019062
7277929938
7799983111
8237338723
7507655057
7879987979
3079399773
5796477374
3699224808
7063773152
5016274832
9688287668
8309920871
5009990000
7689228998
3783273777
8318738898
9066066006
2656561286
3386546074
3149669276
1358694157
8682363009
8646555866
2933333422
1758888858
3386633683
8162066881
8828127606
5808153531
7862188449
5552678416
1888164912
7882177122
5057650057
2566969620
1622116111
8818333138
2471566674
4454665590
5903361415
3573476772
0131076770
7665775685
6776661575
2221112212
6666666717
8479086490
6404431231
3651550763
2805242013
0617086013
4875251213
0337337233
1668186016
7237255723
1140242018
4141641061
1134533131
1164725934
4564738767
5927969876
0131520960
1261712676
1734732147
0123530011
4561366431
5147975911

The puzzle

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

1949492441
3646345623
4447460445
0101757120
5355337657
7193437447
5406467457
9900255550
7670450621
4789057623
5022910747
1754420427
7785130797
3249200416
8676631021
1351511459
7097980797
6460006941
0122220126
3237230027
0510551401
0909464094
5539395553
6977906794
3521315683
3169856401
1855256703
4315866453
4984591053
4393304393
8630735618
8495833818
1348415880
0919239118
2632852128
2003112089
1858252810
8183535831
2226215622
9481449128
4448486440
1181081102
0100991200
2436437241
7470775407
8420471200
6319987147
7477735247
3769936207
0808176192
3165895743
2699534571
5840654190
8073191099
6437837140
1513195173
6033036030
3333324743
1151111501
6656667799
4275344344
7401111011
0033800838
4784585445
6958753899
4008784475
6434317206
7705502267
7081534894
9755755814
7933224359
5552686205
9687967948
8885989544
3673113736
1753013935
8555264749
7251226235
7674069344
0284869702
2235375294
1259555032
0755198516
1339103737
2739345259
8736376363
0215102112
1850854805
2299929999
7735553735
1295592551
9992595987
9991991926
5225552553
7711775141
7925292953
2358491151
0732592121
4402975947
9001194521
3334364973
1014411400
9337379232
4522224321
9525555952
3345071953
7940919932
9968015223
4047574802
0458175902
6007704057
6499890320
5408511625
9667076838
5757725869
9559159191
5597055776
6468584486
3707733370
6002862600
6125452847
8260173245
5612570818
9353843849
6668070814
3742973249
4464142614
8049450840
1990770917
0077004978
2538469722
4242215151
8216619730
5258999725
8026013725
4353993125
9119319331
0099669720
1551511252
3334334725

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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