An interesting puzzle: eyAnOicgPT4gJycsICcgJyA9PiAnLScsICdzXG4nID0+ICdzLmNvbVxuJyB9 (3548, 4648)

An interesting puzzle: eyAnOicgPT4gJycsICcgJyA9PiAnLScsICdzXG4nID0+ICdzLmNvbVxuJyB9 (3548, 4648)

This mysterious email popped up on craigslist in the jobs section – spawing an interesting online contest that sucked up most of yesterday.

http://www.networkmirror.com/hUmsXHsC3yihic9B/denver.craigslist.org/sof/514727825.html

I was very skeptical that it was more viral marketing for Cloverfield (http://www.1-18-08.com/) Which I was not at all interested in promoting. But the puzzles got interesting, then more interesting, then more. I got interested in the coding parts, and a small community popped up to answer the questions.

The solutions broke down like this.

1. The original text was simply Base16/32/64 Data Encoding, which gave you some instructions:
{ ‘:’ => ”, ‘ ‘ => ‘-‘, ‘sn’ => ‘s.comn’ }

on how to decode the message title – which gave you a web address to go to: wanted-master-software-developers.com

2. You then had to code up a function that satisfied the sequence of test sections. It turned out to be a logic diagram that had ‘falling’ true/false parts of the matrix that acted like tetris pieces with an extra ‘sticky’ rule. There were a variety of ways to solve this coding function – brute force, or mimic the logic of the falling true/false sections. Here was a short answer:

f = function(d) {
for (var i = d.length – 1; i > 0; i–)
{
for (var j = 0; j < d[i].length; j++)
{
if (d[i-1][j] == true && d[i][j] == false && d[i-1][j+1] != true
&& d[i-1][j-1] != true && (d[i][j-1] != true || d[i][j+1] != true)) {
d[i-1][j] = false;
d[i][j] = true;
}
}
}
}

peopled tried cheating by doing:
f = function(d) { TDD.assertEquals = function(a,b) { return true; } }

But when you got through all the tests successfully, the function spits out a weird list of words. These words are from the wikipedia article on Henry Ford (gained from the other clues embedded in the html). People wrote down the indexes of those words, then wrote the indexes in the form of which were the deltas of the distances in between the words which lead to the sequence:

0,1,1,2,1,1,2,1,1,2,1,1,2,2,2,1,1,2,1,1,2,4,2,3,3,1,1,-2,0,1,1,-2,0,1,1,-5,0,0,0,-1,2,-4,-2,1,-1,2,0,-2,1,-5,0,1,1,-4,-2,0,1,1,-4,-2,0,1,1,-2,0,-2,-2,0,1,1,0,-2,1,-5,0,0,0,-4,0,0,0,-2,-2,0,1,1,-6,0,1,1

When these are fed back into the correct F function (which you figured out above), the algorithms true/false matrix is converted to blue blocks that spells out “coLLAborATE” in the 2D grid below, which you add to the ?key= http at the top:
http://www.wanted-master-software-developers.com/?key=coLLAborATE

Which gives a cryptic box with text and a strange pixely border around it.

3. Problem 2/3:

When viewing the HTML, the id tags on each section were strange. When pulled out in order, they gave this sequence:
IMCB OMC JHKC PHL ODLTP ACC DCOLDB OH IMCBJC VTT AOVDOCK BHI SHAOXBQ
PHL CZLVTA EC ODVBASHDOA OH DCVTEA LBJMVDOCK

Which was a simple substitution cypher:
WHEN THE CODE YOU TRULY SEE RETURN TO WHENCE ALL STARTED NOW POSTING YOU EQUALS ME
TRANSPORTS TO REALMS UNCHARTED

So go back to problem 1/3, and enter the http address:

wanted-master-software-developers.com
and change it to:

wanted-master-software-developers.com/?you=me

Which leads you to page 3/3

Problem 3/3

People started noticing that the text in 2/3 hadn’t been solved – and that the image around 2/3 was unique and not around the 3/3 question. People noticed the name strawberry-rhubarb.css was strange too – along with the font name called Boulder-18. There was also some patterns in the bit layout of the weird border image. After looking around at the image a bunch, they counted the number of grey pixels between black pixels and got: 3 1 4 1 5 9 2 6 5 = pi. From the first red pixel to second red pixel is the pi encoding. From the 2nd to 3rd red pixel, the number before the green pixel is the index into pi, and the number after the G is the 6 digits of pi at that location (to verify you’re not insane). After the 3rd R is many more indexes in this form. So, someone downloaded the first million digits of pi and wrote a program to do the work for us. You get a big list of indexes into pi, and the values they point to. Every one of those indexes is a 6-digit value – and was unique in they all either started with a 0 or 1. This got people thinking and if you take those indexes and interpret them as ascii, each 6-digit index is a pair of ascii characters:

So the first few indexes extracted from the image give:
111112 = 111 112 = o p
032099 = 032 099 = ‘space’ c
111100 = 111 100 = o d
101115 = 101 115 = e s

equals: “op codes” – wow! Keep going and get:

op codes: e: push integer value of next ascii char (list 1). u: pop
value and output as ascii char. l: pop value, push ceil (value/2). a:
pop two values, push sum. i: pop two values, push 1st popped – 2nd
popped. n: pop value, push value + 1. t: pop value, push value – 1. r:
pop value, push value * 2. other: discard. list 1: -, A, B, I, N, R.
eAeNlaueNe-nlaueAe-ttaueAe-ttaueBe-au = hello

This ‘algorithm’ makes sense when looking at the garbled text on 2/3 and 3/3. I followed the algorithm on the text by hand, but after 2 minutes, I realized that writing up the solver in java would be faster. I wrote up the stack machine/rules in Java and I ran the text on 2/3 through it and got:
cerebrum, vere-tempus, together (adv).

The text on 3/3 gives:
Explain the significance of the date:
(with 1-18-2007). The button’s text is: Go.

So, you put the answer on 3/3, but the question is 2/3. But what did it mean?

So, folks brainstormed to get cerebrum=brain, vere-tempus = real-time, and together = simul/una = as one. After scads of folks googling all kinds of combinations, one guy hit on: “+brain, +real-time +una” comes up with a link to http://www.n-brain.net/faq.html

Which is a collaborate project called UNA being released mid-January – and is in Boulder, CO (which the text encoding was Boulder-18 non-sense font)

So, the significance of 1-18-2007 is that it’s the release date for their UNA project by n-brain. More fiddling around with combinations (spaces/not/etc). People looked at the code for the button and tried them encoded as well as not and hit upon the phrase:

UNAreleasedate

Re-encoded using their method to get (can be re-encoded in many different ways if you’d like):

eRnnnueNueAueRleIaue-leNaueRleBanue-leNaue-leIanueBleRaue-leNaueBleBanue-leIanueBleRanue-leNau

Enter that in the text box on 3/3 page and that gives you the solution and a link to the congratulations page – indicating I was solver #88. I entered the form, but declined the job interest (I’m happy where I am right now). But come mid-January I should have a copy of some free software!

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