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Thread: Musings on the Beacon Star

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    Molnar's Avatar
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    Default Musings on the Beacon Star

    I plan to use this thread to post various ideas and observations about The Beacon Star embedded hunt.

    Note 1: There may be spoilers posted here in the future. You have been warned.

    Note 2: Expect me to be snarky in this thread. You have been warned.
    WHRECVBBLSMCEYVIHTEOIZROMR

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    In celebration of the author finally posting a legible version of the of the big grid, I'll start there.

    I expect that one must traverse this grid in a similar manner to that used by Horace, by going from symbol to symbol. But there is no apparent mechanism.

    There is, however, something apparent in this grid that I (and I'm sure others) have noticed, but I seen haven't discussed anywhere. I'll talk more about this in about a week, but for now, a clue in limerick form:
    Seek a quirk in the big grid's design
    Where a straggler has stepped out of line.
    To untangle this ruse
    Map the whisker-like clues---
    Find the wellspring with sentries feline.
    WHRECVBBLSMCEYVIHTEOIZROMR

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    You may have noticed that twelve of the glyphs in the big grid are the signs of the western zodiac. They are all aligned in a single column except for one, Sagittarius. Emanating from Sagittarius are five street names: Tremont Pl, Court Pl, Twentieth, Twenty-First, and Twenty-Second.

    These are streets that surround Benedict Fountain Park in the southern part of the Five Points area of Denver. The fountain in the park has four lions reclining at its base.

    The question is what is the significance of this park? Is it a starting point? Why Sagittarius?
    WHRECVBBLSMCEYVIHTEOIZROMR

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    cvsnipe05 is offline Needs to say Hello! cvsnipe05 is an unknown quantity at this point
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    Do you have any thoughts on the grid/coordinate plane on page 11? I thought it may be an affine cipher because of the ordered pairs you could plot.... something’s telling me that may be way off though.

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    I apologize for my delay in responding. I haven't yet figured out what is going on with that particular puzzle, but some sort of grid based solve seems likely. The setter seems to like using at least basic forms of steganography so the outward appearance of a puzzle is just a distractor. This is evidenced by the triangle puzzle he posted and another puzzle I will describe in a future post. So although it looks like a Go board, it is likely solved by some other mechanism.

    For your idea of an affine cipher, you would need some ciphertext to apply your ordered pairs to. It's possible, but I'm leaning toward these puzzles as being independent one-offs that provide clues.
    WHRECVBBLSMCEYVIHTEOIZROMR

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    While I've been off working on this year's Pablo's ATH, it seems like there has been an increase in postings about this hunt around the net. There has been a potential solution for the puzzle on page 19, which I like to call the tangram puzzle (not because it is a tangram, but it looks like one). With a pretty high degree of confidence, I disagree with that posted solution. Why? Well, because there's a cleaner, more elegant solution, obviously .

    So let's talk about that puzzle. One thing that you might note right away is that the various polygons each contain one letter, and all letters A-M are included. This just screams ordering mechanism. So, the only thing remaining are the numbers. Each polygon also has a certain number of occurrences of a given value. If we take the frequencies of occurence and the values, we can form an ordered pair for each polygon. Doing so, one notes that both sets of numbers range from 1-5.

    At this point there is a good possibility that this is a Polybius cipher. If we take a standard Polybius tableau, and use the frequencies as rows and the values as columns, we can extract a message:
    Code:
    A: (4,3) -> S
    B: (4,4) -> T
    C: (1,1) -> A
    D: (4,2) -> R
    E: (4,4) -> T
    F: (1,1) -> A
    G: (4,4) -> T
    H: (4,4) -> T
    I: (5,2) -> W
    J: (1,5) -> E
    K: (3,1) -> L
    L: (5,1) -> V
    M: (1,5) -> E
    The message START AT TWELVE may pertain to the big grid, which has only one value of 12.
    WHRECVBBLSMCEYVIHTEOIZROMR

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