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Thread: Reverse Engineering the Solution

  1. #121
    Lobster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gizmo2337 View Post
    It would be too easy for every chapter to be the same.

    For chapter 1, I would read the answer differently. The cryptex is talking about a fighter pilot charlie brown. That question is answered in the archives in the first month. To start...start at the beginning.
    But you are again just finding something after the fact and inventing an "instruction". For what you're saying to make any sense, there needs to be one of two things present in the hunt:

    a) A pattern across ALL chapters that unambiguously works and is intended to be discovered through correlation. i.e. if the claim is that the first 2 keys match unencrypted questions, then every single chapter had better match this theory, otherwise it doesn't work.

    or

    b) An instruction somewhere that tells you what something means for chapter X. Nothing anywhere says "for chapter 1 (and only chapter 1), the location of the month of the archive article answering a question matches the location of the first key". In fact, that sort of obfuscation doesn't make any sense at all since the hunt gave us "THE FIRST TWO KEYS ARE 1,20" in big letters on the eagle eye.

    Don't get my wrong, I'm not pointing this out to be mean... I want the answers as much as anyone. But any sort of clue solving has to be done logically and rationally. I think my biggest fear at this point is that the hunt is NOT logical or rational. My fear is that the people who made this hunt did throw in a hundred hints in the book, but not in a way that makes them rationally useful. I hope I am wrong, but there is little evidence to date to allay that fear.

    I am all for finding (a) correlations across ALL chapters or (b) specific actionable instructions. To date, almost no across-chapter correlations have ever been found outside some very light correlations (such as "the cipher used for a chapter sometimes is correlated in some tangential manner to the silver eagle solution for that chapter"). And as for (b), we can find a lot of things that may or may not be intentional hints and tips in the book, but to date 100% of them have been found after solutions have been posted.

    For example, in chapter 4 we have the text "Suddenly the QUESTION escapes me before I can grab it". A hint to use the questions right?

    But.... then in Chapter 1 we have the text "I might have some more QUESTIONS for you". But questions were not where keys were in C1.

    So, we have to conclude that the C4 question "hint" can't be intended, as C1 also has a similar reference and it was NOT a question. So even things that look like reliable hints can't be trusted because other chapters use the same hints but those hints don't amount to anything.

  2. #122
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    I see nothing yet that is a common theme for all the chapters (other than start with optic cross and possibly cryptex). The only common theme is we are progressing in sets of three. We need to use the tools, the chapters and the questions.

    I have yet another theory to help narrow things down. I think the archives also points to which other chapter to look in. So, if you are stuck finding something, maybe check the other chapters that the archives point to. It may not be so random as you may think all over the book. Anyhow, just trying to make some sense of it. It feels like I am getting somewhere with the next chapter without any additional clues.

  3. #123
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    Quote Originally Posted by gizmo2337 View Post
    I see nothing yet that is a common theme for all the chapters (other than start with optic cross and possibly cryptex). The only common theme is we are progressing in sets of three. We need to use the tools, the chapters and the questions.
    My gut at this point is that there are no "rules" across all chapters. I think rather than a logical puzzle, it's more like a haphazard random sprinkling of hints.

    So, some hints are sprinkled in the text of all chapters. Some questions. Some archives. Some chapter intros. Some answers. Some optic cross. Some sponsor websites, etc. No real rhyme or reason. Just stuff thrown out there that is so vague that it's gone over everyone's heads for years.

    The real issues I think are:

    (a) identifying that something really is an intended hint
    (b) understanding what chapter it's a hint for
    (c) decoding how that helps you come up with a list of 20 numbers

    How do we do these? Well, (a) I think is the easiest. You look for things that sound weird or otherwise make little sense as non-hints.

    For example, in C12 we have "Unless we find a way to grow men on trees, it will not be possible for us to push the Saxons out of Brittania entirely. The monks sat back, silently contemplating what Aurelianus had said."

    Clearly this is odd writing, and the fact that the monks are "contemplating" it seems to be an indication to me that we're supposed to contemplate it. What does it mean? Who knows; it's quite possible the clue is so obtuse as to be impossible to reckon without knowing the solution. But I think whoever wrote it intended it to be a hint.

    Or take this from C2.maxie: "Celestial-Love took up a yoga pose on the Navaho rug, the ends of her long brown braids becoming entangled in the fringes of her organic hemp tunic. Peace and love, she intoned in a gentle alto voice, while her fingers moved through the air in front of her as if she was playing some invisible instrument. Maxie just rolled her eyes. Babs and I exchanged a glance, and then Babs began the interview"

    There's just so much symbolic weirdness in that paragraph that it simply HAS to mean something. Either that or the author of that chapter was a little high while typing it. We can't rule that out....

    In any case, the book is filled with stuff like this. Weird forced-writing and recurring symbols, situations, etc.

    On to (b): What chapter solution does a hint go with? I don't know. I've nearly given up trying to solve this bit because it seems unsolvable. So many "clues" in the hunt seem to be detached. You can work out that something is a clue, but what chapter it goes with even if you know what the clue means usually seems impossible.

    I guess we can look at the C1 reference to "crazy questions" as a hint at C4 (one of C4's themes is the main character going crazy) as a hint in C1 at C4 being about questions. But then we have a reference in C1 to "more questions", which might a reference to C5, but unfortunately there's nothing there linking that to C5:

    "Listen, uh, would you mind if I come visit you again? I might have some more questions for you – right now my head is swimming and I can’t even think what to ask – and anyway, I’d like to check up on you from time to time and get to know you a little better, if you don’t mind. "

    The only relationship mapping to "more questions" is "head is swimming". The only place where a character's head spins is C12 ("mind spun furiously) or C7 where a "bomb goes off" in someone's head. So "more questions" is more correlated to C7 and C12 than it is to C5.

    Even C2.maxie confuses this further:

    "While I did my thing, Babs stayed with the suspect and plied her with questions which she
    answered in gentle hippie-ese. "

    If we are to believe that references to questions help indicate what chapter(s) use questions as the text source, then this would indicate that C2 would hide keys in "questions" would it not? But it doesn't.

    Is this statement a reference to another chapter solution then? Well, how would you know? How can you tell whether a "hint" hints at the CURRENT chapter or another chapter? You can't.

    Let's pretend it is another chapter. What chapter would it be? Well, "plied her with questions" is recurring vocabulary, most particular with C11:

    "Ah, yes. Then there is the fate of poor Ann Askew from Lincolnshire, the
    only woman in recent memory upon whom those Tower devils have plied their
    trade."

    So therefore the C2 reference to questions is hinting that C11 hides keys in questions like C4 and C5? Who knows. You can't conclude that because the other references to questions aren't consistent.

    As for (c) (how does a clue map to solving a sequence of 20 keys), well you really get into difficult land there. How does someone nodding or looking back or coughing or laughing or whatever-ing help? If someone looks back, are they looking at the back of the chapter in reference? Are they reading a sequence backwards? Are they flipping words backwards? Are they looking to the back of the book? To the back of the chapter? Are they reading forward, which goes from front to back? The English language is simply not precise enough to be helpful most of the time. This is why most hunts use images and pictures in clues, because images can far more precisely convey useful information.

    Now there are images in the book, but they all suffer from (b) above. It doesn't appear to me that most chapter images provide clues for the current chapter -- it seems that most chapter pictures provide clues for OTHER chapters, but working out what helps what is just a big question mark.

  4. #124
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lobster View Post
    Even C2.maxie confuses this further:

    "While I did my thing, Babs stayed with the suspect and plied her with questions which she
    answered in gentle hippie-ese. "

    If we are to believe that references to questions help indicate what chapter(s) use questions as the text source, then this would indicate that C2 would hide keys in "questions" would it not? But it doesn't.

    Is this statement a reference to another chapter solution then? Well, how would you know?
    In C5 chapter summary "had permitted Laffitte and his famous predecessors... to ply their trade in the Gulf of Mexico" might be the reference you are looking for here. I didn't have girl version of C2 so I didn't see the word plied before you mentioned it here... the word ply in the C5 summary was really nagging at me but couldn't pin it down to anything.

  5. #125
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    I see your point, and interesting observations. One point stuck out in my mind...of course having the solution helps a lot.

    I guess we can look at the C1 reference to "crazy questions" as a hint at C4 (one of C4's themes is the main character going crazy) as a hint in C1 at C4 being about questions. But then we have a reference in C1 to "more questions", which might a reference to C5, but unfortunately there's nothing there linking that to C5:
    C5Q7 - In 1933 more than 400000 american 20 dollar "double eagle" gold coins were manufactured. They were ordered destroyed by the then president Franklin Roosevelt. Ten of those coins were not destroyed. How many of these coins are still known to exist? - 1

    Best I can come up with is two encrypted questions in C1 the same, Q4, Q7, eagles, washington and a one dollar bill? Could be just page 1 and page 7 as highlighted. Page 4 has "lucky" twice. You would never pick that up before hand though? Heck, the double eagle shows up again in C6 in the archives yet again (and also in the optic cross). That doesn't mean I have any idea what to do with it. I'm sure it will find a place once the answer is given though.

  6. #126
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lobster View Post
    I guess we can look at the C1 reference to "crazy questions" as a hint at C4 (one of C4's themes is the main character going crazy) as a hint in C1 at C4 being about questions. But then we have a reference in C1 to "more questions", which might a reference to C5, but unfortunately there's nothing there linking that to C5:

    "Listen, uh, would you mind if I come visit you again? I might have some more questions for you – right now my head is swimming and I can’t even think what to ask – and anyway, I’d like to check up on you from time to time and get to know you a little better, if you don’t mind. "

    The only relationship mapping to "more questions" is "head is swimming". The only place where a character's head spins is C12 ("mind spun furiously) or C7 where a "bomb goes off" in someone's head. So "more questions" is more correlated to C7 and C12 than it is to C5.
    C5 "'Oh my God', Johnathan gasped for air as memories of his childhood flooded back." Sounds a little bit like swimming...

  7. #127
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    Quote Originally Posted by kazoo View Post
    C5 "'Oh my God', Johnathan gasped for air as memories of his childhood flooded back." Sounds a little bit like swimming...
    The idea of swimming best fits with the oak island chapter (10 I think) where characters are literally swimming around the place.

    So we can now draw relationships between references to questions to chapters 1,2,4,5,7,10,11,12. With enough creativity we could think up relationships for the rest of the chapters too.

    So these "textual relationships" are not very helpful, because with enough imagination you can point them at anything.

  8. #128
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    I'm not sure on it being completely random, although some things appear that way. Here's a good example I discovered and mentioned yesterday for chapter 4. The answer to the second part of the cryptex in Chapter 4 was Weaver's Needle.

    Optic Cross for Chapter 4:
    1.Q15 Treasure Hunt Archives
    2.Q20 Playfair cipher look to another answer in this chapter to find the key

    Chapter 4 Archives
    20-8-Q5- September 1997 - Search set for lost city of Atlantis
    14-2-Q15- march 2006 - worlds smallest book up for auction
    Of course 8 and 14 were the questions to use. What if the 5 was hinting at chapter 5 though?
    In one of the clashes that followed, a commodore captured several of Lafitte’s ships, 80 of his men, and about half a million dollars. At first, then-General Andrew Jackson applauded the commodore — but when Jackson discovered that the New Orleans was woefully unprepared to defend itself against the British, he offered a pardon for Lafitte’s men if they would agree to man their confiscated ships and fight the British.
    14 and 8 on the archive clock form 14:40. The hands are exactly opposite, dividng the clock in half.

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    oops...i wasnt finished yet. Before the clue "don't use anything previous to page 72...." I don't have the book with me, but I think it's page 70..71. Two pages where two questions are both repeated twice and then the girl answers:
    So?...
    So?..
    What do you want?
    What do you want?
    Half.
    Half?

    <proceeds to spurt milk through his nose>

  10. #130
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    Not a peep out of Ron's team.

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