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Thread: Reverse Engineering the Solution

  1. #51
    Lobster's Avatar
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    Or this doozy, in C1, which is a clue for (at least one) later chapter:

    "By the time he got married, he would pull out his battered case file only once every other month or so when he was alone and leaf idly through the pages, wishing he could rekindle his boyhood enthusiasm, but mostly wondering whether someone else might one day solve the mystery."

    Again, we've got at least one herring reference in here. We've got at least 3 story locations in here. We've got a reference to a cipher, and a reference to a method. Which of these 5 items does the herring negate? Who knows. It's enough to drive you batty, because it means that you can neither rule in or out any of the 5 elements... what makes it worse is that the passage itself reads like the case file itself is of no use, which seems to indicate that all 5 of these things are negated. But, that doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me, as at least one of these 5 elements I'm certain IS used.

    *more hair pulled out*

  2. #52
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    Of course, my posts sound just as preposterous as Doc's now. So maybe we're all losing it and there are no solutions at all

  3. #53
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    Another C12 clue that hints at C12.omega, except that this information conflicts with other clues pointing to about 7 other locations for C12.omega:

    "He really had beat the odds: not only had he gotten away with his caper, but he had
    decided when, and how, his final story would be told. Brad couldn’t help but be impressed; his
    father had been right about Dan Cooper after all."

  4. #54
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    A clue from a later chapter I am working on:

    ""I have no clue — your guess is as good as mine," she replied
    softly as she studied the bottle in her husband's hands. "Should we even
    try to open it?" Emily finally mused aloud. "Whatever is in there could
    be so old the contents might disintegrate when they're exposed to air.""

    This one is just stuffed with clues.... it's a reference to (at least) 2 different locations in the "book". The problem is, the characters don't even seem to answer the question. "Should we even try to open it?" Great question, and pity it's not answered... are we supposed to use the husband's bottle/bowl or not? "Mused" I think is an interesting cultural reference that leads to a part of the solution.

    Then we get to the part about the contents disintegrating when they're exposed to air. Ok... so do we use THAT? (and what exactly does a potential sequence starting point "disintegrating" mean? Does it mean that it dies (herring) or is it a representation of its cipher, which "disintegrate" sort of describes? Also, "disintegrate" is referenced later on as "begin to disintegrate", which may imply that the contents are a starting point... but that conflicts with so much other information it's not funny. )

    "Hmmmmm..." Sam responded noncommittally. He already knew that their curiosity would rule out over common sense.

    Gee thanks Sam. I think "committed" is a reference to insanity (taught in C4), and insanity/crazy is a representation of something that can not be trusted. Therefore, if Sam is responding to the question NON-crazily, then he is responding truthfully. Except in the next sentence we've got that their curiosity would "rule out" over common sense. Rule out, of course, means to discard/trash. But perhaps curiosity is referring to CATS... so are all cats ruled out? Or does curiosity refer to a certain someone being curious and going for a ride? In which case, that's ruled out? Or just the cats? Or all of it?

    So we've got a non-answer, modified by something that says it's true and something else that says it's false. Again, thanks Sam.

  5. #55
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    From C8:

    "Yes, they're coming back," one of the men was saying.
    "You're lying," his shorter companion scoffed.

    Ok, so are they coming back or not?

    A literal reading would seem to imply that if the shorter companion is telling the truth, then "no, they're not coming back"

    The issue is that we've got modifier "scoffed" in there, which was referenced in a C4 clue:

    C4.fbook says:

    "If you feel you know what the answer is then try not to scoff,
    ...
    Remember, a few chosen clues are meant to throw you off,"

    But does this mean that SCOFFING indicates untrustworthiness (so the scoff clue is just trying to say "for reals, no, they're not coming back". Or does it mean that the act of scoffing itself is itself a misdirection? In this second interpretation, we would conclude that the guy who's calling the other guy a liar is the real liar. Is scoffing the IDENTIFIER a negative, or scoffing the ACTION a negative?

    Unfortunately, since there isn't enough context to disambiguate this, we are unable to tell whether our shorter friend is lying or not.

    ... and the advanced student will know why the words "a few chosen clues" are used in there....

  6. #56
    Dave_Loves_Gold is offline Getting the hang of it. Copper Dave_Loves_Gold is an unknown quantity at this point
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lobster View Post
    A clue from a later chapter I am working on:

    ""I have no clue — your guess is as good as mine," she replied
    softly as she studied the bottle in her husband's hands. "Should we even
    try to open it?" Emily finally mused aloud. "Whatever is in there could
    be so old the contents might disintegrate when they're exposed to air.""

    This one is just stuffed with clues.... it's a reference to (at least) 2 different locations in the "book". The problem is, the characters don't even seem to answer the question. "Should we even try to open it?" Great question, and pity it's not answered... are we supposed to use the husband's bottle/bowl or not? "Mused" I think is an interesting cultural reference that leads to a part of the solution.

    Then we get to the part about the contents disintegrating when they're exposed to air. Ok... so do we use THAT? (and what exactly does a potential sequence starting point "disintegrating" mean? Does it mean that it dies (herring) or is it a representation of its cipher, which "disintegrate" sort of describes? Also, "disintegrate" is referenced later on as "begin to disintegrate", which may imply that the contents are a starting point... but that conflicts with so much other information it's not funny. )

    "Hmmmmm..." Sam responded noncommittally. He already knew that their curiosity would rule out over common sense.

    Gee thanks Sam. I think "committed" is a reference to insanity (taught in C4), and insanity/crazy is a representation of something that can not be trusted. Therefore, if Sam is responding to the question NON-crazily, then he is responding truthfully. Except in the next sentence we've got that their curiosity would "rule out" over common sense. Rule out, of course, means to discard/trash. But perhaps curiosity is referring to CATS... so are all cats ruled out? Or does curiosity refer to a certain someone being curious and going for a ride? In which case, that's ruled out? Or just the cats? Or all of it?

    So we've got a non-answer, modified by something that says it's true and something else that says it's false. Again, thanks Sam.
    Hey Lobster -- I don't know which future chapter this is and don't need to know yet because I'm just concentrating on Chapt. 5 for now. But one thing I did notice was that you referenced Chapt. 4 as where we learned about insanity -- when you're speaking of the "Noncommittally" thing. And that's true. But even more spot on is Chapt. 5 itself where the person that was "literally committed" in the book is named "Sam".

    Just thought it was interesting that you didn't mention that nugget.

  7. #57
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    The "committed" thing is an example of a chain of relationships that run throughout the book. There are a huge number of them. You can sort of see what they're doing with them.

    The problem, as always, is in trying to work out what repeated relationships mean. (a) Do they help with anything concrete, and if so, (b) how?

    I think that the designer(s) thought that their use would be self-evident, but it's not. Almost none of the relationships in the book can be tied down to any sequence-generation actions, which is ultimately what we're trying to come up with.

    There's simply not enough guaranteed starting points. The logical methods of inference and extrapolation are based on hypotheses made based on KNOWN DATA. i.e. things that you KNOW are real and things that you KNOW are important and true and accurate. In this hunt, there is no baseline. There are no known variables. You cannot solve for unknown variables because ALL of the variables are unknown.

    For example, you might say that insane/crazy references are simply hints to C4, where they appear to have a major focus as a plot point. As you point out though, C5 also has a big chunk of crazy-relationship in it. As do other chapters. Even C1 and C2 have a lot of related references in them. So, it isn't even accurate to say that C4 is the "crazy" chapter. "C5" is just as equally crazy. So are these relationships that tie down locations? Who knows. Impossible to tell. And if the answer is yes, the fact that the references are spread through almost every chapter makes determining the referenced location impossible.

    Could asylum references simply be nothing more than herring hints? i.e. if something is crazy then it's false / imagined / baloney? Maybe. But once again, there is no anchor to that theory... there is nothing concrete ANYWHERE that says that this interpretation could be correct. And thus, we cannot make it. We cannot suddenly out of the blue assume that everything crazy is false "just cuz". Nor can we assume that everything red in the book is false "just because herrings are sometimes red".

    And we certainly can't assume anything about "curses" since "some curses are real", which implies that some are not, and if some are and some are not, then you have learned absolutely nothing.

    It is possible that these relationships point not to locations in the book or herrings at all, but rather point to an external reference which has some obscure and unknowable use at some arbitrary point in some solution. But, again, nothing to anchor that either, so any assumption you ever made would be nothing but a blind guess, as good as any other blind guess that you might make about the purpose of the relationships.

    Anyway...... yeah. Lots of relationships in the book. And nearly every single one is completely and utterly unusable without some very concrete directions from the author.

    It's a very frustrating hunt, because it's obvious at least to me that someone put considerable effort into building the solutions in the book. There is SO much stuff in there that no one has the foggiest idea exists. At the same time, it's hard to not think that much of the hunt is effectively unsolvable because of the unreasonable assumptions that it makes about the way that real life people solve puzzles.

    In any case... I've pretty much stopped working on the hunt. I've got a few hundred sequences for chapter 12 to brute force. Since C12's clues are structured as a set of 30 or so clues which completely and utterly conflict with and contradict one another, it's just a mess to try to solve. As long as there's not some lame random ceasar thrown in there, or some ridiculous cipher-change partway through the solution, I think there's a slim chance I'll solve it over the next 6 months or so. And if not, well, so be it. I tried.

  8. #58
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    And for those of you who stumble onto this thread and think I'm completely out of my mind, perhaps here's a more concrete bit of evidence for you.

    This one is for those out there who believe there are no clues in the book itself. Amazingly, a large % of those still working on the hunt believe this.


    Chapter 3:

    Charlie sighed and stood up as straight as he could. His
    feet were planted on either side of the stream: one false move
    would send him tumbling into the water. He balanced the pan
    on one hand and jauntily ***TIPPED his CAP*** at his mother as she
    marched toward him, her gingham dress billowing out behind
    her.


    A "tip" is another word for a hint or a suggestion. "His CAP" is clearly an unnecessarily weird way of saying "cowboy hat", which is what he's actually wearing in the image, and the first hint that perhaps there's a clue here.

    "CAP" is the clue -- i.e. capital letters (which are often called "caps").

    TIP = look out for a clue near here. CAP = the clue (the thing being tipped).

    Just one example.

  9. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lobster View Post
    This one is for those out there who believe there are no clues in the book itself. Amazingly, a large % of those still working on the hunt believe this.
    I think most people believe there are many clues in the book itself, though... being able to find them or decipher them without lots of help from the extra clues will be extremely hard... and I think this hunt has been designed this way (of course it was, and why shouldn't it be?). I should point out that I have NO problem with this.

  10. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by mills View Post
    I think most people believe there are many clues in the book itself, though... being able to find them or decipher them without lots of help from the extra clues will be extremely hard... and I think this hunt has been designed this way (of course it was, and why shouldn't it be?). I should point out that I have NO problem with this.
    Certainly nothing wrong with this. The thing that has kept me around so long is that I do see how interesting the hunt is under the covers, and that there is really a creative yet complicated set of clues in there. I've got probably well over 2000 notes and annotations in the book itself now, linking all sorts of stuff together, either rightly or wrongly. 12 solutions all mushed together is just a staggeringly difficult challenge.

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