1. Junior Twelever Copper
Join Date
May 2005
Posts
36

## Solutions

The only info we got on the solution is given here : Stephen Parrish: The Gist of It . Unfortunately this tells only how to find the web page ( and that is not clear, either ) once you have the essay, but not how to get the essay.

My solutions are here. Most I feel are correct, some might be wrong.

Page 1
Key: Apply rail fence cipher as per murmurs: Interview with Author Stephen Parrish.
Result: GIRTH OF THE PLANET

Pigpen: decode pigpen cipher, then use the Vigenere cipher with keyword CARMINEA.
Result: AROUND TWO HUNDRED FORTY A LIBRARIAN MEASURED THE USING INSTRUMENTS NO MORE SOPHISTICATED THAN A STICK KNEW THAT FROM THE BOTTOM OF EVEN THE DEEPEST OF SYENE IN ALEXANDRIA WHERE HE WAS HEAD OF THE GREAT BY A STAFF ON THE SAME DAY AND DETERMINED OF A CIRCLE SINCE THE DISTANCE

Page 2
Urns: translate heiroglyphics, then fill in the vowels:
Result: ERATOSTHENES

Starfield: scale the picture and overlay it with the Jack Grid, on Rules page.
Result: TO BE ONE FIFTIETH THE CIRCUMFERENCE

Parchment Grid: Decode using Mary Queen of Scots cipher, then create a 10 X !0 grid from the Map(Page 3). Remove the mountains from the grid and overlay with the decoded text.
Result: LIBRARY HE MEASURED

Page 3
Tomb: Use Bacon cipher.
Result: BC

Map: Two rivers are German words, just translate. Form an acrostic( first letter of names ) from the mountain names.
Results: WELL, NORTH, and THE ANGLE OF THE SUN

FAQ
Borders: Split the borders vertically in half. Take the left half of the left border and combine with the right half of the right border. Rotate 90 degrees CCW to read more easily.
Result: BETWEEN THE TWO CITIES IT BY FIFTY TO OBTAIN A RESULT THAT CAME WITHIN ONE PERCENT OF CORRECT

Clues that are not part of the essay:
Books: Form rune puzzle from squares available on book page and on book cover link pages.
Result: COMMENCE AT APOLLOS RESPLENDENT APOGEE : tells you where to start when decoding the essay hidden phrase.

SATOR square: Create a 5X5 grid from the Rune puzzle and remove the squares with yellow runes.
Result: STONES -- Since this is a part of the final phrase I think this is a clue how to decode that phrase from the essay.

Gemstones: Morse Code?
Result: "IDLE" I am not at all certain this is correct, and, if it is, I don't know what it means.

Unsolved:
- Meaning of shaded prime-numbered squares in MQOS grid.
- Meaning of Jack of Hearts and 180-degree symmetric warning sign.
- Does the crystal ball on the rules page, highlighting the "L" in RULES, mean anything?

- was known he multiplied
- at noon on the summer solstice the sun cast no shadows in the ancient Egyptian city of Syene, and it reflected

Are these phrases even hidden anywhere? I showed elsewhere I can get Job 5:23 from what I have decoded, although I will honestly admit I didn't. This means someone else could do it. Did the "Winner" do that, or did he somehow find everything?

I welcome comments. I really want to know what I missed, so I can put this behind me.

carolinus

2. that all looks good.

Here's the mystery explanation from Stephen:

There were two essential tricks to solving the puzzle: resizing and overlaying images, and following secret passageways (since removed). I'm not going to go into any more detail about technique because I want to use variations in a future puzzle, one with a much bigger prize.
I'll be thinking about these secret passageways - is that letters on a grid that spell something?

3. Junior Twelever Copper
Join Date
May 2005
Posts
36
Originally Posted by tinyintelligentmachine
that all looks good.

Here's the mystery explanation from Stephen:

There were two essential tricks to solving the puzzle: resizing and overlaying images, and following secret passageways (since removed). I'm not going to go into any more detail about technique because I want to use variations in a future puzzle, one with a much bigger prize.
I'll be thinking about these secret passageways - is that letters on a grid that spell something?
I was going to say that the "since removed" must refer to something that was not apparent, since the web site was still up, but it looks like the author finally got the ambition to take it down. There is nothing left but

"The puzzle has been solved. The contest is over."

I guess it's better to remove all evidence. No matter; I have copies.

This whole thing leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Note that even though the winner agrees to have his/her name and state listed on the site without further compensation, we didn't even get the name of the winner.

As I said about the unfound phrases, are they even hidden anywhere, are were we supposed to guess them? We will never know. I'm working another hunt.

carolinus

4. Junior Twelever +1 Silver
Join Date
Jul 2007
Posts
244
Thanks for posting this for us. Good job, Carolinus.

5. I think the author's main focus was using the puzzle as a publicity tool for the book - and in this sense i think it worked OK - made it stick out. He didn't seem really interested in building up a big treasure hunt - he didn't add further clues etc. or put messages on this site. The puzzle looks fair to me and was pretty much solved legitimately - it looked about the right degree of difficulty.

However, Not explaining the solution is unusual and a bit mean - but given there's a large piece of 'unsolved' text and a big grid of letters pretty much unused - i think back solving this thing should be possible - (Not that I can be bothered right now). It would be useful to understand the technique If and when he makes a bigger hunt.

6. Junior Twelever Copper
Join Date
May 2005
Posts
36
Originally Posted by tinyintelligentmachine
I think the author's main focus was using the puzzle as a publicity tool for the book - and in this sense i think it worked OK - made it stick out. He didn't seem really interested in building up a big treasure hunt - he didn't add further clues etc. or put messages on this site. The puzzle looks fair to me and was pretty much solved legitimately - it looked about the right degree of difficulty.

However, Not explaining the solution is unusual and a bit mean - but given there's a large piece of 'unsolved' text and a big grid of letters pretty much unused - i think back solving this thing should be possible - (Not that I can be bothered right now). It would be useful to understand the technique If and when he makes a bigger hunt.
Thanks, I think I am now vindicated. All I really want is to know where these phrases were hidden, so I can improve the way I hunt for these kinds of solutions. It's the least the author could do for people who put in so much time, and read his book (some of us read it twice, believe it or not).

Similarly, I can't justify spending the time to reverse engineer the phrases, since I am working on other things.

I did come up with an idea about the secret passages, though. There might be some other URL's hidden somewhere that lead you around to other web pages, but they would be offline by now. Just a thought.

Good luck to everybody, whatever your next project might be.

carolinus

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