1. "I'm not bringing this up to complain, but to suggest we have apparently a ton to do if we are to crack further chapters and the golden eagle."

Correct. This is just an incredibly difficult hunt if you're trying to solve with zero facebook clues (which is what I am trying to do).

The biggest problem I have found in solving a chapter using zero facebook clues remains a series of logical and relational issues surrounding red herrings (the trickiest part of this hunt IMO).

While the herring stuff seems to be pretty cleverly used throughout the book, there appear to be some major issues that make it almost (?) impossible to crack the rules for the puzzle. In particular, it's very difficult to determine whether element X, which is not directly a before-known herring (but which has attributes/homophones/containment/subset attributes of known herring Y) is a valid herring or an unintended relationship to a herring, and how scoping rules are both defined and interact with symbols, clues, and hints in the vicinity.

While this herring stuff wasn't that important in C1 and C2's internal solutions (and I couldn't quite crack those even then), as we go forward the web of connections gets a lot thicker, and the herrings a lot more important to understand. It's only going to get more difficult.

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And here as 2012 comes to a close, I've FINALLY figured out the solutions to chapters 1 and 2.

We have a LOT to talk about, and I feel obligated to share everything. I'm well aware I would have been unable to solve these horrendous ciphers at the end of the chapters and Facebook clues without a lot of help from folks around here, and I needed the actual solutions to do this. I want our friends across the water to realize what the actual mechanism of solution was without the Facebook clues.

Ron's hands are tied--he can't discuss the actual solutions for many, many reasons, not the least of which is that the solutions are part of the Golden Eagle puzzle. The players are getting restless because the solutions as presented appear somewhat inelegant and are reliant on the Facebook clues.

What we have is a lack of communication, and I'd like to get the dialogue rolling.

But, I feel I need his permission to do this.

I'm going to go out on a limb and be honest and state that I don't think this is an exercise in theory-crafting. I submitted the solutions to Chapters 3 AND 4 over the last few days, and I'm 100% certain they're both correct.

I very much want to get this ball rolling and let everyone see how amazing this puzzle really is.

I don't think it's a problem telling you this:

1. As soon as you realized that the J and Q were missing from your Chapter 2 solution, you KNEW you had the correct answer, and you knew where to place them in the map.

2. Once you understand the solution, you can begin understanding the full extent of the Facebook clues. They include four different sorts of information:

a. Clues for the chapter map sequence
b. Clues for the underlying mechanism
c. Clues for the next chapter's map
d. Clues for the Golden Eagle puzzle

3. The answers for the first three chapters are interrelated in more ways than one. I'll give you a Golden Eagle clue to help illustrate:

Revelations 22:13 "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end."

It's the reason Chapter 1 = alpha and omega, chapter 2 = first and last, and chapter 3 = beginning and end. This is a description of each of their solutions and why these particular hints showed up in each of their respective chapter's Facebook clues.

There is no luck involved with this. When you get the answer, you KNOW it's correct.

The offices for the treasure hunt are closed until after New Year's. If I'm correct, I'll be receiving an interesting phone call in the next couple of weeks at which time I'm going to get on my hands and knees and beg them to let me spill the beans. This won't be an exercise in explaining how the Facebook clues led to an answer.

Keeping fingers crossed,

Doc

PS--In the interim, shouldn't it be okay to discuss my 'theories' on the Chapter 3 facebook clues? As long as it doesn't reveal actual map sequences?

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Doc, I truly hope you are correct and that we have finally discovered that there is indeed a true "mechanism". I realize you don't want to reveal too much at this point, and it is understandable, but the question I have is how do you "KNOW" the solution is correct? Does it physically say: This key goes in this spot, or is there some sort of statement that once deciphered says: XYZ is the correct solution?

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BTW, please don't misunderstand: I am not questioning that you have the correct solution or your ability to find it. You have discovered so many things already that after reading some of your posts, I couldn't help but to say "wow, this guy is a genius! How in the heck did even think of looking at that." I am just looking for what your method of validation is; not how you discovered the solution, what the solution is, or even how to find the solution. I am merely asking what it was that gave you the "proof" or told you that you "KNOW" you had the correct solution.

On a separate note, Ron has made it very clear that collaboration is not only ok, but a necessity by forcing us to have both versions of chapter 2, so I don't believe there are any issues with discussing any part of the hunt so long as you are not providing a possible numeric sequential solution, as was the issue with some of the early chapter 1's posts.

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Squirrelio,

Lobster described a real-life hunt that he and his wife participated in, and that the problem was all the clues were jumbled together and had a hard time figuring out which pieces belonged with each other.

That turns out to be what the problem has been here as well.

There are no new magical clues, it's just a matter of figuring out how the various seemingly non-related pieces go together.

Let me give you an example:

1. In the Chapter 1 solution, the first key is associated with 'At ten o'clock in the morning'. The next key has 'ten to twenty minutes' embedded in it.

2. In the Chapter 2 solution, the first key = ten letters at the first of lines, or 'first ten'. The next key = eight letters at the end of lines, or 'last eight'. You know the rest of the solution.

What identical information do both of these imply?

None of these clues are new; it's just figuring out how all the pieces fit together, and this is only one of several.

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Guys,

You don't need any new clues. I think it should be okay with the author to simply restate some already-known facts:

1. The original map clue:

"To find your way on the map keep in mind that
the first..
.
.
...is equal to the last."

2. There is a picture of three keys in Chapter 9.

3. There are two soduku grids at the end of each chapter.

4. The treasure map consists of 1 - 20.

These four seemingly-unrelated factoids are VERY much related.

Make the intuitive leap, guys. You can do this.

Keep on truckin',

Doc

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A soduku master created our treasure hunt and there are two soduku grids at the end of each chapter.

Could you create a sequence of 1 - 20 using these grids?

Understanding the answer to this question can unlock everything in the book, and I mean everything.

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Whew.

Now that I feel I can see the forest for the trees, I have a better understanding of the issues.

One of the problems is that the 240 questions trained us for being very logical and heavily using ciphers. The map puzzles, on the other hand, are likewise logical, but heavily rely on lateral thinking.

Completely different skill set.

Examples:

1. Alpha = Omega or 'A = Omega'

Whoever made the intuitive leap that it meant '10 = 10' was correct, but didn't complete the next step.

The 'A' is also an abbreviation for an ACE, and as you know from playing cards, the 'ACE' is both highest and lowest. Its numerical equivalents are '1' and '13'. The 'A' in this fashion is both first and last, which the clue already stated.

The 'Omega' is both the 24th letter of the Greek alphabet as well as something that is 'last'. At the last of our treasure map is the 'X'.

A = omega.

The next step was to realize it also meant 13 = X, or M X.

That's Roman numeral M X, or 10 10.

2. This is Golden Eagle stuff, but I hope to illustrate how his clues go together.

How did you know first = last in chapter 1?

Because the first line of the chapter is 'At ten o'clock in the morning'. It's an example of a 'first ten' or 'first X'. First and last.

In other words, for chapter 1, first = last is a LINE.

How is it done in chapter 2?

The last word of the ladies' chapter is the word FIRST. In other words, for chapter 2, first = last is a WORD.

Chapter 3? First word of the chapter = last word of the chapter. Charlie = sea, or C = C.

First = last is a LETTER.

You're being given an instruction set to perform much later in the game.

3. Another example of putting the clues together:

Chapter 1: The answer is read from left to right. In other words, it's HORIZANTAL.
Chapter 2: The answer is read from top to bottom. In other words, it's VERTICAL.
Chapter 3: When it's eventually revealed, it's going to be an 'X'. In other words, it's DIAGONAL.

I hope you can understand what this is implying about something much later down the road.

We're going to be playing some tic-tac-toe.

Happy thoughts,

Doc

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Happy New Year on a rainy, cold afternoon in the Bayou State of Louisiana!

I've been a'workin' and a'workin' looking at all of this--working back and forth between the clues and the solutions (including what I believe to be chapters 3 and 4 solutions' as well) to see what our author has wrought.

What Mr. Shore has concocted is impressive, and I still don't understand everything.

But, I feel I'm definitely making progress.

Firstly, this is hard stuff, no doubt about it. There's a reason such large monetary prizes are waiting at the end of all this. Secondly, put away Occam's Razor. It's a great concept, but sometimes razors can harm as well as hurt.

Here's our basic problem:

How do we go from the original map clue--the only one we ever received...:

"To find your way on the map keep in mind that
the first
.
.
is equal to the last."

...to

'1 20 5 14...'?

It's not a one-step solution. If there was a single missing part between that clue and that answer, it would have been found instantly a long time ago.

Here's how the solution actually functions:

The clue is a reference to the TREASURE MAP, and it's a hint about THREE KEYS.

At its basic level, the clue reads FIRST = LAST. The trick to this clue is to recognize that the '=' sign is a Roman Numeral 'II' turned on its side. It represents the SECOND KEY and consists of TWO LINES.

The formatting of the clue allows you to interpret it a second way: FIRST ___ LAST. There is a 'blank' between the first and last keys.

In other words, THERE ARE TWO DIFFERENT VERSIONS OF THE SECOND KEY. It's why it consists of two lines. A factoid that will be used repeatedly: A 'queue' is a 'line', and according to our book a 'Q' = 'key'. Two lines = two keys.

Now, let's look at our treasure map. It consists of three parts: The 'start' with a fleur-de-lis, the solution 1 - 20, and 'X' at the end. A version of '3 keys'.

The second key has two interpretations: 1 20 and AT. Substituting these into the map allow you to 'read' the map and begin the path towards solution:

'START' '1-20 AT' 'X'.

START 1-20 AT X.

This is a clue to tell you where to begin collecting the keys.

It's why chapter 1 began 'At ten o'clock in the morning'; it's why chapter 2 started with TENnyson; and it's why Chapter 3 begins with 'X'.

The next part is to reinterpret your main instruction as START 1-20 AT TWO LINES.

This is where the fleur-de-lis comes into play. The fleur-de-lis represents '3' as well as representing 'north'.

'3 and N' or 3 14. You should recognize '3.14' as being equivalent to 'PI' or a reference to a CIRCLE. (I'm going to digress a bit and say that one of the correct interpretations of the first=last clue is meant to be CIRCLE.)

The 'CN = 3 14 = CIRCLE' that appears at the 'start' is a reference to the CHAPTER NAME.

This is one of the 'two lines' you need to begin a chapter solution.

The other line that you need is FIRST LINE of the chapter.

START 1 - 20 AT X
START 1 - 20 at TWO LINES

One line is FIRST LINE = 1
One line is CHAPTER NAME = 3 14 = 0

The two lines are '1 0' which tells you that you're on the right track.

I'm gonna stop here because I realize this is a lot to absorb, and it's gonna take some time to think about it.

As I stated, this ain't easy stuff, but it's a lot of fun once you begin to see the method to the madness.

Doc

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I'm having a lot of fun working on all this again.

After studying all of this, I realize the only thing we were supposed to use to begin solving everything was the map itself.

I should have had my antennae twitching when I realized the first of the map was a book, and the first of the book was a map.

To begin with, there was a fleur-de-lis. Consider that as '3 at the start'.

1st
2nd
3rd

Consider these 'ordinal numbers' as being analagous to the 'order' of the book.

ST ND RD

It's the STANDARD with I I missing.

Doc