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Adventurer and photographer Sammy Wolfe built a solar-powered airplane to explore the North American wilderness. Unexpectedly, the engine stopped working and he was forced to land his plane in the middle of nowhere. Unfortunately, he was unable to repair the aircraft. “I’m in a terrible fix! I don’t even have a telephone to call for help.”

Later on, he met a lone hermit named Alfred who shared some of the little food he had so Sammy could survive. Alfred eventually came up with the idea to attach a secret message to a large helium balloon. Whoever finds it, reads it, deciphers it and comes to save the daring adventurer shall be rewarded with precious gold that Alfred inherited from his ancestors.

You just found Sammy’s message during your stroll in the fields, wondering what the peculiar drawings mean. Out of curiosity, you are determined to solve the mystery. The first part of the message is as follows:

first part of the message

The message goes on as follows:

second part of the message

You also find a handwritten note stating that Sammy is stranded about 58 miles north of where the road turns sharply to the north-east, according to his GPS and maps.

After deciphering the drawings, you should be able to determine the approximate geographical coordinates of where Sammy is.


Hints

Take a look at the following hints only if you are stuck—no cheating please.

  1. If you cut an image, cut what it stands for literally.

  2. The ✕ in “⨂DD” negates the word.

  3. The symbol ♂ can either mean “male” or “masculine.”

  4. The second row of the second part gives you three numbers which indicate which bytes to extract.

  5. The number stands for the road, the two letters stand for the area. Remember we are looking for a place somewhere in North America!

  6. You don’t need to do any hexadecimal, octal or decimal conversions.

  7. Look at each image or symbol carefully because they tell you what to do: abc → 01100001 01100010 01100011 → 11000110 01000110 10000110 → pick #2 → 01000110 → ?

  8. “[…] where the road turns sharply to the north-east […]”

    map and compass

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7
  • $\begingroup$ Do you have a larger picture of the yellow flower? I'm struggling to identify it due to the poor resolution of the image. Is it a rot13(cevzebfr)? $\endgroup$
    – LOTGP
    Nov 19, 2021 at 16:43
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @LOTGP Yes, that’s right. $\endgroup$
    – user47620
    Nov 19, 2021 at 16:49
  • $\begingroup$ rot13(Qbrf n flzoby orvat fcyvg va unys arprffnevyl zrna gung vg unf na rira ahzore bs yrggref? V pna'g frrz gb svther bhg jung gur obggbz yrsg flzoby zrnaf, nf gur bayl vagrecergngvba V unir jvgu na rira ahzore bs yrggref vf [srz]nyr, juvpu vfa'g hfrshy. V nffhzr gung vg'f fhccbfrq gb tvir hf n fgngr/cebivapr?) $\endgroup$
    – LOTGP
    Nov 24, 2021 at 16:41
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @LOTGP rot13(Va guvf pnfr, lrf. Gur flzoby ersref gb n jbeq fvzvyne gb “srznyr.” Naq lrf, vg unf fbzrguvat gb qb jvgu gur fgngr/cebivapr jr ner ybbxvat sbe, ng yrnfg vaqverpgyl.) $\endgroup$
    – user47620
    Nov 24, 2021 at 17:55
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @LOTGP rot13(Lrf, lbh arrq gb vapyhqr gur fcnprf.) $\endgroup$
    – user47620
    Nov 29, 2021 at 16:31

1 Answer 1

3
+50
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First note:

p(l)ea se[at] gi[ft] [lo]ve

hi m [blo]som et hing[e]

[na]to e a t

Thus the message is:

Please give him something to eat

Second note:

text -> bin [can]ary -> reverse it

[femi]nine <- 23 <- extract a prim[rose] e el even

Thus:

text -> convert to binary -> reverse it -> extract the following bytes: 11th prime (31) -> 23 -> 9

When we follow the steps outlined above:

Convert the first message into binary, reverse it, and extract the 3 bytes from the result, we end up with the bytes: 00110110, 01101110, and 01110110. When converted back to text, we get the string: 6nv.

Thus, the road Sammy is referring to is:

US Route 6 through Nevada.

Finally, we go up 58 miles from where the road turns NE to find Sammy at:

Savory Mountain

Coordinates:

39.0541° N, 116.4184° W

I guess Alfred doesn't have much of a sweet tooth.

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14
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ rot13(Znlor gur # fvta ercerfragf 'fvta ynathntr', cbffvoyl n fvta sbe 'svaq/qvfpbire'? Znlor 'RRY ab bqq' ercerfragf 'R', cbffvoyl tvivat CEVZ+R = CEVZR? V svefg gubhtug gur gerr zvtug or GERR - ynfg 2 = GE, tvivat 'GENYR' (Genvy), ohg frrzf hayvxryl tvira gur erfg, lbhe nafjre bs 23 znxrf zber frafr.) $\endgroup$
    – Amoz
    Nov 19, 2021 at 17:20
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Looks like a good start :) A couple of corrections to your initial message derivation: rot13(fr[ng] abg fr[nz] naq tv[sg] abg tv[ir] - bgurejvfr jr jbhyqa'g arrq gb nygre gung jbeq ng nyy! Oybffbz nyfb unf gjb f'f - abgr gung vg'f npghnyyl n yvggyr zber guna unys gung'f oynaxrq bhg...) $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Nov 19, 2021 at 17:29
  • $\begingroup$ rot13(V rffragvnyyl whfg thrffrq ba gur frnz/frng bar, nf V xarj jung gur yrggref unq gb or, ohg ab vqrn jung gur vzntr ercerfragf. GOU V fgvyy qba'g ernyyl frr ubj vg zrnaf n frng. Gur tvir bar vf n glcb, V unq vg nf tvsg, ohg V thrff nf V xarj gur svany jbex jnf tvir, V nppvqragnyyl glcrq gung vafgrnq.) $\endgroup$
    – LOTGP
    Nov 19, 2021 at 17:32
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ It's a car brand :) $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Nov 19, 2021 at 17:33
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @TommyJollyboat rot13(Qvq lbh gnxr n ybbx ng gur 3 flzobyf arkg gb gur zrffntr vpba? Gurl cynl na vzcbegnag ebyr va fbyivat gur chmmyr. Vs lbh ner fghpx, ybbx ng uvag 7.) $\endgroup$
    – user47620
    Nov 29, 2021 at 16:18

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