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This puzzle is part of the Puzzling StackExchange Advent Calendar 2021. The accepted answer to this question will be awarded a bounty worth 50 reputation.

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Optics Experiment

In the magical North Pole, Santa was feeling bored with all his gifts ready and 10 days still left for Christmas.

He was playing tic-tac-toe with a fairy, when one of the giants had a suggestion—a classical “Optics Experiment”. He told Santa to take a few gift boxes and arrange them in a way which would create a cool shape. To challenge the old man, the giant did not tell him how exactly to arrange the boxes, but only how many runs of them should be in each row and column (Nonogram rules).

enter image description here

When Santa manages to arrange the boxes correctly, the giant lets Santa stand on his shoulders to be able to see the final shape he created.


You can use this link to solve it in your browser (RELAX puzzles website).


Text version:

       1                         1
     1 3 1         2         7   3   1 1
   1 3 1 3 1     2 1         1 1 1   3 1
   1 1 1 1 1 7   4 1 4 3     1 1 2 1 1 2
 7 2 2 2 1 2 1   1 1 5 1   2 2 1 1 3 1 1 7
 1 1 1 1 1 1 1   2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 1 1 1 3
 2 1 3 3 3 1 1 1 1 1 3 1 7 1 1 4 1 3 1 1 1
 7 1 1 1 1 1 7 3 2 3 4 1 3 1 1 2 1 1 1 1 3
-------------------------------------------
| | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | 7 3 7
-------------------------------------------
| | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | 1 1 4 1 1
-------------------------------------------
| | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | 1 3 1 1 2 1 3 1
-------------------------------------------
| | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | 1 3 1 1 1 3 1
-------------------------------------------
| | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | 1 3 1 1 1 1 3 1
-------------------------------------------
| | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | 1 1 3 1 1
-------------------------------------------
| | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | 7 1 1 1 7
-------------------------------------------
| | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | 3
-------------------------------------------
| | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | 2 1 2 3 3 2
-------------------------------------------
| | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | 2 1 1 2 1 2
-------------------------------------------
| | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | 1 8 2 1 2 1
-------------------------------------------
| | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | 1 1 1 3 1 2 2
-------------------------------------------
| | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | 1 3 1 1 2
-------------------------------------------
| | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | 3 4 1
-------------------------------------------
| | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | 7 1 1 1 3 1
-------------------------------------------
| | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | 1 1 1 2
-------------------------------------------
| | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | 1 3 1 1 1 1 2
-------------------------------------------
| | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | 1 3 1 1 1 2 1 1
-------------------------------------------
| | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | 1 3 1 4 5 1
-------------------------------------------
| | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | 1 1 3 1
-------------------------------------------
| | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | 7 3 1 1 1
-------------------------------------------
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2 Answers 2

14
+50
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I believe the solution to this puzzle is:

Isaac Newton

Key point in solving the nonogram:

Once I noticed that three of the corners had a similar

7
1, 1
1, 3, 1
1, 3, 1
1, 3, 1
1, 1
7

pattern, I figured that the image was likely a QR code, which allowed me to fill in all 3 7x7 corners. From there, I was able to follow a fairly standard nonogram algorithm to get the rest.

Solving the nonogram gives us this image:

nonogram

Which looks a lot like a QR code.
If we scan the resulting QR code, it gives us "heWasBornXmas1642"
An individual famous for his studies in optics and born on December 25th, 1642 is Isaac Newton.

Explanation of puzzle text:

Isaac Newton famously wrote in a letter "If I have seen further it is by standing on the sholders [sic] of Giants.", which is referenced in the puzzle by having Santa literally stand on the shoulder of a giant.

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0
4
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The nonogram easily resolves to a QR code (via forced positions of black cells, "unreachable squares" for a run and the like, and also just noticing it's a QR code from the border black squares). The four grey squares are ambiguous: It resolves to heWasBornXmas1642, which is clearly Isaac Newton, author of Opticks among other things.

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