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On his retirement, Bill Gates left behind a four number combination safe with a dial similar to this. In that safe is a secret that had eluded him many years ago...along with a small fortune of course.

He left behind 10 clues - a deck of cards and a note. The order of the cards is as follows:

Three of Spades, Six of Spades, Four of Spades, Seven of Clubs, Six of Clubs, Five of Clubs, Eight of Clubs, Two of Clubs, Four of Diamonds, Five of Diamonds, Five of Spades, Two of Spades, Six of Diamonds, Eight of Hearts, Three of Clubs, Five of Hearts, Three of Hearts, Seven of Hearts, Six of Hearts, Two of Diamonds, Eight of Spades, Three of Diamonds, Four of Clubs, Seven of Spades, Four of Hearts, Two of Hearts, Seven of Diamonds, Eight of Diamonds,

The note reads:

Sly snakes slither into eternity seeking stigma and style.

Is your knowledge potent enough to figure out the combination of the safe?

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    $\begingroup$ Bill Gates is dead? $\endgroup$ – Jiminion Apr 17 '15 at 16:17
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    $\begingroup$ Easy Jimmy, I changed the question just for you. Just take a couple of deep breathes and relax :-P $\endgroup$ – Kyle Gullion Apr 17 '15 at 16:57
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    $\begingroup$ For those of you keeping track at home, these are the cards in short form: 3S,6S,4S,7C,6C,5C,8C,2C,4D,5D,5S,2S,6D,8H,3C,5H,3H,7H,6H,2D,8S,3D,4C,7S,4H,2H,7D,8D $\endgroup$ – Engineer Toast Apr 17 '15 at 17:03
  • $\begingroup$ Seems like @pacoverflow is onto something... $\endgroup$ – Kyle Gullion Apr 17 '15 at 17:19
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    $\begingroup$ The title is probably a reference to this: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… $\endgroup$ – user10203 Apr 17 '15 at 17:26
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The combination is

37 - 2 - 60 - 41

Explanation:

If you lay out all cards in a row, and look at the layout of the pips on the card, they represent a 1 or 0 (1 if there is a centre pip, 0 if there isn't). 3, 5, 7 are 1s, and 2, 4, 6 are 0s. 8 represents the end of a number. So 100101 - 0010 - 111100 - 101001

Extra explanation of how I got here:

This is based on a game called 'Petals around the rose' (related to the title), which is played with dice. Bill Gates struggled with finding out the solution to this game for many years. http://www.borrett.id.au/computing/petals-bg.htm

I don't quite know what the second clue is about yet.

There are 10 clues, and 10 in binary is 2.

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  • $\begingroup$ That's exactly it! Both clues contain a bit of a red herring, with the deck being the inverse of a euchre deck while stigma and style refer to parts of a flower (not stylish marks of disgrace). The snake bit is suppose to conjure up the ouroboros, referring to infinity (a sly 8). Other clues include this story (which of course is the secret that eluded him) and that those who figure out pedals around the rose are 'potentates'. I tried to hint at that via edits to the OP. Anyway, congrats! $\endgroup$ – Kyle Gullion Apr 23 '15 at 1:42
  • $\begingroup$ @kgull Ah, the sly 8 part is clever! $\endgroup$ – Fodder Apr 23 '15 at 1:53
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Is your knowledge potent enough to figure out the combination of the safe?

Possibly. Would calling a lock smith to open the safe and find out the combination work? Maybe finding out what those 10 clues he left behind are might help as well. ;-)

This might not be the answer you were looking for, but maybe it can inspire some other answers. (hopefully ones that aren't so lateral)

Plot twist:

The 'secret' in the safe is the combination to the safe! He never told anyone which keeps it a secret and then it eluded him (he forgot it) many years ago. Now he forgot the safe and no one else knows (since he never shared it) which is why it's still there! Why he would do this, who knows. But what kind of person would leave a deck of just 28 cards in the open? (Someone really smart or someone not so smart, for this twist I'll pretend not so smart)

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  • $\begingroup$ "Maybe finding out what those 10 clues he left behind are might help as well." What could you possibly mean? Both clues are there ;-) $\endgroup$ – Kyle Gullion Apr 22 '15 at 23:56

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