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I stare deep into my crystal ball, allowing it to reflect myself, to encompass everything of who I am. Through my reflection on its surface, I gaze into its misty, murky depths, hoping to catch a glimpse of my essence, my self.

For long hours, I ponder. For long days, I stare. Eventually, in the depths of the reflection, I see a dim shadow, spiraling. What is this secret? What aspect of my soul has struggled into view?

As the shadow takes form and clambers into being, I see that is not an image but a symbol. An E? An ε? No, it is a 3.

Mystified, unsure, I study my crystal ball further, pouring more hours, more days into the endeavor. Surely there is more I can glean, more self-knowledge I can attain. With great effort and determination, another tenebrous form swims into view. Another secret to behold.

It swirls and resolves and becomes real. Another symbol. An L? A Λ? No, a 7.

I stare and I ponder, I ponder and I stare, but my crystal ball shows me naught but milky white. Its depths have nothing more to give. It reflects no more of my self.

Why did my crystal ball show me a 3 and a 7, and nothing else?


To clarify: The only possible numbers the crystal ball could have shown me are 3 and 7. I could not have posted this puzzle with any other numbers in the place of 3 and 7.


While @Amoz has given a lovely answer, I also want to nudge people towards discovering the answer I intended. Towards that end, I will give a hint.

If you point at my name, you will see an important number.

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  • $\begingroup$ Could it have shown them in a different order? $\endgroup$
    – Someone
    Feb 14 at 19:54
  • $\begingroup$ @Someone Nope, just this order $\endgroup$
    – isaacg
    Feb 14 at 19:56
  • $\begingroup$ Following the hint it feels like it's something to do with rot13(gur hfre vq nf vg vf gjbbarrvtugfrira (guerrkfrira vf gjraglbar) ohg v pna'g chg zl svatre ba jung gur rvtug vf sbe) $\endgroup$
    – JQL
    Feb 15 at 6:47
  • $\begingroup$ rot13(guerr gb gur cbjre vf gjbbarrvtugfrira), but I don't know how (gjbbarrvtugfrira gb gur cbjre bs bar) is meant to be ruled out. $\endgroup$
    – Ed Murphy
    Feb 15 at 12:57
  • $\begingroup$ @EdMurphy Now that someone's posted the answer, let me clarify: The ball gives the rot13(cevzr snpgbevmngvba) specifically, not just a general relationship. $\endgroup$
    – isaacg
    Feb 15 at 16:45

4 Answers 4

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I try to avoid "speculative" answers ("guesses"), but given

the date of this posting (Valentine's Day)

I think this is worth a shot...

Speculation: The crystal ball works by showing you

Your top half (swirled/rotated) followed by your bottom half (swirled/rotated)

You are

a HEART. Here's a picture of you:
enter image description here
"aspect of my soul... into view" clues HEART as heart and soul are closely related.

For long hours, I ponder. For long days, I stare. Eventually, in the depths of the reflection, I see a dim shadow, spiraling. What is this secret? What aspect of my soul has struggled into view?

The top half of you has struggled into view. It has also been "spiraling" - rotated 90 degrees, and looks like a '3':
top half

Surely there is more I can glean, more self-knowledge I can attain. With great effort and determination, another tenebrous form swims into view.

Now you are looking at your bottom half, also rotated a bit, and looks like a '7':
bottom half

Why did my crystal ball show me a 3 and a 7, and nothing else?

Because other than a 3 and a 7, there is no other way to slice a heart horizontally and form other sets of numbers when read from top to bottom.

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  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Wow, very good! That must be it! Glad I didn't post my speculative answers though, because they weren't in the same universe as this one! haha $\endgroup$
    – JLee
    Feb 15 at 1:53
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ What an amazing answer! I am sure this has to be it even if it is not, this is the winner for me! Detailed and foolproof $\endgroup$
    – How why e
    Feb 15 at 1:59
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Very nice answer! Although I'm thinking probably slicing it vertically can arguably give two 7's by the left half and the right half 🤔 $\endgroup$
    – justhalf
    Feb 15 at 3:03
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ This wasn't what I had in mind, but it's such a beautiful answer, I can't say it's wrong. Well done! $\endgroup$
    – isaacg
    Feb 15 at 4:35
  • $\begingroup$ I thought it might be this, but since the OP said that the numbers couldn't be shown in any other order, and since the given order was no better than 73, I decided that wasn't the intended answer. $\endgroup$
    – LarsH
    Feb 17 at 17:58
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Is it possible that

you misread the characters and that what you thought was Λ was actually ^

and that the crystal ball was actually

giving you your puzzling.stackexchange id of 2187 by presenting 3^7

and of course it gives you this because

it's giving you a puzzle to solve!

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3
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ There were only two characters, 3 and 7 - but I think this answer still works even disregarding the first spoiler. $\endgroup$ Feb 15 at 8:52
  • $\begingroup$ I agree. I'm a bit skeptical of my answer, or at least feel like I am missing something as it doesn't explain the gap between the two output characters. $\endgroup$
    – JQL
    Feb 15 at 9:00
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ This was the answer I had in mind (and I would write it rot13(ol chggvat gur 7 nobir naq gb gur evtug bs gur 3, fb ab rkgen punenpgre vf arrqrq.)) $\endgroup$
    – isaacg
    Feb 15 at 16:35
7
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Well, you got lucky and unlucky at the same time. Lucky because you had a rare vision by the crystal ball Unlucky, because it made it harder to find what was going on.

The crystal ball

gives the prime factorization of the user id.

In your case,

you got 3 and 7, and your id is 2187. The prime factorization of 2187 is 3^7. (Congratulation for have such a nice factorization)

If I was too look into the crystal ball, I would see

[2,1,29,1,1319,1] Because 2^1 * 29^1 * 1319^1 = 76502 is the prime factorization of my id.

The last question is, is there a way to

break RSA with the crystal ball ? I don't think so, you would need a lot of user to look into the ball, and from the description, it took days only to gather two numbers. The internet is safe!

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  • $\begingroup$ This was the answer I had in mind. Well done! $\endgroup$
    – isaacg
    Feb 15 at 16:35
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Spending a few days to break an encryption is a very, very good cryptanalysis result. $\endgroup$ Feb 16 at 2:33
  • $\begingroup$ Don't forget to accept the correct answer. This is one of the few sites where waiting to accept is actually frowned upon $\endgroup$
    – No Name
    Feb 17 at 0:27
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @NoName I accepted a different answer because I liked it more, even though this one was what I'd initially imagined. $\endgroup$
    – isaacg
    Feb 17 at 6:13
3
$\begingroup$

A bit of a punt, but

your user name "I's a a CG" could mean that the crystal ball thought that you should be rendered as the 3rd and 7th letters of the alphabet?

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1
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Nope, that's not it. If this were the answer, the crystal ball would've shown C and G instead. $\endgroup$
    – isaacg
    Feb 14 at 22:29

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