It's here. Finally here. For weeks you've waited, checking the mail every single day, to no avail - but today, your invitation has finally arrived. You eagerly tear open the envelope and read:

Congratulations, [insert username here]! You have been selected as a member of this year's Treasure Hunt 'Round the World! Or at least, you're a preliminary member -- of course, we have to weed out the doers from the dreamers, and that's what this first challenge is for. Please solve it, and write us back at [redacted] with the answer attached. Then and only then will you receive your true invitation to the games.

Yours truly,

Bailey M
Puzzlemaster for the Treasure Hunt 'Round the World

At last, you can begin the puzzling experience of a lifetime! Excitedly, you flip over the card and read:

$$ ? = \frac{303116229854873}{31} $$

We've given you the answer... but what's the question?

The story continues in the next part, Treasure hunt 'round the world! (clue 1)

This is no longer being treated as a semi-interactive puzzle. Rather, it will be a linked-puzzle treasure hunt, which each clue being its own puzzle.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ "How many months have you been waiting for this day?" - Too many.. $\endgroup$
    – Mark N
    Commented Jun 17, 2015 at 18:18
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Well just to save someone the trouble, the number there isn't prime. Its two factors (971 and 312169134763), however, are. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 17, 2015 at 18:54
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I'm considering abandoning the "semi-interactive puzzle" tag and making each part of the Treasure Hunt 'Round the World its own question; I'm torn, because it means that I can't easily tie information from previous steps back in with the current step, but ultimately I think that Eli deserves a "correct answer" stamp for his awesome work on this puzzle. Any opinions from the peanut gallery? $\endgroup$
    – Bailey M
    Commented Jun 18, 2015 at 13:12
  • $\begingroup$ @BaileyM Without seeing the rest of the story, I probably agree with abandoning the tag. $\endgroup$
    – LeppyR64
    Commented Jun 18, 2015 at 15:48
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @LeppyR64 the mess of answers is probably the biggest reason, actually. With 4 answers on this prologue alone, I didn't feel it was wise for all the other answers to the larger parts to be attached to this question as well. $\endgroup$
    – Bailey M
    Commented Jun 18, 2015 at 15:53

4 Answers 4


convert 303116229854873 to Base-31, we get BECAUSE789.

The question is

Why was 6 afraid of 7?

The answer is

Because 7 ate 9

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Dayum that's clever. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 18, 2015 at 7:58
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ Why was 6 afraid of 7? Because 7 was a registered six offender. [Note: works best when said in a New Zealand accent.] $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 18, 2015 at 15:38

Perhaps I'm thinking too laterally, but it seems like the question is:

"What's the question?"

Or to interpret it slightly differently, but in the same spirit:

The question is "What?"


Maybe a coincidence:

31 digits in base 3


Please tell me its as easy as:

303116229854873 / 31 = 9777942898544.29

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ As legitimate as that answer is, I fear that if you respond to the Puzzlemaster with '9777942898544.29' as your answer, you will not be invited back to participate in the actual Treasure Hunt... $\endgroup$
    – Bailey M
    Commented Jun 17, 2015 at 20:29
  • $\begingroup$ OK, good to know. I just wanted to rule it out. $\endgroup$
    – BethM
    Commented Jun 17, 2015 at 21:48

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