10
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If you're interested in starting the treasure hunt from the very beginning, check out the prologue!


Though your methods of solving the required riddle were dubious at best, you were still able to come up with the correct question to ask the concierge in plenty of time for your departure the next day. You were provided with a marked car (courtesy of Lamborghini, of course) and told your departure time would be 7:00 am. Restlessly, you made it through the night, finding yourself standing at the door of your car at 6:59 am. After a few seconds of thumb-twiddling, you hear a click, and the car door remotely unlocks. You swing it open and hop inside, finding a note on the dashboard.

Picking up the note, you read:

Dear [insert username here],

Congratulations on solving the last little brainteaser I left you! Unfortunately, I've erred, and the next clue isn't ready yet. Sorry about that. While you wait, please enjoy these neat factoids about Europe, since you'll be here for a little while yet!

Yours truly,

Bailey M
Puzzlemaster for the Treasure Hunt 'Round the World

You sigh. More waiting? But, for treasure, it will be worth it. Flipping over the letter, you read on the back:

20 Fun Europe Facts

  1. Europe is named after the Phoenician princess "Europa", from Greek mythology.
  2. Romania is the oldest country in all of Europe. It hasn't changed its name since 681 AD!
  3. The Netherlands has the world's densest rail system, with 113.8 kilometers of rail per 1,000 square kilometers.
  4. Over 50% of Greece's population lives in its capital, Athens.
  5. The most visited place in the entirety of Europe is, not suprisingly, Disneyland (located in Paris).
  6. Greenland, an island owned by Denmark, is the second-largest island in the world, surpassed only by Australia.
  7. Croissants, the famous French pastry, were actually invented in Austria.
  8. The national airport in Brussels sells more chocolate than any other location on Earth!
  9. Finland has the most McDonald's per capita in all of Europe.
  10. Hate mosquitos? Move to Iceland, where there are literally none.
  11. If you're getting bored of Europe, have no fear - Africa is only a 30-minute ferry ride from Spain.
  12. Europe is the second-smallest continent, but has the third-largest population, surpassed only by Asia and North America.
  13. The longest town name in Europe is Lanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch. I'll wait for you to try to pronounce that.
  14. The most common name for a pet pig in France? Napoleon.
  15. It is forbidden to flush your toilet after 10 PM in Belgium, for some reason.
  16. The largest recorded colony of ants in the world is 6,000 kilometers long, and can be found in northern Italy. I promise I'm not sending you there.
  17. The Mediterranean Sea is the only sea in Europe that researchers believe has always been filled with water.
  18. The London Eye in (surprise) London is the world's tallest Ferris Wheel, standing at 135 meters tall.
  19. The entirety of Europe by land area is still smaller than Canada!
  20. An estimated 10% of Europeans were conceived in Ikea beds - that's about 73.3 million people, for those counting.

As you sit there, reading the provided facts and attempting to pronounce Lanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch in your head, you can't help but think it's strange that the Puzzlemaster would slip up like this...after all, he's been preparing this Treasure Hunt for years, hasn't he?


Where is your next destination?


The story continues in the next part, Treasure hunt 'round the world! (clue 4)

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  • $\begingroup$ Pretty sure it's something to do with the list of countries that these facts give (Greece, Romania, Netherlands, Greece, France, Denmark, etc.) Not quite sure how to turn countries into a coded message though ... unless it's like that "summit meeting on terrorism" question of mine that got deleted $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Jul 16 '15 at 20:18
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Some of these "facts" aren't entirely true. $\endgroup$ – f'' Jul 17 '15 at 0:03
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Really? Huh. Which ones? $\endgroup$ – Bailey M Jul 17 '15 at 0:14
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The London Eye hasn't been the tallest Ferris wheel since 2006. The population of Greece is over 10 million, while the Athens metro area is about 4 million. There is no law against flushing toilets after 10 pm in Belgium. $\endgroup$ – f'' Jul 17 '15 at 0:40
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ How incredibly interesting. $\endgroup$ – Bailey M Jul 17 '15 at 0:43
11
$\begingroup$

This is tough, because as you all know Anything can signify anything.

For the facts:

  1. Europe is named after the Phoenician princess "Europa", from Greek mythology.

TRUE (1)

  1. Romania is the oldest country in all of Europe. It hasn't changed its name since > 681 AD!

FALSE (0)

  1. The Netherlands has the world's densest rail system, with 113.8 kilometers of rail per 1,000 square kilometers.

FALSE (0)

  1. Over 50% of Greece's population lives in its capital, Athens.

FALSE (0)

  1. The most visited place in the entirety of Europe is, not suprisingly, Disneyland (located in Paris).

TRUE (1)

  1. Greenland, an island owned by Denmark, is the second-largest island in the world, surpassed only by Australia.

FALSE (0), because considered as largest island according to Wiki.

  1. Croissants, the famous French pastry, were actually invented in Austria.

TRUE (1), especially according to English Wiki page.

  1. The national airport in Brussels sells more chocolate than any other location on Earth!

TRUE (1)

  1. Finland has the most McDonald's per capita in all of Europe.

FALSE (0)

  1. Hate mosquitos? Move to Iceland, where there are literally none.

TRUE (1)

  1. If you're getting bored of Europe, have no fear - Africa is only a 30-minute ferry ride from Spain.

TRUE (1)

  1. Europe is the second-smallest continent, but has the third-largest population, surpassed only by Asia and North America.

FALSE (0)

  1. The longest town name in Europe is Lanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch. I'll wait for you to try to pronounce that.

TRUE (1), despite the fact that the initial L is missing.

  1. The most common name for a pet pig in France? Napoleon.

FALSE (0)

  1. It is forbidden to flush your toilet after 10 PM in Belgium, for some reason.

FALSE (0)

  1. The largest recorded colony of ants in the world is 6,000 kilometers long, and can be found in northern Italy. I promise I'm not sending you there.

TRUE (1) - the fact says "and can be found in northern Italy" which is definitely true (it doesn't state that's it can only or as a total be found in Italy)

  1. The Mediterranean Sea is the only sea in Europe that researchers believe has always been filled with water.

FALSE (0)

  1. The London Eye in (surprise) London is the world's tallest Ferris Wheel, standing at 135 meters tall.

FALSE (0)

  1. The entirety of Europe by land area is still smaller than Canada!

FALSE (0)

  1. An estimated 10% of Europeans were conceived in Ikea beds - that's about 73.3 million people, for those counting.

TRUE (1)

Given this fact sheet we get 10001011011010010001

Now we have a lot of options for such binary looking chunk of data:

As is 10001011011010010001

is binary representation for integer 571025 which doesn't give me a hint to any place on earth for now. Factorizing doesn't reveal anything either.

6-bit

Base64 (with "0"-fill)

100010 110110 100100 010000
     i      2      k      Q

Base 32 => hdkh

5-tupels: 10001 01101 10100 10001 with the interesting fact, that 1 and 4 are equal.

Bacon with b=1

=> SOWS

Bacon with a=1

=> PTMP

Baudot with 1 repr. on-state

=> SC-S

Baudot with 1 repr. off-state (you never know)

=> HXFH

CCITT-2

=> ZFHZ could be an abbreviation for "Züricher Fachhochschule, Zürich"

MTK-2

=> ZPSZ

5-bit with A=1 encoding (= ASCII + 64)

10001 01101 10100 10001
   17    13    22    17
    Q     M     V     Q

=> nope

4-bit with A=1 encoding (= ASCII + 64, even if a bit strange since we only get to 15)

1000 1011 0110 1001 0001
   8   11    6    9    1
   H    K    F    I    A

=> sounds like Sofia or Haifa but isn't identical.

It could mean HKF International Airport. Unfortunately there is no IATA code for HKF.

There would be HKD which would mean question 11 should be false, but it's definitively true.

Same holds for HKG (Hongkong) (question 12 should be true but is definitely false).

Interesting fact about Hongkong: it's also referred to as HKIA, but what are we gonna do with the F?

There's a seaport code with HKF but that doesn't fit to IA as "International Airport".

UN/LOCODE has HK for Hongkong, but there's no subcode for FIA.

ASCII alone doesn't really fit to 20 bit binary. BCD, Aiken et. al. don't work.

And so shall it be: looks like there are different types of Bacon code or one can simply add a Caesar shift by -1 to the results above and you get:

Bacon(2) with a=1 => OSLO

So I would head to to the capital of Norway and see what's coming next.

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  • 2
    $\begingroup$ PTMP is one letter off from OSLO. I think you're using a slightly different Bacon system than Bailey M. $\endgroup$ – f'' Jul 20 '15 at 23:31
  • $\begingroup$ Good catch. Even though I think Bacon is Bacon. So maybe it's just "-1" and Oslo is the solution here? Maybe that's why he "Erred"? $\endgroup$ – Karsten S. Jul 20 '15 at 23:44
  • $\begingroup$ a la Ceasar shift -1 $\endgroup$ – Karsten S. Jul 20 '15 at 23:52
  • $\begingroup$ I think there are two slightly different forms of the Bacon cipher - either way, you did awesome work, and if you update with the correct answer noted by f'' and yourself, I'll gladly +1 and accept this answer! $\endgroup$ – Bailey M Jul 21 '15 at 1:07
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bacon%27s_cipher "Note: A second version of Bacon's cipher uses a unique code for each letter. In other words, I and J each has its own pattern." rumkin.com/tools/cipher/baconian.php "There are two versions. The first uses the same code for I and J, plus the same code for U and V. The second uses distict codes for every letter." $\endgroup$ – LeppyR64 Jul 21 '15 at 12:35

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