You are a spy sent to the Moon in the year 2025. Your mission is to infiltrate a base that is guarded by simply a single unique passcode of length <10 on a standard QWERTY keyboard. The only hint as to what to type to gain access to the base is shown below. Luckily, you were able to see right through the code and typed the correct passcode to gain access; otherwise, you would have been shot on the spot for entering an incorrect passcode.

Here is the hit provided to you:


What did you type?

Hint 1:

There are multiple grids that can point you to the answer. Another such grid could be identical to the first, except it has a bottom row of 2121222221334344343354545.

Hint 2:

You do not need a computer to solve this. All digits above are in base 10.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ If it's what I think it is, I'm gonna throw something $\endgroup$ Jan 4, 2016 at 18:13
  • $\begingroup$ @question_asker What do you think it is? $\endgroup$
    – Arcturus
    Jan 4, 2016 at 18:33
  • $\begingroup$ I am pretty sure I'm wrong, since a few of the numbers wouldn't work for it $\endgroup$ Jan 5, 2016 at 21:59
  • $\begingroup$ @question_asker Do you want to know if you're on the right track? $\endgroup$
    – Arcturus
    Jan 6, 2016 at 2:32
  • $\begingroup$ Does it matter if the Moon base runs Linux, Windows or MacOS? $\endgroup$
    – dmg
    Jan 6, 2016 at 9:44

1 Answer 1


This was obvious from the start. But getting the answer was tedious.

Answer is



puzzle The grid is divided into 5x5 blocks, where each block is sum of characters in 5x5 font. This gives text "WHAT IS EIGHT TIMES ELEVEN". And because password is shorter than 15, the pass is result of the spelled out formula (might be in text form).

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ what about it was obvious? honest question. $\endgroup$
    – dfperry
    Jan 6, 2016 at 13:11
  • $\begingroup$ I have the same question - this is not remotely obvious $\endgroup$ Jan 6, 2016 at 13:14
  • $\begingroup$ @dperry It just was. First thing I thought looking at the grid was "maybe they are overlapped characters". And it was just work from there. I guess "lateral-thinking" tag was also hint. I wasn't expecting any mathematical code. $\endgroup$
    – Euphoric
    Jan 6, 2016 at 13:16
  • $\begingroup$ @question_asker see above $\endgroup$
    – Euphoric
    Jan 6, 2016 at 13:16
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @question_asker They are "sum" of the overlapping characters. Put each character of WHAT in the 5x5 font over each other and calculate sum of pixels for each of the 5x5 grid. $\endgroup$
    – Euphoric
    Jan 6, 2016 at 13:23

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