Agents of P.U.Z.Z.L.E. (Part-time United Zippy Zealots Loving Enigmas), we need your help.

Terrorists are planning an attack on an underground railway station. One of our undercover agents placed an SD card in one of our dead letter boxes, which is supposed to reveal the target of the attack.

SD card

The SD card contained these three images:

Image 1 Image 2 Image 3

Your task as part of our analytics department is to find out, which undergound railway station was chosen as the target for an attack.


Remember the topic of the challenge, the "visual" part doesn't end with the three images.


The second image is from Wikimedia Commons.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Time-travelling terrorists are the worst type. $\endgroup$ – rjdown May 6 '16 at 22:37
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    $\begingroup$ @rjdown Have you seen Continuum? $\endgroup$ – Will May 7 '16 at 2:21

The attack is going to be at the

Spittelmarkt station.

There are several hints pointing to one thing:

Name of the folder is an anagram of ZODIAC.
The image names all begin with "CNC", "Cancer".
22/06, the modified date of all images, is the day the Cancer sign begins.
In the background of all images, there is a faint but distinguishable Cancer symbol (see Khale_Kitha's answer).

So, what if we...

Overlay the Cancer constellation on top of the Berlin map?

Cancer constellation

We already have 4 points, the box and the three landmarks, and the constellation has 5 stars. If we put 4 stars on top of the points we already have, the fifth star should point to where the attack will be: enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ Clap, clap, clap. Good job figuring out where we got stuck. $\endgroup$ – SMS von der Tann May 8 '16 at 21:59
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    $\begingroup$ Well done, we will send our field agents ASAP. (The number of the first image is a pointer as well.) $\endgroup$ – Sleafar May 9 '16 at 18:27

Partial Answer

The first, and 3rd image,images are overlain with the number '69' (turned sideways), repeatedly, in the background. I didn't have any luck extracting to confirm that the numbers never change, from from a visual check, it appears to be the same, throughout.

Edit: Upon further reflection, this sideways 69 is probably a Cancer Zodiac symbol(♋️), as further emphasized by the name of the DCIM folder on the memory card. (Thank you, kamenf)

The second image (of St. Hedwig's Cathedral) does not appear to have a similar overlay.
Edit: Will was right. This image does appear to have the same overlay. I've attached another image, so you can see it, but it's really difficult to see.

enter image description here

This either means that the railway station is probably near St. Hedwig's Cathedral (Of which there are two nearby subway stations, but no railway station within very close proximity) or that the other two images have some other data that needs to be found, and this one can be discarded. (Note that St. Hedwig's Cathedral is less than 1000ft from water; Water is the zodiac element for Cancer, though this may be inconsequential.)

(The above quoteblock is probably no longer useful in light of finding the symbol in all images.)

Of note is that the closest Cancer Treatment center (CRF Krebsbekämpfung GmbH) is closest to The Brandenberg, but it is still a good enough distance away from even that to be easily inconsequential.

Here is a snippet of a 244% zoomed in portion of the third image, turned sideways, so you can see the overlay. Click to enlarge it so you can see the numbers/symbols.

Click to Enlarge

Here is a contrast-brightness modified image of the Brandenburg Gate where you can see the "69" pop up in certain places of the photo. enter image description here

The images are also in JPG format, so any data that may have been once stored in them is likely gone, unless it was done after compression. For example, the Cancer signs appear to have been done, prior to compression, so they are difficult to read. (Just in case, I've run an LSB check on them, and came up with nothing.)

Lastly - all three images were last modified at the same moment. So whatever occurred with them likely happened to all three. Which means there was probably a final pass of something after the images were modified originally.

  • $\begingroup$ The second image (of St. Hedwig's Cathedral) does not appear to have a similar overlay. Yes it does! :) (this is great work btw) $\endgroup$ – Will May 8 '16 at 1:08
  • $\begingroup$ You're right. I had to focus REALLY hard, but I see the Cancer symbol in the background of that one, as well. Hmm $\endgroup$ – Khale_Kitha May 8 '16 at 1:10
  • $\begingroup$ Oh, you could take the modified image of the Brandenburg Gate that I put in the other answer, the "69" shows up in part of it nicely. $\endgroup$ – SMS von der Tann May 8 '16 at 1:12

Here's just a bit of info about the three images to get started:

The three images, from top to bottom, are Brandenburg Gate, St. Hedwig's Cathedral, and the Fernsehturm tower. All of these are located in the vicinity of the location of the dead letter box, as you can see on this map.

  • $\begingroup$ The fourth image should also be important. Especially the name of the folder which could be anagram of "zodiac". $\endgroup$ – kamenf May 7 '16 at 12:02

No complete answer, but maybe this image should also get a little bit attention.

The strange picture.

I couldn't find any camera which names it's directories 100ACDIOZ.

CNC... The agent probably uses a cnc microscope camera. No idea if this even matters.

The thing that was interesting for me was the date of the pictures. It's in the future (question asked: 2016-05-07)! Either the camera is misconfigured or it could be a hint by Sleafar's agent. Maybe he's put under pressure by the terrorists? Maybe he wants to give us a hint that the terrorists control him?

EDIT: UNIX-timestamp of the time: 1466596800 Does this use anything?

Could be completely wrong, just wanted to say this.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I think that the date would be the planned attack. $\endgroup$ – SMS von der Tann May 8 '16 at 19:50

The answer is:

The Brandenburg Gate

Here's why:

When applying a Contrast - 100, and Brightness - 0 to 100, to all the images, it will appear as though an explosion is emanating in all the images. However, only in the Brandenburg Gate you can see it emanate from one point.

GIF of difference

  • 5
    $\begingroup$ Welcome to Puzzling! Can you edit in the modified pictures? $\endgroup$ – Deusovi May 6 '16 at 23:27
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    $\begingroup$ I don't see this when doing the prescribed actions. $\endgroup$ – Dan Russell May 7 '16 at 3:14
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    $\begingroup$ Our undercover agent couldn't risk to carry around an SD card containing an image of the target. Therefore it's highly unlikely that one of the images shows the actual target. $\endgroup$ – Sleafar May 7 '16 at 4:29

I believe that the following underground railway station is the target:


The underground station next to the Fernsehturm tower


Reasons are that it is the landmark that is closest to an actual underground station. imgur.com/dPUPKyS

  • $\begingroup$ Our undercover agent couldn't risk to carry around an SD card containing an image of the target. Therefore it's highly unlikely that one of the images shows the actual target. $\endgroup$ – Sleafar May 7 '16 at 10:40

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