When my friend Alice called me very early one morning, it meant one thing: Bill was at it again.
Bill is Alice's husband and a devoted conspiracy theorist. He regularly spent hours looking for hidden patterns and concealed truths, and though Alice had learned to live with it, she sounded more worried than usual.
I rushed over to her place and asked what had happened.
"I guess Bill was up all night," she said. "He woke me up at dawn and I could tell he was in a frenzy. He said he'd discovered something that could change the world, but it was too dangerous to just tell me. I haven't seen him that manic since he discovered he could rearrange KFC's slogan to spell 'cooked rifling gin'. We haven't eaten there since..."
"So where is he now?" I prompted.
"He left, said he was going to the library to make sure. He said to be safe he had to 'disguise the numbers' and gave me this."
She produced a neatly written note:
1: The third of Attention, Infant!
2: The honest guy’s paper home.
3: The length of the first two Greek letters, in English.
4: Magic Brown Juice and many others.
5: Director with two AAs but without his cuppa squared.
6: Without leaping, split a revolution five ways then count rotations.
7: Exclusively from special ammo to everything’s answer.
8: Zombie-preventer’s headcount.
9: HITTING with no doubles or triples.
10: The originals (before the green mountains through the volcanoes).
"I know you're good at these things," she said, "maybe you can help me figure it out."
"Alright. But let's go find Bill. I'll read it carefully on the way."
We booked it to the local library, and to our surprise the woman sitting at the front desk stopped us and asked "Are you Alice? Your husband told me you might come—and that you'd be wearing your favorite camo jacket." She was, indeed. "He left this for you," the librarian continued, "but I have no idea what it means."
We looked at Bill's second note.
My quiet friends like 5, while my louder friends like 1.
If not 2, then there is no difference between paradise and a specific ghastly ruler.
But if 7, then you can try with 12.
And if not 8, then mixing a temper and cola is okay.
Those with a need for speed will seek 6.
If 3 is reversed, then I'll have to double combatants twice?
In all, I am 10. Find me and use me.
Eventually we were able to trace Bill's twisted logic and figure out what had sent a shock through him. We found him a few hours later, and tried to convince him that everything was fine. But Bill insisted it was plain to see that everything should change.
What was the message Bill "discovered"?
Is Bill right?
There are just two steps to this puzzle. One, figure out the numbers. Two, use the numbers.
Hints for as-of-yet unsolved numbers
4: Also: Doctor Diesel Mailman
8: I'm mixing temporally distant fictions
9: Darts were a good thought, but not the right game
Hint for second note
Turns out, no math was involved. It was more of a riddle.
Solving any of the lines of the second note is enough. Each line points to the same thing.
Also, I could've used the standard Alice and Bob for this question, but then thought I'd drop in one more hint instead.