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A friend from my Geography Club just sent me the strangest text message. He said he is out of town on some kind of secret mission. He is also paranoid about the government reading his messages, so of course he couldn't tell me where he is. He told me to meet him as soon as possible, and left the following cryptic text, saying it would lead me to his location:

(48,31,36),(33,42),(43,41),(43,41,44),(31,36,33),(48,38,47,45).(25,18,28),(47,28),(41,39),(32,30);(38,37,44),(21,29,24).(25,20,16),(21,19),(22,4,16),(26,17).(12,8),(4,12,8),(17,2),(3,11,2),(12,8).

He also included the following statements which I believe are clues to figuring out how to interpret the cryptic text:

The numbers are ordinal. Time is of the essence. Study the range. Draw with the west wind.

I need your help! Where in the world is my friend?

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    $\begingroup$ (48,38,47,45).(25,18,28) is it , or . $\endgroup$ – Amruth A Jan 9 '17 at 5:41
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    $\begingroup$ All of the punctuation marks are correct. $\endgroup$ – wildBillMunson Jan 9 '17 at 5:42
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    $\begingroup$ I have a feeling the government will decrypt this message before we do ;) $\endgroup$ – TrojanByAccident Jan 9 '17 at 5:43
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    $\begingroup$ I know you leave good clues in your puzzle, but just want to make sure if we have one here. Do we have a clue hidden up there? Also do we need "knowledge" or "trivia" tag? $\endgroup$ – Techidiot Jan 9 '17 at 7:25
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    $\begingroup$ If its solvable without clues, its fine for now. Give some time. Not many have seen it yet :) $\endgroup$ – Techidiot Jan 9 '17 at 7:34
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Solution:

Each number corresponds to the order in which each state became part of the US
For example, Delaware is 1, Hawaii is 50.

Decoding the numbers gives
(AZ,CA,NV),(OR,WA),(ID,MT),(ID,MT,WY),(CA,NV,OR),(AZ,CO,NM,UT).
(AR,LA,TX),(NM,TX),(MT,ND),(MN,WI); (CO,NE,WY),(IL,IA,MO).
(AR,MS,TN),(IL,IN),(AL,GA,TN),(MI,OH).
(NC,SC),(GA,NC,SC),(OH,PA),(NJ,NY,PA),(NC,SC).


I noticed the only 4-group was also the only 4-way state intersection, so I guessed that each group must represent an intersection point. The 2-groups mean the point on the border of the US. Connecting the dots gives the solution!



Your friend is in Reno!

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  • $\begingroup$ Nicely done! (The puzzle itself is reminiscent of a couple I've done, such as this one.) And welcome to the site, btw :-) $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Jan 10 '17 at 1:23
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks! :D Been lurking around for a while, glad I found one I could finally solve xD $\endgroup$ – darkdemise Jan 10 '17 at 2:11

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