I've been listening to some Alternative music but the lyrics on my album booklet seem to have some printing errors. Can you help figure out this verse?

+2203 166 127 +2282 29.9, -90

(79 75) +2121 24 15


No cryptography or maths involved!

person ~= people ~= "They"

The "(79 75)" is a bit of a stretch. If you solve the rest first, it will make sense and you'll see why this was the best I could come up with!

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Welcome to Puzzling! Interesting first post, have (almost) no clue where to start but it looks good. Just a question - is the FYI needed to solve the puzzle, and is the reddit link necessary? $\endgroup$
    – boboquack
    Nov 1, 2017 at 6:13
  • $\begingroup$ It's half-optional. You can solve it completely without the FYI but it may save you some time without giving much away. The Reddit link may not be necessary if you think very laterally. If you have no idea where to begin, notice the genre of music and the computer-puzzle tag... $\endgroup$
    – ronCYA
    Nov 2, 2017 at 3:08
  • $\begingroup$ I would wager that this is supposed to have something to do with OK Go, possibly the "OK Computer" album. $\endgroup$ Nov 3, 2017 at 16:19
  • $\begingroup$ I would be improperly using the computer-puzzle tag if that were the case. The tag is there to indicate you need know-how of a certain computer function. $\endgroup$
    – ronCYA
    Nov 4, 2017 at 0:01
  • $\begingroup$ I think the (79 75) part would be less of a stretch as (79 75 79 75) or perhaps as (79 75 32 79 75). $\endgroup$
    – jamesdlin
    Nov 10, 2017 at 0:42

2 Answers 2


Here are my thoughts so far in the order I have made discoveries:


The first thing that struck me were the two numbers 29.9, -90, these were the only two numbers where they are separated with a comma. I am not sure if the punctuation was designed to separate the numbers or to be grouped together, perhaps as a form of co-ordinates.

I tried searching on Google Maps the coordinates 29.9°, -90° to find a retirement home in New Orleans. I don't think the particular building is of any significance but it seems like a big coincidence to come across a major city as opposed to an ocean/forest/desert.

New Orleans is world famous for it's music and has been heavily referenced in many song lyrics, famous for Jazz, R&B, Rock & Roll, etc...

The question is why 29.9°, -90? Why not a round number like 30, -90 or perhaps a more central part of New Orleans?

Meaning of 'Alternative'

The link to the Reddit discussion is about looking at something differently, an alternative perspective.

I believe the use of the word alternative in both the title and body of the puzzle is a clue as to how someone should be thinking about the puzzle as much as it being related to Alternative Music.

'Computer Function'

The comment in the question suggests you 'need know-how of a certain computer function.' yet no cryptography or maths is involved.

It could mean a very simple function like pressing a button, for an example, the 'alt' key? An alternative band like Alt + J perhaps?

I'm not familiar with the bands full discography so I did a search for 'Alt + J' songs with the words 'New Orleans' and I found a cover the band did of the song 'House of the Rising Sun', the first two lines being:

There is a house in New Orleans
They call the Rising Sun

These two lines may match the clue given where the words 'New Orleans' are located.

Understanding the code

So based on the bands name, I think I have an idea of how to 'decrypt' the text by assuming these numbers are 'alt-codes'. Thanks to the comment from kayzeroshort, we know the numbers which match the pattern '+XXXX' are unicode numbers.

The Alt code characters are pictographic forms and the Unicode characters appear to me more about general concepts.

The first line turns into:


∃ = There is (this character is a quantifier. It means "there exists".)
ª = A (looks like a small a)
⌂ = House (looks like a house)
⊂ = In (the mathematical symbol for 'subset')

...and we know that '29.9, -90' is the location for New Orleans.

The second line turns into:

OK ℡↑☼

OK = They (looks like a sitck figure person sideways, person ~= people ~= "They")
℡ = Call (TEL = Telephone ~= Call)
↑☼ = Rising Sun (These two clearly indicated a 'rising sun', up arrow + sun)

  • $\begingroup$ look at Unicode hex values for the four digit numbers. $\endgroup$ Nov 5, 2017 at 16:06
  • $\begingroup$ @kayzeroshort Thank you! I'm not as familiar with unicode characters so I had to do a bit of research. The OK part seems like a bit of a stretch, I would not have gotten that bit without the clue in the question. $\endgroup$
    – Ambo100
    Nov 5, 2017 at 16:19
  • $\begingroup$ Well bloody done!!! I was proud of putting it together and just as satisfied seeing someone solve it :) See my answer below for explanations to some of the points you raised, since there are a quite a few and I cannot put spoilers in comments. Congratulations again. $\endgroup$
    – ronCYA
    Nov 6, 2017 at 6:53
  • $\begingroup$ Is the "Alt code" similar to MBCS 437? $\endgroup$ Jul 25, 2020 at 9:46

This contains many spoilers and is in response to some points Ambo100 made in their correct solution to the puzzle. Read only if you already know the answer.

29.9, -90
Notice that if you put those numbers into Google, a map of New Orleans conveniently comes up? For whole numbers (e.g. 30, -90), Google treats it as a calculation and gives you "-60" as a result instead of a map. The 29.9 ensures no one was subtly steered down the wrong line of solving. The two numbers were also shorted from the original "29.951031, -90.071511" which are the coordinates to the "New Orleans" text on Google Maps. I wanted this part of the puzzle to be solvable, but not immediately obvious, hence the shorting to "29.9, -90".

Meaning of "Alternative"
You had exactly the right thought when you said:

I believe the use of the word alternative in both the title and body of the puzzle is a clue as to how someone should be thinking about the puzzle as much as it being related to Alternative Music.
Of course, it had nothing at all to do with alternative-genre-music at all (the song is folk rock). TBH I think that would have been a pretty weak/not-fun clue anyway. I had "Alternative" capitalised while leaving "lyrics" and "music" lower-case as a small hint. It had nothing to do with alt-J, so it was a fluke that they'd done a cover on House of the Rising Sun. Though TBH, everyone has done a cover on the song! The most well-known version of the song is in fact a cover by The Animals.

+XXXX format numbers
Okay so I guess this one is my fault to a degree. On my computer, if you hold Alt then press +, 2, 2, 0, 3 you get "∃". I didn't know it wouldn't work on other computers. I did already avoid Alt-codes that used letters because they didn't work on my computer, so I thought sticking to numbers only would be good enough.

Hope you enjoyed! Here's your victory song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0sB3Fjw3Uvc

  • $\begingroup$ Yes, I was familiar with the cover by The Animals, I thought Alt + J, an Alternative band was really suitable even if it wasn't a coincidence. I'm not sure I would have worked it out if I hadn't made the link with Alt + J. I recognised the co-ordinate quite quickly because I used something similar in another puzzle I made (SPOILER) here. $\endgroup$
    – Ambo100
    Nov 6, 2017 at 18:38

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