15
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It's time to pull out your favorite Sonic-Screwdriver/Lightsaber/Wizard's Staff and hop into your Police-Box/Delorean/Phone-Booth, because this puzzle is going to require geeky knowledge and accurate time-jumping skills!

Your friend Ray Adams has forgotten his computer password, and without it he won't be able to access the latest draft of his next novel, "Celsius 42". He needs to get the draft to his publisher soon, or else! All he has to help him remember his password is a scrap of paper with a brief message and a jumble of letters and numbers:

Remember, your password is a perfect length-
1ABD1177111EAD60D9CF0BC62015D7

Can you decipher Ray's password to get him into his computer?

Hint 1:

Ray is notorious for his inefficiency in encoding messages, but is also consistent. Each plaintext character results in the same number of ciphertext characters.

Hint 2:

Most of the sci-fi references in this puzzle are just flavor-text, but if you need help understanding them, I'm sure Puzzling's sister site could help.

Hint 3:

The first paragraph says that you'll need accurate time-jumping skills. To be more precise, you'll need to be able to time-jump to specific points in the past with down-to-the-minute accuracy.

Hint 4:

Ahem, even if you do already understand all of the references, perhaps it would be a good idea to browse some of the highest voted questions and their answers on the Science Fiction and Fantasy Stack Exchange.

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  • $\begingroup$ I think Celsius 42 should be changed to Celsius 232.77778 because that is the exact conversion of 451F to C $\endgroup$ – NL628 Jan 10 '18 at 0:26
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ @NL628 Nah, I suspect the 42 is another clue. Note that Ray Adams is a cross between Ray Bradbury and Douglas Adams. $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Jan 10 '18 at 0:30
  • $\begingroup$ @Randal'Thor Whoa...never thought about that. $\endgroup$ – NL628 Jan 10 '18 at 0:38
  • $\begingroup$ @Randal'Thor Actually, maybe not even a clue because Adams wrote Hitchhikers and that talks about the number 42 as the answer to the universe...so it's probably just a joke or something.. $\endgroup$ – NL628 Jan 10 '18 at 0:43
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ "perfect" might hint at a perfect number. $\endgroup$ – internet_user Jan 10 '18 at 12:50
7
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Solution:

asimov

Reasoning:

Assuming that "perfect length" hints at a perfect number and using hint 1, I determined that the length of the password is 6, because 6 is the only perfect number that divides 30. So, each group in the following must have encode a character in the password: 1ABD1 17711 1EAD6 0D9CF 0BC62 015D7.

Based on hint 4, I used the decimal forms of the numbers as post ids on SciFi SE, and they all corresponded to answers of very highly voted questions. The full list is: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.

Full table of times:

Dec 04, 04:01
Jul 20, 14:19
Apr 20, 16:09
May 06, 22:13
Jan 16, 12:15
Sep 16, 23:22

Using hint 3, the "down-to-the-minute accuracy", and taking the 1st, 19th, 9th, etc. letters of the alphabet, I got the final solution: "asimov"

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  • $\begingroup$ Well done! That's the first bit... But now where to go from there? $\endgroup$ – DqwertyC Jan 11 '18 at 16:27
  • $\begingroup$ Looks like base 16. Converted to base 10 the numbers are: 109521 96017 125654 55759 48226 5591 $\endgroup$ – PopularIsn'tRight Jan 11 '18 at 16:34
  • $\begingroup$ @bachrach, Yep, just tried that. Not sure what to do with that though. $\endgroup$ – internet_user Jan 11 '18 at 16:35
  • $\begingroup$ It could be 138834 477465 171203 479217 487690 601943, if you first convert and then split $\endgroup$ – Florian Bourse Jan 11 '18 at 16:58
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ It is a "Timey-Wimey" cipher, so perhaps the 6 numbers each represent a date relative to some epoch? $\endgroup$ – gnovice Jan 11 '18 at 17:44

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