27
$\begingroup$

You are in jail, along with all other Puzzling Exchange users, for crimes against each other with your obtuse riddling and mathematical references. One day, there is a large brouhaha at the prison, and the guards bring everyone to the cafeteria for an important announcement.

A small man in a suit stands up and announces that he is the new warden. The previous warden (who was known for his whimsical decisions on who should be left free or should die, despite any laws of the local government which may indicate otherwise) was murdered, with a set of colored hats sitting next to him on his desk.

The new warden announces that, unlike previous wardens who shamelessly flaunted the criminal justice system in their attempts at probability conundrums, he cannot let anyone die or go free. However, whoever can discover the murderer will receive some well-deserved reputation points on Puzzling Exchange. Not too shabby.

The only clue at the scene was the previous warden's computer, open to his browser history. It had been previously cleared, and then eleven interesting web pages had recently been visited. Within those eleven web pages, there were three recent visits to search pages, but it appears that there was no navigation away from those pages.

Below are the eleven visited web pages, with the most recent at the bottom.

Good luck!

Hint 1:

Order matters

Hint 2:

Who has been punishing us with these prisoner questions?

Hint 3:

What if I told you that the last user had searched for "kippered fish" on the 3 search pages.

Hint 4:

The investigators find a slip of paper under the keyboard with the number 2851743 on it. It is not written in the deceased warden's hands.

Hint 5:

If the puzzles were listed in a different order, the piece of paper under the keyboard would most likely be different.

Hint 6:

The culprit is not one of the linked users, but can be found among them.

Hint 7:

The steganography tag pertains to all of the linked puzzles (as a whole), as opposed to applying to this particular puzzle.

Note: The user kippered-fish-2851743 is absolutely NOT related to this question. It appears to have been created by someone else trying to solve the puzzle.

$\endgroup$
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I think it's time to add a new tag "prisoner", or "warden". $\endgroup$ – Weijun Zhou Jan 17 '18 at 21:20
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Oh no, what have you done?? How is puzzling.se going to survive without our steady supply of prison puzzles? $\endgroup$ – votbear Jan 18 '18 at 2:34
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Mhmd - No searches were completed. $\endgroup$ – APrough Jan 18 '18 at 16:59
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I suppose it's possible he started typing, saw the suggested completions, and left without finishing... $\endgroup$ – Mister B Jan 19 '18 at 17:55
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Relevant meta post - Link provided in order ensure that nobody interested in this challenge miss that. $\endgroup$ – Victor Stafusa Feb 8 '18 at 3:25
4
$\begingroup$

The killer is

APrough

I started with Victor Stafusa's answer but noticed he

mixed up the order of the users who posted the riddles. The correct order is:
2. Taylor Brandstetter
8. Minus Reputation
5. Tyler Seacrest
1. Oray
7. Mathieu Browers
4. Briguy37
3. LFH

The numbers also tell

which character to extract from the user name:
2. Taylor Brandstetter
8. Minus Reputation
5. Tyler Seacrest
1. Oray
7. Mathieu Browers
4. Briguy37
3. LFH

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ Surprise, surprise. The detective is actually the killer! $\endgroup$ – Krad Cigol Feb 14 at 10:00
  • $\begingroup$ Absolutely correct. And it only took slightly over a year! Either I made the puzzle too hard, or people don't really care about the warden. $\endgroup$ – APrough Feb 14 at 12:56
6
+150
$\begingroup$

Given:

Hints 1 and 5.

So:

This is related with the order of the links:

1. How long has the warden been the warden? v2
2. Prison Pizza Party
3. Three mathematicians are forever in Prison
4. How long has the warden been the warden?
5. One hundred and one hats
6. Google home page
7. The Switch Riddle
8. The Two Switches
9. Yahoo home page
10. Bing home page
11. https://puzzling.stackexchange.com/users

Now, lets get to:

Hint 4.

So we have:

2851743

Let's see what special property this have:

Relating it to the links, we have this:

2. Prison Pizza Party
8. The Two Switches
5. One hundred and one hats
1. How long has the warden been the warden? v2
7. The Switch Riddle
4. How long has the warden been the warden?
3. Three mathematicians are forever in Prison

What is left out?

6. Google home page
9. Yahoo home page
10. Bing home page
11. https://puzzling.stackexchange.com/users

Taking what was out with...

Hint 3.

So we conclude that...

Kippered Fish is a Red Herring. Those search pages are useless.

Now going back to what is in, what could be said?

- Prison with lots and lots inmates with prisioners needing to cut slices of a ultra giant pizzas precisely in angles related to the golden ratio. This game was conceived by the warden.
- 11 prisoners needing to turn switches on and off in rooms being switched at the warden will.
- 99 prisoners needing to all guess correctly the color of the warden's hat, just for his pleasure.
- A single prisoner needing to tell how many time the warden is around being careful to not asking too much.
- 100 prisoners needing to observe a bulb and maybe turn it on or off. Just because the warden wants.
- A single prisoner needing to tell how many time the warden is around being careful to not asking too much. This time, he knows that the warden is a newbie.
- Three matematician prisoners at an infinitely countable time in prison needing to figure out if they can finally be freed.

Getting hot, we still have...

Hint 2.

Which is:

Who has been punishing us with these prisoner questions?

The answer for that:

Puzzling users who asks questions. Namely, in those cases, Oray, Minus Reputation, Tyler Seacrest, Briguy37, Mathieu Browers, Taylor Brandstetter and LFH, accodingly to the order of the puzzles as in hint 5.
So we alredy have 7 suspected people!

So what?

Let's quote something from the question:

[...] was murdered, with a set of colored hats sitting next to him on his desk.

This makes one of our suspects more suspecting than the others:

Tyler Seacrest wrote the One hundred and one hats question.

Why?

Let's quote the question once again.

You are in jail, along with all other Puzzling Exchange users, for crimes against each other with your obtuse riddling and mathematical references. [...]

So...

He was a prisioner too. Surely, he had a reason to kill the warden. I guess that he is the murderer! The other six suspects were not envolved in anything about hats.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ In what order was important? It could have been any order, just the number would be different! $\endgroup$ – Untitpoi Feb 9 '18 at 8:47
  • $\begingroup$ So, this is fairly close, though you do get a little derailed at one point. There is a specific tag on this puzzle that everyone has been ignoring so far. Also, the first three paragraphs are merely flavor; the hats just symbolize the type of puzzles being discussed. $\endgroup$ – APrough Feb 9 '18 at 12:51
  • $\begingroup$ @APrough If you are talking about steganography, I was aware of it right from the start. I scanned the source code of your question for hidden shenanigans, tried to match patterns of letters and numbers from questions, question ids and user ids and what I found was what is in my two answers. I could relate the number 11 from your list to user 11 which also appeared in my other answer, but I didn't thought that it was anything useful other just coincidence by chance. $\endgroup$ – Victor Stafusa Feb 9 '18 at 13:15
  • $\begingroup$ @Untitpoi Very true. Don't know how to fix it. $\endgroup$ – Victor Stafusa Feb 13 '18 at 2:21
5
$\begingroup$

Some Observations

searching for kippered fish in the users reveals: https://puzzling.stackexchange.com/users/44684/kippered-fish-2851743
this user matches hints 3 and 4

We can see that:

the profile picture is a bar code. Scanning it reveals the following text:
COUNT THE EYES

Also,

the About me section have this weird text:
UBYYBJ URNQ NCEBHTU UBYYBJ RLRF YVNE UBYYBJ URNQ UNGF UBYYBJ RLRF 11

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ Wow, +1. This is interesting that it actually did this, but this is going in the wrong direction. $\endgroup$ – APrough Jan 29 '18 at 13:03
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @APr so am I analyzing the account in a wrong way or you didn't create that account in the first place? $\endgroup$ – Mhmd Jan 29 '18 at 16:08
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ I never created that account. From what I can see, it was created on the 25th, and this question was from the 17th. I am going to assume that someone created that account while trying to figure out this puzzle, since it uses the exact same phrase and number scheme from one of my hints. $\endgroup$ – APrough Jan 29 '18 at 16:14
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ What is creepy is that the crypto text is rot13 for "HOLLOW HEAD APROUGH HOLLOW EYES LIAR HOLLOW HEAD HATS HOLLOW EYES" $\endgroup$ – APrough Jan 29 '18 at 16:16
5
$\begingroup$

Guessing a partial answer

I started with the number:

2851743

Guessing that it should be:

Some post in this community.

So, I forged this URL:

https://puzzling.stackexchange.com/q/28517/43

Which leads to:

The accepted answer of a question named "Don't clear your terminal history" asked by David Starkey (user 2071) and answered by question_asker (user 17250). The title is suggestive about clearing history. Further, it is also a question of someone being locked in somewhere needing to figure out a way to escape. This seems to be a case suspecting too similar to what happens in this question.

Actually the 28517/43 means post number 28517 (that aforementioned answer) with a link shared by user 43, which is called glenneroo, who never posted a question or answer in this site.

Are there other possibilities?

Yes, it might be https://puzzling.stackexchange.com/q/28/51743

In this case...

It leads to the accepted answer of a question called "Which switch goes to which bulb?", self-answered by Xynariz, who is user 11. The question tells about relating switches to lights, which is something related to two questions accessed from the warden's computer. The user numbered 51743 isn't anybody yet.

There is also a 3rd possibility:

The URL https://puzzling.stackexchange.com/q/285/1743 goes to the accepted answer of a question called "Hats and Aliens", in which aliens distribute hats to 10 earthlings and will execute people if they don't guess correctly their hat colors. Clearly this is related with one of the visited questions and very releated to prisioners' dillemas. It was asked by arshajii, the user 198, and answered by Ice-9, the user 19. The number 1743 from the link goes to nnori, a 1-rep user which apparently never had made anything here other than creating an account.

Other possible ways (don't particularly think that any of them are useful though):

Post https://puzzling.stackexchange.com/q/2 is about sudoku.
User https://puzzling.stackexchange.com/users/851743 do not exists yet.

Post https://puzzling.stackexchange.com/q/2851 is a non-accepted answer about using rocks to calculate digits of pi in order to be able to fly a plane.
User https://puzzling.stackexchange.com/users/743 is deleted.

Post https://puzzling.stackexchange.com/q/285174/3 do not exists yet.
User 3 is Grace Note, one of the Stack Exchange Community Managers.

What about Hint 3?

Red Herring!

$\endgroup$
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I think the third possibility is very likely, based on the subtle clue given in this puzzle: "...a set of colored hats sitting next to him on his desk." $\endgroup$ – Paul Parker Feb 8 '18 at 2:40
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Though this is interesting,links to puzzles other than the ones in the question are merely circumstantial. $\endgroup$ – APrough Feb 8 '18 at 18:21

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.