First puzzle I ever do! Hopefully it won't be too easy or too challenging.


My co-worker just gave me a USB flash drive, which was supposed to contain a couple files of code for me to review. Unfortunately, I think he might have given me the wrong one, cause when I plugged it in, these were the contents.

$\hskip 2.5 in$enter image description here

I opened the png file looking for answers, and this is what I saw.

$\hskip 3.1 in$enter image description here


What are the exact contents of those files?

(If you're at a loss as to where to start I can think of some hints, just say where you're stuck and I'll try to steer you in the right direction).

Edit: Added a new "knowledge" tag that maybe I should have added earlier (though no one is close to the part where some kind of knowledge may be required). Considering putting up a bounty too in a few days, I'm too anxious for someone to finally solve this!


Hint 1

Size matters.

Hint 2

Think in two dimensions.

Hint 3

X marks the spot.

Hint 4

There are only four possible positions for the X inside the box. If it was on the opposite corner, you would probably end up very, very far away from your destination.

Hint 5

As you already figured out, the colours of the box are clues too, but they might only make sense after the puzzle is solved, so don't focus on them too much.

Hint 6

Last clue for a while, because I feel bad for bumping this so much: the colours of the box represent time in different ways.

Hint 7

There are 12 destinations, and they're all within the same country. You might have to take a close look at them too.

Hint 8

Any major city would have worked, but this one in particular is by itself a clue.

Hint 9

Now it may be time to open your ears.

I'll add some of your correct guesses here to help you try to solve this:

1. The six-digit numbers in the file names are portions of coordinates. Left side is latitude, right side is longitude.

2. The middle number is an index. Sorting by that index could be helpful (when you've figured out the coordinates).

3. The dimensions of the box are important, as well as the hex RGB representations of the colors.

4. j3App's coordinates are correct, but what could they mean?

5. Blue indicates a year, while green represents mm:ss.

  • 11
    stares intently at geography tag – Zimonze Oct 26 at 21:11
  • 3
    You use USB sticks to share code for dev review!!??!?!??!?!? – mypetlion Oct 26 at 21:12
  • 2
    @mypetlion I definitely put all the effort into the puzzle and not the story ;) That's why I didn't think it was necessary to add a story tag. – NudgeNudge Oct 26 at 21:27
  • 1
    Does it help anybody to know that rot13:vs lbh hfr gur oyhr obk nf n znfx bire gur fperrafubg bs gur qverpgbel yvfgvat, vg svgf ± cresrpgyl bire bar pbyhza naq svir ebjf yvxr guvf? – Chowzen Oct 27 at 23:17
  • 1
    @Chowzen That's a clever observation but it's purely coincidental. – NudgeNudge Oct 27 at 23:41

The files that are not the .png file are

named with a scheme that looks somewhat like latitude-index-longitude

and there are

12 of them, and 12 different middle numbers, so try using that for the order and sorting by that middle field

and then

take the first six digits as DD.dddd where DD is the degrees and dddd is the decimal portion of a degree.

Likewise

for the last six digits.

If we plot this, we get:

polygon from Google Earth

which looks exactly like

nothing I've ever seen. Maybe a Halloween cat if you squint. :(

  • 3
    I did this exact same thing. Didn't squint. Saw nothing. – Chowzen Oct 27 at 10:33
  • 2
    @Chowzen that's a good question. Btw, many APIs use long,lat instead of lat,long, though I don't really think that matters here – j3App Oct 28 at 19:28
  • 2
    @shoover: Does any of the 12 locations look special e.g. if you zoom in in satellite mode. And if you flip lat,long? – j3App Oct 28 at 20:00
  • 2
    I checked the 12 location also by swapping latlong to longlat. Also I tested the locations using Dddddd instead of DDdddd. No effect – j3App Nov 3 at 20:16
  • 2
    I think I've got it with the "x" on the image. Once I get back to my PC in 3 hours, I'll post an answer – j3App Nov 4 at 8:55

I've got a good part of it,

We are in a city starting with O.

The solution involves a police station an a fast food joint. Also a car dealer.

The x on the png

has 4 possible locations. Upper left means the coordinates are west of Greenwich and north of the equator

The dimensions of the png 35*97

are the rough coordinates, meaning we are at 35 degrees north and 97 degrees west

When adding the 12 latlng pairs

as decimals behind 35 and -97,

we end up in

enter image description here

Then when looking at the 12 positions as they are indexed, we have:

enter image description here

The incident:

the bombing was in 1995, so that doesn't fit the 1997 mentioned in my comment above

I took a look around each of the 12 locations using street view.

Found interesting stuff like e.g. a fighter airplane, a graveyard etc, but couldn't make any sense of it

Also tried playing with the RGB values as time representers,

including using them as arc minutes and seconds for lat and long. Also this took me nowhere. Neither did the hex sequence 1997 (year?) nor the hex sequence 5321 (can hardly be a date or hrs/min)

And

TWA800? And Audi?

And

The content could be Monika Lewinsky audio files, more tomorrow, it is bed time here

  • You almost got it (left = W though, but you're where you need to be). Just need to find what the places are supposed to indicate. – NudgeNudge Nov 4 at 11:41
  • yes, got east and west mixed up in the excitement, corrected now. When I saw O... city, I immediately thought of the b... incident, but there is probably more to be said about the city – j3App Nov 4 at 11:45
  • You're close, so I don't want to give you any more hints for the rest of the day. See if you can make some progress with the info you have and maybe you'll get some input from the nice people in here. – NudgeNudge Nov 4 at 11:53
  • It is possible that the locations indicate time or semaphore, using the directions of the lines. – Hugh Nov 7 at 17:03
  • @Hugh Interesting idea with the semaphores – j3App Nov 7 at 19:24

Forgive me for my inexperience on posting...

Here a few observations:

1) The files screenshot has dimensions 170x284. The other picture has dimensions 35x97.

I plotted the coordinates like @shoover (not in satellite view)

2) Most (9 out of 12) of the coordinates are in Russia, with two in Kazakhstan and one in Turkey. oh wait 9 is a square

I see squares everywhere

3) @j3App stated that the picture's color is 25x151, which is a square times the 36th prime (36 is a square)

I don't think my observations helped, but they might be interesting. (All I really did was play around with numbers)

Your Answer

 
discard

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

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