0
$\begingroup$

Old newspaper ad:

"Handler of purple cows needed on farm. Leave a message on lj36@dropmail.me or call (31)725-618171421"

What does he need help with?

Hint 1

Here, the knowledge tag should be taken seriously, it is almost impossible to solve this without using external source, this question is not ideal for the people who like taking a quick look only.

Hint 2

the good news: there are 10 clues incorporated that would help you to find the right answer

Hint 3

What kind of help he needs: don't worry about it too much, how to answer, I will accept your answer given in any form provided you realized what we are talking about here.

Hint 4

He doesn't need help with his cows, because he doesn't have cows.

Hint 5

This article is more than 30 years old.

Hint 6

But not more than 130.

Hint 7

The farm in question is to the south of Southfork.

Hint 8

a cow of that kind does not belong to a septet

Hint 9

...but the handler! Oh, well, he does, no doubt about that!"

Note: Last hint given. You are on your own from now on.

$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ A couple of thoughts to get things started rot13(725 vf gur nern pbqr sbe Ynf Irtnf, AI jurer gurl ner xabja sbe gurve pnfvabf. Bar cbchyne tnzr vf ebhyrggr juvpu nf 36 cbffvoyr fcbgf gb ynaq ba gur jurry (rkpyhqvat 0) juvpu vf nyfb gur ahzore va gur rznvy tvira.) $\endgroup$ – GrumpyLlama59 Nov 5 at 20:05
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ it`s true! But not the way. $\endgroup$ – balazs.com Nov 5 at 20:40
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Does he rot13(jbex ng n freire snez)? $\endgroup$ – David Robie Nov 14 at 16:13
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ rot13(v qba'g xabj jurer ur jbexf) regarding the location, but rot13(uvf wbo vf zber vagrerfgvat, ohg ur qbrfa'g qrny jvgu pbzchgref $\endgroup$ – balazs.com Nov 14 at 16:16
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ I got my first email address more than 30 years ago. When Google Groups swallowed up DejaNews, they inherited the archive of Usenet that includes messages, with email addresses, from 1982 in the net.lang.c, net.lang.pascal, and net.lang.ada newsgroups. The RFC for a mail protocol dates from 1973. $\endgroup$ – shoover Dec 2 at 20:04
14
$\begingroup$

Here is an answer:

He needs help with handling purple cows, as stated in the ad.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ the question was updated with hints, this answer is probably wrong. $\endgroup$ – user118161 Dec 5 at 5:14
5
$\begingroup$

Edited to add my third answer

Partial Answer (But this time I am fairly sure that I got it)

I think the answer is

He's Lyndon B. Johnson, and he is looking for a manager for his 1964 Presidential Election campaign.

How I came to this answer: 1.

After it became clear that dropmail.me didn't exist at the time of the ad, we can safely assume that the choice of lj36 as a "username" is deliberate. Lyndon Johnson is the 36th President of the United States. Actually, since he assumed presidency after the assassination of JFK, he was already the 36th President during the campaign.

Some comments regarding the email address

I think it isn't an email address, because a) email was not in wide use at that time b) the phrasing of the ad "Leave a message on ...": One would use "Send a mail to" or something like that. I'd speculate that it could be a special place for the applicants to leave an actual message.

2.

"Handler": "a manager of a political or public figure or campaign" This should be pretty self-explanatory.

3.

"Purple (Cows)". The states where the Republican and Democrat votes are close to each other are sometimes called "Purple States". Because of the winner-takes-all election system in most states, and a good strategy for a presidential candidate would be to try to win these states.

Some comments regarding the phone number:

The phone number is formatted really weird, and has the same formatting (and the digit/letter count) as "(LJ)FOR-PRESIDENT" but I don't know how to transform the number into that, I tried a couple of ROT ciphers but couldn't get anything.

I couldn't make use of these, but they might be (and probably are) clues as well:

  • Farm
  • dropmail.me
  • The phone number

Edited to add my new answer

Partial (and probably incorrect) answer

This was my second attempt, and it was wrong. But I am keeping it for the same reasons that I'm keeping my first attempt: Every wrong answer is a step closer to the right answer.

After Hints 5&6, I no longer have a clear idea what the answer is, however I found a bunch of things that could be useful. I was able to use some of the clues that I couldn't use in my previous answer, but now I don't have any idea on how to use the seemingly most important clue.

Things I learned after Hints 5&6 came and I'll use in my explanations:

  • WWW was invented in 1989, this means

    dropmail.me surely didn't exist at the time of this article. (Hint 5)

  • Phone numbers were first used in 1879, this means

    The phone number is actually a phone number (Hint 6)

  • dropmail.me does not have a fixed expiry time (it is deleted when you close your tab instead of some fixed time after you create it), this means

    My conclusion about the usage of dropmail.me implies an urgent job (in my previous answer) is COMPLETELY FALSE. And I think one can exploit this feature of dropmail.me to mail to the future (This might be important when I get closer to the full answer)

(I can elaborate on why I think this can happen if people ask me in the comments.)

Now to what I think is going on:

Definitely some sort of time travelling. I immediately realized this after Hint 5 came.

My reasoning, and some conclusions: 1.

The first bullet point implies that the person must be from the future. I don't see a clear motivation for someone from the future to put an ad on the newspaper. However, I have a couple of possible explanations, and I'll write them to the end of the answer.

2.

The phone number looks a bit too long for a phone number from our time. I think this might be a consequence of increased population in the future and not enough phone numbers for the people so they put more digits in them. I don't think the phone number is a cipher.

3.

dropmail.me gives the mail addresses completely random (as far as I could understand), and lj36 can't be the deliberate choice of the person. However, considering that short addresses must all have been deleted by now, so the person shouldn't have closed their tab in decades.

Some possible explanations of what might have happened:

1.

Person A and person B exists. One of them (B) travels to the past. He doesn't come back for quite a while so A becomes worried and puts this ad to the newspaper, hoping that B sees it and mails him when dropmail.me is launched. (Actually B will have already mailed him since he is in the past)

2.

Person A and person B exists. One of them (B) travels to the future. B comes back, with the knowledge that dropmail.me will have launched in the future, and he has the lj36@dropmail.me address. Then A travels to the future, but he doesn't come back for quite a while so B becomes worried and puts this ad on the newspaper, hoping that A sees it and somehow gets back (Since you can mail to the future but not the past, he can't expect A to reply to his mail)

I think other possible explanations can be made, but these are coming to my mind right now; I may edit to add more possible explanations later.

I could not make use of these, but they might be (and probably are) clues as well:

  • Purple cows (This is probably the most important clue and might cause my answer to fall apart.)
  • Farm
  • The phone number might be a cipher but I don't think it is
  • 10 clues.
  • lj36 might be a clue but I don't think so because of my 3rd conclusion.

My old and wrong answer

This answer is incorrect, but I am leaving this here for other people to see another incorrect answer: Every wrong answer is a step closer to the right answer.

I think the answer is

The person is a human trafficker. This ad is a message to the person whom he is sending the people.

My reasoning for this:

1.

LJ36 is a plane. Because of this I thought the person could be transferring something.

2.

dropmail.me is a temporary email provider. This means the whatever the person is doing, it is very urgent, because temporary emails are deleted after use.

3.

The OP said the person does not work with computers, and his job is more interesting than a server farm. Illegal stuff can be interesting to the people who do them.

4.

The OP also said (Under the answer "gambling") abstractions are needed but not in that direction. I made abstractions in another direction.

5. This is probably the most important one.

The purple cows. Purple is associated with women. Cows give milk. Milk come from breasts. If you think a bit, sex workers are kind of paid for for their breasts.

I could not make use of these, but they might be (and probably are) clues as well:

  • The phone number
  • "farm"
  • The fact that there are 10 clues. That is almost as much as the words in the ad.
  • The "kind" of help. How can "help" even have kinds?
$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ no, but this is a good example of structured thinking which could lead to the solution $\endgroup$ – balazs.com Nov 29 at 18:49
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I think I need to know rot13(jurgure jung ur vf qbvat vf vyyrtny) in order to provide another answer. $\endgroup$ – Windmill Cookies Nov 29 at 18:52
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ No, I feel that is irrelevant. (It is actually a good question, whether rot13(vyyrtny be yrtny), but I think it is an impossible way to proceed). I think you should rather find the way to make use of those things you couldn't use yet. Thinking in a rot13(ebhaq, irel fcrpvsvp pbagrkg) is a good idea, the way of thinking you already started $\endgroup$ – balazs.com Nov 29 at 19:08
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ From that should I conclude that rot13(checyr pbjf npghnyyl ner jbzra) ? $\endgroup$ – Windmill Cookies Nov 29 at 19:11
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Could you please provide more hints, because I feel that this question will take an extremely long time to solve without any more hints. $\endgroup$ – Windmill Cookies Nov 29 at 19:23
1
$\begingroup$

He is probably speaking about:

Chocolate

Because :

Purple cow is the symbol of milka: a brand of chocolate confection

And also:

(33) is used to call the netherlands, a country next to germany where milka is implanted, maybe the farm mentionned is a farm linked to a factory''''

$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ There are seemingly many additional clues in the puzzle. How do they lead to your answer? $\endgroup$ – P1storius Nov 18 at 11:40
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I just tried to give an answer with the clues I found, it's probably wrong because the author said there are 10 clues but I don't see them... $\endgroup$ – Extreole Nov 18 at 12:44
1
$\begingroup$

My Answer:

He doesn't need any help at the moment - Because:

1)

It's old newspaper AD - who would you apply for an old job

2)

dropmail.me is a temporary email provider it's most likely expired

$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Clever guess, but he does need help $\endgroup$ – balazs.com Nov 21 at 9:48
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ DownVote with no reason ?? $\endgroup$ – Nigel Fds Nov 24 at 23:53
1
$\begingroup$

My answer:

He needs help with gambling. The purple cows are chips and the farm is the poker table. I'm not sure about every clue, but purple cows could certainly be purple $500 poker chips at Vegas, and the Vegas area code is 725.

$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ abstractions are needed, but not in this direction $\endgroup$ – balazs.com Nov 22 at 20:36
1
$\begingroup$

Probably wrong--I wish I could relate this to more than just the hints. The man that immediately comes to mind who needs help "handling" purple cows is

Gelett Burgess. He famously wrote the nonsense poem "Purple Cow" and it became more popular and more repeated than Burgess ever anticipated, casting every other one of his works into its shadow and causing him to become very sick of the whole thing, to the point of writing a second poem ruing it. Burgess might be asking for help curtailing the spread of the poem and its reprints--indeed, handling Purple Cows.

Hintwise,

(3) We can't exactly saw how one curtails a viral poem, just that he wants it handled; (4) he has no literal cows--he's a poet; (5) the "Purple Cow" meme happened over a century ago, certainly older than thirty years. Unfortunately, I can't see any way to relate it to the farm, the e-mail address or the phone number.

$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I never heard about him, thanks! But yes, this answer builds up on 2 things, purple cow and no purple cow, there are many more infos $\endgroup$ – balazs.com Dec 2 at 10:33
0
$\begingroup$

Here's my answer:

He is looking for a person who can help in business growth apart from the traditional five P's of marketing - product, price, place, promotion and people. The expectation is creating remarkable products that can be popularized by word of mouth.

$\endgroup$
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @balazs.com The backtick is used for markup. Use the single quote instead for apostrophes. $\endgroup$ – Lawrence Nov 13 at 14:35
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ where is that on the keyboard?? (I press the button before 1 twice then backspace) $\endgroup$ – balazs.com Nov 13 at 14:42
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @balazs.com To the right of the semicolon, which is to the right of the l. $\endgroup$ – isaacg Nov 13 at 17:28
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ It's good! I think I see what you mean,the "purple cow" would mean the main difference for you between "five P's" and "creating remarkable products". This is fine, but you used one single clue (Not to mention that the original idea did not count with the existance of a "purple cow" so in this sense zero clues were found.) $\endgroup$ – balazs.com Nov 13 at 19:52

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