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Help With a Puzzle Cache Needed


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Hello,

 

I'm trying to solve a local puzzle cache but have reached the stage where I need a hint or two. I've looked on various cypher and code links posted previously but haven't been able to find anything that seems to help so I thought I'd ask here - I hope that is OK.

 

The cache I'm trying to solve states it's co-ordinates [deleted by moderator]

 

Does anyone recognise what kind of cypher this would be (ie what it's called) or have a link as to where I might go to learn about it?

 

As I stated in the title I'm not looking for someone to solve this for me but I am looking for some help, hints or links that might point me in the right direction.

 

Thanks in advance for any help.

 

Marcus

 

Maybe bifid cypher? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bifid_cipher

Edited by Keystone
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It's considered bad form to ask for help with puzzle caches on a public forum. If someone happens to give the right answer it's there forever, while the hider made a lot of effort to make the puzzle hard to solve. Try private messaging the cache owner or a previous finder instead.

Edited by stijnhommes
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It's considered bad form to ask for help with puzzle caches on a public forum. If someone happens to give the right answer it's there forever, while the hider made a lot of effort to make the puzzle hard to solve. Try private messaging the cache owner or a previous finder instead.

 

My apologies. I have deleted the original post. Unfortunately I can't do anything about the quote in the reply.

 

Sorry for the bad form.

 

Marcus

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According to section 4 of the geocaching.com terms of use, "You agree not to: [...] (m) Publish, on any Groundspeak owned web property, the solutions, hints, spoilers, or any hidden coordinates for any geocache without consent from the cache owner." However, here are some general puzzle tips (based in part on a puzzle-solving class event presented by The Rat a while ago):

 

Identify the theme. Check the cache title, the hint, the HTML source, the graphics (including names/URLs), any links (including URLs), whatever is at the posted coordinates, etc. If you can figure out the theme, then you should look for numbering systems that are associated with that theme (zip codes, athletes’ jersey numbers, episode numbers, product codes, etc.).

 

Around here, coordinates will have 15 digits, and will look like "N 37° xx.xxx W 122° xx.xxx". So when I'm solving a nearby puzzle, I look for a group of 15 things, and then I look for ways to get the digits 37xxxxx122xxxxx from them. In general, I look for ways to get the number 37 (or the digits 3 and 7) from something near the beginning of the puzzle, and the number 122 (or the digits 1, 2, and 2) from something near the middle of the puzzle. (Of course, you'll need to adjust this for the coordinates near you.)

 

Other useful resources include:

Puzzle Solving 101 Series (bookmark list)

Puzzle Shortcuts Series (bookmark list)

Solving Puzzle Caches (online article)

How Do I Solve All These $@! Puzzle Caches? (tutorial-style puzzle cache)

Puzzle FUNdamentals (archived event cache) and the Puzzle FUNdamentals resources on the GeocacheAlaska! education page

The GBA's Puzzle Cache FAQ (for puzzle designers, but useful for understanding how puzzle caches work)

 

If you’re interested in extremely challenging puzzles, then consider the online discussions of Venona’s ACTIVITIES in the GBA forums. The puzzles for this annual event are very challenging, intended to be solved by multiple people working together online. (You'll need to register on the GBA site to view these forum threads.)

Overview: Venona's 2011 ACTIVITIES

Overview: Venona's 2012 ACTIVITIES

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According to section 4 of the geocaching.com terms of use, "You agree not to: [...] (m) Publish, on any Groundspeak owned web property, the solutions, hints, spoilers, or any hidden coordinates for any geocache without consent from the cache owner." However, here are some general puzzle tips (based in part on a puzzle-solving class event presented by The Rat a while ago):

 

Identify the theme. Check the cache title, the hint, the HTML source, the graphics (including names/URLs), any links (including URLs), whatever is at the posted coordinates, etc. If you can figure out the theme, then you should look for numbering systems that are associated with that theme (zip codes, athletes’ jersey numbers, episode numbers, product codes, etc.).

 

Around here, coordinates will have 15 digits, and will look like "N 37° xx.xxx W 122° xx.xxx". So when I'm solving a nearby puzzle, I look for a group of 15 things, and then I look for ways to get the digits 37xxxxx122xxxxx from them. In general, I look for ways to get the number 37 (or the digits 3 and 7) from something near the beginning of the puzzle, and the number 122 (or the digits 1, 2, and 2) from something near the middle of the puzzle. (Of course, you'll need to adjust this for the coordinates near you.)

 

Other useful resources include:

Puzzle Solving 101 Series (bookmark list)

Puzzle Shortcuts Series (bookmark list)

Solving Puzzle Caches (online article)

How Do I Solve All These $@! Puzzle Caches? (tutorial-style puzzle cache)

Puzzle FUNdamentals (archived event cache) and the Puzzle FUNdamentals resources on the GeocacheAlaska! education page

The GBA's Puzzle Cache FAQ (for puzzle designers, but useful for understanding how puzzle caches work)

 

If you’re interested in extremely challenging puzzles, then consider the online discussions of Venona’s ACTIVITIES in the GBA forums. The puzzles for this annual event are very challenging, intended to be solved by multiple people working together online. (You'll need to register on the GBA site to view these forum threads.)

Overview: Venona's 2011 ACTIVITIES

Overview: Venona's 2012 ACTIVITIES

 

If I were to be allowed to choose a single post to be pinned at the top of the forum, it would be this one. It seems like twice a week someone asks for help on a puzzle, gets the same replies from the same people and either gets indignant or as in this case, leaves with the understanding of why it is not a good idea to do so. Most of this could be avoided if this was simply spelled out at the top.

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We get people asking for help with puzzles because it's the natural thing to do. How many people will ask a family member or even a complete stranger for help with a clue in a crossword. It's almost "what's a five letter word for stereotype?". Most of these are people doing their best to figure out the solution and find the cache. Some may even have contacted the cache owner first and got no help, while others may feel more comfortable just posting the question on the internet.

 

We have a few puzzle owners who think any hint some how ruins the fun of the puzzle, and they've been vocal enough to get Groundspeak to adopt a silly rule forbidding sharing of any information. At one time they even had Groundspeak using wording that forbid publishing a hint in any form on any media. The rule, even though now just limited to Grounspeak websites, is so broad that it's not clear that if someone posted some general methods for working puzzles in response to a question about a specific cache, that the cache owner couldn't claim it gives too much away.

 

I've been through this enough times to realize that my view is not widely shared in the forum or by the cache owners who fell strongly enough to complain to Groundspeak. It makes no sense to me to try and stop the natural order where people ask for help when a problem is too tough to solve on their own, and the natural propensity of others to help. I'm glad I'm not a moderator who has to enforce such foolishness.

Edited by tozainamboku
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We get people asking for help with puzzles because it's the natural thing to do. How many people will ask a family member or even a complete stranger for help with a clue in a crossword. It's almost "what's a five letter word for stereotype?". Most of these are people doing their best to figure out the solution and find the cache. Some may even have contacted the cache owner first and got no help, while others may feel more comfortable just posting the question on the internet.

 

We have a few puzzle owners who think any hint some how ruins the fun of the puzzle, and they've been vocal enough to get Groundspeak to adopt a silly rule forbidding sharing of any information. At one time they even had Groundspeak using wording that forbid publishing a hint in any form on any media. The rule, even though now just limited to Grounspeak websites, is so broad that it's not clear that if someone posted some general methods for working puzzles in response to a question about a specific cache, that the cache owner couldn't claim it gives too much away.

 

I've been through this enough times to realize that my view is not widely shared in the forum or by the cache owners who fell strongly enough to complain to Groundspeak. It makes no sense to me to try and stop the natural order where people ask for help when a problem is too tough to solve on their own, and the natural propensity of others to help. I'm glad I'm not a moderator who has to enforce such foolishness.

 

I agree up to the point that the cache will eventually be solved and posted. A little push is good, but posting the final solution is bad. Most cachers want their puzzle solvers to ponder it a little at least.

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If I were to be allowed to choose a single post to be pinned at the top of the forum, it would be this one. It seems like twice a week someone asks for help on a puzzle, gets the same replies from the same people and either gets indignant or as in this case, leaves with the understanding of why it is not a good idea to do so. Most of this could be avoided if this was simply spelled out at the top.

 

I agree. There should be a sticky about asking for help with solving puzzles.

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We get people asking for help with puzzles because it's the natural thing to do. How many people will ask a family member or even a complete stranger for help with a clue in a crossword. It's almost "what's a five letter word for stereotype?". Most of these are people doing their best to figure out the solution and find the cache. Some may even have contacted the cache owner first and got no help, while others may feel more comfortable just posting the question on the internet.

 

We have a few puzzle owners who think any hint some how ruins the fun of the puzzle, and they've been vocal enough to get Groundspeak to adopt a silly rule forbidding sharing of any information. At one time they even had Groundspeak using wording that forbid publishing a hint in any form on any media. The rule, even though now just limited to Grounspeak websites, is so broad that it's not clear that if someone posted some general methods for working puzzles in response to a question about a specific cache, that the cache owner couldn't claim it gives too much away.

 

I've been through this enough times to realize that my view is not widely shared in the forum or by the cache owners who fell strongly enough to complain to Groundspeak. It makes no sense to me to try and stop the natural order where people ask for help when a problem is too tough to solve on their own, and the natural propensity of others to help. I'm glad I'm not a moderator who has to enforce such foolishness.

 

I have to agree and plus I think its a waste of GS resources to fight for the puzzle owners. If I was a owner of a company, I would want to cut cost somewhere to increase profits. Protecting an elicit group of puzzleheads doesnt make money in my opinion. Its good way to start a company, but once you are so big, its too costly to run a company like that. There is more cachers than puzzleheads that are PM and GS needs to work on that and not worry about puzzle caches. Again, GS is a listing company, not a protector. You dont want to be a protector because you can get sue if you dont protect people puzzle caches from spoilers.

 

There is more and more puzzles out there and we will be seeing more "I need help with so so puzzle" on the forum. I am seeing an increase of it lately.

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If I were to be allowed to choose a single post to be pinned at the top of the forum, it would be this one. It seems like twice a week someone asks for help on a puzzle, gets the same replies from the same people and either gets indignant or as in this case, leaves with the understanding of why it is not a good idea to do so. Most of this could be avoided if this was simply spelled out at the top.

 

I agree. There should be a sticky about asking for help with solving puzzles.

Yep, I agree as well.

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It makes no sense to me to try and stop the natural order where people ask for help when a problem is too tough to solve on their own, and the natural propensity of others to help. I'm glad I'm not a moderator who has to enforce such foolishness.

 

I have not yet encountered the usage of terms like foolishness if cachers complain that someone did not climb up a tree or another object on his/her own, but asked someone else to bring the log book down in order to be able to sign. Personally, I neither log a find for caches where the puzzle part nor where the physical part is too hard or time-intensive for me. I'd like to see however the same treatment for both cases. What I typically encounter is however that cachers defend asking for the solution of puzzles which are too tough for them, but at the same time criticizing those who are not meeting the physical challenges of a cache. If someone skips the physical challenge, he/she not even endagers the fun of others which can easily be the case when puzzle spoilers are published in public forums as one can happen to find them unintentionally. Still asking someone else to take care of a physical challenge has a much worse reputation than not solving a geocaching puzzle and this is what I cannot understand at all.

 

If hiders of tree climbing caches want those stay away that are not able to accomplish the climbing challenge, they should along the same lines stay away from puzzle caches that are too tough for them.

 

Cezanne

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I agree up to the point that the cache will eventually be solved and posted. A little push is good, but posting the final solution is bad. Most cachers want their puzzle solvers to ponder it a little at least.

 

What I don't get is why people don't think to email us puzzle cache owners for help. I for one am more than happy to provide an additional nudge in the right direction (no gimme's). I like to have people have the "Aha!" moment on their own. Usually after I send the nudge, I will get the email "Aha! What a great puzzle! Thanks for the help!" email. I appreciate the fact that they solved it, as do the solvers.

 

I don't understand those puzzle owners who are reluctant to give out hints (after it's been found a few times).

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I see a difference between asking for help and having the answer provided. I (like most cachers I believe) try to solve the puzzle, and ask for hints rather than the complete answer. But I agree that asking for help on the forums is not advisable, as that leaves a record of the discussion which others can search. It is different than asking someone for a nudge.

 

With high terrain - there have been caches which I completed, but that I had help. Now that help was from others doing the cache with me. For example giving me a hand so I could climb out of a river or get out of a hole in a cave I was stuck in. I was physically able to do the journey (with a bit of help), though I would not have attempted it alone. In fact all the 5/5 caches I have done strongly recommended not doing them alone.

 

There are other high terrain caches which, even with help, are beyond my abilities to do safely. I don't do those. I would not stand outside a cave while someone else finds the cache and brings it to me (or signs for me); same with a tree I could not climb.

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What I don't get is why people don't think to email us puzzle cache owners for help. I for one am more than happy to provide an additional nudge in the right direction (no gimme's). I like to have people have the "Aha!" moment on their own. Usually after I send the nudge, I will get the email "Aha! What a great puzzle! Thanks for the help!" email. I appreciate the fact that they solved it, as do the solvers.

 

I don't understand those puzzle owners who are reluctant to give out hints (after it's been found a few times).

 

I agree. I always try to solve a puzzle myself first. Well I might ask my immediate family for some help too... but beyond that I always ask the cache owner for help.

And as a puzzle cache owner I always respond to requests for help.

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I see a difference between asking for help and having the answer provided.

 

It depends on the puzzle and the level of help needed. For example, telling someone which code is used, is in fact all what is needed. The rest requires no brain any longer and is just work like washing 1000 plates.

There are many puzzles that are beyond the reach of the majority of cachers as they require a deep knowledge of certain areas.

A lot of those who complain about cachers not climbing up trees themselves have no issue at all to take the solution of other cachers for puzzle caches.

 

I (like most cachers I believe) try to solve the puzzle, and ask for hints rather than the complete answer.

 

See above. Someone who e.g. knows only basic arithmetics, will need more than a hint to perform complex computations.

 

There are other high terrain caches which, even with help, are beyond my abilities to do safely. I don't do those. I would not stand outside a cave while someone else finds the cache and brings it to me (or signs for me); same with a tree I could not climb.

 

The same is true for me. Still I note in my area that much more cachers think that taking the puzzle solutions of others is ok while many of them think differently about high terrain challenges.

 

Cezanne

Edited by cezanne
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I agree up to the point that the cache will eventually be solved and posted. A little push is good, but posting the final solution is bad. Most cachers want their puzzle solvers to ponder it a little at least.

 

What I don't get is why people don't think to email us puzzle cache owners for help. I for one am more than happy to provide an additional nudge in the right direction (no gimme's). I like to have people have the "Aha!" moment on their own. Usually after I send the nudge, I will get the email "Aha! What a great puzzle! Thanks for the help!" email. I appreciate the fact that they solved it, as do the solvers.

 

I don't understand those puzzle owners who are reluctant to give out hints (after it's been found a few times).

 

I'm guessing that if one emails for help and doesn't get a reply, then emails another and gets, "Sorry, I don't give hints", by the time he sees your puzzle, he just says "screw it" and puts it on his ignore list.

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If I were to be allowed to choose a single post to be pinned at the top of the forum, it would be this one. It seems like twice a week someone asks for help on a puzzle, gets the same replies from the same people and either gets indignant or as in this case, leaves with the understanding of why it is not a good idea to do so. Most of this could be avoided if this was simply spelled out at the top.

 

Nope, wouldn't work. I don't think anyone reads those, thus the same questions coming up over and over and over and over and..............

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We get people asking for help with puzzles because it's the natural thing to do. How many people will ask a family member or even a complete stranger for help with a clue in a crossword. It's almost "what's a five letter word for stereotype?". Most of these are people doing their best to figure out the solution and find the cache. Some may even have contacted the cache owner first and got no help, while others may feel more comfortable just posting the question on the internet.

 

We have a few puzzle owners who think any hint some how ruins the fun of the puzzle, and they've been vocal enough to get Groundspeak to adopt a silly rule forbidding sharing of any information. At one time they even had Groundspeak using wording that forbid publishing a hint in any form on any media. The rule, even though now just limited to Grounspeak websites, is so broad that it's not clear that if someone posted some general methods for working puzzles in response to a question about a specific cache, that the cache owner couldn't claim it gives too much away.

 

I've been through this enough times to realize that my view is not widely shared in the forum or by the cache owners who fell strongly enough to complain to Groundspeak. It makes no sense to me to try and stop the natural order where people ask for help when a problem is too tough to solve on their own, and the natural propensity of others to help. I'm glad I'm not a moderator who has to enforce such foolishness.

 

Current Terms of Use (Section 4m) You agree not to..."(m) Publish, on any Groundspeak owned web property, the solutions, hints, spoilers, or any hidden coordinates for any geocache without consent from the cache owner." This was updated earlier this year. The idea of preventing spoilers to caches on Geocaching.com and related sites is to support cache owners who have developed puzzle caches. 'Spoilers' are aptly named, and we ask that no one post a spoiler on Groundspeak's sites without the express consent of the owner, as is respectful practice.

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Sandy I agree with the no spoilers guideline but wouldn't niraD's excellent post that he posts in almost every thread like this be great to sticky at the top of this forum, the How To and Getting started forums as well. Those forums average 1 puzzle help thread a week.

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Sandy I agree with the no spoilers guideline but wouldn't niraD's excellent post that he posts in almost every thread like this be great to sticky at the top of this forum, the How To and Getting started forums as well. Those forums average 1 puzzle help thread a week.
Or you could include it in the Help Center, and I could just link to it. Although the references to the Venona threads in the GBA forums might not be appropriate if the post gets moved to Groundspeak's Help Center.
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In a thread identical to this one I enlisted a more experienced geocacher for help with a difficult puzzle I had been struggling with. We emailed back and forth a few times, and although she didn't immediately give me the answer eventually she gave me the conclusion with step by step instructions.

 

I was stoked to finally have the coordinates but the whole time walking the trail to the hide I was bummed because it felt cheap. There was no sense of accomplishment.

 

So, I decided from that point on unless I can figure it out on my own, or with extra clues from the CO I would avoid asking for direct help. Since then I've solved quite a few, some using methods revealed in niraD's very helpful post.

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Sandy I agree with the no spoilers guideline but wouldn't niraD's excellent post that he posts in almost every thread like this be great to sticky at the top of this forum, the How To and Getting started forums as well. Those forums average 1 puzzle help thread a week.

 

It's been argued that nobody reads the sticky posts at the top of forum sections but I wonder if that's partially because they're so infrequently updated.

 

The "no spoilers" guideline probably should be a getting started issue but this topic probably comes up more frequently in the General Topics forum. Perhaps it might be a good idea to pin a copy of the "Read First! Geocaching Frequently Asked Questions" (after adding niraD's post to it) in this forum section.

 

Or...

 

Should the General Geocaching Discussion forum have it's own Frequently Asked Questions Pinned post?

Edited by NYPaddleCacher
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Thanks, Sandy for posting the relevant section of the current TOUs. As we all agree to abide by the current version of TOUs (whether or not we know it) simply by using Groundspeak's web sites, its always nice when they point them out.

 

I also appreciate that you provide a rationale in this case. Rather than it being "in the spirit of geocaching", it now seems to be to support and respect the owners of puzzle caches.

 

I can understand a reluctance by some to have the coordinates or a true "spoiler" published because they fear no one will solve that puzzle again and instead it will become just a traditional cache (once you find where the answer has been discussed).

 

On the other hand, discussions that provide hints and methods of solution make puzzle caches less mysterious and encourage people who would otherwise avoid puzzles to try them. Rather than getting discouraged by abrupt answers that you can't ask for help or that only the cache owner can give help, I think there are many people, some who may be embarrassed to even ask, that would benefit from a forum or blog devoted to puzzle caches. An individual owner may feel that they are harmed if their cache were one of those discuss. But the benefit would be for all puzzle hiders as new people discover that even difficult puzzles are doable once you have some insight.

Personally, I would be flattered if any of my puzzles were discussed in such a forum or blog.

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My puzzle cacheIs this puzzle to hard, Our the ratings okay ?

 

Hard to say. It's not obvious to me, but that doesn't mean much. People have solved it, though it seems for most it has taken some time. It appears to be one of those which is easy if you "see it" (or maybe get lucky with google), but not obvious to see. Rating of 3 is probably reasonable.

 

I agree. Puzzles of the "is easy if you see it" type are difficult to rate. One person might guess how to solve it right away, while someone else could spend weeks looking at before they finally see how to approach that puzzle, but once they do, it might take a minute to obtain the coordinates.

 

IMHO, the best way to create good difficulty ratings for puzzle caches is to solve a lot of puzzles at varying difficulty levels to get a general idea what what a "3", "4", "5" star puzzle can be like. I solved a 5 star puzzle once that took a couple of days before I discovered where the puzzle was, then it only took me a couple of minutes to solve it. I also solved a 5 star puzzle that used almost the exact same technique as just one of many pieces of the overall puzzle. That would took me over a month of working on it almost every day to finally complete. If someone is going to rate a puzzle as a 5 is should be really difficult, something that takes weeks or months to complete.

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