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Noob needs help solving a puzzle

7 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

Hi all,

My 10 year old recently caught the geocaching bug, so we've been knocking out caches in our area.  Now we are trying to solve some puzzle caches and this one has us stumped.

The puzzle is a very long number, and the hint says to "use the phone".  We reasoned that this meant to use the alpha numeric keys to solve.  Assuming that the 1s and 0s are spaces, we spelled out the following:

REDACTED!

We were feeling pretty good as the numbers started to present themselves, but the coordinates don't make sense for our area, and we're not sure what to do with the checksums.

Any help or guidance is appreciated!
Edited by Cabin Boy
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7 minutes ago, Cabin Boy said:

Any help or guidance is appreciated!

Contact the cache owner and ask them for help.

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The owner says in the description to "feel free to phone-a-friend for help", but adds "Don't call me for help".  I wasn't sure if this was literal, or him/her just being playful.

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16 minutes ago, Cabin Boy said:

We were feeling pretty good as the numbers started to present themselves, but the coordinates don't make sense for our area, and we're not sure what to do with the checksums.

Any help or guidance is appreciated!

Checksum means that, if you add up the individual digits making up your proposed solution, they should add up to 35 and 21 respectively.

Using your answer and your area I was able to run down this cache pretty easily.  It looks like you've got the solution.  Keep in mind that you aren't necessarily going to have to figure out every digit of the coordinates, i.e., you can sometimes assume some digits.

You might want to edit the answer you spell out in the original post, as you should not give away puzzle answers in the forums.  Not a huge deal, you're new at this, but now that you know, you should redact your solution from your post.

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According to section 2-D of the geocaching.com terms of use, "You agree not to: [...] xxiii. Publish on our websites the solutions, hints, spoilers, or any hidden coordinates for any geocache without consent from the geocache owner.” As hzoi suggested, you should edit your post to remove the answer/spoiler.

For future reference, 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)
Calgary Puzzle Solving 101 (bookmark list)
Puzzle Shortcuts Series (bookmark list)
Solving Puzzle Caches (online article)
How Do I Solve All These &#\$@! Puzzle Caches? (tutorial-style puzzle cache)
Geocaching Toolbox ("All geocaching tools a geocacher needs in one box.")
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)
LANAKI's Classical Cryptography Course
How to Puzzle Cache (book)

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Sorry guys!  I'll make the edit.  I didn't think I had the solution.

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4 hours ago, Cabin Boy said:

Sorry guys!  I'll make the edit.  I didn't think I had the solution.

Well, I'm not guaranteeing that you did -- I didn't run the puzzle.  But I was able to make what you posted into coordinates that looked like a viable cache location on the map, so chances are good.  Only one way to find out, right?  Good luck, and hopefully, congratulations on your first mystery cache!

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