Stage 1, problem 6 — Retrieve me treasure…
The key to solve this task is to realize that the map does not depict some South Sea island, but instead a location at the venue where the game took place. To help finding the right place, some clues were given: the compass shows the relative orientation and “Indoor Island” indicates that it’s not outside. Through the event’s website, this seating map for one particular floor can be found:
The basic characteristics are similar, and the actual interior design corresponds to objects in the map. For example, “West Port” and “East Pier” indicate entrances, and “Underground Gorge” is the escalator from the floor below. If the participants went to the “X“, they found a poem containing a reference to the password: the poor pirate’s gold plated dagger.
Stage 2, problem 5 — Jazz
o hrhi ng odvm xutz grfwor nideiyy jiuz’x oxrivhi vm colxh phse, rzh cxxhrbw ux to cartxx crdiq. bl tymx jty tigi ux sujf lnok fvxx gagt yq lnw rojf xux ulu ieef coixh, ctod r tmta vrzoi shx lzhmaz zof xsaz cikt e fbtgcq hexgm. yq qhlz hrhi yhukvp yc tz ae grstsicuee lqy ktvbnmh wdmtazeeurt ekamqw ngj syuzrkkd re lr yuuep autz a xdsgxyqlq xubtg r dsfx os rzh uhc rri xux yuexmtaz wre ycht tyq wptxcvxc pkkakqh tkgsj. m rrp coixh, ztzeiuey potyayg ukies vrtr, wyqvr iuoi slblzs, sdinmnies hexgmj xmxx gii, pvvyzeu rsemaikayfee asayg…eokv flnm gsyqr, stttrexvv lixgvr zriuurt muwrdh ubs tydshzn tyq ezhxpyayf mxeve.
The easiest method to solve this task was to identify the string “U+100AA” as a Unicode code for the Linear B ideogram “Garment.” By intuition or by evaluating alternative encryption methods, the larger paragraph of text was found to be a Vigénere cipher. “Garment” was thus the keyword. If deciphered, and Googled for, the text could be identified as an excerpt from Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. The really literate participants would, of course, recognize the text immediately and also that “Jazz” refers to The Jazz Age — the period in American history in which The Great Gatsby took place.
All in all it was lots of fun creating and interacting with the competing teams! Next game is in only 2 weeks, something I’m greatly looking forward to.