Thursday, September 5, 2013

Day 4, Part 2: Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!

So armed with the knowledge that we're virtually tied for the lead headed to Indy, we approach this driving leg with more urgency than we had in the previous days. The driving puzzle is a fun one. As all the other driving puzzles, it came in the form of a CD, but this one had the title "Video Killed the Radio Rats", and on each track there was a TV theme song... played backwards!

We were also given a sheet of paper with two separate Vigenere codes on it (shown below), and another sheet that was nothing more than a grid of letters taking up the whole page. The obvious approach was that we would need to solve the first code using the CD, which would then in turn give us instructions on how to solve the second one using the grid.
This Raven speaks mostly in Vigenerian.
So we set off to identifying the theme songs, while Jonathan set off to just crack the Vigenere codes directly. It was fun identifying theme songs in reverse! Doing them forward would have been fun, but trivial, while in reverse there was just enough difficulty to make it quite rewarding to identify the songs. Themes ranged from Wheel of Fortune to Looney Tunes to Seinfeld, but once identified, it was pretty unmistakable in each case, and eventually, including revisiting some after we'd solved the clue, we got them all without doing any audio stream manipulation. Fun.

That said, we didn't get very far into the theme song identifications when Jonathan announced he had cracked the first Vigenere! The code is "DUNDER MIFFLIN". Shortely thereafter, this helped us to zero in on the solution of the CD puzzle to read "COMPANY NAME TRACK ONE"... which was odd since The Office was actually track 2 on our CD, but who's counting...

So applying DUNDER MIFFLIN to the code we were given gave us the message: "Using grids one through four upon the page of codes, align number one vertical below SD, number two horizontal below UV, number three below DN, then for four search the rest."  Clearly these were instructions on how to use the grid to solve the second code (shown below), but before we could really figure out what to do, Jonathan had cracked the *second* Vigenere too! This time the code was LIGHTNING MCQUEEN, and the second code decoded to: YOUR CRYPTEX KEYWORD IS CLOWN.

Pay no attention to the spoilerific pencil markings...
(Note: We wouldn't actually forward-solve this grid puzzle until the very end of the leg, for completeness, when Dan and Wei-Hwa discovered that we needed to use the small wooden overlays we had been given at the start of the day to find the answer. The letters those overlays yielded are shown on the image above.)

So we opened the cryptex! Around this time both we and our van were getting hungry, for food and gas, respectively, so rather than stopping for fast food and then make a second stop to get gas, we killed two birds with one stone and got sandwiches from the gas station mini mart while we filled up the gas tank. Jonathan stayed in the car to start inspecting the contents of the newly opened cryptex, while the rest of us went into the minimart.

Once back in the car, and after a spirited debate about the order that Jonathan found the four sheets of paper that were contained in the cryptex, we decided to put the details of the second step of the driving puzzle that Jonathan had short-circuited on the back burner in favor of strategizing how we would tackle Indianapolis, the details of which I'll share in the next post!

No comments:

Post a Comment