Yesterday we launched our much anticipated CryptoPunk riddle to the Anon community.
The submission window was open for 24 hours, and despite receiving over +300 submissions, we did not receive one correct answer.
Therefore, we’ll be running a new riddle next Saturday at 12pm EST for the CryptoPunk. These riddles will take place until someone wins it.
There will also be riddles for other prizes held throughout the week as well.
In the meantime, scroll down to reveal the answer to our most challenging riddle yet…
1) As can be seen in the image, the riddle is broken into four parts. It has been made so that the parts must be solved in a particular order. This is to increase difficulty and make players initially question where to begin. To figure out where to begin, players will need to realize that the borders of each of the four parts are made up of a repeating digit (with one side reversed). For instance, the section with the keys has borders top and bottom made up of the repeating number 2. The borders in the section next to this is made up of repeating 3s, and the white section at the bottom repeating 4s. The section to start at is the section that has repeating 1s, which may not be recognized as such until the other borders are figured out as the repeating 1s just make a straight line.
2) The first section to solve contains the lines of symbols and the legend of 25 symbols. Most people may think that the symbols are letters and create a sentence, each word separated by the white diamonds. This is not the case, however. Each group of symbols represents only a letter. The way to work out each letter is by joining the symbols in each group by lines on the legend and seeing what letter you are left with. The image below is of the first letter to be solved and shows a ‘c’.
Once all the letters are solved the symbols spell the words CHICK, RHINO, SWAN, and IBIS.
3) With the four animals figured out, the first section is complete, and it is time to move on to section two. In the section, there are ten keys, each of a different color and each with a word attached to it. These are keywords, and they are for use in what is known as a keyword cipher. There are many tools online to help solve keyword ciphers, and I expect that many people will try and use these straight away with each keyword, but they will not have any luck. This is because online solvers can only work out decipher using one keyword at a time. In this case, the phrase underneath the keys has been ciphered four times. The players will not know this, but should be able to eventually work it out, once they realize the connection between section 1 and 2.
The players have no idea what key or keys to use to solve the cipher; all they have is a list of 4 animals and 10 colored keys (ignoring sections 3 & 4, that is).
What they need to realize is that the animals tell them which keys to use. Each animal has a color associated with it. It is these colors, in the order that the animals they are associated with are written, that show them which keys/keywords to use. Chicks are yellow, so first the yellow key is to be used, and the keyword — LOVE. Second, rhinos are typically grey, so the grey key is next to be used, and the keyword — POWER. The third and fourth animals add a bit of extra complexity to the mix. Swans can be either mainly white or black. In this case, we stick with the stereotype of white, with the keyword — WAR.
The final animal, the ibis, is where the extra deception happens. Typically, ibises are white, so most people would think to use the white key a second time but, there is an ibis known as the scarlet ibis, which is red. This is the ibis referred to. So, the final key to be used is the red one, and the final keyword is — MURDER. Once all of these keys have been used correctly, the deciphered text will read EF EQUALS D, VU EQUALS T, PR EQUALS B. This solves section 2.
4) The deciphered phrase from section 2 is the key to solving section 3. In section 3, each set of two letters equals one letter, just like in the deciphered phrase. The way to work out what letter each set of 2 equal is to treat each line in the deciphered phrase as an equation (hence the use of the word equals). Each equation is solved like this: Change each of the two letters at the beginning of the equations to their corresponding number positions in the alphabet, i.e., in EF, E is 5 and F is 6. Now, multiply these numbers together. For EF, this equals 30. From there, it is just about working out what letter that number would be if cycling through the letters again and again after 26. So, in this case, 26 = z, 27 = a and so on. 30 would therefore equal D, hence EF EQUALS D. Although there are large numbers used within the puzzle, to figure out the letter it represents it is as easy as taking 26 away again and again until a number 26 or under is reached.
5) Having worked out the way the sets of 2 letters work, it is now time to change every set of 2 letters in section 3 into the corresponding single letter (except for the words ODD and EVEN). Once this is done, it may appear as if the words don’t make much sense, but this is where odd and even comes in to play. Instead of reading the letters in order left to right, all odd letters come starting from the top, reading left to right, and all even numbers come starting from the bottom, reading right to left. An example that would spell the word riddle:
Reading the letters like this, the final letter in section 3 would be the first letter in the fifth row. The final phrase would then say:
TO REACH THE GOAL FIRST USE YOUR HEART, THEN ONE TWO TWO WILL TWICE PLAY ITS PART.
This now completes section 3, and it’s time for the final section.
- 6) The final section looks the simplest but, despite the main part of this section just being ciphers, these also should not be able to be solved before reaching this point.
The place to start with these ciphered words is with the just worked out poem, which says you must FIRST USE YOUR HEART. One of the keys from section two has the word HEART on it, so this is to be used in the same way the keywords were used previously on each of the four words in section four. The result, however, is still gibberish. This is where the second part of the poem comes in to play. By using the number 122 (ONE TWO TWO) as a key in the most famous numerical key cipher, the Gronsfeld cipher, the letters of a phrase is shifted down in the alphabet by the numerical key in order, repeated if necessary. For instance, the ciphered word RCTL, the key 122 would move the R down by 1 to P, the C down by 2 to A, the T down by 2 to R, and then the numerical key would start again and the L would move down 1 to K. This would make the word PARK. Once this is applied to the still ciphered words after using the HEART key, the words become the following:
- 1. PETER
- 17. URBAN
- 34. MARK
- 46. HILARY
7) Once the four names have been figured out, it is time to do research to find out what they mean. Although Google won’t necessarily bring up the connection straight away, eventually it should be found that each of the four names are the names of Popes, and the number next to them is the number Pope they were. It is then that the 122 is used for the second time, as suggested was necessary by the second line of the poem from section 3 (WILL TWICE PLAY ITS PART). All that needs to be done is for the 122nd Pope to be found, which is John X.
The answer is: JOHNX
Some things to note:
- The colors of the keys used are the 5 colors that appear on the Vatican Flag
- The four words used initially in section 2 represent the life cycle of John X, who was believed to have used LOVE to gain POWER, before declaring WAR and allegedly dying by MURDER.
- All the animals mentioned are also mentioned in the Bible.
- The border designs are meant to look Roman/ancient, as the Pope is based in
Rome and the position is ancient, and the sections are meant to look a bit like tapestries, also associated with ancient wealth, like the Church has.
That was a tough one, Anons. We know that some of you worked very hard to try and figure out the riddle and appreciate all of your efforts.
We will run a new riddle for the CryptoPunk next Saturday at 12pm EST.
A full schedule for the week ahead will be published later this evening.
A full list of all submissions can be found here:
-the anon team