Anyone interested in a tough 5-question challenge?

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vaavapuzzles
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Anyone interested in a tough 5-question challenge?

Postby vaavapuzzles » Sat Feb 13, 2016 3:45 pm UTC

I've recently completed the game, The Witness, which was fantastic and really lit up the old grey matter. However, once I'd finished it, merely wandering around looking for stuff I might have missed wasn't hitting the spot any more so I decided to create a tough little challenge that I hope to make into a regular thing.

It's five cryptic/logic questions on a webpage. They can be solved using clues and hints on the page itself plus a little Googling (other search engines are available!). I've had a few people look at it, both locally, and from The Witness reddit page and, so far, only one person has correctly answered one of the questions, despite getting the reasoning wrong for it.

There's absolutely nothing sinister about it, I don't stand to gain anything from it, it's just for fun and I hope many people can enjoy it.

As this is my first post I can't link to it, I was hoping to get some feedback whether or not anyone on xkcd would be interested.

vaavapuzzles
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Re: Anyone interested in a tough 5-question challenge?

Postby vaavapuzzles » Mon Feb 15, 2016 11:05 am UTC

Here's one of the questions:

What animal comes next in the series?

cat, zebra, foal, toad...

The clue for this one is in the website logo which is just the word VAAVA

Cauchy
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Re: Anyone interested in a tough 5-question challenge?

Postby Cauchy » Tue Feb 16, 2016 4:19 am UTC

I'm not averse, but that particular question doesn't sound very interesting.
(∫|p|2)(∫|q|2) ≥ (∫|pq|)2
Thanks, skeptical scientist, for knowing symbols and giving them to me.

vaavapuzzles
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Re: Anyone interested in a tough 5-question challenge?

Postby vaavapuzzles » Tue Feb 16, 2016 5:32 pm UTC

Maybe if you saw it in context on the actual page it would have more appeal? Of the five questions that's the most 'standalone' one. I don't think I can post links yet and don't want to break any rules but will hopefully share the address soon so you can, at least, take a look at the whole thing and decide if it's something you'd like to take part in. Thanks for the comments though.

vaavapuzzles
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Re: Anyone interested in a tough 5-question challenge?

Postby vaavapuzzles » Tue Feb 16, 2016 6:52 pm UTC

Here's the link to puzzle:

http://www.vaava.co.uk

Cauchy
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Re: Anyone interested in a tough 5-question challenge?

Postby Cauchy » Wed Feb 17, 2016 3:25 pm UTC

Looking at the website confirms my suspicions: there's just not enough to go on in any of these questions. Any answer I came up with would be a shot in the dark, only correct on the off chance that I happened to think of the exact same thing that you did. Your question 3 doesn't appear in OEIS, so I don't know how anyone would get it.
(∫|p|2)(∫|q|2) ≥ (∫|pq|)2
Thanks, skeptical scientist, for knowing symbols and giving them to me.

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PTGFlyer
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Re: Anyone interested in a tough 5-question challenge?

Postby PTGFlyer » Wed Feb 17, 2016 3:33 pm UTC

Is the animal one
Spoiler:
Llama
?

vaavapuzzles
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Re: Anyone interested in a tough 5-question challenge?

Postby vaavapuzzles » Wed Feb 17, 2016 6:02 pm UTC

Thanks for your feedback, it's appreciated.

Q1 - the answer can be found in the logo
Q2 - once you realise what the image is (or, maybe what's missing from it?) it shouldn't take too much searching to find the answer
Q3 - there is a big clue on the page for this one - it's not showing in OEIS as the sequence has probably not been used before.
Q4 - as previously mentioned the clue is in the logo - VAAVA, some random testing will probably yield a result quite quickly.
Q5 - this is more of a crypic question but the answer can be found quite easily using Google. There is a 'hidden' clue for this one.

Someone on Reddit mentioned a puzzle a few days ago and I've enjoyed working on that - http://www.perplexuality.co.uk/ - I understand your comments and realise that there is a definite route to obtain the answers on that one whereas mine are more unrelated.

I wanted to make the puzzle challenging but not impossible. Using various 'techniques' everyone should be able to solve at least 4 of the questions. One is a little more 'specialised' but there is logic that can be followed. Some things you just have to look at a little differently.

Thanks again for taking the time to respond.

vaavapuzzles
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Re: Anyone interested in a tough 5-question challenge?

Postby vaavapuzzles » Thu Feb 18, 2016 1:24 pm UTC

@PTGFlyer - I'm afraid that isn't a correct answer.

PsiSquared
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Re: Anyone interested in a tough 5-question challenge?

Postby PsiSquared » Thu Feb 18, 2016 10:29 pm UTC

Cauchy wrote:Your question 3 doesn't appear in OEIS, so I don't know how anyone would get it.


2,3,6,9,36,41,246... doesn't appear in OEIS either yet it obviously has a unique correct answer (can anybody here figure out what it is?)

EDITED TO ADD:

My answer to Question2:
Spoiler:
The British Pound (the symbol is "written" in white on red background)

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emlightened
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Re: Anyone interested in a tough 5-question challenge?

Postby emlightened » Fri Feb 19, 2016 12:56 am UTC

@Psi
Spoiler:
Sure.

253

2,2+1,3*2,6+3,9*4,36+5,41*6,246+7,etc.

Cauchy
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Re: Anyone interested in a tough 5-question challenge?

Postby Cauchy » Fri Feb 19, 2016 6:20 am UTC

PsiSquared wrote:
Cauchy wrote:Your question 3 doesn't appear in OEIS, so I don't know how anyone would get it.


2,3,6,9,36,41,246... doesn't appear in OEIS either yet it obviously has a unique correct answer (can anybody here figure out what it is?)


That's only because you started with the wrong first term.

https://oeis.org/A047904
(∫|p|2)(∫|q|2) ≥ (∫|pq|)2
Thanks, skeptical scientist, for knowing symbols and giving them to me.

vaavapuzzles
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Re: Anyone interested in a tough 5-question challenge?

Postby vaavapuzzles » Fri Feb 19, 2016 7:41 am UTC

PsiSquared wrote:My answer to Question2:
Spoiler:
The British Pound (the symbol is "written" in white on red background)


Afraid not.

vaavapuzzles
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Re: Anyone interested in a tough 5-question challenge?

Postby vaavapuzzles » Fri Feb 19, 2016 1:32 pm UTC

Here are some more clues:

Q1. Look very closely at the logo
Q2. The image is missing two thin vertical lines
Q3. The answer isn't reached using a formula (see previous clue too)
Q4. The letter 'A' is a good starting point, but how many?
Q5. Pronunciation

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Carmeister
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Re: Anyone interested in a tough 5-question challenge?

Postby Carmeister » Mon Feb 22, 2016 5:13 am UTC

Number 5 presumably refers to
Spoiler:
Led Zeppelin, who released their first album in 1969. Not sure how to get an answer from that, though.

vaavapuzzles
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Re: Anyone interested in a tough 5-question challenge?

Postby vaavapuzzles » Mon Feb 22, 2016 6:57 am UTC

@Carmeister that's not the correct answer...

PsiSquared
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Re: Anyone interested in a tough 5-question challenge?

Postby PsiSquared » Tue Feb 23, 2016 1:40 am UTC

Cauchy wrote:
PsiSquared wrote:
Cauchy wrote:Your question 3 doesn't appear in OEIS, so I don't know how anyone would get it.


2,3,6,9,36,41,246... doesn't appear in OEIS either yet it obviously has a unique correct answer (can anybody here figure out what it is?)


That's only because you started with the wrong first term.

https://oeis.org/A047904


So? The fact remains that:

1. Searching for "2,3,6,9,36,41,246" in OEIS will give you nothing.
2. You still managed to figure out the rule on your own.

Ergo, the fact that a sequence does not show up in a search at OEIS does not mean that it is unsolvable (or even particularly difficult to solve).

vaavapuzzles wrote:Maybe if you saw it in context on the actual page it would have more appeal? Of the five questions that's the most 'standalone' one. I don't think I can post links yet and don't want to break any rules but will hopefully share the address soon so you can, at least, take a look at the whole thing and decide if it's something you'd like to take part in.


Being "standalone" is not the problem. The problem, if there is one, is that your questions don't seem to have clear unique and objective solutions.

A good puzzle is one where, once the "player" solves it, he knows that he got it right. And given the number of wrong answers which "kind-of seem right" that people here submitted to you, I have my doubts as to whether your puzzle meet this criteria.

Now, to be fair, since I don't know the actual solutions to any of your questions, it might be possible that these solutions (which are currently unknown to me) make far more sense then the wrong answers people submitted here. But I find this hard to believe.

vaavapuzzles
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Re: Anyone interested in a tough 5-question challenge?

Postby vaavapuzzles » Tue Feb 23, 2016 3:58 pm UTC

Thanks for your comments. I completely understand where you are coming from re getting the right answers and the next puzzle definitely needs to 'flow' better.

I can assure you that there is definite 'logic' to the answers. I put that word in quotes because for at least two questions there isn't really logic, it's more visual. Additionally, once a question is solved there will be an 'Aha!' moment, or at least I hope there would. Part of me wants to post the answers to this puzzle and move on to the next so that people can see the logic. Another part wants to leave it open though.

The additional clues I posted are valid but, to try and prove that there is method in my madness, I will say the following for Question 3:

Solve the anagram in the puzzle's title and you will be one search away from working out the answer.

Hope this helps, and I'd like to say thanks to everyone who has visited vaava from this forum.

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DaBigCheez
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Re: Anyone interested in a tough 5-question challenge?

Postby DaBigCheez » Wed Feb 24, 2016 8:03 pm UTC

vaavapuzzles wrote:The additional clues I posted are valid but, to try and prove that there is method in my madness, I will say the following for Question 3:

Solve the anagram in the puzzle's title and you will be one search away from working out the answer.

To quote a guide on thinking about puzzles from the MIT Mystery Hunt:
Thinking About Puzzles wrote:Sometimes, a puzzle is just badly written. It happens, especially if the author is a beginner, or has written too many puzzles and ran out of ideas. Here, it helps to go back to that advice about thinking like an author, and add this question: “If I were running out of ideas, what stupid thing could I invent that would have something to do with this data?” Try to do things that are painfully non-obvious: read in the direction nobody thought is reasonable to read in, remove all vowels, type the whole thing into Google, read the author’s blog, or, if this puzzle is really in the gutters, anagram.

Blind anagramming is the root of all evil. That might be putting it a little strongly, but when a puzzle depends on anagramming, it's very easy to wind up with spurious results that send you down a dead-end path, half a dozen things that feel like they "might be" the answer, and no clear sense that the one you wind up with is clearly 'the' solution. And that's when it's clear as a starting point that anagramming is even involved; when it's an open-ended solution, searching for anagrams is a work of desperation, and all the problems with it are compounded a dozenfold.

Disclaimer: I have not looked at the vaava puzzles in question, and it is possible that they are in fact expertly made and use anagrams in a thoughtful, tasteful and appropriate manner. Based on the difficulty others have been having, however, I feel it might be useful to look through the linked guide, and possibly some past Hunts, for what are generally good examples of well-constructed puzzles with high difficulty but clear solutions - and the occasional exceptions just go to demonstrate *why* such considerations are important.
existential_elevator wrote:It's like a jigsaw puzzle of Hitler pissing on Mother Theresa. No individual piece is offensive, but together...

If you think hot women have it easy because everyone wants to have sex at them, you're both wrong and also the reason you're wrong.

Quixote
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Re: Anyone interested in a tough 5-question challenge?

Postby Quixote » Fri Feb 26, 2016 12:46 am UTC

Carmeister wrote:
Spoiler:
Led Zeppelin, who released their first album in 1969. Not sure how to get an answer from that


From that I don't care what the expected answer is, it surely can't be better than the correct answer which is
Spoiler:
Iron.
Because Led Zeppelin partly got their name from Iron Butterfly and played alongside them in 1969.
Although the word "heavy" would be a second best.

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Re: Anyone interested in a tough 5-question challenge?

Postby Quixote » Fri Feb 26, 2016 1:00 am UTC

If we're looking for an animal that starts with an unusual number of As, then there isn't much choice.
But I can't see how they form an ordering, What's the sixth one?

vaavapuzzles
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Re: Anyone interested in a tough 5-question challenge?

Postby vaavapuzzles » Fri Feb 26, 2016 10:01 am UTC

@DaBigCheez - many thanks for your comments. We'll definitely take on board what you say.

@Quixote - love the connection you make there. I won't comment on your answer though :)

For Q4 the sixth animal could be snake and the seventh, giraffe. I didn't mean an animal that necessarily starts with 'a', think number/letter substitution.

Quixote
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Re: Anyone interested in a tough 5-question challenge?

Postby Quixote » Wed Mar 02, 2016 1:17 am UTC

Animals I had an idea.
Spoiler:
cat/two
zebra/three
foal/four
toad/five
so the next one could be ant for six
snake/seven
but giraffe/eight doesn't work.

Quixote
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Re: Anyone interested in a tough 5-question challenge?

Postby Quixote » Wed Mar 02, 2016 1:39 am UTC

Q2 I also had an idea
Spoiler:
The combination of two thick lines at the top left, two large filled circles, one small dot, plus two missing vertical lines surely makes an sixteenth-note/dotted-eighth-note combination. It's an amazing coincidence if not. But if it is supposed to be that, it's not very well drawn. The top beam starts too far to the left and goes too far to the right.
And I don't yet know how you get a financial institution from that.
Last edited by Quixote on Wed Mar 02, 2016 6:49 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

vaavapuzzles
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Re: Anyone interested in a tough 5-question challenge?

Postby vaavapuzzles » Wed Mar 02, 2016 8:42 am UTC

@Quixote
Not quite there with the animal question but spot on with Q2.

The image isn't drawn accurately as it looked 'too much' like a semiquaver/dotted quaver when it was lined up so I changed it. As it is, the rhythm is clearly indicated by the bars and circles.

So, now you have this rhymthic 'phrase' the next step is to find out what it's called. This is, I think, the hardest question of the puzzle so here's a massive hint: Google 'Scotch Snap' then look at the alternative.

Quixote
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Re: Anyone interested in a tough 5-question challenge?

Postby Quixote » Wed Mar 02, 2016 6:57 pm UTC

vaavapuzzles wrote:Google 'Scotch Snap' then look at the alternative.

So you've pretty much given us the answer for Q2. I was almost there before. I had this as a candidate answer:
www.flamfinancial.com
But discarded it as unlikely because you're from UK.

Quixote
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Re: Anyone interested in a tough 5-question challenge?

Postby Quixote » Wed Mar 02, 2016 7:07 pm UTC

Q1 I'm only half way there on that one. wiktionary doesn't give me an unambiguous answer for the 'translation'.
Also, my monitor/eyes are literally not good enough to "look closely" enough.

vaavapuzzles
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Re: Anyone interested in a tough 5-question challenge?

Postby vaavapuzzles » Wed Mar 02, 2016 9:03 pm UTC

@Quixote
I like the flam answer, it kind of fits. The answer's not a website but a type of financial system. You've probably worked that out though.

For Q1, the logo needs some manipulation to see the clue.

I wrote this puzzle after finishing The Witness game. There are all sorts of 'hidden' things in there. It's sort of along those lines.


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