## Friday, May 22, 2009

### Off-Day Puzzle #4: Solution

The answer to the Shell Game Puzzle is Gary Bennett.

Successfully follow the 18 moving tiles and you will end up with the following:

Read vertically down each 3-tile column from left to right, insert the dot and backslash, and you get:

tinyurl.com/a9epwe

(thus the hints with links to meaningless sites using tinyurl's spelled out instead of the usual hyperlinks). This leads to Gary Bennett's baseball-reference page. Congratulations for those who stuck with it: loney fan, ubragg, j steve, quadsevens, berkowit28, fanerman, natalie, and mr customer. Updated PCS Rankings will be posted after the long weekend.

Join us again 7am, Monday, June 8 for Season I champ Jose's puzzle!

Before following the moving tiles, I tried to fit the letters together to make some sort of hint leading to a player.

9 time power lunacy
untimely race pow 9
9 time player uncow
i'm cute now player 9

These were just as fun as following the tiles around. But they didn't lead to the answer.

Neeebs said...

I still don't get how someone could randomly guess the last part of the tinyurl stuff.

Was it random hit and miss?

berkowit28 said...

Nobody could, Neeebs. Are you thinking someone claimed to have guessed it? No. It's what ensured that solvers had to work it all out methodically (moving the tiles around). The only special insight was in realizing it had to be read vertically - not so unusual in word puzzles. I had to do a bit of research to see how tinyurls are constructed - "/" after the .com, not a second ".".

Puzzles like this are easier than ones where you somehow have to divine what the special step or gimmick is. Unless you see it right away, of course. If you don't, there's no way to work it out. In this puzzle, you just had to accurately move all the tiles around, tile by tile, which was sort of obvious.

I found the last puzzle much more difficult (and didn't solve it) because, unless you happened to select the text to see the twinkling hidden letters, there was no way of figuring out you needed to. Apparently there was a reference in the text, but it was so obscure that I can't believe tha anyone actually figured it out from that - they all just selected in order to copy and paste into a text document. With yesterday's puzzle, pencil and paper (to keep traqck of intermediate changes) was the way I did it, but that couldn't work with the revious puzzle.