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The XKCD Puzzle
September 21, 2009 7:47 PM   Subscribe

XKCD author Randall Munroe appears to have left a neat little cryptographic puzzle for Reddit users in his new book. They're trying to decipher it.
posted by zarq (44 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
They figured it out already?
posted by P.o.B. at 7:57 PM on September 21, 2009


It would appear that they've done so already.

Also it looks like he used a version of the Patterson/Jefferson cipher discussed previously.
posted by Partial Law at 7:57 PM on September 21, 2009


Given that he's just finished a Q and A fundraiser, the answer will probably be a Reddit version of "Be sure to drink your Ovaltine," though I hope not.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 7:58 PM on September 21, 2009


Solved before you clicked POST, actually. Brillig.
posted by rokusan at 7:58 PM on September 21, 2009


Damn, that was fast! Looks like they figured out the final bit just a minute or two after I posted.
posted by zarq at 7:58 PM on September 21, 2009


It was an inside job
posted by allen.spaulding at 7:59 PM on September 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


My worst fears come true! Ah well, at least the OvaltineReddit commercial was funny.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 8:00 PM on September 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Way too easy coming from a math geek like Monroe. Hell, he's had individual strips with tougher nuggets.
posted by rokusan at 8:06 PM on September 21, 2009


Is Reddit better than Metafilter?
posted by swift at 8:11 PM on September 21, 2009


Boycott the son of a bitch!
posted by Artw at 8:15 PM on September 21, 2009


Is Reddit better than Metafilter?

There's little question in my mind that they would have solved it faster than we would have. There's also little question in my mind that we would have gotten it fairly quickly, pointed out how he lifted the idea from prior sources, had interesting albeit offbeat insights on the process, and had way fewer rape jokes. Also most people here are over 15 and don't hate women with a burning passion that can best be expressed through idiocy and downvoting. So yeah, the answer is no.
posted by allen.spaulding at 8:16 PM on September 21, 2009 [33 favorites]


Also, at least here you would have read the solving of it in order.

(God I hate those jumping-all-over threads.)
posted by rokusan at 8:18 PM on September 21, 2009 [10 favorites]


There's also little question in my mind that we would have gotten it fairly quickly, pointed out how he lifted the idea from prior sources, had interesting albeit offbeat insights on the process, and had way fewer rape jokes.

Yeah, that was kinda what I was hoping for when I posted this. The best laid plans... :P
posted by zarq at 8:18 PM on September 21, 2009


HELP I'M TRAPPED IN A GEEKY WEBCOMIC FACTORY
posted by Rhaomi at 8:20 PM on September 21, 2009


HEY LOOK I DREW YOU A HEART ON GRAPH PAPER
posted by boo_radley at 8:31 PM on September 21, 2009 [23 favorites]


If you scramble the letters in METAFILTER, you get TRITE FLAME. And if you scramble the letters in I REDDIT, you get DIE, DIRT!

Has there ever been anything more profound than that?
posted by twoleftfeet at 8:42 PM on September 21, 2009 [5 favorites]


BE SURE TO DRINK YOUR OVALTINE.
posted by champthom at 8:44 PM on September 21, 2009


There's an XKCD book?!
posted by pravit at 8:48 PM on September 21, 2009


There's an XKCD book?!

Yes.
posted by zarq at 9:08 PM on September 21, 2009


Also most people here are over 15 and don't hate women with a burning passion that can best be expressed through idiocy and downvoting.

You say that like it's a good thing.
posted by weirdoactor at 9:22 PM on September 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


A XKCD link, a jpeg and a reddit link? You know, if I wanted to read reddit, I'd read reddit.
posted by crossoverman at 9:26 PM on September 21, 2009


If you scramble the letters in XKCD, you get KCXD.

It's pretty much the same.
posted by sonic meat machine at 9:29 PM on September 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


Is Reddit better than Metafilter?

Both accelerate from zero to self-adoration in roughly ten posts.
posted by kid ichorous at 9:32 PM on September 21, 2009 [4 favorites]


Is Reddit better than Metafilter?

There's little question in my mind that they would have solved it faster than we would have. There's also little question in my mind that we would have gotten it fairly quickly, pointed out how he lifted the idea from prior sources, had interesting albeit offbeat insights on the process, and had way fewer rape jokes. Also most people here are over 15 and don't hate women with a burning passion that can best be expressed through idiocy and downvoting. So yeah, the answer is no.
posted by allen.spaulding at 11:16 PM on September 21



Actually reddit is really funny, if you remember what it is like to be young.
posted by four panels at 9:39 PM on September 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: way fewer rape jokes.
posted by blenderfish at 10:05 PM on September 21, 2009


Is Reddit better than Metafilter?

(Pretty sure I'm answering a joke comment seriously.)

It's not better than MetaFilter, it's just different. rokusan, you can set the thread order to sort by oldest or newest first, instead of 'hot' or whatever. I sort by oldest and get a similar threading experience to MetaFilter.

Basically, the further you get into the niche subreddits, the better things get. The first thing you need to do is create an account, and unsubscribe from the main reddit (aka "reddit.com"). That's where most of the garbage is (useless invective, contentless posts, "fuck you, [foo]" rants). While you're at it, unsubscribe from funny, politics, and whatever other garbage is enabled by default. I like to follow techie things over there, so I subscribe to subreddits like programming, linux, science, physics, cpp, python, etc. Reddit doesn't do politics too well (who does?), so I avoid potentially political subreddits. I pretty much gave up on reddit as a heap of dung until I realized you could customize away most of the junk, and be left with a pretty good news site.

The only thing that is definitively worse than MetaFilter is moderation. Community moderation via up/down votes is an abomination. Even if it gets it right 90% of the time, the other 10% can be real frustrating. MetaFilter does this much better, with flags on inappropriate comments notifying moderators of the most egregious offenders, while the good, mediocre, and even unpleasant comments are uncensored.

I think the short answer is, social media degrades proportionally to the number of users. Benevolent dictatorships don't have this issue.
posted by knave at 10:07 PM on September 21, 2009 [4 favorites]


Hah! I like how he did it on the page opposite the House of Leaves parody.
posted by Afroblanco at 10:21 PM on September 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh man, if anyone at 4chan gave a shit, they probably would have solved it in about 14 minutes. So let's not get into an internet pissing contest over which website is the worst (or best, depending on your pov).

I guarantee you, that puzzle is easier than not thinking about the game ...
posted by shownomercy at 11:32 PM on September 21, 2009


What's with the 9/11 stuff in the code? I don't know this guy well enough to tell if it's a joke or just something stupid he actually believes...
posted by PostIronyIsNotaMyth at 12:54 AM on September 22, 2009


What's with the 9/11 stuff in the code? I don't know this guy well enough to tell if it's a joke or just something stupid he actually believes...

I think the "wake up sheeple" bit is a pretty big clue that he's joking.
posted by Justinian at 1:41 AM on September 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm just glad it wasn't a coded marriage proposal to Megan.
posted by Spatch at 5:21 AM on September 22, 2009


The only thing that is definitively worse than MetaFilter is moderation.

MetaFilter's moderation system only works because 1. there isn't really much of a moderation system, 2. because the community is not filled with 15 year-olds, and 3. has very little tolerance for the kinds of inanity that are so popular with said 15 year-olds. Like a cocktail party… eventually someone will drink to much and put a lampshade on their head, and the night will surely end with scattered, fervent arguments over plates of beans, but for the most part users are adult enough to behave themselves. To continue this analogy, 4chan would be a high school party while the parents are away, Digg & Reddit would be frat parties, Fark would be frat party with hard alcohol instead of beer, and LGF would be one of those militia gatherings where people come and shoot their guns.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:34 AM on September 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


Digg & Reddit would be frat parties

Digg is a frat party, reddit is more like the guys from "Revenge of the Nerds" with less token black/gay members.
posted by weirdoactor at 6:45 AM on September 22, 2009


I dunno. Reddit has Steve Vai. [ thread ]
posted by rokusan at 7:28 AM on September 22, 2009


The 5$ admission fee also helps weed out some of the crap. It's low bar, but a bar, nonetheless.
posted by theora55 at 7:41 AM on September 22, 2009


Reddit is like MetaFilter with ADD: every post is a double from 2002, every link is a SLYT, and every comment is a one-liner tangent. It's great for links and such, but it's much hard to have a (group) conversation that isn't 90% derail.

I'll try 'oldest' for awhile, knave. It still looks discombobulated to me.

I agree the deep, specialty subreddits are meatier.
posted by rokusan at 7:46 AM on September 22, 2009


The only thing that is definitively worse than MetaFilter is moderation. Community moderation via up/down votes is an abomination. Even if it gets it right 90% of the time, the other 10% can be real frustrating. MetaFilter does this much better, with flags on inappropriate comments notifying moderators of the most egregious offenders, while the good, mediocre, and even unpleasant comments are uncensored.

So in other words: here, at least the trains run on time.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 8:29 AM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


A XKCD link, a jpeg and a reddit link? You know, if I wanted to read reddit, I'd read reddit.

Count your blessings. It could have been SLYT. My usual m.o. is somewhat link-heavy posts. The way I see it, a "light" one was overdue. :D
posted by zarq at 9:26 AM on September 22, 2009


Anyone else going to the Mountain View release party today? I'm giddy like a schoolgirl.
posted by jewzilla at 9:37 AM on September 22, 2009


Actually reddit is really funny, if you remember what it is like to be young.

Clearly you and I had very different childhoods.
posted by hifiparasol at 10:52 AM on September 22, 2009


I ordered the book when it came out, but damn the 5-7 week delivery...
posted by Theta States at 11:33 AM on September 22, 2009


Aaaaand they're at it again.
posted by zarq at 1:23 PM on September 22, 2009


zarqPoster: "Aaaaand they're at it again."

How dare the call themselves the hivemind? Surely they know that this means war!
posted by Captain Cardanthian! at 3:55 PM on September 22, 2009


Yeah secret code whatever, but that HoL parody is awesome.
posted by rusty at 6:07 PM on September 22, 2009


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