Clues, Riddles, and Guesses for Treasure 118

/dev/joe wrote (Mar 01, 1997):

My first Prayer for Deliverance will be in rhyme:

Fatalistically, Spock asked Kirk,
"If the Enterprise flew at warp
Beyond ten, would we all go berserk?"

Overcasually, the captain replied,
"No, but a better question is,
'Are we going to survive the ride?'"

Calvinistically, Mr. Spock responded,
"Certainly we will, provided that
Iot bzdcte fd fz iot qfedi ptiited."

/dev/joe wrote (Apr 02, 1997):

Here is my April prayer for deliverance.

Buried treasure seekers,
Don't be discombobulated
The one I have buried
Is not unrecoverable.
The devoted hunter will
Try tricks unclassifiable.
If you need some more help
Mppl bu usfbtvsf pof gpvsuffo.

/dev/joe wrote (Apr 03, 1997):

Last night, while working on a new subgame for Ackanomic (based on Conway's Life), one of the red and blue matchboxes I was using to represent cells opened all by itself, and Phoebe popped out.

I asked Phoebe, "What do you think of this new game I'm working on?"

Phoebe responded, "It has potential. But I'd rather you not use my matchbox as a token." With that remark, she threw her matchbox off my desk onto the floor behind it. But she remained on the table. I took another empty matchbox and put it in the space to mark that cell so I wouldn't forget.

I then asked, "Why has it taken so long for people to find my treasure? Do they need another hint?"

Phoebe said, "They need to realize that the map has something extra added to it, and that extra thing is also the answer that the map requires."

I replied, "I couldn't have said it better myself. Just one more thing. What do you think of this?", holding up Fibber's baggie.

Phoebe simply said, "Cheap imitation!" and jumped off the desk at about the same place she threw the matchbox off. I looked around but I couldn't find any sign of her or the matchbox after that.

/dev/joe wrote (May 02, 1997):

Alfvaen has found treasure 118, containing the Exquisite Dead Guy, by sending me a message with the headers quoted below.

Forwarded message:
> From: Aaron Humphrey 
> Subject: Fibonacci
> To:
> Date: Thu, 1 May 1997 22:53:56 -0600 (MDT)

The decoded map to this treasure read:

> In order to find the Exquisite Dead Guy, send /dev/joe a message
> containing in the subject line the name of the sequence involved in
> the encoding of this map.
The map was encoded by taking the Fibonacci sequence and adding the ascii values of the characters in the map, and taking the result mod 256 and writing it in hexadecimal.

I thought I had left plenty of clues on this one; I don't know if people had simply stopped trying, or if it was that tough; Malenkai had collected the three relevant clues on his web page -- my March and April prayers of deliverance (hmm, time for another prayer, I'll have to bury another treasure) and a phoebe post. I'll let the lucky new owner of the Dead Guy explain what the clues meant, and the meanings of the two "spoken in tongues" lines in those prayers.

Alfvaen wrote (May 02, 1997):

Well, since you asked...

The first poem, which was apparently a bizarre conversation between Spock and Kirk where Spock lasped into Vulcan at the end, actually concealed the word "Fibonacci" in its first letters; the last line was a simple- substitution-cipher encoded form of "The answer is in the first letters".

The second poem was a bit more misleading, IMHO...the last line was a simple Caesar-cipher encoded form of "Look at treasure one fourteen". That treasure's encoding scheme was a _little_ close to the one /dev/joe used, in the sense that each hex-pair had something subtracted from it, but it left me chasing down blind alleys for quite a while. An hour or two, at least. (Incidentally, I have a Caesar's Cipher Cerver on my Web page, at , which is what I used for this clue. I tried it on the first one, but it didn't work.)

The Phoebe conversation did provide a couple of important clues, once I figured them out: 'the map has something extra added to it' meant that I had to subtract something from the encoded map, and 'that extra thing is also the answer the map requires' might, in hindsight, have led me to guess 'Fibonacci' as what I was supposed to send /dev/joe... (There's also a reference to "Fibber's baggie" as a 'cheap imitation', which is a sort of 'soundalike' clue...)

And I would have had the answer several hours sooner, but the Perl script I hacked up to generate Fibonacci numbers(mod 128) somehow went "65, 0, 1" instead of "65, 0, 65" like it should have, so I was convinced /dev/joe had thrown an extra layer of encryption at me(since this occurred right after "send /dev/joe a message containing in the subject line...").

Whee! That was fun. Maybe I'll try Red Barn's treasure now!

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