Ackanomic Cyclopedia of Knowledge

Today, we present this very special edition of the ACK financed by JT's auction bid and celebrating the completion of my thesis today and the archive of the ACK at

Ackanomic Cyclopedia of Knowledge

Volume 1 issue 9 August 25, 1998

Treasure Special Extravaganza

by /dev/joe

I put all my knowledge about a number of Acka's treasure maps here in one place, in the hopes that (a) people will find some treasures, (b) more people will be interested in treasures after reading this, and (c) maybe somebody who has another bit of a solution to one of these, which I have missed, but who still can't find the treasure, will work together with me to find it.

Treasure 121 (buried by Red Barn on January 27, 1997; contains the trinket Sceptre of Penguin Power worth A$75). The only clue is a long sequence (about 1000) hexadecimal digits with a smattering of X's interspersed. I examined it several times and threw all my common tools at it, but I could not make any sense out of the hex digits, the X's, or the thing as a whole.

Here is the clue:


Treasure 135 (buried by Calvin N Hobbes on March 14, 1997; contains the trinket Alien Shaking Ball worth A$20). The clue for this one is a long sequence of numbers, separated by (-) and (+) signs in parentheses as they are shown here. The numbers are certainly not random; though they vary in magnitude from 0 to over 13 billion, there is a lot of repetition and a lot of common factors, i.e., most of the numbers have 11 as a factor, many have 101 as well, and some have other interesting factors in the same vein (i.e., 3*37 = 111, and 41*271 = 11111).

Here is the clue:


And here is a hint given soon afterward:

There was once a treasure buried
With a map to it both silly and rabid,
That without Robert Sevin's webpage,
And fourteen squared that's not an age
>From almighty one we must start
With lonely zero on his own, apart,
Perhaps the lucky one will see
Differences in numbers to his glee

One of Robert Sevin's web pages is at but it is not the page that he had when this treasure was buried.

In case anybody can make anything out of these numbers, here are the factorizations:

1 (appears 15 times)
4 = 2^2 (appears 8 times)
8 = 2^3 (appears 3 times)
16 = 2^4 (appears 7 times)
77 = 7 * 11 (appears 4 times)
154 = 2 * 7 * 11 (appears 4 times)
605 = 5 * 11^2 (appears 3 times)
1111 = 11 * 101 (appears 4 times)
2222 = 2 * 11 * 101 (appears 4 times)
4444 = 2^2 * 11 * 101 (appears 5 times)
8888 = 2^3 * 11 * 101 (appears 5 times)
17776 = 2^4 * 11 * 101 (appears 3 times)
831105 = 3^2 * 5 * 11 * 23 * 73 (appears 3 times)
855547 = 7 * 11 * 41 * 271 (appears 3 times)
1332243 = 3^2 * 11 * 13457 (appears 4 times)
9509148 = 2^2 * 3^2 * 11^2 * 37 * 59 (appears twice)
17928207 = 3^2 * 11^2 * 101 * 163 (appears 7 times)
88211178 = 2 * 3^2 * 11^2 * 101 * 401 (appears 7 times)
175322466 = 2 * 3^2 * 11^2 * 101 * 797
839546037 = 3^2 * 11^2 * 17 * 101 * 449
13634115363 = 3^2 * 11 * 31 * 4442527

Treasure 147 (buried by Habeous Corpus on May 7, 1997; contains the trinket Wouf Houng, worth A$1). The clue for this one is a long sequence of zeroes, ones, and twos, which I have not been able to decode.

Here is the clue:


This one is quite confounding, as there are exactly 703 digits in the list, a number which does not factor into anything normal. If you break it into triples, and assign them as 000=A, 001=B, etc. you can get a 1-1 assignment into letters, and 222 is the only triple which does not occur when they are split that way, but there is an extra 2 left over at the end, and I have made no sense of the resulting mess.

Treasure 169 (buried by Alfvaen on June 18, 1997; contains two trinkets worth a total of A$55). The clue for this one is a string of 132 hex digits. Again I have no idea what these mean, but recent messages by Alfvaen suggest they may be somewhat Vigenere-encoded. I went through his remaining prayers for deliverance after solving the Lucky Ball and Chain treasure recently, and didn't find any hints for this one.

Here is the clue and the burial message:

Having buried the Exquisite Dead Guy, and finished the Tagline Attribution Quiz, I am now burying the H****t [ed. - I can't seem to get my terminal to enter this word correctly :-) ] Feathers and the Five Hundred Misplaced Ackadollars--just cause I got another treasure map idea. I am revealing the following portion of the map:


Here is the recent hint:

2: Okay, so what about the other one?
1: Well, it's a bunch of hexadecimal digits, right? But they're too scattered and varied for letters from any character set. I'm sure there's all sorts of encoding schemes that could have been done.
2: The Fibonacci thing was hard enough.
1: But there's some clues there, too. I mean, when Alfvaen originally buried the Treasure, e mistyped "Ackadollars" for "Ackapennies", and insisted that the text be left to stand as it was. So that implies that that text is important in some way to decoding the map, doesn't it?

Treasure 178 (buried by two-star on July 19, 1997; contains the trinket Curious Clock of Uesticlox, worth A$65, and A$2, for a total value of A$67). The clue for this treasure is the following graphic:

  CA    clcNAECf*T
  aA*tBAAE  bw*U*V
      BUBg    CACi

$ _

Even before two-star gave clues to this effect, I realized that half the columns in this structure consist of nothing but *'s and tromino go symbols.

Separating these results in the following pair of grids:

     *             G      
    ***C          eLOo    
 C  ccAC*      A  lNEfT   
 CCA**A*b*A    HiSctoEaHy 
****ABBc*A*   EcftEDhINEE 
 *b**a*c***    rEoGEneDTW 
  *C*a*AA*      TRidrScc  
  aaB*bbCC      oSsruNEB  
  **Bcc**       tuIQerk   
 a**A*baa      HNaAeLLT   
 a*BA b**      AtAE wUV   
   BB  CC        Ug  Ai   

I assumed that the puzzle was to reconstruct the tromino go game, and the play of the game determined how the letters in the other grid were to be read (either in the order pieces were played, or sorted by what letter was on the corresponding tromino go space, etc.) However, the info provided did not seem to be enough to uniquely fill in the grid, and the fills I finished did not lead to any obvious meaning in the other grid. I have since lost this grid to wilma's crash, but I will reconstruct what I can here.

Note the tromino go rules require that each piece be played adjacent to at least two units of edge, at least one unit of edge of an opponent's piece, and not adjacent to any edge of the same letter, except the first four pieces, where the first obvious has no adjacency requirement, the second must be adjacent to it, and the third and fourth must be adjacent to the previous piece without touching that player's own previous piece. The fourth piece, an 'a', could touch the first piece, an 'A', and this is the only way that could happen. Pieces are played in the sequence A, b, C, a, B, c, repeating until 30 pieces are played (the game has not reached that number yet -- there are 84 spaces used or 28 pieces in the grid, so we expect to find 4 c's, 4 B's, and 5 of each other piece, if there have been no passes). It is unlikely but possible (especially in a specially-constructed puzzle) for a player to have no legal play on some turn, and thus pass, skipping that piece in the sequence. A round ends when a piece or connected group of pieces belonging to one player has no connection to the outside edge. It is possible that the game has ended, but if there are multiple enclosed segments, they must all have been enclosed by a single piece, the last play made.

So first, we notice the piece which extends farthest to the left must fill those three *'s that are farthest left, and must be an A or a because it touches a b and a C. However, there are already parts of 5 distinct A's in the grid, so it must be an a, unless there have been enough passes to already create 6 A's -- 3 passes, which is implausible. The next * right of this piece touches a complete C, a complete a or A, and a single b, so it can only be another b.

     *             G      
    ***C          eLOo    
 C  ccAC*      A  lNEfT   
 CCA**A*b*A    HiSctoEaHy 
aab*ABBc*A*   EcftEDhINEE 
 ab**a*c***    rEoGEneDTW 
  *C*a*AA*      TRidrScc  
  aaB*bbCC      oSsruNEB  
  **Bcc**       tuIQerk   
 a**A*baa      HNaAeLLT   
 a*BA b**      AtAE wUV   
   BB  CC        Ug  Ai   

The a piece at the lower left must be completed with the one of the two adjacent *'s. If the upper one is used, the other * cannot be filled in. I assume that all the *'s are meant to be filled in with tromino pieces, since the letter grid has a letter for each of them. Also, a pair of A's just right of center can only be completed by one nearby *, so I have filled that in. Also, a pair of B's below and left of center can only be completed on one *, out of 2 adjacent ones, because the other is next to a b.

     *             G      
    ***C          eLOo    
 C  ccAC*      A  lNEfT   
 CCA**A*b*A    HiSctoEaHy 
aab*ABBc*A*   EcftEDhINEE 
 ab**a*cA**    rEoGEneDTW 
  *C*a*AA*      TRidrScc  
  aaB*bbCC      oSsruNEB  
  *BBcc**       tuIQerk   
 a**A*baa      HNaAeLLT   
 aaBA b**      AtAE wUV   
   BB  CC        Ug  Ai   

Now, the three *'s to the left and below the B tromino we just completed must be a complete tromino - there is no other way to fill the lower-left- most of these. It must be a c or C, and as there are already parts of 5 other C's, it is a c. This leaves only one way to complete the a and A trominoes adjacent to this one, which leaves only one way to complete the b adjacent to that A, and the C at the bottom, and the c above the A.

     *             G      
    ***C          eLOo    
 C  ccAC*      A  lNEfT   
 CCA**A*b*A    HiSctoEaHy 
aab*ABBc*A*   EcftEDhINEE 
 ab**a*cA**    rEoGEneDTW 
  aC*a*AA*      TRidrScc  
  aaBcbbCC      oSsruNEB  
  cBBcc**       tuIQerk   
 accAAbaa      HNaAeLLT   
 aaBA bbC      AtAE wUV   
   BB  CC        Ug  Ai   

Now, the pair of b's next to the piece we marked x can be completed with either of two *'s adjacent to it. If we fill it using the lower one, we get a chain-reaction forcing everything to be filled as follows:

     B             G      
    BBCC          eLOo    
 C  ccACb      A  lNEfT   
 CCAcBAAbbA    HiSctoEaHy 
aabAABBccAA   EcftEDhINEE 
 abbCaacAbb    rEoGEneDTW 
  aCCabAAb      TRidrScc  
  aaBcbbCC      oSsruNEB  
  cBBccaC       tuIQerk   
 accAAbaa      HNaAeLLT   
 aaBA bbC      AtAE wUV   
   BB  CC        Ug  Ai   

If we fill it with the top *, we get:

     B             G      
    cBBC          eLOo    
 C  ccACC      A  lNEfT   
 CCAABAAbbA    HiSctoEaHy 
aabbABBcbAA   EcftEDhINEE 
 abCCaccAbb    rEoGEneDTW 
  aCaabAAb      TRidrScc  
  aaBcbbCC      oSsruNEB  
  cBBccaC       tuIQerk   
 accAAbaa      HNaAeLLT   
 aaBA bbC      AtAE wUV   
   BB  CC        Ug  Ai   

In one of his clues, two-star says the description of the clock is important. That description reads "An ornate antique clock with a brass casing, the Curious Clock's main claim to curiosity is that while the short hour hand proceeds clockwise as normal, the larger minute hand moves counter-clockwise. It does not have a millenium hand or an eon hand. It does however have a small grotz counter which allows it to detect if it has been buried; while it is buried, it is frozen showing a time that has something to do with the map according to which it is buried. While it is not buried it keeps perfect Ackanomic time."

JT, Alfvaen, and Vynd all have received trinkets which are supposed to be accompanied by private clues to this treasure, but I have not seen any of them. Probably one of those combined with my above analysis is sufficient to decode the map, seeing as two-star claimed they were individually enough to find the map :-).

Treasure 207 (buried by Attila the Pun on April 5th, 1998; contains the trinket "The Mu-Cow" worth A$100). Except for those who joined more recently than this, there is hardly anybody in Acka who hasn't figured out the gist of this map by now, even if they haven't figured out the code. The clue reads "di,noy s [tp[sds; ejovj trvorbrd mp URD bpyrd smf fprd mpy gso; wipti, yp gomf yjr <i=Vpe/". This code, also used for a couple other treasures around the same time, involves shifting your hands by one position on a standard U.S. keyboard. Thus, it says "sumbit [sic] a propasal [sic] which recieves no YES votes and does not fail quorum to find the Mu-Cow."

Treasure 212 (buried by The Gingham Wearer (now Mr Tambourine Man) on May 12, 1998; contains the trinket "That quick brown fox" worth A$75). This asks players to send TGW a minimized sequential pangram. A pangram (in generic terms) is a sentence or other text which contains all the letters of the alphabet. Perhaps the best known pangram is "A quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog," which, at 33 letters, is quite short -- the only repeated letters are r and 6 extra vowels. Shorter yet is "The five boxing wizards jump quickly," with 30 letters, with 4 extra vowels and no repeated consonants. "Waltz, bud nymph, for quick jigs vex," rates just 28 letters, repeating only the u and i, and is about the shortest possible without using obscure words.

This treasure asks for something slightly different. The "sequential" requirement is that the 26 letters of the alphabet appear in alphabetical order in the sentence. Obviously this requires a few extra letters; TGW suggested it could be done easily in 45 and with some effort in as few as 40. The rec.puzzles archive is usually an excellent source for answers to this sort of thing, and after only a minimal amount of work on the puzzle myself, to beat the 45 mark TGW suggested as a starting point, I looked it up there. I found this page: which had lots of pangram-related stuff, but not the answer to this puzzle. There are many regular pangrams, and there are word lists with all letters in alpha order, but not *sentences* with the letters in alpha order.

Incidentally, another page in the rec.puzzles archive, http://xraysgi.ims. (paste together the lines; sorry the URL is so long) lists some solutions for the other type of pangram referred to in an Ackanomic treasure, the self-referential one ("This sentence contains two a's, one b, ..."). Note that it was proven in the solution to that treasure that no pangram could be formed in the specified form and with the given beginning part of the sentence; with other forms or sentence beginnings it is possible.

Treasure 218 (buried by the Razor Boomerang Party on May 29, 1998; contains the trinket A Golden Boomerang Statue worth A$50). The clue is a series of numbers of magnitudes from 560 million to 2.06 billion. Dividing these by 256^3 gives numbers from 33 to 122, so I considered breaking each number into 4 bytes, and interpreting the bytes as ASCII. This gives the following (which should be read as a single string; the returns are only so this message doesn't break people's mailers or vice versa):


This tricky cryptogram reads (approximately):

thefirstplayerwhoisnotamemberoftherazorboomerangs,andwhocorrectlypoststhea nswertothequestion'whatistheoriginoftherazorboomerangname?'shallfindthistr easure.theanswermustbepostedpublicallyinamessagetitled'acka:razorboomerang excavation'andthetextofthemessagemustcontainexactlythewords'i love x 'wher exisreplacedbytheanswertotheabovequestion.aplayerwhopostsanincorrectrespon seisthereafterineligibletofindtherazorboomerangtreasure.

It is not immediately clear which symbols fill in the spaces in the quotation. JT hinted to me, upon realizing how far I had gotten, that all the same symbols were preserved, and only at this point did I realize the form the cryptogram (solved the hard way, beginning with finding the sequence for "razor boomerang" in the text repeatedly).

The key is an alphabet shift based on the keyboard again, but trickier this time. The keys have been shifted to the left two keys and up one row, wrapping around, and with a different arrangement of symbols to the right of the letters than on a US keyboard. None of the symbols translate to a symbol, though, so assuming the order is consistent, we can fill in the missing symbols with ! (encoded as k) and - (encoded as l).

code: qwertyuiop:asdfghjkl'?zxcvbnm,.!-
real: dfghjkl'?zxcvbnm,.!-qwertyuiop:as

Thus, the message says (properly capitalized and with spaces added):

The first player who is not a member of the Razor Boomerangs, and who correctly posts the answer to the question 'What is the origin of the Razor Boomerang name?' shall find this treasure. The answer must be posted publically in a message titled 'Acka: Razor Boomerang Excavation' and the text of the message must contain exactly the words 'i-love-x!' where x is replaced by the answer to the above question. A player who posts an incorrect response is thereafter ineligible to find the Razor Boomerang treasure.

I found the source of the Razor Boomerang in a web search as the game Odyssey. I posted such, and was called wrong, probably on a technicality. The treasure seems to have been made intentially full of unclear technicalities to make it annoying and hard to find. Whether the capitalization is an issue, spaces are meant to be added to the quotation or put in place of the -'s which appear nowhere else in the code, the quotation marks are supposed to be included in the text of the message, etc. is unclear. My message said I-love-Odyssey! so try some other combination of the answers to the above questions.

Some other treasures are not listed; this means I can't provide any more info than what is already publicly known and listed on the treasure harfer's page, except for the Jukkasjarvi treasure, my treasure with the antiquities in it, and the treasure with my gold bars in it, which are omitted intentionally. A couple puzzle-like treasures (the Flora Amanita and two-star's soot-covered tome are the prime examples) are included in the ones I have no help to offer on.