Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
23 Sep

Contest: Use Your Brain, Win a Puzzle

Picture21Update 2:

Congratulations, Brandon, for being the first person to solve all 8 levels!

This contest is now over but you can still attempt to solve the puzzles for the next week. In a week the puzzle pages will be removed from MDA. I will remove the passwords from each puzzle page now so you can jump from one puzzle to the next at your will. Thanks to everyone for participating. Read on for answers to some of the more troubling puzzles.

SPOILER ALERTS!

Level 5 Conundrum:

You had to think outside the box for this one. It required that you look around MDA for clues. At the bottom right hand corner of each page on MDA there is a section that reads “Or maybe you’d like to browse posts about:” Below that is a pull-down text box. In that box there is a list of all MDA categories along with the number of posts in each category. The string of characters given on Level 5 are associated with a string of categories that contain that number of posts. The next one in the list is the category “PLAY” and is the solution to Level 5.

Level 6 Confusion:

You may notice that Level 6 did not have a link to “Proceed to Level 7″. The URL for Level 6 had the word “answer” in it. To move on to Level 7 you had to substitute the answer to the Level 6 puzzle for the word “answer” in the URL. The answer also acted as the password to Level 7.

Level 7 Explained:

It’s all about finding the pattern in a bunch of noise. One and only one letter is found in each row – the letter “R”. The letter “R” isn’t significant in itself, but its placement in the grid is. The first “R” is in column 8. As is the second and third. Continue in this manner and you will have a string of numeric digits: 8887746259. Does this number mean anything to you? “888” numbers are toll free numbers. 888-774-6259 is the toll free number to my office. Call the number and you’re given the password to Level 8. Only 2 people solved this Level and made the connection, and only after Hint 4 was dropped.

Update:

Since the launch of this contest yesterday I’ve received numerous reports of tears shed and teeth gnashed. The consensus seems to be that Levels 1-3 were a little challenging, but mostly fun. That Levels 4-6 were difficult, but doable. And that Level 7… well, Level 7 has proved infinitely frustrating and impossible to crack. (Hence the weeping and grinding.) A small group of front-runners went so far as to create a chat room last night to share their observations. Not a single person has broken the code, so I’ve added two hints to Level 7 and will add a new hint every hour on the half until someone has either won this contest (solved Level 8) or I’ve all but explained how to solve it. Thanks for playing, everyone!

The Prize:

This one is just too cool. A fitting prize for today’s brain challenge, it’s called an Isis Puzzle. ThinkGeek, the folks behind the miracle fruit and homo sapiens kitchen tool prizes of yore are now offering up this beautiful, elegant, difficult, titanium, hand-made puzzle sphere to the winner of today’s contest. As a decorative piece, it can smarten up even the pulpiest of bookshelves. As a brain teaser, it will dazzle the minds of everyone in your Sunday afternoon Mensa papercraft parties. But this little ball is also a gateway to adventures most grand. Solving the Isis unlocks a code which leads to more puzzles, keys, and eventually real world treasure. A puzzler’s Everest. Learn a little bit more at Isis Adventures.

The Contest:

Time to Use Your Brain. I’ve devised a series of riddles and puzzles to be solved for today’s contest. The first riddle is below. Generally puzzles become more difficult as you move from one level to the next. The first person to correctly answer the FINAL riddle (Level Eight) in the comments section of this post will win the Isis puzzle. There will be no random drawing, no judging. This one is a test of skill and speed. The first one to finish wins. Answers to the puzzles act as passwords for subsequent puzzles. For example, the answer to the following riddle is the password for the Level 2 puzzle, the answer to the Level 2 puzzle is the password for the Level 3 puzzle, and so on. When entering a password, use all caps and no punctuation or spaces (i.e. if the answer is “Mark Sisson,” enter MARKSISSON into the password field). Anyone leaving an answer to a riddle other than the final riddle in the comments section will be disqualified (the final riddle will be obvious if you reach it). Please refrain from leaving hints in the comments section as well. Last, remember to think outside the box.

Begin now.

Level 1

What can run but never walk
Has a mouth but can never talk
What has a head but never weeps
And has a bed but never sleeps

Proceed to Level 2 This contest is now closed. Stay tuned for future Puzzle Contests.

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. I fail… I suck at these puzzles! I need to start intellectually challenge myself!

    Primal Toad wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  2. Whoops, I didn’t mean to post the answer, sorry if anyone saw it.

    Luke wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  3. How annoying. The answer is ADMIN CENSORED but that doesn’t work! Unless you are using the wrong answer, which would just be embarrassing.

    A wrote on September 23rd, 2010
    • ALL CAPS LIKE “MARKSISSON”

      Kevin wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  4. Love the idea, HATE level 2…..I had to quit because I was grunting..loudly, In my office!

    Annette wrote on September 23rd, 2010
    • if I had a spear I would have thrown it thru my computer trying to do level 2

      Kevin wrote on September 23rd, 2010
    • Level 2 is evil…That’s way too many numbers for a Thursday afternoon! :P

      Sarah D wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  5. I want to think I’ve solved level 2 but it won’t accept the answer. You do have to type in the entire string of the top three rows, right?

    Carl wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  6. I solved puzzle #2 and checked my work, but it won’t accept my answer. I guesss i can’t move on to puzzle #3. Anyone else having a problem with this or is it just me?!

    AP wrote on September 23rd, 2010
    • I believe I’m having the same problem!

      Carl wrote on September 23rd, 2010
    • It definitely works, keep at it!

      Xyalina wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  7. completed the grid but my numbers don’t seem to work for level3…

    expatjim wrote on September 23rd, 2010
    • so that would be a “yes, having the same problem”

      expatjim wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  8. Same problem here on the password for level 3

    Ryan wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  9. ok the password to level 3 isn’t working. I’ve triple checked and I have all the numbers

    Audry wrote on September 23rd, 2010
    • same problem! and I’m dying to see the other puzzles! (I don’t care if I win, but I am a puzzle freak.)

      Ely wrote on September 23rd, 2010
      • got thru finally… stuck on 3 now!! :D

        Ely wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  10. i CANT EVEN GET INTO LEVEL 2….

    T wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  11. same thing is happening to me. there seems to be a glitch on the level 3 password (unless we aren’t supposed to be listing the first 18 digits of the solution…)

    NS wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  12. well I guess I was the latecomer to that problem

    Audry wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  13. Same problem getting to level 3. I have the answer but it’s not letting me through

    Ben wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  14. Also having trouble getting into level 3…

    Claire wrote on September 23rd, 2010
    • started working…after 5th try and complaint. Maybe it’s just easy to mess up when typing a string of 18 numbers.

      Claire wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  15. got into level 3…have your capslock on when typing the number solution in.

    Jordan wrote on September 23rd, 2010
    • Strange – that worked on the numeric keys above the alpha keys, but not on the number pad

      Ryan wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  16. Level 3 PW should be working. Make sure the string of 18 numeric digits are typed in sequentially. Anyone with success?

    Mark Sisson wrote on September 23rd, 2010
    • I GOT IT

      mike wrote on September 23rd, 2010
    • Got to level 3 but I’ll never make it to level 4!!

      Patty wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  17. The answer is definitely 42. I win \o/

    hmrf wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  18. When Level two whips your tale, and wont let you go on….I wonder what level 8 is :)

    Jason Elliott wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  19. level 3 works.. i cant figure out lvl 4:)

    Jstrick wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  20. i’m on level 3…let me know if I can stop the maddness!

    Annie wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  21. working for me… level 4, different story.

    Steven wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  22. Bah, I found out about this 40 minutes after it started….now if only I could beat level 5..

    Jolly wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  23. Anyone with luck on Level 3 yet?

    Mark Sisson wrote on September 23rd, 2010
    • Beat 3, beat 4, working on 5 now. Curse everyone with a head start ;)

      Jolly wrote on September 23rd, 2010
      • I’m working on 5 now also. INSANE.

        Carl wrote on September 23rd, 2010
        • I’m on Level 5 now too.

          Scott wrote on September 24th, 2010
    • Beat lvl 3

      Marcus wrote on September 23rd, 2010
    • beat 3! but unfortunately I have to get back to work.

      Good luck, and may the best Grok win!

      Claire wrote on September 23rd, 2010
    • Luckily my 12 year old got home and is now working away on it. I got to level 11 or something, he’s taken it on to 19.

      Liz Chalmers wrote on September 23rd, 2010
      • How on earth did he get past 19?!

        gilliebean wrote on September 23rd, 2010
        • Nevermind… ;)

          gilliebean wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  24. Aw man, level 2 is like sudoku gone wild!

    Kimberly wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  25. Can’t get past 2 because I can’t see images on my work computer.

    naiadknight wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  26. My work blocks the game in level 3. Booo….

    Caroline wrote on September 23rd, 2010
    • I know! gah! Down with the man.

      Neil wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  27. Anyone beat level 5 yet?

    Mark Sisson wrote on September 23rd, 2010
    • nope. it is tricky without additional info, so far just running into dead ends!

      Jolly wrote on September 23rd, 2010
    • Currently stuck on 5…

      David wrote on September 23rd, 2010
      • I join you there…

        Jaime wrote on September 23rd, 2010
    • I take that back, 5 is done :)

      Jolly wrote on September 23rd, 2010
    • Level 4 is making me cry. I’m dyslexic.

      Luke wrote on September 23rd, 2010
    • … no…

      Jessica wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  28. nope… stuck on 4

    Steven wrote on September 23rd, 2010
    • same here

      Jstrick wrote on September 23rd, 2010
    • Lol, this is keeping me from eating..

      Jstrick wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  29. my brain hurts!

    anzy wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  30. Level 4 is making me want to cry.

    Jaime wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  31. Server won’t come up for me. I guess the site I’d too busy. :(

    Sonia wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  32. Let me point out that this is anyone’s game. The puzzles get pretty difficult from 4 on, any of which could stump and stall a front runner. So even if you visit this post late give it a shot. You may end up the winner.

    Mark Sisson wrote on September 23rd, 2010
    • Five is insane! I get that all the numbers are _____ but I don’t know if that’s relevant to the answer.
      *head on desk*

      I have to go home eventually…it’s 5 already here on the East Coast! :)

      Carl wrote on September 23rd, 2010
      • Oh my god, I want to know what’s in that blank!

        Jaime wrote on September 23rd, 2010
        • Same here, Although the hint on 5 confused me more than just the numbers themselves.

          David wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  33. holy crap, i got 4.

    Jaime wrote on September 23rd, 2010
    • me too, woohoo!

      Richard wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  34. still not seeing 4… feed the baby and maybe it will come to me

    Steven wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  35. how far do we have to go on level 3? Either I missed that level or I’m going to be at the computer all day!!!

    Annie wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  36. Got in finally! I did the puzzle, but couldn’t follow the login directions lol. I tried the first three rows and also the first three vertically like it says. I didn’t notice that the first 3 vertical and horizontal are the same! dooh.

    CBC wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  37. ive figured out what level 5 is, but cant think what the password for it would be, damn! SO CLOSE!

    Richard wrote on September 23rd, 2010
    • Me toooo!

      Carl wrote on September 23rd, 2010
    • This level makes me feel like I can’t breathe. I don’t know how you managed it.

      Jaime wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  38. I’m leaving work in 20 minutes and want to finish this at home, but I didn’t write down the passwords as I went!

    Jaime wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  39. Gah, you people beating 5 are killing me. The clue has me so baffled. I don’t know where to begin.

    Jaime wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  40. Jeez Louise, Mark, how many levels of Bloxorz do you expect us to play? Already up to level 20, and I’m still not seeing the screen shot.

    dragonmamma wrote on September 23rd, 2010
    • I hear ya! I was thinking the same thing! I thought maybe I didn’t recognize that screen!

      Annie wrote on September 23rd, 2010
    • Seriously – could anyone tell me how many levels?

      Melody wrote on September 23rd, 2010
      • For others out there – I think there were 28 levels. :P

        Melody wrote on September 23rd, 2010
        • thanks! I can’t wait to be out of this level!

          elizabeth wrote on September 24th, 2010

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