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

Update 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. Level 6 does not seem to have a place to enter the answer?

    Jolly wrote on September 23rd, 2010
    • Never mind, solved it.

      Jolly wrote on September 23rd, 2010
      • Nicely done, Jolly. Anyone else through 6 yet? I’d guess Jolly is the only one.

        Mark Sisson wrote on September 23rd, 2010
        • I would be there right now if I didn’t have to work! >:(

          Chris wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  2. this contest would probably have been better on the weekend…

    Ely wrote on September 23rd, 2010
    • Yeah, I’m having a hard time participating at work. I can only hope the puzzles get so difficult that it will take a couple days to complete.

      Chris wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  3. Well, I was cruising thru them pretty well until the baby woke up and started screaming at me…. Now I’ve got to dance with him in the sling instead of play, bummer :( Oh well, babies are more important right? :)

    Marie S. wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  4. I gotta shower…have a massage in a little over an hour :)

    Annie wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  5. how many stages is level three?????

    Greg wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  6. Ugh, I’ve gotta leave work now. I think Level 5 took a few years off my life. Back to breathing now…

    Jaime wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  7. I think Level 2 has multiple valid solutions, which makes getting the password difficult.

    John wrote on September 23rd, 2010
    • There is only one solution.

      Chris wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  8. I was doing good… now stalled :(

    Fatkid wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  9. first four were not too bad, five is stumping me!

    Wellness Mama wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  10. ..lvl 5, ive tried every possible thing… what the heeeck is it?! *pulls hair ouT*

    Richard wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  11. How many levels do i have to get through on level 3??!?! I’ve finished 21 levels. Did I miss it back there somewhere. I’ve written down all the intermediate steps…

    Melody wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  12. Level 5 is way to vague, I know the source of the numbers but nothing to point to a specific password…

    Greg wrote on September 23rd, 2010
    • I just found the source myself, but I’m not sure how that makes the password.

      David wrote on September 23rd, 2010
      • nvm, figured it out.

        David wrote on September 23rd, 2010
    • annnnnnd what is that source?

      Jessica wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  13. um… is it just me or is Level 2 off? 2nd row horizontal and 2nd row vertical end in different numbers.

    StephieLiz wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  14. Just started and can’t get the second (Sudoku Puzzle)Password to work. I’m certain the numbers I’ve used are correct on the puzzle, and I’m filling them in starting on Row One (Left to Right), Row Two (Left to right), Row Three (Left to Right), and it isn’t accepting the code.

    Am I missing something in the directions of top three rows left to right and top to bottom?

    Dozer wrote on September 23rd, 2010
    • That should do it, Dozer. Make sure the puzzle is solved correctly.

      Mark Sisson wrote on September 23rd, 2010
      • There must be multiple solutions to this problem because I’ve checked the solution and it is correct. However, it is not opening the next level.

        My solution goes:

        123465
        231546
        516234
        465123
        642351
        354612

        This isn’t opening the password

        Dozer wrote on September 23rd, 2010
        • Read the instructions more carefully, it’s not just the rows and columns which must be unique. Hope this doesn’t disqualify me.

          Chris wrote on September 23rd, 2010
        • String!!! I couldn’t see the lines on my IPhone.

          Dozer wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  15. Got level 5!

    Greg wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  16. I give up yo

    Richard wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  17. They get “pretty difficult” from 4 on?? I’ve been stuck on 4 for an HOUR now. If they get harder, I’ll be up all night doing this. Can’t. Give. Up.

    charlotte wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  18. Mark, I know the answer to level 6 but there is no link to continue on to level 7 where I can enter the answer for 6. What gives?

    Greg wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  19. I’ve been bashing my head against 7 for the last hour…

    Jolly wrote on September 23rd, 2010
    • GOOD! you can take a break for a while :) Give those of us at work behind firewalls a chance :(

      Neil wrote on September 23rd, 2010
    • *we *our *heads =p

      Lisa wrote on September 23rd, 2010
    • Yea, I hope it takes you all day because there is no way I can get away with doing level 3 while I’m at work.

      Chris wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  20. I am not seeing level 4.

    Michelle wrote on September 23rd, 2010
    • Me either… *facepalmsigh*

      Fatkid wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  21. Level isn’t making sense to me yet. I keep wanting to get mathematical with it.

    Keath Cole wrote on September 23rd, 2010
    • Level FIVE, that is

      Keath Cole wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  22. I’m unable to pass to Level 4 because the Bloxor game isn’t allowing me to use the Spacebar. I call shenanigans.

    VelocityRD wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  23. 6 is killing me, know the answer, even found the entry to 8… but not to 7… ahhh!

    Greg wrote on September 23rd, 2010
    • same!

      Ted wrote on September 23rd, 2010
    • also found the entry to 8 haha, but can’t do anything with it without a puzzle to solve!

      Andrew wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  24. so level four has officially made me feel like a frustrated Neanderthal… 0.0

    Fatkid wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  25. I think we should be able to give hints! Humans are smart because we’re able to work as a community to share intelligence :P

    Claire wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  26. I’m stuck on level 4 – flash does not run on my computer.

    Henry Miller wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  27. How does one get past level 7. I am dying here.

    Glenn McElfresh wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  28. LVL 5 is making me crazy

    Michelle wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  29. Any hints on 7?

    Jeff wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  30. Mark, throw me a bone here! I mean that figuratively of course… I’m still sitting on the level 6 question looking for an exit… had a lot of good thoughts but nothing panned out.

    Greg wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  31. Hints for level 4?

    Steven wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  32. I (finally) got through the first 4, but I think I may have to quit at 5.
    Is there any way we can all get the questions and answers later?

    Melody wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  33. Does anyone have the question for level 6?… Are we supposed to be on the “Answer” page?

    All I see is “Protected: Level 6″ and a textbox… help?

    Jessica wrote on September 23rd, 2010
    • Nevermind, messed up re-loading a page… my bad!

      Jessica wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  34. Level 5 has me totally stumped.

    gilliebean wrote on September 23rd, 2010
    • same here

      Michelle wrote on September 23rd, 2010
      • ditto

        Andrew wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  35. FYI – Level 7 has proven very difficult. I’ve added a minor hint.

    Mark Sisson wrote on September 23rd, 2010
    • Aaaw. You should have waited until more people got there!

      Neil wrote on September 23rd, 2010
      • Don’t worry – it didn’t help!

        Jeff wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  36. This is officially not fun anymore.

    Greg wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  37. Are the last 2 words of 4 “with never”

    I can’t make anything intelligible with the first word.

    Steven wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  38. “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”

    A body of water! Water “runs” (e.g. rivers), has waterfalls (mouth), foam (head, like you see on beaches), and a bottom (a bed, like the ocean floor).

    Benpercent wrote on September 23rd, 2010
    • Blast. I apologize. I thought this was a contest in which one was supposed to immediately comment on the post after having identified the answer to the first riddle.

      Sheesh, and I’m usually meticulous in reading the entire post before posting.

      Benpercent wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  39. This sucks.

    Michelle wrote on September 23rd, 2010
    • I need help with 5!!!

      Michelle wrote on September 23rd, 2010
      • 5 is horrible! Steam rising from my head…

        Vicky wrote on September 23rd, 2010
        • yea… I have NO idea… I cannot figure out these damn numbers…

          Jessica wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  40. 7 is impossible…

    Brandon wrote on September 23rd, 2010

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