Just how does one answer “who?”

Posted in Uncategorized on June 3, 2008 by Steve Lang

Last fall when I was thinking of a way to generate a puzzle that could conceivably be of interest to anyone in the world and be solvable by anyone with no particular cultural bias (mostly), each attempt was blocked by the unreasonable result that if someone solved only part of the puzzle, they could guess the answer.

Needless to say, I found that unreasonableness, well, unreasonable. So I kept pounding at it until I arrived at a method that I think works as a way that you (as the solver) need to solve it, and guessing just won’t work.

How does one identify a who? Police the world over work with motive, means and placing the perp at the scene of the crime. Journalists strive to answer the 5Ws: who, what, where, when and why. In my case, I don’t care as to why, but you should care as to what, where and when.

For example, if I was to ask you to identify a specific pilot – with no other information available – you would not likely do it. However, if I was to give you the following three clues, you could easily get a name:

[Who] piloted an airplane for takeoff (what) from DEN (where) at 0731 on March 31, 2002 (when).

But if I leave off any one of the last three W’s, the problem becomes nearly impossible – if I didn’t include when, that would leave all dates and times, if I didn’t include where, that would include all airports, and if I didn’t include what, well, just how many people go through DEN on a particular day, anyway?

But by including all the Ws, you have the means to definitively place an individual at a specific location, performing a specific task, at a specific time – uniquely locating that one person out of the billions who have lived or are still living. Pretty awesome, eh?

So figure out the 3Ws, and you will identify who it is. There’s your clue.


Update May 19

Posted in Uncategorized on May 19, 2008 by Steve Lang

Hi All,

No correct answers yet, so the money is still out there and is still growing (albeit more slowly). Now the winner who solves the puzzle gets $126 for their $10 entry and efforts. Better yet, the money for the scholarship is up over $580!


So far so fun…

Posted in Uncategorized on May 3, 2008 by Steve Lang

Had a number of guesses coming across the transom, and judging by them, the guessees are not on the right track -YET!

The puzzle can be solved using logic and close examination of all the elements on the page. Keep the faith, spread the word and solve the puzzle!


Update: May 1, 2008

Posted in Uncategorized on May 1, 2008 by Steve Lang

The entries keep coming in. The pots are growing: over $100 for the person who solves it first, and, better yet, the scholarship fund is over $500! woo!

Keep the word a-spreading and the pot a-growing before someone solves it!


Update 1

Posted in Uncategorized on April 30, 2008 by Steve Lang

We are up to $74 in the pot for the solver of the puzzle… who’s it going to be? Haven’t had any feedback on people solving anything, but have had a few guesses that are incorrect (and no, it’s still not Jimmy Carter). 🙂

If there is little movement over the next few weeks, I will publish hints… though I hope I don’t have to…

Spread the word!

ScholarPuzzle 2008

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on March 26, 2008 by Steve Lang

I have created a new puzzle contest to benefit education in Nevada – this time with the intent to create at least one scholarship for a deserving Nevada high school graduate.After the success of the first treasure hunt in 2006 benefiting the Gifted And Talented Education (GATE) program for the Carson City School District(very much fun, in that it had entrants traveling all around Carson City solving the puzzles and hopefully learning a bit about the local history) I wanted to create another fund-raising puzzle-based event, with a slightly different twist. This time, I wanted the solving process to be such that the people working to solve the puzzle can do so entirely at home – a complete armchair event.

This event is also designed to benefit education: to enable – or better enable – a high school graduate’s ability to continue his or her education. The proceeds from the event will be used to fund a scholarship (or more than one, depending on the amount raised) for a Nevada resident to help defray the costs of a college education.

The puzzle is a single page document, from which the solver is to derive the answer to the question: “Who?” The entry fee to participate in the contest is $10, with the proceeds split between the person solving the puzzle getting 40% and the eventual recipient of the scholarship 60%. Here is a small image of the puzzle:
ScholarPuzzle 2008

Yeah, it’s small all right!

The full-size puzzle is available for download as a PDF from another site. You get the link when I get the entry fee! 🙂

To enter the contest, send me $10 either by using PayPal to send the money to slang4201@gmail.com, or by mailing a check to:

Puzzle Entry
4201 Meadow Wood Rd
Carson City, NV, 89703

After April 28, puzzles can continue to be obtained as described above, and can also be obtained at Greenhouse Garden Center in Carson City.

Everyone is encouraged to donate additional money for the scholarship fund. Any money received above to the $10 base entry fee is added to the scholarship fund entirely.

Several people have contributed extra funds to the scholarship fund already. To those, I give a heartfelt thanks.