Sunday, November 20, 2011

Oh You Crazy Google(A Puzzle)

A couple of years ago my sister asked me what phone to get next. She was locked in to Verizon, and had been using Windows Mobile. Microsoft had mostly given up at that point, so I suggested she get the new Droid everyone was talking about. I sat down to help her set up her email and things, and was so taken by the phone that later that day I went and bought one myself.

Two years have passed, and while I find myself rather anxious for the upcoming "Galaxy Nexus", my sister is in dire need of a new phone. Her Droid recently gave out on her. So, when Google's twitter announced they were giving away 10 through a contest, I decided to jump in and try to win her a new phone.

Many of the competitions were out of my realm of expertise, but when contest 8, a puzzle showed up, I jumped on it and spent more of a Saturday than I'm willing to admit completing it. I wasn't the first one to finish, but I'm happy to say that I did finish it all on my own.

The original puzzle is laid out here:
http://t.co/Epv3OcwV

The instructions were:
Submit Challenge 8 response as: "#ICS & @googlenexus let you [answer]"

And a hint was later given:
Lots of responses so far to Challenge 8! Hint: Apply message from path to the Androids. Use 6 independent passes through the grid

Hit the comments button for the solution



I started off by following the arrows and going round and round in circles, so I knew I was doing something wrong. Eventually I realized that you had to follow the arrow of the droid you were leaving, maintain a straight line, and end up at the next. Since we can only turn when we land on the "x+1" droid, finding the path from #1 to #3 was rather simple. It has to be this:


Through a decent amount of logic and trial and error, I found the final numbers to be the following:


If you follow the path from number to number, crossing off the letters you pass, you get:


Reading the letters gives you:
NOWUSEBRAILHE

I originally assumed this was an anagram which I unscrambled to get:
Browse in Lehuna
Use Whole Brain

That was when the second clue came in from google:
Hint: Apply message from path to the Androids. Use 6 independent passes through the grid

I believe at this point that google made a mistake and the last H should have been an L, making it read:

Now Use Braille.

It still took a lot of different guesses, but what finally made it click for me was, "6 Independent Passes" combined with the 6 androids at the bottom that had been sitting there the whole time:


Each of these androids represents one "pass". A normal braille letter is 2x3 squares, and if you divide the board in to a grid like this, you get 6 spots for braille letters:


From here you take 6 "passes" and cross off any android that is similar to the android from the key on the bottom. For example, using Android Key #1:


We now cross off anyone with a hat, pipe, vest thingie, bird, watch, or alcoholic beverage, giving us:


If you already know braille then you're set. Otherwise, look at a key and turn each box in to a letter to get:
Unlock

For Android Key #2:


We now start over and cross off any android with hair:



If we take that and consult a braille key, we get:
Your Ga

After continuing this pattern through all six "Keys" you get the phrase:
Unlock Your Galaxy Nexus Phone With a Smile

This is a reference to the new Android feature that allows you to unlock the phone with the camera and a picture of your face.

I was pretty late to the answer so I won't be winning any phones, but I had a fun time playing. I enjoy a good puzzle.

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