Friday, May 19, 2006

The Beginning of the End

The 19th is here and you can now begin your final quest of The Da Vinci Code Challenge. Here is a screenshot [copied with permission from Micheal] of the final puzzle and a quote from the official rules. Here is Micheal's site also.


Once a Finalist logs into the Final Puzzle Challenge and clicks "Begin" the Finalist will be timed. Timing will stop when the Finalist correctly and sequentially completes all five puzzles and clicks "Submit."

DO NOT PAUSE, LOG OUT OR RESTART THE FINAL PUZZLE CHALLENGE.

Finalists who attempt to pause, log out or restart the Final Puzzle Challenge will be instantly disqualified and ineligible to continue playing. The Finalist who correctly and successfully solves the Final Puzzle Challenge in the least amount of time (as measured by the official computer determining timing) will be declared the Grand Prize Winner.

My advice is to wait for some of those group #1 people to finish and leave feedback before starting your quest. This is the post to leave comments on the final challenge. Additionaly, you can visit the googlefact forums at http://googlefact.iphorum.com (the first page load is a little slow sometimes but after that it runs well) to discuss the final challenge.

Also, while you're waiting, please help me win a contest rather than just getting the "hope this makes you feel better that you lost" email. You can help me by visiting this link and voting 10 for my dog Rex http://www.1800petmeds.com/petcontest/vote/6006037436590614018. You have to admit he is pretty cute.

I will post more details on the final quest as I receive them. If you have trouble with the forums or you want me to update this post with specific information, shoot me an email at davincicodequest@gmail.com

Good Luck Everyone!

Get all of the MSN Conspiracy Game Answers here

138 Comments:

At 5/19/2006 6:13 AM, Blogger arnott said...

It seems the final challege has already started. anyone playing it now ?

 
At 5/19/2006 6:13 AM, Blogger ruusta said...

Am I correct in assuming "the email" comes at 1pm EST?
I got the cryptex, but no emails one way the other to say if I was a finalist or out,,so I have turned off all spam control and double checked everything..If anyone gets the email linking you to the next step, please post when it came and post the link. Thanks

 
At 5/19/2006 6:52 AM, Blogger Kat said...

This is what I recieved a few days ago. I recieved my cryptex in the mail yesterday, I cant wait to start this next step, I dont even care if I win, I just can't wait to play.

"Your journey does not end here. You have also qualified to compete for the grand prize which includes trips for four to New York, Paris, Rome and London, a colossal Sony® Electronics package and more valued at over $100,000! See official rules.

Beginning on or around 1pm EDT May 19th at www.google.com/davincicode, the final challenge, which is a time trial, will be made available to you for 48 hours. You can begin whenever you like, but prepare well, for once you begin there is no turning back. The player who completes all five tasks in the shortest amount of time will be declared the winner.

As for your previous accomplishments, your skill and perseverance will be rewarded with a limited edition replica cryptex arriving in your mailbox in the coming days"

 
At 5/19/2006 6:56 AM, Blogger Jer said...

Here is a link to my blog on the controversy - IT'S NON-COMMERCIAL - not even any ads.

I just want to get as many people as possible to post their perspective on the controversy. It will be interesting to have a place to read differing viewpoints.

JUST PLEASE BE CIVIL. Try to express your opinion without insulting others.

Thanks for letting me put this here.

My Da Vinci Code blog post

 
At 5/19/2006 7:23 AM, Blogger Michael Schnuerle said...

Here's a screenshot of the final puzzle page: www.purplesquirrel.net/davinci/final-challenge.jpg

 
At 5/19/2006 8:06 AM, Blogger frist said...

I completed it this morning. About an hour is what it took.

I started with the SuDoKu puzzle - a 9x9 grid. That went quickly.
Next was the stupid paint splotches. That took me nearly 30 minutes.
Next was the thing where you hang the paintings.

4th was the chess game. No questions, you have to know how to play.
I brute forced it. 3 moves, 4 options each move. 1-1-1. 1-1-2.
1-1-3. Etc. My answer was 2-2-4. I have no clue what the moves were.

Last was the puzzle. Smaller pieces. 20 or 25, somewhere in there.
When you get it all in place it turnes into a movie trailer. Then you get the final screen.

Do not start the puzzles unless you can finish them in the one sitting.
If you close the browser you are done. If you try to go back in to finish, you get disqualified.

Good luck!

 
At 5/19/2006 8:11 AM, Blogger frist said...

My post above was taken from an email sent to someone I know. The bulk of my time was spent on figuring out the splotches and figuring out how to hang the paintings.

One thing that I noticed this time is that when you hit the 'reset' at the bottom of the screen in the puzzles (sudoku, splotches, hang the paintings) you do NOT get rpesented with a completely new puzzle - as it worked in the 24 qualifying puzzles. The puzzle you get after hitting the reset is always the same.

I hope someone here wins.

 
At 5/19/2006 8:44 AM, Blogger cpuuri said...

So there is no trivia involved?!? There goes the edge I had. I suck at chess.

 
At 5/19/2006 8:50 AM, Blogger cpuuri said...

I just went to the site and it is locking up on the load before the start screen. Anyone else experiencing this?

 
At 5/19/2006 8:54 AM, Blogger Matt said...

how many chess pieces are involved in the chess challenge? Is it just a few pieces, or a pretty full board?

 
At 5/19/2006 8:57 AM, Blogger Take Me As I Come Cause I Cant Stay Long said...

I might actually have a chance. I was the only girl in Chess Club way back when. The options, do they have anything to do with a Fibonacci Sequence?

 
At 5/19/2006 9:09 AM, Blogger greensheep17 said...

I finished... I took me a long time (about a hour and 15). I had issues with the stupid hanging pictures one. blah. The chess answer are what he/she posted (2-2-4 - Thank you!!)

The final puzzle changes scenes, so that was kind of annoying..

good luck to those who haven't started it yet!

 
At 5/19/2006 9:29 AM, Blogger Matthew Rongey said...

Does anyone have any good strategies for the paint splotches? I suck at that one.

 
At 5/19/2006 9:40 AM, Blogger Sarah Duncan said...

Matthew... Yeah, I dunno. The paint splotch thing seemed really random to me every time I played it throughout the challenges.

Also, if anyone gets screencaps, that would be immensely helpful.

 
At 5/19/2006 9:49 AM, Blogger arnott said...

Another mail from sonypictures reagrding the final puzzle

Dear Da Vinci Code Quest on Google Finalist.

Today is the day! The Final Challenge begins shortly. We have heard that some of you had not received the Finalist notification that we sent out on Monday. This may be due to our mail being directed to your spam filter. Therefore we wanted to send another email in the hopes that it reaches those of you who may not have received our last communication. In order to participate in the final challenge visit the link below and start your quest for spectacular prizes.

http://news.sonypictures.com.au/sb40/c3.php?SAL/53055/58420/T/N/www.google.com/davincicode

Keep in mind that this is a journey. You must complete the challenge by 1pm EDT on Sunday 5/21. The winner is not the first to complete the challenge but the one who finishes in the least amount of time will be crowned the champion. Be sure to leave enough time to finish, for once you begin you may not pause or stop the clock.

Good luck and enjoy the final challenge.

We have also heard word that some finalists have not received their cryptexes in the mail yet. The cryptexes were sent out Sat 5/13 and Monday 5/15. They were sent to the addresses provided on the contest registration form, therefore if anything was not provided correctly the cryptex may have been shipped to the wrong location. Be assured that if a cryptex comes back in the mail we will be contacting you to get the correct address.

The Da Vinci Code now in theaters

http://news.sonypictures.com.au/sb40/c3.php?SAL/53055/58421/T/N/www.SoDarkTheConOfMan.com

 
At 5/19/2006 9:53 AM, Blogger greensheep17 said...

Matthew - Here's a strategy that I use: start with the ones that only have one move. Then get the outer ones towards the center.

 
At 5/19/2006 9:54 AM, Blogger Chickadee said...

frist said, "My answer was 2-2-4."

greensheep17 said, "The chess answer are what he/she posted (2-2-4 - Thank you!!)"

Ok, I am a total chess dummy. What do you mean "2-2-4"? Please help!!

Another question for anyone who's already played: Are there any actual questions we need to answer? Like the research questions we got for the first 24 puzzles (ie "According to Vol. XXIII of The Eclectic Review which artist was blah blah blah..."). Based on frist's post, it sounds like everything is all puzzle and no trivia/research. Please confirm! Thank you!! : )

 
At 5/19/2006 10:00 AM, Blogger Terry Hull said...

So I take it there is no use for the cryptex?

 
At 5/19/2006 10:06 AM, Blogger pgpprotector said...

Well I'll be trying it soon.
Sudoku, I'm not too bad on them, even play it on a regular basis (9X9 Grid) so that one will be fun.

Chess I stink at
Pictures are not too hard normally.
The Blotches I hate, so that one will kill my time :P
and the puzzle. shouldnt be too hard

 
At 5/19/2006 10:09 AM, Blogger Matthew Rongey said...

Thanks for the suggestion for the splotches.

Chickadee, I think he means there are three sets of moves and each set has seveal choices. You click the second choice, then the second choise, then the fourth choice.

I got the good luck email. Now I'm just psyching (sp?) myself up before I start the challenge.

 
At 5/19/2006 10:11 AM, Blogger Matthew Rongey said...

The forum isn't working for me.

 
At 5/19/2006 10:19 AM, Blogger frist said...

No use for the cryptex.

I ended up figuring out the paint splotches by moving in the ones that were on the outside far edges first and then hoping to get lucky by randomly working the middle. Still, took forever.

I DO HAVE a screencap of the paintings if anyone wants it. I don't have hosting space, but will email to anyone that wants it or that can host it.

The chessboard was pretty full.

If I had thought about saving a shot of the sudoku board I would have done so. I finished it very quickly, so I didn't even think about it until I got through it to the splotches.

 
At 5/19/2006 10:21 AM, Blogger Eric said...

can u send to thepokerinvestor@yahoo.com

 
At 5/19/2006 10:22 AM, Blogger girlrobot said...

yeah can you send it to me too: kim@girlrobot.net thanks much!

 
At 5/19/2006 10:23 AM, Blogger Matthew Rongey said...

matthewr100@hotmail.com

 
At 5/19/2006 10:24 AM, Blogger G00GLEFACT said...

Please email me any screen shots / solution tips to davincicodequest@gmail.com I will add them to this blog or to the forums.

Also, I apologize for how slow the forums are. I would have hosted them myself but my servers are down due to the move. Hang in there and be patient with the forums and they will eventually load for you

 
At 5/19/2006 10:25 AM, Blogger Missy said...

Yes, can someone explain the chess moves for me too? Do we enter numbers or do we actually move the pieces? Do we just use 224 or do we use the 111, 112, 113 and then 224?

Also, like someone else aksed.....are there any questions? Or is it just straight puzzles?

 
At 5/19/2006 10:26 AM, Blogger Missy said...

Frist,

Can you send me the paint splotches?


melissaann2you(at)aol(dot)com

 
At 5/19/2006 10:29 AM, Blogger Suzanne said...

Frist,
can you send me the screenshot to please to suzannerod@charter.net

Thanks much

 
At 5/19/2006 10:29 AM, Blogger Prince said...

Frist,

Can you send the screenshots to me at prince.mahajan@gmail.com

Thanks,

Prince

 
At 5/19/2006 10:33 AM, Blogger Eric said...

anyone have a screenshot of the map jig saw puzzle

 
At 5/19/2006 10:34 AM, Blogger Eric said...

or a screenshot of the soduku puzzle

 
At 5/19/2006 10:35 AM, Blogger stonefry said...

I would like to get the screen caps too

chambers100@gmail.com

 
At 5/19/2006 10:35 AM, Blogger frist said...

to clarify about the chess game...

there are 3 moves to checkmate, 4 options for each move.

Questions look like

A. What move?
1. Knight to xxx
2. blah blah
3. arg
4. frustrating
(noet: these are not actual answers in the challenge)

You click the number and then another question pops with the next move. My answer was clicking #2, #2, and #4 in order.

I'll ship the screenshot out, if someone can put it up in hosted space for everyone else to see then that would be great.

 
At 5/19/2006 10:36 AM, Blogger Eric said...

send any and all screenshots to thepokerinvestor@yahoo.com and ill put up hosting space for everyone to see.

 
At 5/19/2006 10:36 AM, Blogger Mikestr2 said...

First,

G00GLEFACT said...
Please email me any screen shots / solution tips to davincicodequest@gmail.com I will add them to this blog or to the forums.

10:24 AM

 
At 5/19/2006 10:36 AM, Blogger Kat said...

Screenshots please
kselg02@gmail.com

 
At 5/19/2006 10:38 AM, Blogger dzbb said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 5/19/2006 10:38 AM, Blogger Warstars said...

does anyone have a photobucket account or flickr perhaps? could you please post a link to the screencap instead?.. that way this board could access it w/o having frist check the comments for ppl's emails.

 
At 5/19/2006 10:38 AM, Blogger Mark said...

Are the puzzles exactly the same for every player? Note that I don't mean the same types (i.e. chess, sodoku, etc.) but the same exact arrangements.

 
At 5/19/2006 10:39 AM, Blogger Eric said...

guys, you can upload to www.imageshack.us for free, no sign up. post the links after upload

 
At 5/19/2006 10:40 AM, Blogger arnott said...

Frist,
can you send the screenshots to me at arnott@gmail(.)com

 
At 5/19/2006 10:40 AM, Blogger Warstars said...

also, has anyone confirmed that the chess puzzle is the only one w/ a unique solution? (ie: are there several different puzzles for the paint splotches, paint hangings, etc?)

 
At 5/19/2006 10:40 AM, Blogger pyro@sp said...

I finished it. Pretty sure I'm out though, as it took me roughly an hour and a quarter (bloody splotches!).

 
At 5/19/2006 10:42 AM, Blogger Missy said...

I have a photebucket account.

 
At 5/19/2006 10:44 AM, Blogger Eric said...

Finished Screen:

[URL=http://imageshack.us][IMG]http://img356.imageshack.us/img356/3797/finished0pn.jpg[/IMG

 
At 5/19/2006 10:45 AM, Blogger Eric said...

got cut off.. here

http://img356.imageshack.us/img356/
3797/finished0pn.jpg

 
At 5/19/2006 10:47 AM, Blogger pyro@sp said...

Eric, you don't need to use the forum code here; just type the link itself straight out, or use normal HTML anchor tags.

 
At 5/19/2006 10:48 AM, Blogger Matthew Rongey said...

Are there questions after the trailer or do they just make you watch it for the heck of it?

 
At 5/19/2006 10:51 AM, Blogger pyro@sp said...

Nah, they just make you watch it. Apparently they feel it's "one final reward" or something.

 
At 5/19/2006 10:51 AM, Blogger mrskibone said...

I really need some more info for the splotches cause that will be my downfall. About how many splotches were there - and an estimate of the grid size. Or just a screenshot. Anything! Thanks!

 
At 5/19/2006 10:53 AM, Blogger Matthew Rongey said...

The splotches are definitely my weakest puzzle as well.

 
At 5/19/2006 10:55 AM, Blogger frist said...

I resent the mail with both screenshots this time. If you got my 1st message, you will get the 2nd. If you didn't, then you will see the screenshots up in the blog I am guessing (he already put the finished one up).

There were too many splotches! That is all I remember.

 
At 5/19/2006 10:56 AM, Blogger Missy said...

Eric,

That URL you posted for the paint splotches isn't working for me.


Missy

 
At 5/19/2006 10:57 AM, Blogger Matthew Rongey said...

Here is the screenshot of the paintings:

http://img258.imageshack.us/img258/6894/painting0zu.jpg

 
At 5/19/2006 10:58 AM, Blogger Matthew Rongey said...

Missy, the first link he posted worked, but here it is again.

http://img356.imageshack.us/img356/3797/finished0pn.jpg

 
At 5/19/2006 11:00 AM, Blogger Missy said...

Does anyone have a screenshot of the splotches?


MEGA thanks to Patrick/ Eric? for those wonderful screenshots. YOU ROCK!

 
At 5/19/2006 11:00 AM, Blogger Eric said...

thanks matt

 
At 5/19/2006 11:02 AM, Blogger xavierla said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 5/19/2006 11:03 AM, Blogger Matthew Rongey said...

No problem.

I'm still waiting for a sudoku screenshot. Even if it's just of the starting board.

 
At 5/19/2006 11:03 AM, Blogger Missy said...

I figured out what was wrong...... I use Firefox and apparently thos URL's only work on IE. Luckily I have IE, plus I now have the shots in my email from Patrick.

 
At 5/19/2006 11:03 AM, Blogger Eric said...

paint splotches will be a shot in the dark regardless of a screen shot. Umm.. im going to use a soduki solver for the 1st and NEED a screenshot of the final jig saw puzzle map!

 
At 5/19/2006 11:04 AM, Blogger Eric said...

Starting board for soduku would be great. More importantly, is everybody's starting board the same?!

 
At 5/19/2006 11:05 AM, Blogger steven said...

http://www.imgplace.net

Free image hosting

U: google
P: puzzle

That is just so you do not have to register.

Upload away.

Post the direct links.

 
At 5/19/2006 11:07 AM, Blogger girlrobot said...

does anybody want to work with me? if you get me screenshots of all the puzzles i'll give you the mp3 player if i win. :) kim@girlrobot.net

 
At 5/19/2006 11:11 AM, Blogger frist said...

ok, I am being offered a link to play the game again (same as everyone gets when they start). I know I get dq'd by replaying the puzzles, but I can certainly go in and see if the puzzles are the same and grab shots of everything. I have given enough out that will put people far ahead of me for winning.

So far, the sudoku puzzle is the same one I got earlier. I don't know if it is based on login or if everyones is the same. Stand by and I will get shots of everything.

 
At 5/19/2006 11:12 AM, Blogger pampoen79 said...

Can anyone who already did the final puzzles confirm that everyone gets a different puzzle by looking at the hanging paintings one that googlefact posted and seeing if it was different than the one they had?
Thanxs

 
At 5/19/2006 11:13 AM, Blogger Matthew Rongey said...

Frist, you are my hero!

 
At 5/19/2006 11:14 AM, Blogger Eric said...

awaiting the screenshots first, thanks! thepokerinvestor@yahoo.com to upload

 
At 5/19/2006 11:15 AM, Blogger xavierla said...

If one of you who has already recieved the email, could forward it to xavier.lopez.ayala@gmail.com I'd greatly appreciate it.. Thanks

 
At 5/19/2006 11:16 AM, Blogger Missy said...

I second that....Frist....you are my hero!!!



Missy

 
At 5/19/2006 11:17 AM, Blogger Matthew Rongey said...

All the screenshots that frist has sent so far are now on the main blog page.

 
At 5/19/2006 11:22 AM, Blogger Chickadee said...

For the Restoration puzzles (the "splotches"), I had problems grasping the logic behind it at first. I'm still bad at this game; but I eventually understood that the potential "pairs" can be made when two or more splotches can be moved at 45* angles and conjoin at the half-way point. This was never explained in the rules -- but, am I right on this?

If someone can do a screen shot of the "before" (as opposed to the "completed") for the Restoration, I'd be appreciative.

 
At 5/19/2006 11:27 AM, Blogger Matthew Rongey said...

All I'm waiting for is a sudoku screenshot, then I'm jumping in.

 
At 5/19/2006 11:29 AM, Blogger Eric said...

same, that and the map screenshot

 
At 5/19/2006 11:35 AM, Blogger frist said...

I have sent in the sudoku before and after shots, and the splotches beginning shot. I don't have any more time today to try and work the splotches or I would get the rest of the shots.

As for the final jigsaw puzzle, it is a picture that changes (yes, the pieces also change as you are putting it together) of parts of the final trailer. When you complete it (not really hard at all - took me 2 minutes maybe) it turns into the trailer right in the same window.

Good luck to you all!

 
At 5/19/2006 11:36 AM, Blogger pyro@sp said...

Just so you know, Eric, what you keep calling a 'map screenshot' isn't like past jigsaws; it's different photos from the movie, and changes every few seconds as you're working (and mine, anyway, wasn't a map ;p).

 
At 5/19/2006 11:36 AM, Blogger Eric said...

thanks frist!! Posted on the main blog site?

 
At 5/19/2006 11:37 AM, Blogger Missy said...

I just saw on another blog that an "anonymous" person finished in 21 minutes flat. Do y'all buy that? I'm not.


LOL


Missy

 
At 5/19/2006 11:38 AM, Blogger Eric said...

now just waiting for googlefact to post the screenshots on the page

 
At 5/19/2006 11:39 AM, Blogger Sarah Duncan said...

Why do I get the feeling that the puzzles are going to change in a few hours? I'll bet as soon as we crack them all, Google switches them, not unlike the final stage 1 challenge.

 
At 5/19/2006 11:40 AM, Blogger Eric said...

frist, could u send them to me so I can dive right in? thepokerinvestor@yahoo.com.. he hasnt posted them yet

 
At 5/19/2006 11:49 AM, Blogger Matthew Rongey said...

I'm going in. Wish me luck.

 
At 5/19/2006 11:50 AM, Blogger xavierla said...

g'luck matt.. let us know how you do!

 
At 5/19/2006 11:50 AM, Blogger Eric said...

i'm goin in too!

 
At 5/19/2006 11:54 AM, Blogger steven said...

Screenshots so far

http://www.imgplace.net/members/browse/126

 
At 5/19/2006 12:03 PM, Blogger tait2001 said...

hi,

Could people send me screen shots as well?
tait2001@hotmail.com

 
At 5/19/2006 12:04 PM, Blogger Matthew Rongey said...

I could use some help with the splotches.

 
At 5/19/2006 12:08 PM, Blogger Eric said...

WOW , just finished in 11 min

 
At 5/19/2006 12:09 PM, Blogger Eric said...

i got a very weird thing over my puzzle, giving me notice it i finished before finishing the puzzle.. kinda weird

 
At 5/19/2006 12:10 PM, Blogger G00GLEFACT said...

Wow that sounds fast. Did any of the tips/screen captures help?

 
At 5/19/2006 12:10 PM, Blogger Eric said...

yes, i got the spoltches on the second time! everything was super smooth

 
At 5/19/2006 12:12 PM, Blogger Jay said...

All done, did it in under 30 minutes, probably didn't win.

My chess solutionw as 2-2-4 also, so I'd go with that

 
At 5/19/2006 12:13 PM, Blogger Eric said...

this is what i was talking about.. i had to put the puzzle together through all of the overlayed text.. kinda odd, but i fniished the puzzle anyway.

http://img110.imageshack.us/img110/4931/weird9vi.jpg

 
At 5/19/2006 12:13 PM, Blogger Suzanne said...

Good job Eric, I'm sure that we'll find that over the next two days the times will get shorter and shorter..
It took me about 30 minutes so I'm sure I'm out of the running.

Good luck to all who have not gone in and done the final challenge yet!!

Thanks for the screenshots Frist, et al.

 
At 5/19/2006 12:15 PM, Blogger Eric said...

i think the only real doozy is the splotches, no way to really cruise control over that.

 
At 5/19/2006 12:19 PM, Blogger Rob said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 5/19/2006 12:20 PM, Blogger Rob said...

Was the sudoku the same?

 
At 5/19/2006 12:21 PM, Blogger Monkeyfarmer said...

did your blotches puzzle's starting condition match the one we've seen in the screenshots so far, or is it random?

 
At 5/19/2006 12:21 PM, Blogger dzbb said...

Thanks to all the help, I finished in a little over 9 minutes!

 
At 5/19/2006 12:22 PM, Blogger G00GLEFACT said...

For the suduku puzzle use a suduku solver (see the forum http://googlefact.iphorum.com for a link)

 
At 5/19/2006 12:26 PM, Blogger Matthew Rongey said...

I finished in 32:47. I spent about 20 minutes on the freakin' splotches. Oh, well. It was fun, and I got a cryptex. I actually feel kind of sorry for the guy who has to pay 40 grand in taxes when he wins.

 
At 5/19/2006 12:26 PM, Blogger Eric said...

the splotches were random when i started over the 1st time.

 
At 5/19/2006 12:26 PM, Blogger shawndgoldman said...

My splotches matched the one posted here. I suggest pringing it out and doing it ahead of time.

 
At 5/19/2006 12:26 PM, Blogger Sandro said...

Man.. I should have waited for a sudoku screenshot. The blotches took me 10 minutes, about 5 tries. Sudoku took me 11 minutes on the first try. The puzzle at the end almost gave me a seizure and took me about 6 minutes. The chess and the paintings were the same so I just went with what was here. Total time, 28 minutes 45 seconds. I timed myself.

This sucks! I was actually trying to win... As everyone else, I guess though.

 
At 5/19/2006 12:27 PM, Blogger Eric said...

unless sony or google, etc pay the taxes ;) haha.. or just sell the electronics on ebay to compensate

 
At 5/19/2006 12:30 PM, Blogger Eric said...

haha, i almost had a seizure too.. wow..

did anybody else get this?

http://img110.imageshack.us/img110/4931/weird9vi.jpg

makes me think i actually finished when i started the jigsaw puzzle...?? which would make my finish at 5 min 45 -- approx, if that was right.. so weird

 
At 5/19/2006 12:33 PM, Blogger Matt said...

I guess we can only hope that everyone who finishes faster than us gets disqualified for some reason.

I got done in about 30 minutes or something.

 
At 5/19/2006 12:36 PM, Blogger Sandro said...

Personally, I don't know what I would have done if I won though. I mean, the taxes on the prizes are going to be through the roof. You can go to all these places (on a budget, but still worthwhile) for the amount that you will end up paying in taxes.. That, is not really a prize, if you ask me.

 
At 5/19/2006 12:47 PM, Blogger Suzanne said...

I agree with sandro,
the prizes are nice but the taxes on them will really suck and while I would LOVE to win the trip to go to places in Europe I could probably put together a vacation package seeing the same places for a lot less than the taxes are going to be for winning.

 
At 5/19/2006 12:53 PM, Blogger kerri13 said...

just finished in about 19 minutes, the **mn splotches killed me, had to try it several times. My sudoku, curator, and chess were all the same, thanks googlefact and the those who took the screen shots. Also, about had a seizure from the last puzzle, but it was cool how it kept changing. This game is going to come down to who can do the splotches and puzzle the fastest.

 
At 5/19/2006 12:55 PM, Blogger kerri13 said...

eric - sounds like you might have had a error happen while you were playing your game. Hope not, because you had a great finish time.

 
At 5/19/2006 12:56 PM, Blogger kerri13 said...

noticed that you can go back and play again, do you think you can play for a better time or just for fun? Anyone want more screen shots? I can go back and play to get what you want.

 
At 5/19/2006 12:59 PM, Blogger steven said...

Screens

http://www.imgplace.net/codefinal

 
At 5/19/2006 1:10 PM, Blogger Chickadee said...

(If... IF I won...) I was thinking ebay too, BUT then if you look at the prizes and ARV... Ok, so total ARV is $128,170.54, meaning the "winner" (and yes, I put "winner" in quotes) is required to pay approx. $44,000 to the gov't. Let's say you take the trip/travel/accommodations for yourself and ebay everything else. The HDTV is valued at $3K, the laptop is $2.6K, the camera is $500, the sound system is $800, the car nav. is $600, the photo printer is $150, the walkman is $640, and the books are about $500. If you post these on ebay, it'd be smart to mark them below the ARV to get any bites. But let's assume that you can actually sell everything and get the ARV, meaning you'd only be making about $8,790 back -- which means you'd still have $35,210 left to pay. The bulk of the taxes are coming from the air tickets (ARV $97K). If you ebay just the plane tix, what good are the hotel and ground transportation if you can't even get to Paris, NY, Rome, London? And, erm, what about food and spending cash? I suppose the "winner" can ebay the plane tix and use that $ to buy Economy or 2nd class. BUT I heard that all the trip tix are non-transferrable. Is that true?

What happens if the winner can't pay off the taxes? Bankruptsy? Jail? Doesn't sound like a prize to me. I wish Google/Sony had split up the prizes. Like 1st place gets the trip/accommodations, 2nd place gets the HDTV, etc. I, like most people, can handle a few $$, but not thousands.

 
At 5/19/2006 1:15 PM, Blogger Mikestr2 said...

kerri13 you can go in and replay.. but the rules say if you do your disqualified

 
At 5/19/2006 1:24 PM, Blogger Sandro said...

chickadee.. this is the problem with many sweepstakes. The taxes end up being a burden. There was a puzzle from CNBC for a 2006 Maserati (arv. $100,000), but they actually paid the taxes for you. Personally, I would rather get coach class tickets and pay less or no taxes than 1st class tickets and pay a bunch of taxes. For the amount that those tickets cost, they should have given away coach tickets for 10 of your friends and that would have been even better yet.

 
At 5/19/2006 1:28 PM, Blogger legaleagll said...

For what it is worth, you can refuse all or any portion of the prize and avoid the taxes. I think the majority of the people playing would have to refuse all or some of the portions of the prize relating to the trips. I don't know too many people who can afford to pay the $40k in taxes.

I read all of the prize rules and the tickets (according to the rules) are non-refundable, non-transferable, non-exchangable. It also states that the same 4 people have to go on all the trips. You also have a limited time to actually take the trips or you lose them. One portion of the prize only has like a three month window (July - Sept if I remember right).

So, as long as you refuse the prize you won't go bankrupt or go into debt. You can also argue with the IRS about the ARV being above the true Fair Market Value based on the actual market conditions at the time. If you claim a significantly lower FMV than the ARV reported though, you can almost be assured an audit by the IRS.

 
At 5/19/2006 1:29 PM, Blogger Mikestr2 said...

anyone ever seen the movie Shawshank Redemption... Tim robbins character gave the guard some advice.. Dont know if its true

The advice was something like. give your wife the money as a gift, and its tax free..

wonder if you could 'give' your prizes to someone and have it be tax free

 
At 5/19/2006 1:44 PM, Blogger Ickabod said...

My wife doesn't work, so I will try and give it to her.

 
At 5/19/2006 2:01 PM, Blogger Chickadee said...

eric said, "Yes, i got the spoltches on the second time! everything was super smooth."

How did you do that on your second try?!? What was your strategy, if you don't mind sharing?

kerri13 said, "eric - sounds like you might have had a error happen while you were playing your game."

You mean the part about the text juxtaposing the puzzle pieces? I take it no one else had the same "look" to their puzzle? Maybe his puzzle loaded funny?

 
At 5/19/2006 2:06 PM, Blogger legaleagll said...

Giving a prize you got to someone else will not eliminate the tax to you. The taxing event is the acceptance of the prize by you. Although there are some exceptions, if you give the prize to someone else after your receive it not only do you pay the tax, but they would also have to pay gift taxes on what you gave them.

 
At 5/19/2006 2:11 PM, Blogger Eric said...

no strategy, sorry, just dumb luck and a little common sense by trying to group the splotches. Just turned out in my favor I suppose

 
At 5/19/2006 2:12 PM, Blogger Hunter said...

20 minutes, 58 seconds.

All puzzles were like those in the screenshots (chess answers were 2-2-4 as well)

 
At 5/19/2006 2:58 PM, Blogger Missy said...

Well, y'all did a heck of alot better then me. Give yourself some credit. That splotch thing was harder then anything. I know my time is alot longer then all of yours and just by what I have been reading around the web, Eric's 11 minutes is the lowest I have seen. This morning I was seeing alot of: 1hr 15 min, 1 hr 30 min, 1hr 45 min. So 15 minutes, 19 minutes, and even 20 minutes is VERY good....it is awesome!!

I bid you all a goodnight as I am off to see "Da Vinci Code" with my roommate!

Good luck to those of you who have yet to finish your journey.

 
At 5/19/2006 3:57 PM, Blogger creeativeforce said...

Just finished in 11.5 minutes. GoogleFact - a huge thank you for your blog! When I voted for Rex earlier his average rating was 8.9, way above most other dogs averages of 2.8 - 3.2. Looks like we've got a winner!

If it's any help to anyone... With the restoration puzzle, do try to get those outer splotches in towards the middle. I had to do it twice because I had 2 left that were too far out from each other. For the jigsaw, I thought the changing scenery was actually pretty cool. I also found it helpful because unlike some of those geography maps we had, where some of the inner pieces looked the same, here you had different shots at placing pieces. After completing the border, I vaguely divided the puzzle board into 4 quadrants and then quickly shuffled the matching pieces off when I caught parts of Silas' face on the upper left, Langdon's on the upper right, etc.

Here's something kinda neat at Frapper.com. Some of the finalists are posting their zip codes to map players' locations. It's over at http://www.frappr.com/cryptex.

To those who haven't taken the final challenge yet, good luck!!

 
At 5/19/2006 4:11 PM, Blogger arnott said...

wow , that took a long time for me.

I will win if they change the rules and say the contestant who took the longest time wins, and also change rule about logging out. :)

It was fun !

 
At 5/19/2006 4:14 PM, Blogger stonefry said...

I have a solution for the splotch puzzle that I made. It is a jpg. I expect to be compensated if the user of this image wins!!!! Who hasn't done the final exam and wants it? send an email to chambers100@gmail.com. I will send it to at least 15 people

 
At 5/19/2006 4:15 PM, Blogger stonefry said...

Also, I got the movie showing on the pieces as I was trying to put it together as well, I got just over 9 minutes, but the jigsaw look me about 5 probably. I think it bay be a firefox thing.

 
At 5/19/2006 4:30 PM, Blogger Synch said...

Mike, it is true that you can give a gift to your wife, kids, whatever and it's tax-free ... BUT!

First you have to take possession of the prize, and pay taxes on it.

THEN, you can give it to your wife or child. Now, as to whether or not that creates a taxable event for the giftee, it depends ...

If it is real property, and a primary residence, it is generally not taxable until he/she sells it. But when that happens, it is taxable for the entire value of the property. Same with stocks, bonds, whatever.

If it is a tangible heirloom, such as your grandmother's wedding ring, it is generally not taxable so long as the giftee treats it as a valuable family heirloom, i.e. hands it down to succeeding generations.

If it is cash, it is fully taxable at gift tax rate, and there are limits to exactly how much cash can be treated as a 'gift'.

In a sweepstakes such as this, you will have to first accept the prize and pay your own taxes on it, and then because the prizes have a limited life - these are not heirlooms or real estate or investments - the recipient will put them to immediate personal use or they will become worthless soon enough, then the recipient will have to treat the gift as personal income, and will also pay taxes on the $128,000 value.

So, no, gifting the grand prize will not only not be tax-free, it would be double taxed.

Sorry.

 
At 5/19/2006 4:58 PM, Blogger Chickadee said...

stonefry -- Why don't you email it to G00GLEFACT davincicodequest@gmail.com ?

 
At 5/20/2006 7:41 AM, Blogger Dave said...

Yes! Two minutes! Got them all first time thanks to the info here!!! Who cares if it's "cheating," I'm winning this for sure!!

Just kidding. 13 minutes.

 
At 5/20/2006 10:04 AM, Blogger BXCellent said...

It seems that there is a major flaw in the technology used for the final challenge.

You can access the puzzle without logging into Google.

Anyone can go to http://www.google.com/ig/davinci/puzzle.html?puzzle=100 and play the puzzle. You don't need to have logged in.

Judging by comments on my blog, people are doing just that.

I'm hoping google are tracking IP Address as a way of spotting such behaviour, but there's still a scenario in which this won't work.

If you have a mouse / key logging / replay program, you can go to Starbucks with your laptop, use wifi there (one IP address), go to the URL (without logging in), play the game while recording keystrokes, then go home, log into google, replay the keystrokes.

There's no way Google can spot this, apart from an absurdly fast time. However, if the time is close, but slightly faster than the guessed minimum, its not traceable.

I think they'll find the results are impossible to parse, and they cannot disqualify those that cheated. In that case they may have to think about rerunning the final round with more security.

 
At 5/20/2006 11:24 AM, Blogger Michael Schnuerle said...

BXCellent, I don't think this would work because you have to login with your winning google.com/ig email and password in order to access that page.

Of course if you had 2 winning accounts, you could log with one and play with the other, but Google's rules explicitly say it is illegal to have 2 entries into the contest. Maybe there is no way of tracking this though if you use the Starbucks method...

 
At 5/20/2006 12:08 PM, Blogger BXCellent said...

I can get to the page directly without logging into Google.

Not the www.google.com/davincicode link, but the one it takes you to:

http://www.google.com/ig/davinci/puzzle.html?puzzle=100

I haven't tried the "Play the Game" button, cos I don't want to invalidate my entry. Does it work or not work without logging in.

 
At 5/20/2006 1:27 PM, Blogger Michael Schnuerle said...

I created a new dummy account on google and went to the page, which loaded fine. However, when you try to play it, it says you have not logged in (which really means you are not one of the 10,000 finalists).

 
At 5/20/2006 7:46 PM, Blogger farfen said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 5/21/2006 6:49 AM, Blogger Michael Schnuerle said...

I'v got a few more pictures to post that may help some people out. The purplesquirrel ones are mine, and the others are ones I found on other sites. The animated splotches one might be of interest to people.

1. 9x9 Sudoku grid
Sudoku Solved

2. Paint Splotches
Purple Squirrel - Splotches Solved
Purple Squirrel - Splotches Animated

3. Hang Paintings - note 2 of the same pictures have different hooks.
Paintings

4. Chess - no questions, just play chess (Move answers: 2-2-4)
Chess

5. Puzzle – 36 smaller pieces
All Puzzle Images

I did it in about 9 minutes. The first 4 puzzles were exactly as expected, and I finished them in about 3-4 minutes, just clicking and moving as fast as I could. The last one, the puzzle, was quite a pain and took 5-6 minutes on its own.

Some people have been saying they have used a keystroke/mouse click logging program on one account to record the actions, then played it back on a second winning account. I think this would work for the first 4 puzzles, but the last one seems to place the pieces randomly, so you'd still have to do that by hand and it could mess up your time.

I didn't win, but it has been a blast and I thank all of the posters here for helping each other out, an for the founder of GoogleFact for giving us a place to put our comments.

Everyone vote for the little doggy!

Michael - Metro Mapper Maps Mashup

 

Post a Comment

<< Home