Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Final Strategy Advice

A lot of you have been asking what I am going to do for the finalists. I am more than happy to try and help someone win the Grand Prize, so let me know what you need me to do.

To make this managable, if you have information that is helpful and you would like it contained in a blog post, please email me the information directly to davincicodequest@gmail.com with a subject line finalinfo.

What would I do if I were in your shoes. Well first I would tell you that I can generalize the finalists into 3 categories, and they are:

1. Those who could care less if they win the grand prize.

2. Those who don't really care if they win the grand prize, but will try hard now that they have been given the opportunity.

3. Those who will do anything to win the grand prize.

Now, if someone from the blog wants to win I suggest the following. Order the finalists in each group ( IE. group 1. (1, 2, 3..., n) followed by group 2. (n+1, n+2, n+3, ..., m), followed by group 3. (m, m+1, m+2, m+3, ..., l). Each of you should play the puzzle one at a time according to your numbering and then report back your findings to the blog.

The first group, since they don't mind to sacarifice in order to benefit the whole, should take their time and take down as much detail (in the form of questions asked and screenshots) as possible.

The second group should work from the knowlege gained from the first group and play the puzzles as quick as possible, but if new information can be gathered that would be beneficial to the whole, the second group will stop and take the time to collect that data rather than just pushing through to try and finish quickly.

The final group of finalists should take the time to read through all of the material and information provided by the first two groups and then play the challenges as quickly as possible. It might also be beneficial the third group of finalists to start a chat room on an IRC server (or msn conference or something of that nature) and then schedule a time to meet. But how beneficial that would be depends on if the answers require research.

Here is how I see it. If the answers are such that there is an answer that can be provided from memory, everyone has lost to that one person, that Ken Jennings out there. If it is one that can be deduced by formula or must be acquired through research, then you might find it helpful to have more than one person working on the problem with you. If it is a simple chess game, you will probably lose to a Grand Master.

Good Luck Everyone! Let me know how I can help. Don't forget about the Eurostar quest, see http://eurostarquest.blogspot.com for more details.

Get all of the MSN Conspiracy Game Answers here

78 Comments:

At 5/16/2006 10:32 AM, Blogger G00GLEFACT said...

I just found out I finished 10,001. H-Sizzle, gimmie that cryptex.

hmm.. I'm not lying either.

wow.. it's pretty bad when you comment on your own blog post before anyone else does

 
At 5/16/2006 10:33 AM, Blogger Tommy said...

It would appear that the "Limited Edition Cryptex" is really just a bad run of this fully working cryptex available for $60:

http://www.noblecollection.com/catalog/product.cfm?id=NN5335&catid=0

I assume the reason that the MSRP on our prizes is only $30 is because they are defective.

Only the last two letters, "IL", are needed to unlock the prizes, but on mine, if all 5 rings had been needed, the code would have been "DYDIL", not "GRAIL".

Way to turn a $300,000 mistake into a marketing campaign Google & Sony!!!

 
At 5/16/2006 10:38 AM, Blogger pgpprotector said...

I'm trying to contact Noblecollection.com now to see If I can buy a inner tumbler, if not, I'm also looking at a way to modify it so I can use the full 5 tumblers.

 
At 5/16/2006 10:43 AM, Blogger Matthew Rongey said...

GF, how did you find that out? Also, has anyone NOT recieved any email at all? I got the confirmation email from Sony, but have yet to recieve an email telling me whether I am a finalist or not.

BTW, sounds like a good strategy.

 
At 5/16/2006 10:46 AM, Blogger Tommy said...

Oops, the item I linked to previously, is apparently a "mini-cryptex", and only 4" in length.

The cryptex that appears to be the same as the "Limited Edition" prize is at:

http://www.noblecollection.com/catalog/product.cfm?id=NN5119&catid=52

And from the picture, also appears only to use the last two wheels.

So funny.

 
At 5/16/2006 10:57 AM, Blogger pyro@sp said...

Tommy, I don't know about yours, but my prize Cryptex is about 4", not 6" (if you got the 6" one I'm jealous. ;p As a reference, the inner compartment is shorter than my index finger by about half an inch.)

It is strange that their 'deluxe version' is also short-keyed, though.

 
At 5/16/2006 11:03 AM, Blogger ThereIN said...

How did you find that?? g00glefact!

 
At 5/16/2006 11:05 AM, Blogger Synch said...

Googlefact, you've been such a great sport about the whole GoogleSNAFU and such a help to so many people who played. I can't bear to part with my own Cryptex, but I'd be honored to purchase one from Noble Collections for you.

Let me know, and I'll contact you privately for your shipping information.

regards

 
At 5/16/2006 11:07 AM, Blogger potent potable said...

I think it's ironic how you guys keep chastising H-Sizzle for having multiple entries but then continue to post and look up answers at this website instead of figuring the puzzles out for yourselves, like I do.

It's not technically against the rules (like the multiple entries rule), but I personally consider it unfair and it takes the fun out of the contest.

I didn't feel strongly enough to say anything because I hate coming across as holier-than-thou. But when people started screaming at those who submitted 2 entries or immediately sold their cryptex on eBay, I felt the need to write this post.

 
At 5/16/2006 11:08 AM, Blogger potent potable said...

To the blog readers/posters who do the puzzles on your own, my comment does not apply to you and I wish you luck in the next round as we compete against people who already know what the answers are. :(

 
At 5/16/2006 11:16 AM, Blogger pyro@sp said...

potent, I for one didn't even find this blog until the morning after the final puzzle was revealed--I was looking specifically for forums/blogs where I could find game reactions, rather than answers. I plan to stay away from this site on the 19th, at least until I've got my final puzzle done... though temptation may get the best of me :)

I do see your point; however, where multiple entries is specifically pointed out as against the rules I think those of us chastising H-sizzle & co. have a valid gripe.

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

potent potable:

I, like you, like to find the puzzle answers myself. However, keep in mind that the entire purpose of this game/contest is for people to learn how to do research (research with Google, that is; but research nonetheless). Like you said, researching this blog is not against the rules. Entering with two ID's is a blatant disregard of the rules. Finding answers here, in this blog, is research.

Just an interesting thought to ponder. :o)

 
At 5/16/2006 11:18 AM, Blogger allyson said...

one other thing: I would bet my last dollar that there will be MULTIPLE variations of the final puzzles and even if someone came here for answers it would most likely not help that much. ;o)

 
At 5/16/2006 11:23 AM, Blogger Synch said...

Allyson said:

"one other thing: I would bet my last dollar that there will be MULTIPLE variations of the final puzzles"

In fact, another blogger had hacked the flash and posted the answers to the final puzzle last Tuesday evening. Google/Sony evidently got wind of that, because when the puzzle went live, none of those answers were correct.

I read elsewhere that they designed 12,000 different puzzles. They've got at least 10,000 they've not yet used.

regards

 
At 5/16/2006 11:28 AM, Blogger potent potable said...

I agree that submitting 2 entries is blatently against the rules. Heck, that rule is bolded in the Official Rules.

I'm just sharing my opinion. On Friday, my friends and I were speculating what would happen next. I told them that I found this site on Wednesday where people were throwing theories around.

I also mentioned that many of the blog posters shared the answers (2, so dark the con of man, Madonna of Rocks) and my friends got pissed because they rushed to submit their entries at 10:10 but worried that the copy and pasters beat them to it. (Fortunately, they still made it to the next round.)

So again, I'm not expecting to win the grand prize and I know that you're not explicitly breaking the rules. I'm just saying that I don't particularly like how the answers are shared for puzzles that have only 1 solution, like the last one.

my 2 cents.

 
At 5/16/2006 11:31 AM, Blogger Z said...

I do not think you should provide the final answers, its not fair....let the winner win the right way, not by cheating, its bad enuff google cant get their act right in giving thousands error messages in the last puzzle, let the winner really be a WINNER.

 
At 5/16/2006 11:35 AM, Blogger Tommy said...

Upon furthur review, mine is also the mini-cryptex.

 
At 5/16/2006 11:41 AM, Blogger Synch said...

Z, you'll be pleased to know, then, that a LOT of people who found the hacked flash code, logged into Google, opened the puzzle and without reading the questions, entered all three WRONG answers, hit submit and then found themselves unable to get back into Google to try again.

Regardless, in the end it did all come down to who was lucky enough to be able to actually load the page and submit an entry.

I've a feeling the final round will come down to who was actually lucky enough to see the movie the day is it released. Personally, I cannot do so until Sunday afternoon, at the earliest.

I am, however, reading the book again ... just in case.

 
At 5/16/2006 11:44 AM, Blogger Mikestr2 said...

do the rules say anythign about the final prize winner being able to forfeit the grand prize?

 
At 5/16/2006 11:47 AM, Blogger Z said...

synch, i did sumbit the right answers, and i did get the congrats page after i submitted my address, etc, i had registered correctly, but what gets me is i havent gotten any e mails, and i know my answers were right, there is something wrong with the way google did this, and im sure im not the only one. i loaded the correct page and told i had registered correctly, i even got the mssage on my google page i had completed all 24 answers correctly...its in google hands that this was unfair

 
At 5/16/2006 11:54 AM, Blogger kansas_boy said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 5/16/2006 11:59 AM, Blogger kansas_boy said...

I agree, this was totally unfair- I completed EVERYTHING by 1:04 pm EST, and I got the page saying, "You have successfully registered." I never got a funky page saying that I had only completed 23/24 puzzles, or anything like that, and I didn't win a cryptex/become a finalist- what's going on Google???

 
At 5/16/2006 12:07 PM, Blogger Buffoni88 said...

So the first cryptex just sold on ebay for $ 202.50. Kinda tempting!

 
At 5/16/2006 12:10 PM, Blogger Synch said...

Mike, that depends on what exactly you mean by "forfeit". If you mean, take cash value rather than the prizes, then yes, most sweepstakes allow that option since most people cannot pay the taxes on thousands of dollars worth of prizes. If you mean, stand aside and let the next guy win, I doubt that can be done. You would probably have to accept the Grand Prize and then give it to the next guy - but that would mean BOTH of you incurring the tax liability on $128,000.

Kansas Boy and Z, even though I am a finalist, I agree with you. Something went seriously wrong on the last day, and I am surprised that Google was unprepared to deal with it, and further, that once it happened they did not fall all over themselves to let every player know exactly what his/her status was at that point. It was very poorly handled.

I'd not have been so surprised at the SNAFU, but this was *GOOGLE*, for Pete's sake. They should have known.

 
At 5/16/2006 12:18 PM, Blogger Katie said...

it sounds like everyone has already received their cryptex. has anyone else who received a finalist email not yet received the cryptex?

 
At 5/16/2006 12:19 PM, Blogger Buffoni88 said...

I haven't received it yet...I DID get the finalist e-mail. Waiting, watching, for the mailman to come!

 
At 5/16/2006 12:21 PM, Blogger Z said...

ive lost all faith in google, ive had their e mail since it came out, and love their search engine, but after this mess with this contest, and so many contestants who should have made it as finalists, but for the mess with google and even; in my case, i know i was in there but never got a single e mail, i doubt i will use google for e mail or for their search engine, this whole thing, 24 days of work and not cheating, leads me with a sour stomach, google should keep out of the contest game, and stick to disappointing thousands of contestants on a daily basis, this whole mess was rigged guys.

 
At 5/16/2006 12:26 PM, Blogger Legacy said...

I think the best way to prepare for the final quest would be to go back and do all of the puzzles again. Then go back and hit "reset puzzle" and do all of those. I have a feeling it will be all of the puzzles, except for the observation puzzle, just back to back. Possibly with no second tries or hints.

I think someone posted the link to a page where you can go back and do the puzzles. Does anyone have it?

Ya'll may have already seen this site:
http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2006/04/can-you-crack-code.html

it's from one of the guys who worked on creating the puzzles. The last sentence states:

"P. S. Okay, this wouldn’t be a Da Vinci-related post if I didn’t give you a clue: if you really want a mental workout, try solving the Chess Challenges by looking only at the board, without using the multiple choices to help you. The training you get may very well prove helpful should you turn out to be one of the elite few who reach the Final Challenge."

Then again, it could be they just pick one out of 10,000 at random, the way it seems to have been to get to the final phase. (trying not to be bitter)

Either way, congrats and good luck, finalists!

 
At 5/16/2006 12:54 PM, Blogger ruusta said...

got crptex, still no email either way

 
At 5/16/2006 12:56 PM, Blogger Matthew Rongey said...

I got my cryptex! (Still no email, though.)

 
At 5/16/2006 1:03 PM, Blogger allyson said...

legacy:

The author of the link you posted also has his own blog. I was very interested in his posting today. After checking my history cache I noticed something interesting...

...the registration method for the Google contest was run through Sony.

hmmmmmmm

http://onigame.livejournal.com/

 
At 5/16/2006 1:04 PM, Blogger Z said...

GOOD FOR YOU MATT, I HOPE YOU WIN

 
At 5/16/2006 1:06 PM, Blogger MidWestEnergyGuy said...

Based on what the crytex's look like (I haven't received mine yet) I think you can modify them for 5 code entries.

If the 3 other wheels have gogs on them (they probably do) then all you need to do is add the bumps onto the inner piece. This could probably be done with something like liquid metal or an expoy putty that would harden well and make 3 more bumps.

But, I haven't seen a crytex IRL, so I am speculating a bit. I'm assuming the inner piece is metal and not plastic.

 
At 5/16/2006 1:07 PM, Blogger allyson said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 5/16/2006 1:08 PM, Blogger Zach said...

OK, I have read that some people are angry that their not getting their cryptex even though they finished at like 1:05 EST. This is what I'm thinking. Maybe, google originally wanted to just use the final puzzle time stamp to declare the top 10,000 finalists but when they realized they had so many server errors, they took an average of all the finishing times. Can anyone who finished the final puzzle (24) early (at like 1:05 EST) think of any days that they finished the other puzzles late? I think thats what happened to me. I finished most puzzles around 1:04 EST but the final sudoku puzzle took me about 3 hours because I actually had work to do at school that period.

Just something to think about...

 
At 5/16/2006 1:09 PM, Blogger allyson said...

Here is the link to the Sony registration page I found in my cache:

Thank You Page

 
At 5/16/2006 1:20 PM, Blogger Buffoni88 said...

Just got the mail with a box with a cryptex inside! WAHOO! To sell it, or not to sell it...hmmm. Maybe I'll sit outside the movie theatre on opening day and hold an auction. BTW, people weren't exagerating when they said it is heavy!

 
At 5/16/2006 1:24 PM, Blogger Synch said...

Hi Zach,

I submitted everything by 1:04, and am a finalist. However, I did get one very difficult puzzle, it was the last restoration game and my question was "what was the third present" whats-his-name sent to the Bishop. After about two hours of Googling, I gave up but did not want to reset my restoration puzzle as I'd had so much trouble with it, so left the game open on my PC and went to bed. I finally solved it the following afternoon.

So if Google actually did average in our times for solving each of the puzzles, I sincerely doubt I'd have a cryptex on my desk right now.

Also, I've done a bit of research into the legalties of running sweepstakes / contests, and it's pretty much legal suicide to change the rules after the contest has begun.

regards

 
At 5/16/2006 1:25 PM, Blogger Legacy said...

allyson:

very interesting. i went back to the rules page, and this is what it states:

"Sony Pictures Digital, Inc.'s computer is the official clock for purposes of determining all timing issues in connection with Phase 1 of this Contest. Google Inc.'s computer is the official clock for purposes of determining all timing issues in connection with the Final Phase of the Contest."

Let's hope that the Google clock works better than the Sony clock for the finalists!

 
At 5/16/2006 1:28 PM, Blogger allyson said...

legacy:

wow, I never thought to check the rules for that juicy tidbit.

So it seems all who are upset at Google need to actually be upset with Sony.

They are not on the top of my list lately anyway... darn rootkits.

;o)

 
At 5/16/2006 1:35 PM, Blogger WRfly10 said...

g00glefact, how did u find that out? I am very curious because I finished by 1:02, was about the third person to post on ur blog the day of the final challenge and i did NOT win. I was sure I had I even offered you my cryptex. It is ridiculous I didnt win entereing at 1:02...on top of that, my gf, from a different household (to squash that argument) won entering at least 5 min after me. This contest is a joke, but good luck and I hope someone from this blog wins

 
At 5/16/2006 1:36 PM, Blogger Alice in Dilbertland said...

GAAAAAH! I got my finalist email last night, but still no cryptex in today's mail! And I live in California!

Anybody knows if it's possible to sue the USPS over this, if I don't get it by the end of May 18th?

 
At 5/16/2006 1:55 PM, Blogger JC said...

how do you propose you would sue USPS??

thats crazy talk.. give it time. they had 10,000 to mail out..

chill buddy

 
At 5/16/2006 2:16 PM, Blogger Rick Brown said...

Right now there are 140 cryptexes being sold on Ebay. Amazing.

I am told mine is waiting for me. I'll pick it up after work. Woo Hoo.

And no, I'm not interested in selling it.

 
At 5/16/2006 2:19 PM, Blogger aesaxy said...

Alice, I'm not sure that we'll need the actual cryptex for the final challenge.

 
At 5/16/2006 2:21 PM, Blogger Sagron said...

I got my cryptex finally, the code on mine is set to "lgoil" if all 5 rings were there, so apparently the first 3 characters are random.

 
At 5/16/2006 2:55 PM, Blogger Elly said...

Has anyone from the UK actually received a cryptex - sorry to sound miffed or something, but I know I finshed within the time scale to get one just from reading this blog...

 
At 5/16/2006 2:58 PM, Blogger Elly said...

Hey googlefact - tough man - would still love to know where I finished though...

Eurostar quest is excellent, as is your blog...

Thanks for all your interesting reading, although almost all of my questions were different to the ones on this blog - apart from the last one, which I didn't see until after I'd finished it (obviously..)maybe because I'm in UK...??

 
At 5/16/2006 3:23 PM, Blogger Buffoni88 said...

Sagron said...
I got my cryptex finally, the code on mine is set to "lgoil" if all 5 rings were there, so apparently the first 3 characters are random.


It's grail. How did you get through the quest, but yet you couldn't look on the bottom of the box where it says "Cryptex code: Grail" ?!?! hmmmm. People amaze me!

 
At 5/16/2006 3:29 PM, Blogger Alice in Dilbertland said...

buffon... There have been at least a few dozen posts mentioning that only the last two letters of the code matter and the first three are random. Makes me wonder how *you* got through the quest.

 
At 5/16/2006 3:32 PM, Blogger Buffoni88 said...

Alice, you said: Anybody knows if it's possible to sue the USPS over this, if I don't get it by the end of May 18th?

Are you kidding me? haha go for it. Google is worth more than you can count.

I don't understand your comment...I knew that the last two were the only letters that are of any importance. Did I say I didn't know that? uhh...duhhhhhhhhhhh

 
At 5/16/2006 3:52 PM, Blogger Matthew Rongey said...

Did anyone else get the email confirming that you had completed all 24 puzzles, and get a cryptex, but NOT get a "You are a winner" email?

 
At 5/16/2006 3:55 PM, Blogger Alice in Dilbertland said...

buffon, duh yourself. You seemed to imply that Sagron didn't know that the code was grail. Everybody already knows it's grail. Or, rather, that the intended code is grail. Sagron was simply saying what the code on his cryptex *actually* is.

 
At 5/16/2006 4:20 PM, Blogger Synch said...

Hi Matthew,

If you got the cryptex, you're a finalist. Is it possible your email provider ate the mail. Are you certain you typed your email address correctly on the final submission form? I was a bit concerned about that afterward myself, since I'm not used to speed-registering for anything ;)

As I recall, you had to have a Google account (obviously) but not necessarily a Gmail account, so that wouldn't be why you've not gotten the message.

 
At 5/16/2006 4:24 PM, Blogger Buffoni88 said...

Alice in DILBERTLAND...the name fits the profile ;)

 
At 5/16/2006 4:40 PM, Blogger David said...

I felt bad for all the people on here who said that all they really wanted was a cryptex. My buddy and I both made it to the finals, so we opened one of the cryptex boxes and left the other sealed. I have listed the sealed box on ebay click here to go to the listing. I left it sealed, and can easily replicate the original shipping label (standard 1"x3" white label)

Most of the cryptex listings on ebay have been opened and played with, but this one is still sealed. One thing that not a lot of people mentioned is that the box came wrapped in protective tissue paper that was impossible to remove without ripping, so all of those opened boxes can never be put back in mint condition. If you pick up this one you will receive it exactly the same way the finalists did.

I created a one day auction, so that someone can receive it on the 18th (if they want to pay for next day shipping.) Hope that helps ease the pain.

David

 
At 5/16/2006 4:43 PM, Blogger Eric said...

sold my cryptex for $202.50 earlier today. mine was the first out the door.

 
At 5/16/2006 4:46 PM, Blogger Alice in Dilbertland said...

baffon, I'll take that as a compliment. Alice is the smartest person in the Dilbert comic strip.

 
At 5/16/2006 5:01 PM, Blogger Buffoni88 said...

Whatever makes ya feel better hun.

 
At 5/16/2006 5:11 PM, Blogger pgpprotector said...

Well to open my cryptex the code is ***AA for now, working of locking the other 3 down with a hardware modification :)

Already got the location figured out for the 2 of the other pins, though the first pin dosn't look like it would fit right, maby on the spring portion, that or extend the tube a little & remove the spring end cap.

 
At 5/16/2006 5:45 PM, Blogger Tommy said...

@pgp

According to the picture of the fully functional cryptex on noble collections website, the metal ridge would extend beyond the tip of the barrel.

Might you be able to cut a notch out of the spring cap and extend the ridge?

 
At 5/16/2006 5:47 PM, Blogger David said...

Everyone that is complaining about google and the final contest snafu's should read this post from Wei-Hwa Huang (The guy at google that created the puzzles) http://onigame.livejournal.com/ Also (as previously stated in this posting) the registration confirmation page was hosted by sony, not google.

David

 
At 5/16/2006 7:11 PM, Blogger Warstars said...

Just got my cryptex in the mail. For those interested, the combo is "ORJIL" (though only the last IL is needed). Sorry for those who didn't make it. Good luck those those in the final round!

 
At 5/16/2006 7:23 PM, Blogger Farragoulash said...

Whoa, I just looked down the barrel of my cryptex to find out what the other 3 digits were set at, and the notches line up to say "DEVIL". I'm creeped out now.

 
At 5/16/2006 7:51 PM, Blogger Derting said...

I got the finalist e-mail but still have yet to receive my cryptex in the mail over the past 2 days...

hopefully it'll get here tomorrow.

 
At 5/16/2006 7:58 PM, Blogger Plaited Romantic said...

Hey everyone,
I've not posted before, though I've been following the comments for a few days. Wondering if anyone has gone ahead and played that game Sony is either offering us a discount on (or, in some cases, it sounds like for free). I tried the demo, and I must say, it was a pretty nice piece of work. If I had the fifteen dollars I might just go buy it. As to the cryptexes (crypti?), all I can say is that if they -are- needed in some way for the final challenge, I would laugh so hard. Doubtful, as there would be the risk of someone not recieving theirs on time and thus not being able to compete, but still. It's amusing to think on. :)

 
At 5/16/2006 8:10 PM, Blogger Prince said...

Hi all,
This is my first post to this group as I just found out about it. I am having trouble viewing the video and welcome message. Is anyone else also having the same problem?

 
At 5/16/2006 8:59 PM, Blogger Matthew Rongey said...

Hmm. This is very unlikely, but what if one of the things you had to do was enter the full code for your cryptex. That would mean that everyone who has changed theirs is also screwed.

 
At 5/16/2006 9:34 PM, Blogger NET MAN said...

Zach,

'nother thought on the potential re-calculation because of server errors...

On one of my 24 puzzles, the last symbol/sudoku challenge, I actually did request a new puzzle without having been able to figure out/finish the first one.

Since I received successful registration page from Sony at 1:07 pm EDT, am wondering if maybe that resetting counted against me and put me in the 10,002nd place (GF!)

 
At 5/17/2006 12:32 AM, Blogger codestinks said...

Da Vinci Mode: Suspending Belief
Posted on May 16, 2006 @ 17:30:43 EDT
Author Robert Roy Britt

It’s not news that Dan Brown’s “Da Vinci Code” has stirred up more than its fair share of interest and criticism, first with the book and now just prior to the movie opening Friday. There have been calls to ban the movie or chop the ending. Amid it all, the conclusion of a new British survey is singularly bizarre:

“People are now twice as likely to believe Jesus Christ fathered children after reading the Dan Brown blockbuster and four times as likely to think the conservative Catholic group Opus Dei is a murderous sect.”

The real Da Vinci must be rolling over in his grave. People are basing beliefs not on science, history or faith, but on a story. On fiction. Some argue the fiction isn’t even all that well researched, and that the novel’s premise is based on a real-life hoax. Rational thinker Joe Nickell puts it this way: “The book is largely based on obscure, forged documents that have now deceived millions.”

Dan Brown’s tactic (whether intended or not) is one Michael Crichton has been using for decades, taking some interesting bits of science and history and a dash of mystery or intrigue, warping it to the extreme with fictional characters and fictional settings, and weaving it into a fantastic tale for which we enjoyably suspend disbelief. Crichton uses footnotes and precedes and makes it all look almost like it happened. In theory, maybe you could make a dinosaur from DNA found in 65-million-year-old amber. As a practical matter, creating them would be almost impossible with the degraded bits of biology that have survived—scientists don’t even know how to make a mammoth from scratch, and those beasts died out relatively recently.

I enjoy Crichton’s novels (which are typically more believable than “The Da Vinci Code”), and sometimes I learn something from him, but he hasn’t altered my fundamental views on anything Jurassic (nor on global warming or airline safety).

I wonder if Leonardo, being a really smart guy, would have enjoyed all this hoopla or been dismayed by it. Perhaps similar things happened in his day, and that’s why he gave Mona Lisa that little smirk. Now there’s a real scientific and historical mystery … when did he paint her?

 
At 5/17/2006 7:53 AM, Blogger H-sizzle said...

Err... I apologize for disobeying the rules, and I do not wish to win the final prize, but I will offer as much info as I can when I play my 2 final puzzles.

So please stop being mad at me.

Sorry! v_v

 
At 5/17/2006 10:51 AM, Blogger Farragoulash said...

It's ok h-sizzle, we all know you just wanted a makeshift set of dumbbells since the 5-pound ones were too heavy for you.

 
At 5/17/2006 4:02 PM, Blogger tumor20 said...

This is what noble collection had to say when i emailed them about the cryptex We produced the promotional Cryptex for Sony/Google. Both models look the same, but you can change the code for the piece that we are currently selling. The promotional piece is more simplified and only has two keys. From the outside they look identical, but the mechanism and the inner parts are different.



We are currently taking preorders for our versions:

http://www.noblecollection.com/catalog/catalog.cfm?catid=52



NN5335 The Mini Cryptex (same size as the Google/Sony promo):

http://www.noblecollection.com/catalog/product.cfm?id=NN5335&catid=52



NN5119 The Cryptex (actual size as used in the movie).

http://www.noblecollection.com/catalog/product.cfm?id=NN5119&catid=52



Both versions above are officially authorized replicas.



Thank you for your interest.

 
At 5/17/2006 5:05 PM, Blogger Alice in Dilbertland said...

So, what this means is that the people who are paying in the $200 range for a "simplified" cryptex on ebay should really pay just $60 for the real thing. How sad.

Oh, yeah. I finally got mine today! Woohoo!

 
At 5/17/2006 5:22 PM, Blogger gnrkrazy said...

Has anyone who got a finalist email not received their cryptex yet? I am getting worried that I am never going to get it. I hope its not needed for the final

 
At 5/18/2006 1:51 AM, Blogger RoninBlackmoore said...

I dont recall ever being able to submit wrong answers on the puzzle when they immediately tell you that you are wrong. The puzzle had told me something like "you have two correct answers, think harder..concentrate for the right answer".. that I had two of three right when I was struggling to figure out if its was madonna or mary of the rocks.. So it didnt let me put the wrong answer in, I know because when I really can't figure something out, I guess and use averages to answer the question, I start averaging with mutiple choice answers that I figure out until I get it right by doing a process of elimination. Also the rules state that you are immediately told when you are wrong or right. I figured it was impossible to submit incorrect answers AND register to complete the first phase.
hmm
MR

 
At 5/18/2006 1:53 AM, Blogger RoninBlackmoore said...

gnrkrazy
If I were you, I would find the links every one else got and use those for your entry to the final phase on the 18th. I don't see that having the physical cryptext (with no screen shots incidentally) will matter.
MR

 
At 5/18/2006 7:16 AM, Blogger frist said...

I would like to make a comment about the cryptex that I received. It may be helpful to know, it may not...

Once the cryptex is open and I look inside, I can line up each of the wheels so that all 5 would be in an 'unlocked' state. At the arrows (as with everyone else) the last two letters are all that are useful in opening the cryptex, and the letters are "I" and "L". All 5 reels together in order are "EBIIL".

One thing that is not mentioned here is that in many cypher locks like this one, you set a word in one spot to find a word in another spot around the wheels. Shifting EBIIL 3 letters down reveals the word HELLO.

I wonder if these cryptex devices will come into play in the last challenge.

 

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