"In het verleden behaalde resultaten bieden geen garanties voor de toekomst"

These are the ramblings of Matthijs Kooijman, concerning the software he hacks on, hobbies he has and occasionally his personal life.

Questions? Praise? Blame? Feel free to contact me.

My old blog (pre-2006) is also still available.

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Day 3: Puzzling Madness

(Disclaimer: This post is about a game. It is all fiction.)

Okay, it's been a while, but I'll try to remember what happened a few days back. I already described today's meeting, so I will skip to the puzzles. Bas, the creator of these puzzles has also written a nice piece on how they were created.

# Easy start

To find the device to disable our localization implants, we were given a clue with 10 hexagons on it. These hexagons were marked in some way, possibly representing numbers. Also, there was "MA 5/6 214040" on the clue. MA 5/6 represents college hours, the number is a course number.

Half our team was on their way to pick up their bikes, only Brenda and I managed to take them with us after the chaos just before. So, immediately after the meeting, the two of us went for some WLAN coverage at the Hogekamp building, to look up where the given course was held in the given time slot, since that was undoubtedly the next location.

This gave us "Langezijds 2520". The rest of our team had arrived home by now, so we called in somebody with a photo camera and the exact location of the 2520 room within the (huge) Langezijds building. I sent Brenda home, since we still had all the licenses of our team, so they couldn't really go out. I myself went to the Langezijds building, where I would meet Jasper (a non-contestant) to bring me the camera.

We had seen some delay at Hogekamp, due to 2d4d trying to kill us (first time within the 10 minute safe time, second time they had come back for the kill. ah well, the puzzle is more important than killing anyhow and I managed to return the favor of a kill). But, due to this delay, we arrived second, after team CIA (nicely done, CIA). There, I could not find the clue at once, but did find it shortly after. Hoping that CIA would go away so I could write down the clue, I delayed a little. In the end, another team arrived, so I had to be more careful. Also, Jasper arrived with my camera. As soon as the third team arrived I decided to screw it and give the clue away to team CIA. I climbed into the fire ladder to make a proper photo of the clue. In the end, it turned out to be a good decision, since on our way back, we met at least 4 teams coming our way behind the Langezijds building...

The clue had a few aspects to it. First, there was "MISSING LINKS". Second, there were three lines, each sharing a single starting point, pointing upwards, bottom left and bottom right. There were markings "T", "L", "R" in the top, left and right parts of the figure respectively. Lastly, there was

GOTO(SUM(L,R)
REMEMBER(T)


by now, we had pretty much established that the markings on the original clue were numbers, encoded with the bars meaning 5 and the dots meaning one (This turned out tot be Mayan counting in the end, but we didn't know that). If we overlaid the TLR figure over each hexagon on this clue, we could label each number with T, L or R.

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The end: Smashing victory

(Disclaimer: This post is about a game. It is all fiction.)

It is done. This afternoon we fully finished Pandora. Though I have not blogged about the third and second day and puzzle, I will do that next weekend. First, I'll be concentrating on sleeping :-) Delivering the solution within thirty minutes of the solution, closely followed by two other teams, we managed to obtain a smashing victory. Not only were we the only team to solve all four puzzles, we also solved them first every time. Even on the kills area we didn't do bad: we managed to get 11 kills on the last day while our kill joker (triple points) was in effect. This got us a pretty decent score:

1. L.I.E.V -- 2570
2. Happy Hooves -- 1810
3. 2d4d --1280

I've just been to the "Battle of the Cultures", a game of theatresports between Contramime, Pro Deo and Nest. I Barely noticed the effects of my tiredness (in the past 60 hours, I've only took a small 2 hour nap) while watching the show.

During the break I went out for fresh air, but as soon as I saw the outside campus, my mind and body sprang back into Pandora-mode: rushed, driven & paranoid. Back inside, it faded away. Apparently just seeing places that have strong Pandora memories triggers this. As I rode home I noticed that nearly every spot of the campus now has a distinct Pandora memory attached to it, since we actually searched just about every building on campus. Let's see how fast this will help...

Another interesting effect of sleep deprivation: Last night's puzzles used a number, 2.513274. Also, the night before we used the ISBN number 90-365-2349-4. I just wrote these two numbers down from the top of my head... Apparently the lack of sleep makes me remember stuff better? This might explain why I have such strong memory associations with certain locations. Also, it completely kills my power to formulate sentences, so blogging is probably a bad idea. Wanting to write the last sentence, I just wrote a sentence about killing and stopping processes that made completely no sense... Anyway, don't mind the spelling errors...

Anyway, from the moment I sat down in the Theater Cafe, I felt an imminent breakdown coming up. Since I arrived home, I've typed this blog and read my IRC backlog and now I'm so totally wasted that I'll sleep as soon as I touch my pillow... These last words are produced solely powered by willpower...

So, I bid you goodnight and crash into my bed....

Day 3: The escape

(Disclaimer: This post is about a game. It is all fiction.)

Last night and today was hell. Fun hell, but still :-) We've finished the puzzle after 15 straight hours around 1500 this afternoon. Today was obviously the die-hard puzzling day...

We started out nice at the meeting last night. Our attempts from the day before were succesful and we were able to penetrate the PCC systems to disable surveillance. So, with surveillance disabled, we would be able to make our escape freely. Since we were the best scoring team so far (738 points vs 690 for the runner up), we had the questionable honour to be the first to make our escape.

With surveillance disabled, we made for the getaway car that was parked just off campus. When we were about half way, two patrol cars full of guards drove in, spreading guards all over. Frantically trying to flee, I ran into the second patrol car, so I had to turn around and was caught by another guard. Me and two of my team members were apprehended for violating the curfew (not for making an escape attempt, fortunately). We were taken a while away and dropped at some random location (I was dropped pretty close, since the car that was supposed to drop me, went missing).

After being released, everybody hurried to the agreed backup location. Once I got there, I let Frank know what I thought about his attempt to betray us and set us up. He obviously saw this coming, so he was a traitor! My teammembers convinced me not to shoot Frank where he stood, which turned out to be rather ok. So far, it seems he might not have know anyway, but I'll be cautious on the meeting tonight.

At the backup location, Frank put forward a captured guard, to be tortured by the especially overflown expert from Russia, Boris (Who has actually worked for Magistor a while, until a rather unfortunate incident with Magistor's wife...). Boris managed to draw information from the guard, who turned out to be a system administrator. He told that they had implanted small tracking devices in everybody at the first meeting. They could track everyone's location, so they knew something was going on.

The guard also mentioned a device which could disable thes trackers, but he didn't know anything about it. Fortunately, the organisation had managed to get some intel on the device, which was given to us for examination. The intel contained a reference to a college time slot and course number as well as ten hexagons containing 3 symbols each.

Solving (part of this) was easy, but I'm not going to discuss this here right now, since a) the deadline has been moved to 2100, so people are still puzzling, and b) I haven't slept since yesterday morning, so I am ready to fall over now... (meeting at 22:30!). I'll add a report of the puzzled solved sometime soon, probably tomorrow, though.

Day 2: Broken technicalities

(Disclaimer: This post is about a game. It is all fiction.)

The monday night meeting was an hour later than Sunday's. Fortunate, since it gave me an extra hour of time to sleep between dinner and the meeting. So arriving there fresh and (a little more) rested, we would receive the next puzzle... and the consequences for the lemon juice afair.

So, after an explanation of Sunday's puzzles, we were called forward. Frank explained the mistake we made and declared our punishment: From now on, we would no longer be team E.V.I.L., but team L.I.E.V. ("cute"). So much for our image. Fun :-).

For another report on the past two days, see Brenda's weblog.

# Puzzles

Our assignment today was simple: The mainframe we found yesterday has an admin interface. We could use our own logins here, but not without a valid pincode. To help us find a pincode, we received an envelope with a clue: A paper with 6 Kakuro puzzles. After making a number of photocopies we went home to solve them. After first starting out with one puzzle each, we quickly realized that this would take too long. As soon as we found out that these damn puzzles were called "Kakuro" puzzles (thanks Diederik!), two people started search for kakuro solvers on the internet. In the end Brenda found a number of solvers, from which the first worked (Which proves you need a woman to actually find stuff...).

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Day 1: It has begun!

(Disclaimer: This post is about a game. It is all fiction.)

Pandora 2006 has begun. Yet instead of the promised "Pandora Paradise", we were "volunteered" into the Pandora Correctional Center. Us being team E.V.I.L, we found the new environment rather familiar :-)

Hidden in a pie we got by mail, we found a letter from three survivors of last year's edition of PCC, as well as a number of metal parts, bolts and rubber bands. The letter told us about the horrors of last year's Pandora Correctional Center and about the survivor's plan for escape. They offered us a chance to join their escape, but for that they want us to help them with some preparations. So, every night from last night to wednesday, they will give us puzzles to show our dedication.

# Puzzles

So, the first puzzle. A letter from upper management to Pandora security that got into our hands, notifying them about a new mainframe. The information was apparently encoded:

":pp[ rrmd rrm tpmykr"


The encoding was cracked within a few minutes: Find every character on your keyboard and replace it with the character on the key to the left of it. You'll get:

"loop eens een rontje" (Take a walk arount)


The first thing you notice here is the wrong spelling of "rondje" (around). So, this "t" is probably a hint. Since there is a building on campus called the "T-house", we went there and arrived first. No hint there, so we widened our search aroun(d/t) the building and a few other nearby buildings.

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