matthewglidden's forum posts

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#1 Posted by matthewglidden (19 posts) -

Has anyone noticed the similarity between CAH's long lists of values and purchases to PNC's annual Christmas Price Index? There's another version called The True Cost of Christmas, which totals all gifts given, updated each year as Christmas approaches.

Bloomberg: "Twelve Days of Christmas Price Index for 2013."

Could be coincidence, but it's one way to compare things (and numbers) without actual code breaking.

#2 Posted by matthewglidden (19 posts) -

CAH said anyone could solve the puzzle (not just people who bought the 12 gifts), so online files like ClusterFuck, the posters, and their comics are good starting points. I've wondered about the uncredited Santa comic, since it doesn't seem to tie in elsewhere. Even if you're crazy to keep following that particular thread, it's in a way that people haven't exhausted themselves on yet and DOES relate to what everyone can use, not just people with the 12 envelopes.

@pyroguy7 said:

Ok, so I'm going to throw everything I found up here, before I drive myself crazy trying to figure it out. (not)Spoiler alert: I'm probably crazy.

So, I saw someone mention the uncredited Santa murdered comic from the Day 8 funny pages. I decided to Google "

santa murder

" and the first hit was something called "

The Santa Clause Murderer

." I read through it (because it seemed relevant), and followed the "back" link at the bottom to get to the posted story's

main page

. I did another Google search on the featured author

Spencer Holst

, which led me to this

first hit


In that article, they described that The Language Of Cats was a book about a code-breaking scientist. So naturally, I went back to the Holst page I found and read through that. While reading it, I noticed that a 2 and a 3 were randomly inserted into the text. Are these typos?

I didn't know what to do next, so I started reading some other things. Of note, I read ON HOPE, which, coincidentally, has 3 numbered reasons at the end of the story. It also starts off about a monkey, where there is a reference to talkings to someone like a monkey in The Language Of Cats. Is this related to what I saw in The Language Of Cats, or is this just coincidence? The story also had some strange typos, lie "neck- laces", "noth- ing", and "necldaces" (twice).

I poked around some more on the website and they cite a link that is broken, as well as there being a broken hidden link next to the "Mona Lisa Meets Buddha" entry in the bibliography at the bottom of the page. Another typo I noticed is the title of the webpage "The Monroe Street Monstor", when the name of the story on the page is typed as "The Monroe Street Monster." Read through that story too and noted the weird way "ciga- rette" was spelled, twice. There was also a line "Til take that bet!", which in context I think "Til" was supposed to be "I'll".

I decided to search for the domain that the two broken links belonged to, and again, the first hit was something of relevance. It is a pdf of attacking a developed block cipher called Serpent, using a technique they referred to as "The Rectangle Attack."

I started digging into the Serpent cipher and found out it is open source, and I downloaded some of the provided code.

This morning, I decided my head hurts too much to dig into this further, especially since I am no cryptographer. So I'm sharing it here. Honestly, I'm not sure if it means anything, but there were so many weird coincidences and google "first hits" that I felt like I needed to share it.

And now, I'm going to go take some aspirin, because being crazy is making my head hurt.

#3 Posted by matthewglidden (19 posts) -

Possible connection between day 5's golden rings and day 9, as its dancers are Beyoncé from "Single Ladies" and its lyric, "if you like it then you shoulda put a ring on it."

Day 5's diorama on is the one that includes a "blue box," "Captain Crunch," and shows a phone receiver, another type of "ringing." (Its phone receiver is also face-down, as if placed on an acoustic modem.) Captain Crunch himself (John Draper) figures into the puzzle series from Ready Player One, which CAH might've emulated in creating this one.

Three items from Day 5's diorama also appear in day 3:, a blue bow, a menorah (six candles visible), and the disco ball. Day 3 also has a bejeweled cell phone. CAH (via Max) already said the puzzle moves from stage to stage, so finding common elements may ID the progression to follow, for example in phone calls to make.

#4 Posted by matthewglidden (19 posts) -

@cheato I can think of at least one way.

If you group by bits and use the HOT/COOL lights as ON/OFF, 2^5 gives you 32 options. That's enough for A-Z with extras, ASCII codes, DTMF phone codes, etc.

#5 Edited by matthewglidden (19 posts) -

They come out of order, sometimes 2 or 3 in one day. Got 1-6, 8, 11-12 so far. The last one's pretty cool.

#6 Edited by matthewglidden (19 posts) -

100% confirmed, Half-Life 3.

#7 Posted by matthewglidden (19 posts) -

@dayton28 & @thedon: Good note on purple = the sex position, which could be Y or X (if sticking with Roman numerals).

If letters correspond to numerals, you have this:

  • Day 1: Red = M (1000)
  • Day 4: Purple = X (10)
  • Day 5: Blue = C (100)
  • Day 7: Green = L (50)
  • I & V in days 9-12?

It's curious that the lights don't seem to include orange (just red & yellow), but CAH's DonorsChoose "thank you" letter from Michelle DOES and could be interpreted as a lower-case i.

CAH's what-we-did-with-your-money link isn't "live" and just shows a countdown timer for sometime tomorrow. I think the letter and whatever shows up on that page will be key to solving the puzzle. It just has too many oddities to ignore: similar color palette, reinforcement of green = L and blue = C, "pig," cards FOR humanity, very different versions of the letter i, repeated use of double-o, possible reference to 2012's holiday expansion, etc.

#8 Posted by matthewglidden (19 posts) -

...and M C L are all letters used in Roman numerals, if we need another letter to number cypher to test.

#9 Posted by matthewglidden (19 posts) -

Note that several envelopes allude to geek things, just like the web site combined Captain Crunch, a phone, and blue boxing.

Day 2 doesn't show "turtle doves," those are koopa troopas from Mario World.

Day 5 shows the severed right hand of Mandarin, the Marvel Comics villain.

What does each picture look like, if you DON'T think the 12 days of christmas? CAH already gave that hint, that it's something else entirely.

The Blue = C, Green = L, & Red = M tips above seem too strong to ignore, seeing how they appear on both the site and in the art. In other collectible card puzzles, you end up with an address, email, or phone number to contact with a particular message. That might yield another clue or be a place to send the solution.

#10 Posted by matthewglidden (19 posts) -

@dirkgently: Thanks for reposting the second half. Do you have the forum link that discussed the others (first hour, etc.)?

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