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Miscellaneous thoughts and ramblings
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
Treasure Hunt – Part I
I've decided to put on a treasure hunt for our readers. Here's how it will work. About weekly, I'm going to post clues. You should be able to do the treasure hunt from your desk. You will need a decent brain, a computer with an internet connection, maybe a phone, and maybe a fax. You'll never actually have to get off your rear end, though "virtually" the clues may take you all over the country. I have no idea how many clues (how many weeks) I'll drag this out for. That will probably depend on how many readers participate. At the end, whoever solves the last clue first will win some sort of prize. I have no idea what it is, but it won't cost more than about $20.

First, some ground rules:

The treasure hunt will involve (i.e. mention) lots of real businesses all over the country. They have no clue they're part of this, so please don't bug them.

You will need to keep track of all the answers to intermediate steps along the way, but don't put any of the answers in the comments. At the end of the hunt I'll ask you for all the answers, and you'll need to have them all, going all the way back to this part*.

OK? If you don't get it, ask questions in the comments.

The hunt begins:

You are in the most populous city in Arizona. It's the early afternoon of Yom Kippur 2005. You're Presbyterian and your business partners are Jewish, so your office is closed and you've got the day off. You've decided to spend the afternoon seeing the latest movie with Alan Tudyk. You find the only 12:40 pm showing within the same city and you get a ticket. You enjoy the movie and then decide you feel like pizza. You cross the street that the theater is on, and see a Domino's. You pick up some lunch and ask the people there how late it's open, in case you'll feel like pizza for dinner. You grab one of their menus. You look at their phone number and imagine it as a 10 digit integer (formed by the area code followed by the phone number, so the phone number 800-765-4321 would become the integer 8,007,654,321). Domino's phone number written as an integer is interesting because it has an eight digit prime factor. Find that eight digit prime. (Let's call it D.) Then find the next smaller prime number (that's the largest prime number smaller than D). You'll need it to start the next clue.

That's the end of part one.

I would love some comments to let me know if any of you are doing it, and whether you think this is too easy / too hard / just right. Also, if you need clarifications about a clue or about the rules, comment away. But don't put any of the answers to the clues in the comments. I'm also open to suggestions for a prize. If any Coffeehousers want to do some of the future posts, send me an email. If this gets zero interest, I'm happy to call it quits now.

* For this part, you'll need to record for later (but DO NOT put in the comments) the name of the city, the name of the movie, the name and address of the theater, how late the Domino's across the street is open that day, that Domino's phone number, its eight digit prime factor (=D), and the largest prime number smaller than D.

Part II
Wait a second, wait a second... Something's not quite right here. Yom Kippur 2005 and you (or I) eating pizza and watching movies? Heh?
Has your practice slowed down after Columbus Day? Too much time on your hands?

Get back to your stairwell pentagram design!
prize should be a coffeepot.
Are you sure 8007654321 has a prime eight digit?
*&^*%*^ Math questions!!

Did you like the movie? I just Tivo'd a few eps.
Irina: Come on. You're a law student. You spend countless hours reading very carefully. The clue clearly states that the protagonist is not Jewish. Give it another try.

ball-and-chain: Don't you worry your pretty little head about this. A PhD in immunology doesn't get you far in puzzling. Especially if you hate puzzles.

Torontopearl: Nice to see you. Actually October has been as busy as ever. So busy, that my stairwell Penrose tiling with pentagonal symmetry has sadly been untouched since you've seen it. That's why I need occasional diversion by making geeky puzzles. Wanna give it a try?

Anonymous: I appreciate the Coffeehouse tie in, but is anyone going to be really happy to win a coffeepot? I was thinking like a $20 gift certificate to Netflix or Blockbuster.com so you could enjoy some movies at home. Any other ideas?

Og: I'm glad you're working on this, and I'm glad you asked for clarification if stuff doesn't make sense. The 800 number was just an example of what I mean by turning a phone number into a 10 digit integer. Don't factor it or do anything else with it. Forget it. The number you have to factor is the phone number of the Domino's pizza across the street from the movie theater. That number has a factor that is an eight digit prime. Make sense? If not, let me know.

Oven: What do you think? Does this have any fun potential?

Mirty: You out there? You're a computer geek. Does that make you also a puzzle geek?

Stacey: You out there? You've got math and logic puzzles all over your blog. There's no use denying it now. That means that Oven and I would have been your friends in high-school if you were uncool enough to hang with us. Wanna play?
Psychotoddler: We haven't seen the movie yet, but we want to. I assume this means you have no intention of solving this, yes?
I dont have time to play along, but it looks like a fun waste of a few minutes/hours. I will be happy to assist anyone who needs help with the math part. Hey, we could have teams.
What a perfect way to spend a slow morning at the office! Please clarify what you mean by "eight digit prime factor" - its been a few years...
Oooh, I love these kinds of puzzles (btw, I'm new here and have no idea who Oven is)???

Only problem is my lunch break is over. I know the movie. I know the city. I know the theater. But I see no Domino's!!

My time is very limited this week since I'm busy getting ready for a big "break the YK fast" I'm hosting, but I'll try to get back to it.
OK - forget it, I figured out what an eight digit prime factor was. AND - I'm ready for the next clue!!! I guess I have to wait a week?
Sausage me.
"You've decided to spend the afternoon seeing the latest movie with Alan Tudyk."

You mean Alan accompanied the Presbyterian protagonist to the movie? Or that he was in the movie?
Gotcha. The way it's written it looks like you're saying that's the domino's number.
Dilbert: That’s the spirit.

Wanderer: Slow morning, huh? Sounds like I should be sending you more patients. Oh well, at least I’m entertaining you. Glad you figured it out. I’ll try to put up the next clue in the next seven days.

Just in case other people had the same question: a prime number is a number that can only be divided by itself or by 1 (without leaving a remainder). So 11 and 13 are prime but 12 isn’t because 12 is divisible by 2, 3 and 4. Factoring a non-prime number means finding all of the prime numbers that the number can be divided by. So if we factor 12 we get 12 = 2*2*3. Get it? All of the factors to the right of the equal sign are primes. If you factor Domino’s phone number, one of the primes you get is an eight digit number. I hope that’s clear.

Stacey: Yay! I’m glad you’re working on it. Oven is another one of the contributors to the Coffeehouse. He’s one of my dearest friends. We’ve known each other since high school. Alan Tudyk is in the movie. I guess I should have said “featuring” rather than “with”. But if you already know the movie, than you knew that.

Jack: All in good time.
LOL, so since the protagonist isn't Jewish, that protagonist isn't me...

But I'll give it a try anyway.

I'll come back with the answers in ten years or so...
Irina: This is make-believe. I’m also not in Arizona, and neither are you. For the sake of this exercise, you’re a Presbyterian Arizonian, OK? Take ten years. You won’t win the prize, but you’ll have fun.
Huh... I think I actually got it... This is getting interesting... Hopefully, the Arizonian protagonist won't get lost somewhere! ; )
Admit it. You loved Tudyk as Steve the Pirate in "Dodgeball."
pizza hint:

In google maps, you can search for all the branches of a store to show up on the map at once. and you can click and drag the map around in the window...
Irina: Glad you're in.

Ralphie: You'll never get me to admit that. Ever.

Psychotoddler: Dude! No one asked for a hint. The fun is in struggling with this stuff! Shhh!


I have a whole bagful of shhhh just for you.
Don't you worry about PT, doc (store locators are just as simple). Anyhow I've got it now. One thing: I'm concerned with the race to finish the last clue - could you let us know in advance when you plan to post it? I assume we just hold on to all the answers til the end, right?

Dilbert: How the heck is anyone supposed to contact you? Or maybe that's why you were so generous offering your assistance. Well, forget it. I figured it out all by my lonesome.
Ayelet: I'm glad you're in also. Yeah, I just had the same thought. I'll give at least a few days notice before I post my last clue stating exactly the time at which the last clue will be posted. Hold on to all of your answers until then. The first person to give all the answers in the comments to the last clue will be the winner.

dilbert's house of math and chirurgia:

Special today, order one, get the other, half off.

email: dilmadilbert@yahoo.com
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