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   Poor Willy
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Jamie
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Poor Willy  
« on: Jul 31st, 2003, 3:56am »
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Things are not going well between Willy and his long-distance girlfriend, April Underwood. "You don't really love me", she says. "I know you only went out with me because I was the first girl better than the first k you dated. And you hardly ever write to me".
 
"But I do, darling. It's not my fault the postal service can't decode the address", replies Willy indignantly.
 
The final straw is when she finds out that Willy has been taking holdays to densely-forested tropical islands without her and having sex with three women with two condoms. He even has the audacity to brag about it on his web site! He has to be taught a lesson, so she has him imprisoned without trial on trumped-up charges relating to national security.
 
Willy can prove he is innocent, but his jailor won't let him send any message that he believes might lead to his release (Willy suspects he and April are having an affair), so he sends the following coded message to his best friend:
 
Aloha!
April doesn't need to enforce a vilification. Incapable of endorsing my evils actually, consigned altruistically here, awaiting whosoever brings salvation. Therefore, unsurprisingly, I'm using such characteristically straightforward correspondences appropriately.
 
What is Willy's hidden message?
 
Small hint: Every word counts.
Big hint: I wish I could determine pi.
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Re: Poor Willy  
« Reply #1 on: Jul 31st, 2003, 5:12pm »
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Shouldn't that 2nd hint be: Gee, I wish I could determine pi. Which works even better for those mixed-up folks east of the pond.
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Re: Poor Willy  
« Reply #2 on: Aug 25th, 2003, 10:57pm »
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I have something that makes some sense, although those clues caused me more confusion than help:
 

Each word represent a letter. A one letter word is an A, a 2 letter word B, ... That message spells out "eefdbg alibi behind hifi in bedroom". I don't understand the first word of the message.

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Jamie
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Re: Poor Willy  
« Reply #3 on: Aug 26th, 2003, 3:24am »
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The first 'word' isn't a word. I wanted to make the encoding unambiguous, so that it would be possible to distinguish, for example, between 'nowhere' and 'now here'. The first few words of the puzzle let you do that (as well as making most people give up trying the obvious encoding when it doesn't seem to work!)
 
Now, how should the first few words be interpreted?
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Re: Poor Willy  
« Reply #4 on: Aug 26th, 2003, 10:29am »
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"eefdbg alibi behind hifi in bedroom"
 
The first letters are numbers. Separate them like this:
 
"5 56427 alibi behind hifi in bedroom"
 
The first one gives the length of the following sequence. The following sequence gives the lengths of all the words, and then the words follow.
 
It would have been simpler if you'd just imagined spaces being the 27th character ... Wink
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Re: Poor Willy  
« Reply #5 on: Aug 26th, 2003, 11:23am »
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on Aug 26th, 2003, 10:29am, James Fingas wrote:
"It would have been simpler if you'd just imagined spaces being the 27th character ... Wink

 
Poor old Willy was having enough trouble finding 18 letter words! It's just as well he hadn't hidden the evidence underneath his xylophone! Besides, I didn't want to make it simple  Smiley
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Re: Poor Willy  
« Reply #6 on: Aug 26th, 2003, 11:32am »
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C'mon, won't you please come up with a 27-letter word? You did so well with the 18-letter one!
 
I'm sure he could have worked anachronistificatorializing in there somewhere ... or unrepresentationalistically.
« Last Edit: Aug 26th, 2003, 11:38am by James Fingas » IP Logged

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Re: Poor Willy  
« Reply #7 on: Aug 26th, 2003, 11:43am »
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I must confess that many of the writing credits for that puzzle go to my good friend grep. And he's come up trumps again: ethylenediaminetetraacetate has 27 letters, but it might seem a bit forced to have to use it every five or six words.
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Re: Poor Willy  
« Reply #8 on: Aug 27th, 2003, 1:06am »
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on Aug 26th, 2003, 11:43am, Jamie wrote:
ethylenediaminetetraacetate has 27 letters, but it might seem a bit forced to have to use it every five or six words.

Plus it doesn't really make sense, right? Ethylene can have at most four substitutes for the hydrogen atoms, but ethylenediaminetetraacetate seems to have six. Huh
« Last Edit: Aug 27th, 2003, 1:09am by wowbagger » IP Logged

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Re: Poor Willy   EDTA.gif
« Reply #9 on: Aug 27th, 2003, 2:48am »
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ethylenediaminetetraacetate = EDTA  
I think, like many industrial chemicals, it's badly named..
« Last Edit: Aug 27th, 2003, 2:56am by towr » IP Logged


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Re: Poor Willy  
« Reply #10 on: Aug 27th, 2003, 3:47am »
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on Aug 27th, 2003, 2:48am, towr wrote:
ethylenediaminetetraacetate = EDTA

Never heard of that before.
 
Quote:
I think, like many industrial chemicals, it's badly named..

Well, I don't know much about the English chemical nomenclature (and my knowledge of the German one is very rusty), but I found an alternative that sounds more reasonable: "ethylene diamine tetraacetic acid".
« Last Edit: Aug 27th, 2003, 3:49am by wowbagger » IP Logged

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Re: Poor Willy  
« Reply #11 on: Aug 27th, 2003, 4:39am »
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But it isn't an acid..
Since it's deprotonated and all..
 
I think EDTA is, or was, a compound in detergents to bind calcium and magnesium ions. (So they wouldn't form a solid on clothes, or the heating elements for that matter)
« Last Edit: Aug 27th, 2003, 4:43am by towr » IP Logged

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Re: Poor Willy  
« Reply #12 on: Aug 27th, 2003, 5:03am »
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on Aug 27th, 2003, 4:39am, towr wrote:
But it isn't an acid..
Since it's deprotonated and all..

Yes, you're right. So it is an acetate of some kind.
 
Does anybody know whether these N are in fact tertiary amines (nitriles?) and the "tertiary" just got lost somehow?
« Last Edit: Aug 27th, 2003, 5:06am by wowbagger » IP Logged

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Re: Poor Willy  
« Reply #13 on: Aug 27th, 2003, 5:59am »
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after a lot of searching I found the name bis[di(carboxymethyl)amino]ethane
If nothing else it more clearly conveys the structure.
Though 1,2-bis[di(carboxymethyl)amino]ethane would be even better I think (I've been out of the chemical world a bit too long to be sure anymore)
« Last Edit: Aug 27th, 2003, 6:05am by towr » IP Logged

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Re: EDTA  
« Reply #14 on: Aug 31st, 2003, 1:23pm »
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on Aug 27th, 2003, 4:39am, towr wrote:
I think EDTA is, or was, a compound in detergents to bind calcium and magnesium ions.

It's a chelator for metallic cations. It was used earlier in nuclear medicine, bound to 51-Cr, in order to measure the glomerular filtration rate (GFR), from which you can estimate the kidney function. Nowadays, in medicine it is mainly used in its pure form for blood vials, capturing Calcium ions and thus preventing the blood from coagulation.
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Re: Poor Willy  
« Reply #15 on: Oct 19th, 2003, 9:11am »
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on Jul 31st, 2003, 5:12pm, Icarus wrote:

Gee, I wish I could determine pi.

 
How I like a drink, alcoholic of course, after the heavy lectures involving quantum mechanics.  All of thy geometry, Herr Planck, is fairly hard...
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