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riddles >> hard >> Poor Willy
(Message started by: Jamie on Jul 31st, 2003, 3:56am)

Title: Poor Willy
Post by Jamie on Jul 31st, 2003, 3:56am
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: [hide]Every word counts[/hide].
Big hint: [hide]I wish I could determine pi[/hide].

Title: Re: Poor Willy
Post by Icarus on Jul 31st, 2003, 5:12pm
Shouldn't that 2nd hint be: [hide]Gee, I wish I could determine pi.[/hide] Which works even better for those mixed-up folks east of the pond.

Title: Re: Poor Willy
Post by SWF on Aug 25th, 2003, 10:57pm
I have something that makes some sense, although those clues caused me more confusion than help:

[hide]
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.[/hide]

Title: Re: Poor Willy
Post by Jamie on Aug 26th, 2003, 3:24am
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?

Title: Re: Poor Willy
Post by James Fingas on Aug 26th, 2003, 10:29am
"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 ... ;)

Title: Re: Poor Willy
Post by Jamie on Aug 26th, 2003, 11:23am

on 08/26/03 at 10:29:25, James Fingas wrote:
"It would have been simpler if you'd just imagined spaces being the 27th character ... ;)


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  :)

Title: Re: Poor Willy
Post by James Fingas on Aug 26th, 2003, 11:32am
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.

Title: Re: Poor Willy
Post by Jamie on Aug 26th, 2003, 11:43am
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.

Title: Re: Poor Willy
Post by wowbagger on Aug 27th, 2003, 1:06am

on 08/26/03 at 11:43:49, 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. ???

Title: Re: Poor Willy
Post by towr on Aug 27th, 2003, 2:48am
ethylenediaminetetraacetate = EDTA
I think, like many industrial chemicals, it's badly named..

Title: Re: Poor Willy
Post by wowbagger on Aug 27th, 2003, 3:47am

on 08/27/03 at 02:48:05, 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".

Title: Re: Poor Willy
Post by towr on Aug 27th, 2003, 4:39am
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)

Title: Re: Poor Willy
Post by wowbagger on Aug 27th, 2003, 5:03am

on 08/27/03 at 04:39:15, 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?

Title: Re: Poor Willy
Post by towr on Aug 27th, 2003, 5:59am
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)

Title: Re: EDTA
Post by Stefan Kneifel on Aug 31st, 2003, 1:23pm

on 08/27/03 at 04:39:15, 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.

Title: Re: Poor Willy
Post by BNC on Oct 19th, 2003, 9:11am

on 07/31/03 at 17:12:07, 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...
:P



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