201501310930-1300: The Hunt @ MBS - walkthrough

tags: cpyaf, jamesfu

Day #0

  • The adventure began with this email invitation puzzle:
  • A keen eye would immediately notice characters missing (red+bold)
  • Dear YAFer,
    A very good day to you.
    You are cordially invited to the estate of Mr Squeaky
    for a morning of thrilling puzzle solving.
    Please arrive on the morning of Saturday,
    Jan, 31st, promptly at 9.30am.
    Yes, it's this Saturday - 31/01/15.
    Mr. Squeak apologizes for the short notice
    and anticipates your presence.
    Wit. Courage. Valiance. Resilience.
    Lacking any of these will prove costly.
    Look for more clues.
    Yours sincerely,
    Mr. Squeaky
    P.S. The case is sensitive.
  • After registering & noting the details & directions, it's time to start on the Reading Exercise!
  • do you
    eat deep meat
    chill raw bat
    on long yachts
    eel with pear rot
    in jars
    new odd
    man scan plan
    are far too
    cool for
    not bliss
    sure green
    none of bit
    dare not put out
    rare ton spare tool
    egg chick flew
    vase hair
    eek fool
    share some blue stew
  • Putting them all together spells decodeinmacronsandbreves, ie. decode in macrons and breves
  • Apparently short & long vowel sounds can be detected via IPA; online transcription tool here yields:
  • duː juː iːt diːp miːt ʧɪl rɔː bæt ɒn lɒŋ jɒts drɪŋk iːl wɪð peə rɒt ɪn ʤɑːz njuː ɒd mæn skæn plæn ɑː fɑː tuː kuːl fɔː rɛd uːz nɒt blɪs ʃʊə griːn æz nʌn ɒv bɪt deə nɒt pʊt aʊt brɒnz reə tʌn speə tuːl ɛg ʧɪk fluː vɑːz heə eek fuːl ʃeə sʌm bluː stjuː
  • "If the IPA spelling of the vowel consists of two different symbols, or one symbol followed by the length marker ː , the vowel is long." [source]
  • Doesn't short & long remind of something, like Morse Code ?
  • How about the assignment {short vowel word -> .; long vowel word -> -} ?
  • Trying it produces:
  • ...which, when decoded & prettified, becomes: Morse Can Sometimes Be Yummy
  • I ate up one of the Oreo cookies in the box, not knowing that it was supposed to be the first clue; and I don't have a photo of it either, but anyway, as promised in the admin instructions, the Reading Exercise was useful in preparing to parse more (yes, you guessed it!) Morse Code!
  • <insert missing photo here>
  • Solving that Oreo cookies arrangement -> Morse Code -> English words -> URL path, would result in: wherelinesmeet
  • The Meet looks a lot like Youtube's logo; so indeed those are video_ids.

  • [img] Train Network Map
  • Could have easily guessed that the next location was Bayfront (station DT16), lying at the intersection of the Downtown & Circle MRT lines. Visiting bayfront, we find [Clue #1]:
  • Looking at the bold letters reads: NEAR EXIT B (of DT16 Bayfront) LTRIESTINO NEAR STUFF SHIP
  • Looking at the italic letters reads: DECODE WITH SHIP, DASH TH[E]N DOT
  • Overlaying the following grid over the cargo in L TRIESTINO
  • ...so echo ! [Clue #2]
  • time to head to the lily pond, esp. the trees by Olympic Walk, & look up flags of the world.
    1. Australia
    2. Angola
    3. Argentina
    4. Austria
    5. Aruba
    6. Afghanistan
    7. Algeria
    8. Antigua and Barbuda
    9. Andorran
    10. Albania
    11. American Samoa
    12. Armenia
  • (left panel) Filling in from the layout of the plaques beside the trees, like:
  • ...yields: <some missing info here> 22 15 18 19 05 23, or rather, vortex
    1. "James Watson, Francis Crick": Discovery of DNA Double Helix
    2. "bridge": Helix Bridge (previously known as the Double Helix Bridge)
    3. "icy crater": Skating rink
    4. "...ascended all the way to the sky": take the long escalator up
    5. "looked to their left": well, what it says
    6. "...---...": SOS in Morse Code
  • <some hints given>...birkenstock
  • from:
  • Ehzduh wkh lghv ri Pdufk
    Vsqerw, gsyrxvcqir, erh pszivw
    Ny xjjrx yt rj rtxy xywfslj ymfy rjs xmtzqi kjfw;
    Wkh olyh-orqj gdb.
    M eq rsx keqiwsqi: M hs pego wsqi tevx
    Xzhm rjs rd kwnjsix ymfs jsjrnjx
    Kh lv d guhdphu; ohwxv ohdyh klp: sdvv.
    Vsqerw, gsyrxvcqir, pirh qi csyv ievw
    Frgnynts'x ijgy nx ufni.
    Pajmksktz! znua gxz lrkj zu hxazoyn hkgyzy
  • ...wrote some code...to:
  • <offset>: <deciphered text>
    3: Beware the ides of March
    4: Romans, countrymen, and lovers
    5: It seems to me most strange that men should fear;
    3: The live-long day.
    4: I am not gamesome: I do lack some part
    5: Such men my friends than enemies
    3: He is a dreamer; letus leave him: pass.
    4: Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears
    5: Ambition's debt is paid.
    6: Judgement! thou art fled to brutish beasts
  • => taken from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, so on to britishindia
  • since ____: looks like a year would fit in there.
  • brute-forcing from 1500-1900 leads to 1747
  • Semaphore Flag Signalling System
  • translates to: TWG [Clue #3]
  • moving to the TWG shop location reveals that the numbers are, in fact, the codes to different types of tea.
  • query TWG website via format @ https://www.twgtea.com/product/details?code=T${code}:
  • 1002	[R]wanda BP1
    6049	[A]mi Thé
     637	[I]mperial Pu-Erh
    0015	[N]umber 15 Tea
    3000	[B]reakfast Earl Grey
    6151	[O]cean Voyage Tea
    6083	[W]ater Flower Tea
    6075	[L]over's Tea
  • the first letters of each of these spells: RAINBOWL
  • Final Destination gathered from [clue1] [clue2] [clue3]: Rain Oculus