## Wednesday, September 21, 2016

### FCRU%K1: It's Turtles All The Way Down ANSWER

Despite an error in the puzzle I got a lot of solved logs on this week's Mystery Monday puzzle. If you weren't one of them the answer is after the break!

This puzzle used the concept of nested encryptions. Each encryption revealed a new bit of cryptic text that also needed to be deciphered.

The puzzle started with the following text: IyQjKCMjI14jJSMoIyMjISMhIyYjQCMjIyUjXiMm The instructions said that you would need to find the "Base of the 64th Tree." This is a reference to Base 64, a binary-to-text encoding scheme. If you used a Base 64 Decoder (like this one) you get this text: #\$#(###^#%#(###!#!#&#@###%#^#&.

The next instruction was to get a "key from the board." Or a keyboard. If you look at your computer keyboard for the symbols, and swap out the numbers associated with them you decode for the next step. For instance the first symbol is #, which is a 3 on the keyboard. That decode yields: 343933363539333131373233353637.

originally had a mistake in the puzzle that said you next step was to "tag the eighth base," but it should have said "sixteenth." Many people have told me that they simply removed every other number (all 3s) starting with the first and got an answer, which is true. I had intended the next step to be a Hexadecimal to ASCII conversion, which would have yielded: 493659311723567 or 49° 36.593'N  117° 23.567'E.

And what do you find there? Apropos to the puzzle you find a giant matroyshka, or Russian nesting dolls. The doll stands in Manzhouli, Hulunbuir, China, near the point where the Chinese, Russian and Mongolian borders meet. The doll's face are painted with three beautiful girls symbolizing the three countries. In front of the doll is a musical fountain plaza, and a collection of smaller matroyshka, eggs, and others sculptures. The plaza is meant to symbolize the relationship between the three countries, and the importance of  Manzhouli, the largest land port entry into China.

How did you do with the puzzle?