## Wednesday, April 27, 2016

### FCWWW3B: Signal to Noise ANSWER

Ready for an answer to this week's Mystery Monday puzzle? It's after the break!

This one ended up being a bit more difficult for you guys than I had anticipated. It probably didn't help that I made a mistake in the first image I posted... sorry about that!

So you were given two blocks of numbers. The hints on the page were the title (Signal to Noise) the repetition of the word signal in the description, and (very subtly) the circled number/letter string on the side, (6EQUJ5) and the word "Wow!" If you google those numbers and letters you'd quickly find links to what is known as the Wow Signal, a signal discovered by radio astronomers in the 70's. So, lots of references to "signals" and "noise."

In many ways this puzzle functions as a Cardan Grille (Page 173 in How To Puzzle Cache). By comparing the two sets of numbers you will see that there are places in the two sets where the numbers are different. The digits that appear in those locations form coords, the top set for North, the bottom set for West. The differences are marked in red here:

That gives you 0473700 and 12221068, or N 47 37.300, W 122 21.068. It's a bit unusual to start the North with a 0 but it was necessary in this puzzle to do so to balance the three digit West degrees, and the two digit North. The coordinates are the "signal" the repeated digits are the "noise."

So what do you find there? the roof of the Seattle Armory Center and.... Two giant spiders!!

In reality the two spiders are anamorphic paintings by an artist named Marlin Peterson.

The spiders are visible from the nearby tourist attraction, The Space Needle, and were done in conjunction with the Artist Trust of Washington. When the local TV station asked him what reaction he expected from the mural he said, "“The only thing I can really hope to shoot for is maybe some tears from a kid or something. Then I’ll know I did my job.” You'll find more pictures and timelapse videos of the murals being painted at that link.

So how did you do with the puzzle? This one seemed to stump a lot of you.

1. First thing I did was google the circled numbers/letters, then as I read about the Wow signal, I thought it could be a cipher and tried to find info on decoding it, then put it aside as I thought it would be too cumbersome...needed the hints to sort it out. The final GZ was kind of tricky to see, had to really zoom in close. Thanks for the help.

2. I didn't have time to solve this one but had spotted the differences between the 2 grids when I first looked, so writing the numbers down to see what I came up with would have been my next step. I was therefore on the right track to the solution without even exploring the signal/noise aspects. The important thing is that though I ignored the signal/noise references, I learnt something from the exercise ... and that's what this is all about! Thanks Cully.

REMEMBER: No spoilers!