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As part of the promotion for the original edition of Bad Monkeys, I set up a puzzle contest on the Bad Monkeys super-secret website. Over the past year a number of people have written me about it, some trolling for hints, some expressing frustration, none coming anywhere near the solution.

Then last Thursday I got an email from Jutta Degener, a programmer for a San Francisco start-up called Metaweb, which runs freebase.com, "an open, shared database of the world's knowledge." Jutta and a few of her coworkers cracked the puzzle over the course of several days. Jutta's story of how they did it is pretty cool, but it also contains spoilers, so for now I'll just say that having multiple smart people to attack a problem never hurts.

Because the Bad Monkeys paperback is coming out tomorrow, I'm going to leave the puzzle contest running, with a second-place prize for whoever solves it next. Go ahead and take a crack at it if you haven't already.

In the meantime, congratulations to Jutta, James, Jon, Micah, Nix, Praveen, Tim, and Tyler, and the lucky shareholders who benefit from their cleverness. Metaweb / freebase.com -- for all your puzzle-solving needs.


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 31st, 2008 07:21 am (UTC)
Any chance you'd like to throw a couple of hints my way?

Oh, and I'm in love with your work, blahblahblah. I'm sure you hear that stuff all the time. Oh, except I accidentally stole Bad Monkeys from the library. So that might be a new one.

Sep. 2nd, 2008 11:06 pm (UTC)
Man, this is killing me. I've got all but three clues, and I'm pretty sure what most of the answer is. It's just these last two letters, argh!

Loved the book, by the way. My wife read it a few days ago and gave it to me when she was done, saying, "you have to read this now." And she was right.
Sep. 3rd, 2008 05:08 am (UTC)
Oh... there's more than the one puzzle. *cough* Never mind.
Sep. 4th, 2008 07:07 am (UTC)
And now we seem to have hit an impasse. Oh no!
Oct. 16th, 2008 06:03 am (UTC)
This is killing me.
Any chance you could confirm that the authentication at the "Enter PASSWORD" link is still working? Or that it's where I should even be going? I've solved the "Where's Jane?" and "Monkey Business" crosswords, but none of the passwords I can pull out of the yellow letters are getting me any farther than I've been for the last month or two. I don't really want to write a script to brute-force my way to the next level, especially if that link's just a red herring, or broken.
Oct. 16th, 2008 04:29 pm (UTC)
Re: This is killing me.
Yes, the puzzle is still solvable.
Oct. 17th, 2008 03:16 am (UTC)
Re: This is killing me.
Damn, then it _is_ my problem. Back to the drawing board.
Oct. 18th, 2008 02:11 am (UTC)
Yay! A friend figured out the password, and I finished the third puzzle today. I've dropped you a line.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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