The World's Hardest 15 Rounder

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Johnny Canuck
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The World's Hardest 15 Rounder

Post by Johnny Canuck » Sat Jan 18, 2014 3:03 pm

My friend from work, Darren Vigenère, emailed me this recap yesterday. He's always been a mysterious guy -- wearing ludicrous clothes in the office, quoting Shakespeare all the time, using Windows Vista -- but this really takes the cake. I only introduced him to Countdown last week and he's already sent me what he claims to be the hardest 15-rounder in the world.

I asked him what was up with it, and he just smiled and walked away; even though I ran into him a couple more times that afternoon, I was never able to talk to him. During my coffee break, he was on the phone, carrying out one of his usual super-loud conversations. I couldn't help overhearing a few words of it. "My schedule is so weird next month... Only the first and third will be normal. Only 'round the first and third."

When we were leaving the office, I glimpsed part of an Excel spreadsheet he was making. The file name was something like "Closest Solution", and a couple of numbers were already filled in. They said:
0123456789
1234567890
2345678901
3456789012
I couldn't read any more than that, because Darren came straight up to me. "Stop looking over my shoulder!" he demanded. "What I do is my own business. If you want any... keys to success, kindly look behind you."

So I sighed, caught the bus home and opened the odd file again. In case anyone has any ideas, I've posted the recap here.

Round 1: M F A U T T R E E
Round 2: I I B W I I I W P
Round 3: 4, 5, 1, 1, 6, 6. Target: 964.
Round 4: Q W S L Q Z W H M
Round 5: V D H T W R H Q B
Round 6: 11, 19, 1, 1, 0, 70. Target: 287.
Round 7: K P Y I O V V B Q
Round 8: W A W R M O A O C
Round 9: 4, 4, 9, 6, 6, 0. Target: 663.
Round 10: V K S O U I D Z D
Round 11: R P R R I T W S S
Round 12: J X Q T E C Z W W
Round 13: H Q N X U H X V Y
Round 14: 83, 38, 51, 0, 1, 9. Target: 265.
Round 15: R F V L L S L W B (conundrum)

~~~~~

If you can correctly solve the conundrum, you're a genius. You receive TRIPLE genius points for finding a solution to the final numbers game. I'll begin releasing clues for this puzzle in... maybe 48 hours if no one's solved it yet. Read the introduction carefully.
Q: What's black and white and 3D?
A: A zebra in Blender.

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Johnny Canuck
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Re: The World's Hardest 15 Rounder

Post by Johnny Canuck » Mon Jan 20, 2014 11:07 pm

Hint #1:
The name "Darren Vigenère" in the introduction offered a clue as to how to crack the code. The last name refers to Vigenère ciphers, which can be encoded and decoded here.

(Incidentally, why do they have to clarify that "This page is for amusement only"? Odd.)
Q: What's black and white and 3D?
A: A zebra in Blender.

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Mark James
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Re: The World's Hardest 15 Rounder

Post by Mark James » Tue Jan 21, 2014 2:06 am

Johnny Canuck wrote:(Incidentally, why do they have to clarify that "This page is for amusement only"? Odd.)
Because so little of what's posted could be construed as amusing?

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Mark Deeks
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Re: The World's Hardest 15 Rounder

Post by Mark Deeks » Tue Jan 21, 2014 8:57 am

15 rounders aren't coded messages so I'm not sure what's going on here.
Eoin Monaghan wrote:
He may not be liked on here, but you have to give some credit to Mark

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Matt Morrison
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Re: The World's Hardest 15 Rounder

Post by Matt Morrison » Tue Jan 21, 2014 9:07 am

I'm not taking part because I'm dumb but this makes me so happy to see. Nice one Johnny, and I hope some of the more intelligent folk jump on it and give this a crack.

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Jon Corby
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Re: The World's Hardest 15 Rounder

Post by Jon Corby » Tue Jan 21, 2014 9:23 am

INB4GCSOLVE

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Andy Platt
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Re: The World's Hardest 15 Rounder

Post by Andy Platt » Tue Jan 21, 2014 2:58 pm

Think I speak for everyone when I say CBFA.

Sorry :)

Heather Styles

Re: The World's Hardest 15 Rounder

Post by Heather Styles » Tue Jan 21, 2014 4:24 pm

Is Darren another clue? :geek:

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Johnny Canuck
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Re: The World's Hardest 15 Rounder

Post by Johnny Canuck » Tue Jan 21, 2014 8:41 pm

Heather Styles wrote:Is Darren another clue? :geek:
Yes!
Q: What's black and white and 3D?
A: A zebra in Blender.

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Re: The World's Hardest 15 Rounder

Post by JackHurst » Thu Jan 23, 2014 12:23 am

Cool puzzle!

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