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Caravel Forum : Caravel Boards : Contests : The Secret. (Our contest for April.)
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techant
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icon Re: The Reckoning. (0)  
quote:
ErikH2000 wrote:
I made a false statement earlier to keep the contest going and some people caught it. At least one person was disappointed, and I am sorry that it had that effect. I'll post again later with an explanation.
-Erik

I will spill the beans, I was the person who was "disappointed". I had been working on decoding the border when I came across that infamous post. After I thought the border letters were elimated I turned to the map. That was when I submitted the answer that it was the ship which now appered on the map replacing the two stick people that were once there. I saw that it was the same ship as the one used in the Carvel logo in the lower left corner.

When I saw clue #5 saying it was the border I thoughtfully authored an email to Erik. (He said he would post it later) I wanted to know his thinking behind the posting he had made because it seemed so out of character for him to say something untrue like that. While I was a little miffted that I had missed about a day of working on the letters mostly I was just disappointed that he had said anything at all. He did answer me right away with an explanation, which he will also post later.

I went back to working on the border for the next few days and I still came up blank. Oh, I came up with the letters
Click here to view the secret text


But this was really too far off to submit so I kept trying I even resorted to looking at all the letters and trying to see if any groups of them made any words. The '*' periods which marks sentences just didn't seem to help but kept getting in the way instead. I didn't try the every n'th letter idea cuz I wasn't sure where to start doing that from, although I did think it would use a counter clockwise rotation.

When I went back to the clues and saw that Erik thought it would only take an hour I realized that after my 20+ hours I was no closer than when I started. So my last submission was still the boat I think unless Erik counts my letter where I listed letters.

I was comforted to realize that the infamous post sending me off track had in the end not stopped me after all because I do not think I would have ever gotten the words figured out. So I await the answer...PLEASE... :w00t

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DROD RPG Released!! You must try it out it is Great!!
Click here to view the secret text

04-25-2005 at 08:07 AM
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squeekie
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I drew this after the 3'rd hint.Believe me you forum peers standing as witnesses.I had the idea but not the answer. So I procrastinated. :?

[Edited by squeekie at Local Time:04-25-2005 at 09:18 AM: picture didn't come through]

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04-25-2005 at 09:11 AM
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Mattcrampy
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Fickensass -> Pickensass: this came up during testing, as Fickensass is apparantly quite rude in German. We eventually changed it, and it'll change on the site.

Matt

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04-25-2005 at 12:10 PM
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Krishh
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I eyed the letters suspiciously the first time I played the demo, and spend some 15 minutes on them back then, and they were the first thing that came to my mind when I saw the contest, but I only started deciphering them by the third clue, at which point I was sure the secret was there, but after spending about an hour on it with nothing to show for it, I gave up, and with the last 2 clues not revealing anything new, never tried again.
04-25-2005 at 12:32 PM
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MeckMeck GRE
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I didnt get it. At first i thought you have to add random letters. THen I tried to fill in Journey to rooted hold but it dosent fit. Then I mentioned the characters and tried to fill in their names in the gaps. However it still didnt work. THen I tried to add them to the rows their hands/weapons are pointing. No result.....
04-25-2005 at 12:41 PM
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bdwing
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The guessing part is over already?

I don't know why but I thought I had another day to work on this.

But I must admit, I was not even getting close to figuring out the secret. I thought that it probably was the architect's creed written in sihmpuhl with blank squares that needed characters put there.

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04-25-2005 at 01:16 PM
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RuAdam
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I din't really think I found the secret. I knew that the border letters have to be decoded, but I'm not good at word puzzles. Two days after the fifth clue this was my best guess:
Click here to view the secret text

I don't really think this is the wright answer :D , but it was fun to participate anyway.
04-25-2005 at 01:25 PM
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stigant
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I realized it had to be the Simpuhl Englush around the outside of the title screen, but I had no idea how to read it. I had never seen the SE for dummies, and I didn't have a beta-testing certificate, so all I had to go on was the worm speaker which looked fairly indecipherable to me. Plus, looking at some of the posts above, it sounds like you had to scramble the letters as well (how could I even begin to guess at that??). After the second clue, I did submit a guess, but it was obviously wrong as it had nothing to do with the title screen (clue 3).

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04-25-2005 at 02:02 PM
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Watcher
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I actually started thinking a bit about this contest before the first clue was revealed. There were quite a few hints in the dev team's posts in this thread: Erik put in the secret without the rest of the dev team noticing, and even with the fifth clue, the secret wasn't obvious. Further, the secret would have to look somewhat meaningful or decorative even to someone unaware of this contest, unless the plan was to remove it in a patch.

My first idea was that Erik had put some obscure code in the scripting for the first three levels, so I spent some time running around in odd locations. I gave that up when the second clue was revealed.

So the secret was somewhere else. It could be hidden in the help files; I looked through some of them, but found nothing unusual. In any case, I didn't know if the DBOD could display some sort of secret text.

That left the bitmaps. The logo was the first one I looked at, because there seemed to be a lot of small letters in its background. I didn't find anything there. I looked at the map and found nothing unusual, so I dropped that thought as well. I knew already that the name "Pickensass" was changed when a German tester brought it up, because I remembered the thread for it, but I guess most of the forum didn't know since this thread was (and is) in the JtRH Beta forum.

So I took a look at the border. I remembered Erik saying that the symbols were meaningless. Looking over them, I didn't believe him. Out of twenty symbols, five were merely dots, and the remaining fifteen contained four pairs of duplicates. Several common letters weren't represented at all. So I concentrated on deciphering these symbols.

In other Sihmpuhl Englihsh texts, the dots had represented periods, but it seemed reasonable that they would represent spaces here. With six vowels and five dots, that meant six monosyllabic words. Taking the symbols in steps of 3, 7 or 9 around the border didn't produce anything sensible, so I wrote the symbols down and started to play around with them a bit. Even knowing the number of words, there were a very large number of possibilities. I tried building something around the fragments "roach nest" and "is in the", but came up with nothing.

One thing that threw me off was that in the Wormspeaker, is is spelled as ih z, not ih s, but I eventually decided to ignore this. The kh character also confused me; the best I could guess for its pronunciation was the ch in German ich, but that sound isn't used in English. I eventually found the character in the word much in the Wormspeaker, so apparently it's actually pronounced tsh.

I found the solution by accident; I was looking for a pattern with the word the. Counting from th to eh was four steps; another four yielded r, then a dot, then ih. That made sense, but I couldn't count another four steps, so I guessed that I should skip the block I'd already used and continue with the next one, s. Continuing like that got me the sentence "There is so much in store".

And that was my first and only guess, submitted to Erik a few hours after the revelation of the fourth clue.

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04-25-2005 at 02:22 PM
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gamer_extreme_101
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Gah! I spent a good couple of days trying to figure it out. I had noticed when I first got the demo that it seemed to make out some sort of phrase in it, but had never bothered to figure it out. After about a week of trying to rearrange and decipher the thing, I just gave up and decided to throw the towel in and let smarter people than I give it a shot. I'm amazed at how clever all of you were and how you were able to find it so quickly. My hat goes off to you all.

I was tempted to submit an entry along the lines of "Erik is my hero" in order to see if I could get a bonus prize, but I decided against it. It still stands, though. :)

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04-25-2005 at 02:45 PM
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Dali
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Yeah I think we have to use that language, the 'Simphuhl english'. But first, If you have a good vision, You must look The left side and the right side; the north side with the south side.
Then, I think You combine the right side with the left side; the north with the south. So, Here's what you find:
1-S(t) I(h) K R S T(h) R S
2-M I N O E(h) O U(h)
(It's maybe totally wrong what i am doing.)

I saw that the 1- Contains many consonants and a few vowels, and the 2- the inverse. Maybe we combine the 1- and the 2-; But no meaning.
The 5th clue says that the message requires decoding. So, that means we will have to use a special language or something, so maybe the 'Simphul englihsh'.
This language is decoded by sub-letters, that are small letters written in the 'big letters'. I noticed that only the 'S' in the east side contains a small 't', and others only 'h'.
Even with all these informations, I cannot decode the message.
Oh I remarked also something else:

Look at the north and the south side.
There are 12 rocks in the both sides.
In the north side, the 7th rock is exactly the same as the 11th rock.
In the south side, the 8th one is exactly the same as the 12th.
With this constatation, I can say that maybe the message requires other letters to find it( it still can be really stupid what I am saying).
That's all.

-Dali

04-25-2005 at 03:08 PM
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krammer
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I toyed with the idea of the border stones but then Erik said it wasn't, so I gave up for a bit. Then I found it was again...

I got the Sihmpuhl Ehnglihsh characters quickly enough - I was advantaged in that way in that I was one of the few who spent time trying to decipher the Wormspeaker and the blackboard originally, plus I had my AE beta certificate.
I got as far as
Click here to view the secret text
I realised that it couldn't be a substitution cipher (or at least it would be very unlikely) as it's a phonetic language, so that meant it was transposition. Unfortunately after about half an hour of getting nowhere I gave up and thought there must be an additional trick to it. Now I see I was right all along and just not persistent enough. Oh well.

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04-25-2005 at 03:59 PM
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Malarame
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Gah! Naturally, with my luck, the week I have spring break and go on a road trip is the same week that all the clues are given and the guessing takes place.

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04-25-2005 at 05:34 PM
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Fafnir
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I basically noted that the stones around the border were in Sihmpuhl, spent a while reading The Wormspeaker to work out the basic rules, then realised I couldn't work out the basic rules(!) I thought the key lay in combining opposite sides somehow, since the left side has blanks in rows the right side has letters and vice versa. I eventually gave up - I could never have got it, though.

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04-25-2005 at 05:48 PM
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Oneiromancer
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quote:
Watcher wrote:
There were quite a few hints in the dev team's posts in this thread: Erik put in the secret without the rest of the dev team noticing


Hmm, I think there might be a misinterpretation somewhere. Erik pointed the original secret out to all the dev team when it first went in, and asked us if we could solve it easily. I'm not sure if any of us did solve it, which was good enough for Erik. ;) This was quite a ways back in development so by the time this contest came around, I didn't make the connection right away. I can't speak for the others though of course.

Game on,

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04-25-2005 at 06:00 PM
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Penumbra
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Well, I certainly remember seeing those characters on April 1st and wondering what they were. Did I remember them when the contest came around though? Nope, not at all. I unfortunately had to go on a business trip, so I only saw up to clue four. For some reason, I was convinced that it had to do with the map scrolling in the background. I spend quite a long time staring at that map trying to find a problem, omission or something. Then, I come back and see that last clue…. I wanted to kick myself! All that time spent at the title page and I didn’t even notice those tiles again.
04-25-2005 at 06:34 PM
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Nillo
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I admit I never noticed those characters at all before the contest. Then I forgot to check for new clues until after the last clue had been revealed, and even after that, I still couldn't make out anything from those letters. I thought you should somehow combine the letters on the different sides of the screen, but apparently there was more to it than that. So, after staring at the screen for half an hour, taking notes and scrambling the letters, I gave up and started doing something else.

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04-25-2005 at 06:50 PM
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Zmann
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I showed up a bit late, when 3 of the clues had already been revealed. I looked in a few places around the DROD game, including the help file and the settings screen. While I was watching the map on the title screen, I noticed the letters on the title screen's borders. I had looked at the Wormspeaker before, and I got a thank you in the mail from Erik for helping on the beta, so I knew how to decode it. I scrambled the letters, and didn't come up with anything, so I decided to stop. The fourth and fifth clues just affirmed what I had thought, but I didn't actually try to figure it out after that.
04-25-2005 at 08:10 PM
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swann_88
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what did I do?
came in after the last clue was revealed and read them all
made 20 print screens which are now scattered over every spot I sat down in the next day or so
about 15 lost copies into staring at the letters I finally noticed the extra lower case characters
I wrote Erik to ask if they were significant
I knew if they were he wouldn't say yes
but if they weren't he might say no
he said he couldn't say so I assumed they were
(I still don't really read that one with the S as t)
the Kh combo convinced me it was not regular English
at this point having stupidly misread the ending date as Apr 28th I took the weekend off to finish lvl 22-24
and when I came back this morning to make more print screens I realized I was too late

04-25-2005 at 08:16 PM
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Conker
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I got a late start on decoding the characters around the outside, because I was really sure, at first, that it was the "Sekrit" river, on the map. Sekrit... Secret. But clue number 5 put paid to that theory. Anyway, after some completely hopeless attempts, I eventually stumbled upon the Wormspeaker thing, and, later, the post in the forums about decoding Sihmpuhl Englihsh. I wrote down all the different sounds, and after MUCH fiddling around, and some very shady manipulation, I got the sentence
Click here to view the secret text

Doesn't look like it's right though - I'd bet on the one that everyone else seems to have gotten.

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04-25-2005 at 08:57 PM
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Tim
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To keep this post short, I will only say that I got stuck after decoding the simpuhl english letters. (I did read the wormverse and the blackboard, and the SE for dummies.) But it was too hard for me to form a sentence with those letters.

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04-25-2005 at 09:02 PM
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Speicus
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I figured out that the answer was somewhere in the border stones fairly early, around clue 2 or 3, but past that, couldn't figure anything out. Frustrating! I tried anagrams, caesar ciphers, substitution ciphers, vigenere ciphers, and combinations of the above. Nothing.

Of course if I'd known about Sihmpuhl Englihsh (and here I think new people were at a slightly unfair disadvantage) I might've gotten further.

OH WELL AT LEAST I TRIED

[Edited by Speicus at Local Time:04-25-2005 at 09:47 PM]
04-25-2005 at 09:39 PM
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ErikH2000
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Techant, I didn't mean that I would post your e-mail and my reply. I meant that I would reply back on the board in a similar way as I had to your e-mail. You are welcome to post your e-mail and my response if you like.

The explanation...

So a little bit after I announced the contest, Phweengee made a post asking what the deal was with the symbols on the border. He didn't know this might screw up the contest--I don't blame him for anything. Schik alerted me and I was really wondering what to do next. Cancel the contest? Start the contest early? I talked about it with Schik a bit and decided to wait and see if ignoring the post would work. I was initially encouraged by md5i and Abbyzzmal answering the other questions Phweengee had asked. Maybe attention would be drawn away from the border symbols? Nope, Phweengee asked again about the border symbols the next day.

People here are very persistent about figuring things out. I figured if I didn't do something then you smarties would solve the puzzle before we even got around to revealing clues. If that happened then the contest would be pointless and I'd need to cancel it. April was a very busy month with the release of DROD: Journey to Rooted Hold. If I had canceled the first contest, it's doubtful I'd be able to find a replacement for it in time. It's a point of pride for me to have a contest every month. I really didn't want to break the tradition!

So I lied. Yes, I said that the border symbols were meaningless, and we all know that they had this secret message in them now. I think in hindsight I still would have done it, because it allowed us to have some enjoyment with the April contest.

I'm not exactly apologetic. I wish that Techant had not been disappointed, but any direction I went, somebody would have been disappointed. If there is a lesson for me, it's just to be cautious about contest announcements and have some imagination for things that could go wrong so they can be avoided.

I'll be announcing winners tomorrow!

-Erik

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04-25-2005 at 10:35 PM
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wackhead_uk
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I was going to try and make a guess, but after trying to decipher all of the sihmpuhl englihsh I had a slight problem.

My brain exploded into little pieces.

So I didn't guess in the end.
04-25-2005 at 10:48 PM
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Phweengee
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This is a forum for a puzzle game. You gotta expect us to try to figure things out :) Seariously though, I'm sorry I nearly derailed your contest.

Just to explain the inner workings of my mind: I have a copy of The Hobbit where the cover art has runic letters on the border, very very similar to what you did with JtRH's screen. After progressing into the story and reading the scene where Gandalf explains the writings on the map, I had a very solid primer to decode the the border runes on the cover, which I did, and learned some new rules too. It turns out it was the "One Ring to rule them all..." prophecy. So yeah, I was geared to try to decipher your code, because it was so similar to what I had done already. Yours was a lot harder:)

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04-25-2005 at 11:37 PM
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ErikH2000
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quote:
Phweengee wrote:
This is a forum for a puzzle game. You gotta expect us to try to figure things out :)

Believe me, I expect it. You guys have a history of surprising me there.
quote:
Seariously though, I'm sorry I nearly derailed your contest.

I didn't hold it against you, of course. :)

-Erik

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04-25-2005 at 11:43 PM
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techant
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Either do I :)



Amazing Contest Discription: PRIZES FOR EVERYONE!
Click here to view the secret text



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DROD RPG Released!! You must try it out it is Great!!
Click here to view the secret text


[Last edited by techant at 10-22-2007 12:26 PM]
04-26-2005 at 04:05 AM
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techant
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Either do I :)


Phweengee - Did you ever figure out the answer yourself? And what did you get?

Erik I could see you were in a really tough spot, hope you never have that choice to make again. I will leave the posting as it stands now. If anyone wants to see the emails they can ask me.

[Edited by techant at Local Time:04-26-2005 at 04:09 AM: Updated]

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DROD RPG Released!! You must try it out it is Great!!
Click here to view the secret text

04-26-2005 at 04:07 AM
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acrobat
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I managed to get as far as identifying it as SIhMpUhL Englihsh, and decoded all the things on the stones (even the Kh which was pretty challenging to identify). I tried rearranging the letters to make some sort of sentence, but couldn't come up with anything reasonable.

The closest I got was
Click here to view the secret text
After looking at the information posted by others, where I went wrong was in interpreting the 5 dots to mean a 5-word phrase.

On the other hand, I didn't spend all that much time on it, as this weekend saw some friends come in from out of town, including a former roommate whose tour of duty in the army is concluding. So I don't feel too bad about not figuring this one out.
04-26-2005 at 06:53 AM
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Zaratustra00
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Argh. I had figured one had to fill the spaces between the letters. The fact that was nearly impossible I just attributed to having English as a second language.
04-26-2005 at 07:31 AM
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