Circles.Life recently ran a very interesting campaign for 9/9, which was basically a detective puzzle and the top prize was a 2D1N Staycation!
As someone who thoroughly enjoys Escape Rooms, all I could say was:
Me and my friend (mostly my friend though 🤣) managed to solve the puzzle in the end and actually won one of the data freedom packages, but more on that later.
It was such an interesting challenge that I thought I'd write a post mortem, delving into the details on how we managed to solve the challenges for each day till we cracked the final code.
Without further ado, let’s get down to it!
Day 1: The Audio Message
The clue was this one was really speed, so naturally speeding up the clip made it easier to hear what was mentioned.
However, this was actually the hardest one as I couldn’t really hear the message except the part where the daughter was kidnapped. Here’s the audio message again if you want to listen to it:
In case you were wondering what the audio message said:
“Hello Detective. Well you’re smart enough to understand this. Saving the girl isn’t as easy as you think. If you want to see her alive, meet me where Circles.Life network coverage reaches most on the East.”
The conversation with me and my friend went something like:
Yes, there was an answer really. We skipped this clue for a bit until the very last day when we were supposed to solve the puzzle. It's then when we figured out that there was a part of the audio message that mentioned EAST.
The final clue of how many letters there were for each day’s answer also helped as it revealed that the answer for day 1 was 2 words: 6 letters and 3 letters 🔎
Also, the clue actually hinted us to go to the coverage page so we did just that. Taking a closer look, the answer was simple: Changi Bay.
Day 2: The Reverse Cipher
Day 2 is reported that a WhatsApp message was sent to you. However it’s pretty much all gibberish as you try to make sense of it.
As the clue was shown that if A = Z, and L = O, that means that everything is pretty much in reverse. This is also called the Atbash Cipher or Reverse Alphabet Cipher.
What my friend did was pretty smart and just input the message in a free tool online that spits out the message for you.
The message reads:
DO YOU REALLY THINK IT'S THAT EASY!? RIDICULOUS. GIVE ME 10 MILLION DOLLARS. SEPTEMBER 5. DEADLINE IS THE SAME AS CIRCLES LIFE NUMBER TRANSFER. GOOD LUCK!
So that’s the clue to go to the number transfer page.
The clue is pretty much ‘Deadline is the same as Circles Life Number Transfer’, so looking out for any timing would be the key here.
Eventually I found this:
Talking about ‘deadlines’, I’m assuming that we’re looking for when is a certain cut off time. That’s stated clearly in the FAQ on when the number transfer is completed which is clearly stated by 2 am.
As such, the Answer was simple then: 2:00 AM
Day 3: Let There Be Light
Day 3 clue starts with a random tip from a witness who has claimed to have seen your daughter being brought inside a van. You get a picture of what seems to be a car plate number, but it’s completely black.
Let’s just say this one is pretty simple as most of you may have already been able to see it unless your screen is really, really dark.
If not, turn up your brightness until you can see the car plate number and the answer to this: SCL 300A
Day 4: Lines, Boxes, Dots
You’re given a crossword puzzle telling you where to drop the money. You have no choice but to decode the message or your daughter will be in deep trouble.
In case you are wondering, this method of encryption is known as the Pigpen Cipher.
First of all, there’s actually an error with the cipher given as the proper one should look something like this. So if you couldn’t solve this puzzle I couldn’t blame you either.
But in any way, how to read the pattern is very simply matching the pattern to the letter. For example, the first word with the 5 letters read as ‘ _ O O S T’ and it’s very easy to guess the first letter is B.
Take a look at O, there is a top, left and bottom line with a left dot.
Now look at S, there is just a V for the cipher.
For T, it looks like a > which is simple to get it.
Too much trouble? Just use another online cipher tool to help you with this and you should be able to fill in the missing letters pretty easily
The translated message without the blanks filled should read:
R _ LLOVER
From there, you can easily fill in the blanks easily to form the word: BOON LAY.
Day 5: Arrows And Boxes
Day 5 is when you hand over the money over to the kidnapper for a clue, but you get something like this
This clue stumped me and my friend pretty long as well, and we didn’t actually get the answer until we solved the final clue really.
First thing first, you need to figure out what the black and blue arrow means. I don’t remember the exact clues but it mentions something about shading the squares with the black arrow.
So from the initial spot, you move down, then right, then down, then down, then right, so on and forth until you finish the clue.
Every black arrow, you shade the square black. Every blue arrow, you ignore shading the square. If you filled in the blanks, you’ll get something like that:
If you still can’t see it, remove the blue boxes and you should be able to spot the answer fairly easily. The clue also mentioned to check out the Data only page, and it’s $20 for a 50GB space which confirms the answer.
The answer is 20.
Day 6: Flickering Lights
You reach your current destination on the 20th floor and stand at a doorway where you see some flickering light.
I remember the first thing I saw this video was telling myself, this is definitely morse code. Defusing too many bombs helped me get to this conclusion quickly.
Morse code is very simple actually where you write a dash when you hear a long sound, and a dot when you hear a short sound. That being said, take a look at this image that I took from wikipedia
The video shows 2 dots with 3 dash with a gap, then 5 dash. According to the graph above, the answer is 20.
Day 7: Time To Decode
You found the room your daughter is in and see a bomb strapped to her. To defuse the bomb, you need to input the correct code in order to save her (and ‘win’)
The last day is when you put everything you learned from the last few days together. Technically, the puzzle here is putting your answer together.
Here’s the quick guide to put together your answer:
To summarise the answers for the first 6 days:
- CHANGI BAY
- 2:00 AM
- SCL 300A
- BOON LAY
Following this clue, the final answer comes out to be CL2020.
When me and my friend reached the final clue on day 7, we went back to tackle clue 1 as now we know how many letters we are looking for. Only then we managed to narrow down our answer to Changi Bay.
Also, we didn’t really manage to solve clue 5 so our answer came out to be CL20_0. I think it was pretty easy to guess the answer from there that it was a ‘2’ 😂.
Did You Solve It?
While we did not win the grand prize of the staycation, me and my friend managed to win one of the data freedom packages which actually gave us the new Data-only SIM card free for 3 months.
I would say this was a very interesting puzzle as well because it wasn't too easy nor was it too hard either. Once again, my friend figured out most of it while I was stumped on most of it anyway 😂
This is definitely something new for Circles.Life as well, as there haven’t really been a puzzle solving contest so far yet until this one. What do you guys think about this event? Did you like it or prefer something more normal for 9/9?
And I realized one thing… you never actually caught the kidnapper or even tracked him down... But oh well you rescued the hostage so that's still a win right?
Will the story continue? I guess only time will tell.