Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Ginter Code Solution Part 7

The Odd Man OutYou have now reached the final and most critical portion of this code involving Odd Man Out Pat Neshek.

Mike: Once Nick and I knew we had the riddle, I rushed to print up both the Neshek Card as well as the instructions and we called each other and worked out the meaning of the riddle.
Nick: To be honest, I had no clue if we were even on the right path (even though we had found all of the matching symbol cards) until we figured out that if we drop the letters, that gibberish becomes an actual message!

So here is what the riddle stated:

pair all odd man out marks to the eighty one same letters, order by spot, color, number. start with flag!

Well, first of all we know what the "marks" are, that part is pretty obvious. We also know that there is a flag symbol in the lower left corner, so that is the starting point. So the goal is to once again move clockwise around the border starting at bottom left, around the top, and down the right side.

What are the eighty one same letters? Remember in the last step that we deleted the primer card and its matching mate card. so that is 18 cards gone. 100 cards - 18 cards = 82 cards - 1 odd man out card = 81 cards!

The riddle then states to order first by spot (start with the flag) then by color, then by number. Remember that the color order was red, blue, green

So here are some scenarios

  • You need to find every card of the 81 that has a flag as its first symbol. There could be anywhere from 1-81 of these (in actuality there are no more than 4)

  • If you find cards of different colors, order them red, blue green.

  • If you have 2 reds and a blue, then to get the reds in the right order, you look up the card number and collate by card number for the reds (order by number), then add the blue card

  • If you have 3 red cards, then order from lowest to highest card number.

Once you have the flag symbol cards in order, then once again use your "L" Square location to find the appropriate letter on each card.

Repeat this process with each of the 27 symbols on Neshek's card. Again there are anywhere from 1-4 cards that will match that symbol

IMPORTANT: Some cards can be used more than once...meaning that maybe the 2nd and 14th symbol match up.

Once you have all of the symbols and its respective cards in the proper order, and have pulled the proper letter from each card, you should receive this message...




To win email a photo of you holding the odd man out card with big thumbs up. Well done codebreaker!

There you have it!

Mike: So there you have it. Just a wild 72 hour ride from start to finish to solve this year's Ginter code. I have seen some posting chastising Topps, who had promised to make this years code tougher than last year. This solution should demostrate that the code was indeed very challenging with several layers of puzzles. Some day I would like to have a beer with the guy who wrote it, because it really is pretty brilliant!

Both Nick and I were excited to share the news, but were met with a lot of skepticism (rightly so, since Topps auto-reply did not immediately change to say that the code had been solved). We were left to sit on our hands and wait it out for the rest of the work week until Topps finally confirmed that the code has officially been cracked. Then of course all hell broke loose and we have dedicated most of the weekend to preparing the solution for everybody to see. First, I hope it makes sense! Secondly, I just wanted to say thanks to all of those who wrote to congratulate us on our achievement. I never started this puzzle fully believing that we would ACTUALLY WIN, but our teamwork was just flawless, and I guess sometimes good things just happen! Thanks everybody!

Nick: What a weekend it was trying to solve the code. I actually called my hobby shop when I got the confirmation email from Topps and I swear he almost hung up on me because he thought I was full of crap! I've talked to several different collectors across the country who have asked me for hints, or to see if they were on the right track, and I've seen some funny stuff. One guy swore to me that the playing cards on the left side of the box were part of the code and represented certain players in the set (may be true, who knows!). A poster on Freedom Cardboard's forum (schmidtfan20) sent me a private message saying he got stuck after "Unravel it". He was sooo close to being on the right track!

I haven't heard from Topps yet, other than to tell me that I was the first and only person to solve it so far, and that someone would contact me regarding the code and the prize. I'm hoping they will let us make our way on to a card for next year's set (even though they aren't advertising that as a prize), and give both me and Mike a set of the autographs!

It was a great ride, thanks for reading, and remember feel free to comment and ask us questions if our directions aren't clear or you get stuck! Most of the scans should be found on eBay, but if there is one you can't find let me know and I can get it to you.

Bring on the 2010 Ginter Code!

Mike: I retire!


  1. Wow. So spelling out the solution using the first letter of each picture ISN'T the solution. I would've been way off!

    Yeah... that's pretty much the extend of my code breaking skills!

  2. This was a GREAT read, awesome dedication and teamwork! Congrats on cracking the code!

  3. Very cool - and a good tricky code too! If nothing else, Topps knows that they'll really have to raise the difficulty level if they expect next year's code to remain unbroken for any substantial length of time! Congrats on a great job breaking it.

  4. Wow that was tough. Congrats guys.

  5. Man, that was crazy! My hat's off to both of you. Congrats!

  6. That was confusing as hell
    Topps was right that it was going to be difficult this year. Good Job

  7. Congrats and Nice going guys - what an unbelievable trip.

    I haven't even seen any cards in person yet!!

  8. Now I know for sure that history and not math was the correct major. This is way beyond my abilities. Like Beardy, my head hurts. Wow. I am in awe.

  9. Wow. Well done, gents. That's a lot more complicated than I thought it would be.

    I wonder if Topps is regretting the fact that the backs of the cards didn't factor into the code this year. Seems like the only thing that would've slowed you guys down is if you had to physically acquire all 100 cards.

  10. Great story and a great ride!! Congrats!

  11. Congratulations..I think next year they will be bringing in NSA cryptogrohers to create the code...

  12. Well Freaking DONE!!! I love a good code puzzle and I followed you, but I doubt if I could have made the leap to figure out the matching of the cards, let alone the 81 card part. Nice job I really do hope you end up with a card of your own!

  13. Hey guys, I said it before but I will say it again, Congrats! That looked pretty intense and the explanation was well done. The manager at Topps who wrote the code last year was the same guy who wrote this years and he's the one who called me to tell me I won too. He said it was going to be tougher this year. I put my phone number with my answer when I sent it in. In 5 emails I sent him he replied only once. I haven't heard from him since March. Good luck trying to get a set each. I couldn't even get a couple of my cards from them. Congrats again guy!

  14. I feel as if I just watched National Treasure 3.

    Great work, and congratulations!

  15. My head is spinning...great work and congrats. I'm sure the powers that be over at Topps were disappointed to find the code was broken so quickly, but great work.

  16. Congrats....code....the....breaking.... ginter... unravel.... my head hurts

  17. That looked and seemed like it was more confusing than having to do 100 level 5 suduko puzzles in one night!

  18. I have an idea send out a Neshek crack the code card to Pat himself and have him sign and inscribe it. That would be cool

  19. Awesome job guys! I had the Willis card, if I werent so slow, you guys would have had it. Sorry about that, it took us a minute to even figure out that those were the actual code cards and not some random bordered parallel... Oh well.

  20. Wow...that is an amazing code-crack job. I was able to follow all of your logic, but it probably would have taken me a year to come up with it on my own. Well done!


    You guys deserve a great prize.

    By the way, if you spent 72 hours cracking the code, divided by 9 (the special number of the code), you get 8 hours...all in a day's work!

  21. My first code card I pulled was the Ankiel. The boxed L instantly led me to a much easier solution...

    Wait until someone much smarter than me cracks the code and posts the answer.

    That was an amazing ride! Thanks for letting us ride along.

  22. Neshek is awesome...

    But so are you guys for figuring this out. I don't know how you had the patience!

  23. You want 2 sets, your own card and you didnt even own the cards? haha good luck with that.

  24. that is amazing. U did that in 72 hours?


  26. Holy crap! That was amazing, and I don't even understand half of what you were talking about! I am curious though - how did you decide which of you would send the amswer and did the email list both of you as having cracked the code?

  27. wow thats all i can say. i love toontown!!!!!