The puzzlehunt has ended, thanks for playing!
Puzzlehunt 2012

Reset Puzzle State

'40s Rave


Puzzle video
Please interact with the page in order to play this audio.



Sunoo Park (sp590)
Matvey Soloviev (ms900)


The puzzle consists, in a nod to internet culture of days gone by, of a Flash* loop overlaid with a short piece of perpetually looping electronic music. The experienced observer may realise that the scrolling image depicts a shoddily stretched fragment of vacuum tube shelves as they were commonplace in the earliest computers - in fact, it is lifted straight from this image. The core clue, however, lies in the melody played itself. Using notes to encode short textual messages is a staple trick of continental European musical tradition, and absolute pitch or any software keyboard will quickly allow one to determine that the four audible notes looped in the motif are E, D, A and C. Somewhat unfortunately, English notation does not natively permit encoding the letter S by E-flat, and depending on foreign conventions for note naming seemed to lie rather far out in xkcd woodchips territory. However, one might notice that the conspicuous break between the first and the last two notes of the sequence is filled by a hissing sound (authentically sampled from the speech of one of the authors). Interpreting this sound as an "S" yields the overall sequence E, D, [S], A, C, and therefore the solution is EDSAC. As it would happen, the machine in question first became operational in the late 1940s.

* The original flash loop is no longer accessible by most modern internet browsers and so a replica audio track and gif have been generated (and displayed here) for posterity. —2018



Correct submissions

The 5th Element 2012-06-16 17:59:21.678917