The homeless looking man was probably a paid messenger. given that said guy gave op fifty dollars, his pay would have to be significantly larger to ensure proper delivery. so, lets assume the original source of the note paid at least 150.00 with said delivery fee, sans labor costs for the creation of the puzzle... OK
now, the implication here is that someone thinks they will get a return on their investment. for this to be plausible, op would have to have been deliberately targeted these to receive the puzzle. handing these little surprises out to strangers would not result in a good rate of return.
now, if you are still following my train of thought, it would make sense to assume that these people must have been watching op to think he would be a good candidate to solve the puzzle. yet, if they were they seem to have misprofiled him as he was not able to solve the puzzle alone and so he resorted to posting on reddit.
now, there are a lot of smart people on Reddit, but what are the odds that such a random puzzle would be solved so quickly and for nothing more than karma?
as much as I would like to believe the story, it seems that the simpler explanation would be that it is a fabrication and a viral marketing campaign. this would explain how a fairly complicated puzzle was answered quickly and easily by some redditor, as smart as some of them are I think the odds of someone with both the required skills and willingness to work only for karma finding the post are fairly improbable.
in conclusion we can apply occam's razor to the above argument, to illustrate that it was probably not a bonafide event when compared to these alternate explanations: the man was legitimately crazy (what are the odds if encountering a crazy person with such skills?) or the most likely explanation, that this is a marketing campaign perhaps for a new book, movie, game show, or something else entirely
the argument that op fabricated the story to me is the most convincing, precise and logically sound theory
Neither his Twitter or blog talk about this incident. Interestingly enough his first reddit submission was an AskReddit with a type of challenge/riddle. So its possible he just likes fabricating riddles for karma
His opening, way to specific, directions is what set off my spidey sense. As per some research that was done a while back (Only link I can find on short notice: http://cornellsun.com/section/news/content/2011/09/23/cornel...) to detect advertising plants, the plants would always try to build a scene of what happened ("I was on the 143 bus heading down Front Street when I saw the catching blue uniforms of the restaurant"), where as the real customers were more about emotions ("I felt ripped off, screw this place"). His attempt to build a scene right off the bat seems to fit this pretty well shrugs.
Also, the "real" reviews were just pulled from a site, without any research to verify their authenticity.
Also, if it's a marketing campaign, the op was exactly the right person to target as he exhibited best-case behavior for such a campaign. Going online for help to a highly viral community is precisely what you'd want as a marketer.
I'm still not sure I believe that somehow someone targeted him in such a way. That's the part that seems unlikely. The profiling is too perfect in this case.
It just took someone who recognized the type of cipher (which was apparently also named on the paper itself). That's virtually guaranteed in a worldwide community of geeky folk.
Just typing FIDI cipher into google will auto correct into BIFID cipher which ofcourse brings up any number of tools that will solve the cipher for you.
While its not 100% straight forward, its not exactly rocket surgery either.
Also, I don't think this puzzle was all that out of reach, apparently the name of the cipher itself was encoded right in, along with various other hints in other languages. The cipher itself isn't all that complex either.
Just being pedantic.
The UNIX timestamp is what led me to reach to same conclusion. I still might show up at the appointed hour...
Don't underestimate the odds a person with such skills becomes crazy
EDIT: I don't meant necessarily getting crazy because of the skills. For example I know a mathematician who had a stroke 5 years ago and recovered; he told that after the surgery, he now feels the urge of going out and watching all registration plates and play with those numbers. He says it's because he was doing this sort of thing the moment he got the stroke, so somehow his brain stuck into that. Honestly I have no idea, but the thing that strikes me more is his self consciousness of this situation. He suffers severe emotional and memory issues but he got a job and tries to get back his life.
I'd find it harder to believe that a crazy person would have $50 they could spare.
It's the odds of encountering one on the street that are bad.
But it's not like that movie needs any more hype. Maybe this the first shot in a longer lead-up to a movie later in the summer.
Stream is still going, though; the original poster is supposed to show up soon. (I think he just did.)
Anyway, it's now:
YOU HAVE MANAGED TO FIND THE MESSAGE WITH THE HELP OF FRIENDS. YOU CHANGED THE RULES NOW SO WILL I. JULY TWELVE FOUR PM. FIND THE BLUE JAY AT SIX AND A HALF AND FIFTY SIXTH AND TELL HIM YOU ARE THE LAST
I was on an 'L' train in Chicago recently, and saw all these weird ads about some guy who had supposedly been kidnapped. Turned out to be some viral marketing thing to try and get people to - get this - visit St. Louis.
Gotta hand it to 'em, some of these initiatives are pretty clever.
Although it would be funnier if it turned out that the "homeless guy" was somebody doing some LARP / ARG shyte and just handed the note and the 50 to the wrong guy.
I doubt any homeless man or $50 was involved, that's just to goose the curiosity level.
True, totally true. And if you went out trying to solicit a Reddit user from a crowd, talking to multiple people along the way, then yeah, I'd say you could find a Redditor almost anywhere.
But the chances of picking somebody out of a crowd, based on what, just skin color and maybe attire, and just happening on a Redditor? And one who would immediately run to Reddit and post this (to multiple reddits as well, apparently)? That doesn't strike me as likely, which is why I am now tending to agree with the idea that the "homeless guy" and the $50 never existed and that none of that stuff ever happened at all. The Reddit OP is probably the person behind (or an employee of the agency behind) the whole thing, IMO.
The Bud tour is a bit weak if you've toured the Budvar facility in the Czech Republic.
Wish we'd known about the City Museum.
The sequence is: ?FIDI
Edit: Oh, presumably it's a "B" for Bifid (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bifid_cipher), and it reads top-down, left-to-right.
Alternatively, it's just someone winding the guy up.
/me pictures pg in a tower somewhere, laughing maniacally, with bolts of lightning crashing all around him, as a howling wind lashes the walls and driving rain hammers down on the roof...
I say viral marketing!
Edit: removed extra yud on the end.
I think it might be more fitting if this was a new approach to recruit people for the NSA / Cryptography office for X company or organisation.
GCHQ ( UK ) released http://www.canyoucrackit.co.uk/ to try and gather interest aiming specifically at a target market.
"It said that the Cabinet Office supported "initiatives such as the Cyber Security Challenge, which promotes careers in cyber security via annual competitions and events"."
If the parties involved did a little research on some people on reddit, they may have found someone who would be curious and self motivated into publishing it on reddit.
When the GCHQ challenge was launched there was huge publicity on reddit, strengthening the above statement that there would be interest.
I for one am quite looking forward to hearing how this unravels as the person who triggered it (assume for now), reached out, is at least keen to continue the publicity.
Google could hand out little cards like this anonymously to try to find smart people but the problem is someone would eventually turn to crowdsourcing.