Media: Drawn and Colored on Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition using Photoshop Touch

Original Size: 2000px x 2000px

As a graduate student in my Art of Scientific Discovery class, I created this problem for fellow students to solve. Can you figure out what the problem is and what the answer is? Scroll to see the answer.

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Hints to help you:

1. Define the problem: What is the combination to open the safe?

2. First, you should notice that the cipher has characters that correspond to numbers, and the safe is opened with 4 numbers. However, you don’t know what four numbers are the answer. The letter tells you that he’s given you everything else. Perhaps the shapes at the bottom of the letter are a clue?

3. The shapes are in sets of two: (a) a closed shape, and (b) an open shape. If we study the letter, we see that amulet has in parentheses the same notation as at the bottom of the letter. Perhaps this can give us a pattern to solve for the message.

4. The first, closed shape represents the number of letters in the word. The second, open shape tells you the first letter of the word (a = 1 line, b = 2 lines, etc). You can guess the words, OR you can look at the letter, which gives you each word in order somewhere in the letter.

5. The message reads “Four will open. Characters each two right from corner”.

6. So, we can choose the four characters that are to the right (right == clockwise) of each corner. That gives us

[ 6 5

2 5 ]

7. What order should we put these numbers in? Did you notice the letter’s envelope?

8. The address on the envelope has numbers corresponding to the numbers that were left on the safe. Use these numbers to place each number in its correct place.

9. The final combination is 5625.