Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Ginter Code, finally some progress

The last four tweets that the Codemaster blasted out a few weeks back did limit the search field, and also sucked me back in for a bit on the code.

Since he was nice enough to tell us that the the clocks on the ad cards pointed to baseball cards my brain was focused enough to finally see the connection.  I've shared this revelation with a couple people thus far, and one other code-head(?) agreed with me.  So perhaps me, I, we, us, they, them, all ya'll are onto something finally.

That being said, even if you haven't landed on which cards the clocks point to, what would you do with those cards?

I had been thinking about that right after I read the tweets.  I thought to myself "even if I had the cards, how would I know they were the right cards and what would I do with them?"

That's the kicker this year, you have to believe enough in your method to get from times on a clock to baseball cards to move blindly to the next section of breaking the code.  If you haven't already read the account on how the 2008 code was broken, you should do yourself a favor and do that now because I feel like this code will have some similar properties.

Okay, so we're back to the 2011 code in all its backwards-clocky-goodness.  You have 10 code cards infront of you.  Some of the corners of these cards have symbols on them which you have translated into numbers by either using your decipher cards (which have the numbers on the back in some way shape or form) or you put the puzzle together and realized the first row of the puzzle, plus the next symbol from the second row represent numbers 1-30.  I'm sure after 4 months this isn't news to anyone who has looked at the Ginter Code.

What may boggle your mind is what the heck to do with the numbers on each of the corners of the cards you've pulled.  And it should, because that's what's stopping you from decoding the message this year.  And it's stopping me right now too.

So, if you are burned out on trying to figure out how to find the gosh darned correct cards, sit back and think about how you'd use the numbers in each corner of the cards to decipher the Codemaster's poem.  It's not going to be magic, but it's certainly not going to be straightforward either.

Just remember, no one ever solved a code by staring at it, you've got to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty.  Just keep trying different things, but above all else try to think about how you'd turn a message into numbers using the poem.

That is all.  I'm out for now.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Re-alignment? How I'd Blow Up Baseball And Start Over

The Astros to the AL eh?  Instead of something simple, let's just blow it all up.  Why not?  All the records are tarnished from steroids anyway, right?  Let's just start over and usher in a new era of baseball.

Starting with the divisions.  Four.  Four divisions.  North, South, East and West.  There are no leagues anymore.  The AL and NL are gone.  As is the crazy All-Star game to decide who gets homefield advantage (stay with me, we'll get there).

What's left?  Glad you asked.

MLB East
Toronto Blue Jays
New York Yankees
New York Mets
Boston Red Sox
Philadelphia Phillies
Baltimore Orioles
Washington Nationals

MLB South
Miami Marlins
Tampa Bay Rays
Atlanta Braves
Houston Astros
Texas Rangers
St. Louis Cardinals
Kansas City Royals

MLB North
Minnesota Twins
Milwaukee Brewers
Chicago Cubs
Chicago White Sox
Detroit Tigers
Cleveland Indians
Cincinnati Reds
Pittsburgh Pirates

MLB West
Seattle Mariners
San Francisco Giants
Oakland Athletics
San Diego Padres
Los Angeles Dodgers
Anaheim Angels
Arizona Diamondbacks
Colorado Rockies

There we go.  While we're at it, since it's just MLB and there isn't an AL/NL, we have to make a decision on the DH.  I feel like it's inevitable that the DH will win out someday, so let's just get on with it.  I like the strategy of the NL too guys, but I'm making a concession here.

Let's move onto the schedule and playoffs.  For starters, we're going to shorten the season slightly to accommodate a larger playoff system.  This is win-win.  It allows us to further distance ourselves from the tarnished steroid-era records, and gives us a chance to expand the postseason and only play 7 game series.  5 game series are lame.  I'll sacrifice a couple weeks of the regular season for better postseason play.

All four division winners are in the playoffs, and then we've got 8 wild cards to dish out.

Round 1 of the playoffs is the wildcard round.  It will be seeded based on record.

#1 BYE
#5 v #12
#7 v #10
#4 BYE

#2 BYE
#6 v #11
#8 v #9
#4 BYE

Round 2 of the playoffs is the divisional round and will feature the divisional winners (who did not play during the first round) against the winners of the wildcard round.  Imagine the NCAA brackets, but slightly modified.  #1 gets the lowest seed to come out of the 5/12 and 7/10 games with #4 getting the leftovers.  Same goes for #2 and #3 on the other side.

Round 3 of the playoffs is the championship round.  The Final Four.  Let's do this.

Of course Round 4 of the playoffs is the World Series.

I reckon we're going to need to shorten the regular season to approximately 148-150 games to fit in the new playoff system, and we're going to need some more cable carriers to step up and broadcast all the games.

As for the regular season, each team in the 8 team divisions will play 13 games against each divisional rival.  That's three 3-game series, and a 4-game series.  Each team in the 7 team divisions will play 14 games against each divisional rival.  That's two 3-game series and two 4-game series.  This leaves each team in the 8 team divisions with 57 games to play against other teams in the MLB.  Each team in the 7 team divisions has 64 games to play against other MLB teams.  You'll average a 2 or 3 game series against every other team in baseball.  This is about as fair as it gets people!

In case you are wondering how the season would have turned out, your division winners and 1-4 seeds would have been:

Phillies (East)
Brewers (North)
Rangers (South)
Diamondbacks (West)

The Wildcard round would have featured these matchups:

Yankees v. Angels
Rays v. Braves
Tigers v. Giants
Cardinals v. Red Sox

Let's assume all the teams that made the playoffs moved on you'd have seen a Divisional round like this:

Phillies v. Yankees
Rays v. Diamondbacks
Brewers v. Tigers
Cardinals v. Rangers

I get a smile on my face just thinking about all of this.  And I consider(ed) myself a baseball traditionalist.

Oh yeah, one last thing, home field advantage in each round goes to the best record, and the format will be 2-2-1-1-1 for the seven game playoff series.

Friday, September 23, 2011


It's Matt Kemp's birthday today. In honor of this occasion:

"I'd like to wish Matt Kemp happy birthday today,even though most of the codebreakers have gotten sour. Cheer up, sit back and wait for a tweet to come out slightly half past some hour."

Friday, September 2, 2011

Ryan Braun is the NL MVP

With apologies to Matt Kemp, who is having a great year for a terrible team, I hereby proclaim Ryan Braun NL MVP.

There are a bunch of players in consideration, the Phillies aces, Justin Upton, Albert Pujols, etc, etc . . . but in the end the clear choice is Ryan Braun and I'm not just being a homer about it.

Braun currently leads Kemp in AVG, OBP, SLG, and OPS. Sure, he trails him by a few homers and stolen bases, and sure, Kemp may end up a 40/40 guy, but I don't care.

Maybe the steroid era ruined me. 40 homers just doesn't sound like that many anymore. Maybe if Matt Kemp was going to hit 58 homers and steal 40 bases I'd give him a second look despite his  team's lackluster performance, but he's not going to do that.

Maybe if Matt Kemp was going to steal 80 bases, something really amazing, I could get on board. But what if Matt Kemp is just taking off for second base after every single chasing the 40/40 club thing? I mean, I would. My team is going nowhere, who cares if I'm thrown out. MVP! MVP! Run Matt, run!

Sorry, I'm coming off as a Kemp hater, and I'm not. He's a terrific player and would be even more deserving of the two man fight for the MVP if the Dodgers were headed to the postseason, but they aren't - so he isn't.

Ryan Braun should finish up with around 35 HRs and nearly 40 steals as well. As I said with Kemp, neither total is mind boggling, but in a two man race, the tie goes to Braun.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Silly Codemaster, Tricks Are For Kids!

Dear Codemaster:

Since you have some sort of conduit into the "masses" trying to solve the code, let me give you this to chew on.

No one is quitting, but they could be frustrated because you are straight gaming us. Make with the clues man. I mean, I do love devoting a giant space in my house to an entire set of cards laid out side by side but I'm pretty positive my wife is just going to pick them up and burn them pretty soon. And that's going to make me sad.

Plus, I'm guessing this little chunk of society trying to solve the code, those 613 followers would love to go back to being productive members of society soon. Just a thought.

What's more, do you hear that? All I hear are these wild geese everywhere. It's going to take months to clear them off my property.


Monday, August 8, 2011

Dear Mr. Codemaster, Where Did You Go?

Time for another "where'd the Codemaster go?" post. Seems like every time I post something to this effect he wakes up from his drunken slumber, shaves off his 4 day old beard, gets himself back into shape and manages to fire off another line from his "poem".

I get the idea of wanting to control the pace of the code so that they can make it last longer, but this may be the most boring thing I've ever participated in.

I reserve the right to amend that statement if at some point during this lollygagging something substantial happens and then fun begins.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Ginter Code, moving at the speed of molasses

Hey, so, if any of ya'll out there are working on this thing, and need scans of anything, just let me know. Willing to share everything I've collected to generate more interest in this thing while it plods along at a snails pace. I require nothing in return, just want to see those interested get everything they need to move forward.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Dear Codemaster

I love the wicked games you play, but I've got you licked this year.


Friday, July 15, 2011

2011 Ginter Code Live Blog . . . I Wish

Who would have known what great lengths The Codemaster would have gone to this year to preserve his precious secret message(s).

But, by gosh, he certainly has. Let's start with the fact there is an entire 350 card code parallel set to go along with some other key cards and who knows what else. This thing is a monster. I can say that after just 5 days of what I'll call "information gathering" I'm tired. I'm tired mentally more than I'm tired physically.

In the past, it's behooved people to work together, or work in teams, or whatever, but this year, even that luxury has been mostly mitigated. Having one person trying to assemble all 350 cards to play around with is one thing, having two or three or four trying to do it? That's just insanity. Just try keeping track of 350 images of cards yourself, let alone making sure someone else has copies of everything.

And even once you get your arms wrapped around that portion of the code, there's still the fact you need to figure out what to DO with the darn cards.

So, between the code, a 15 month old, and just keeping up with my streaking Brewers I could no more live blog my attempt on the code this year than I could figure out how to solve the deficit crisis. Just fitting in a good 7 hours of sleep each night is challenging and I'm sure there are people that are hitting this thing harder than me (YOU GUYS ARE CRAZY PEOPLE!)

That being said, I've had several other bloggers and code aficionados contact me and I've been happy to talk Ginter Code with everyone and I've even done some trading. So please, feel free. I think everyone could use a little banter during what is likely to be the biggest blowout of a Ginter Code we've seen to date.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Let's Trade! Ginter Code Trading Scans Madness

Last night, as I went to bed, I quickly became disillusioned with the Ginter Code.

Kudos to the Codemaster for taking into account the group dynamic and putting together a huge code. The only thing is, I'm put off by the greed. Late last night you could see people selling scans of their code cards on Ebay. I have little problem with that, but when you consider the fact that some people bought a group of code cards only to see their cards then sold as scans, well, that sucks.

So here's what I want to do. Let's just get Part 1 of the Ginter Code over with as quick as possible. As collectors lets do what we did as kids. Let's trade the heck out of these, for free.

A couple days ago, I actually purchased code cards, a big chunk, and a few decipher cards, before the madness started and my stomach turned. If you want to trade, let's trade, I just want to see everything right with the world of Ginter Code.

Contact me via my profile here. I'm most interested in the code cards themselves at this point, but will trade and trade for the decipher cards as well. I have a few hundred available. We can swap needs.

Happy Codebreaking, and let's feel the love people, not the greed!


Monday, July 11, 2011

Where Are The Ginter Code Cards?

Who does a brother have to, ummm hook up with cards(?), to uhhhh see some 2011 code card action?

The people are thirsty for Ginter Code nuggets. My page views are off the chart, so it must be true. I know nothing. Although I suspect it has something to do with the Free Masons (no I don't, or do I?).

Hook a brother up with some Ginter lovin'. If I get my hands on any I'll post em up.

2011 Ginter Code

Apparently Ginter has been live, somewhere, for a while (I was unaware) and 2009 co-champ/2010 team-champ Nick Jacoby has a little info about this year's code.

I'll be curious to see how this year's code plays out. Each of the previous year's codes were a variation on the transposition cipher, some of which included using null characters (dummy characters to be thrown away).

The interesting thing about the evolution of the Ginter code is the use of implied and written keys.

For instance the first code in 2008 used like words to link together a chain of cards (implied order), and then used numbers to grab the word and set the position of said word. Very cool.

The second year, 2009, the first key was implied through the patterns found in the borders of the 100 code cards. Once this order was set, a boxed letter on each card told you which letter you needed and the message that was formed gave you the last key to the transposition which used the symbols on the cards, and the color of the backgrounds. Null characters also needed to be removed from the final string of characters to make a readable message.

And last year, 2010, the first layer of transposition was implied through the use of subsets (Celestial Stars) and perhaps even the code advert card (constellations in the background). The second transposition key was written on the cards in the form of stats on the back of the card. Also cool.

Unless the Ginter Code makes a giant leap into the world of substitution ciphers (which I doubt) we should be looking at another multi-layered transposition cipher, with some implied keys and some written keys. Looking forward to seeing some cards later this week.

Friday, April 29, 2011

HBL Week 5: Hey Carl Crawford, Hit Or Get Off The Pot!

And we're back for yet another year of blogging my fantasy baseball team.  Because, quite honestly, I found great pleasure in re-reading some of the craziness I posted in relation to the 2010 season.

I signed Benji Molina  year ago today.  Really?  Really?  Things are so much better this year (kind of).

Here's the deal.  My fantasy team is rolling with Russell Martin at catcher while Carlos Santana works the kinks out.  I was able to pick up Martin in exchange for Ian Kennedy a couple weeks ago.  I liked Ian a lot, but quite frankly I was never going to trust him enough to play him this year.

I went the value pitching route this year, rather than throwing all my money into say CC Sabathia or Dan Haren.  Although, at this point, those would have been great moves.  I'm suffering from Win-itis on my team right now.

You see, on a weekly basis, I trot out some combination of 4 or 5 starters from a group of Brett Anderson, Josh Beckett, Derek Lowe, and Ricky Nolasco.  I've been smart enough not to pitch John Lackey up until this point, although I did make the mistake of running Narveson out there this week for 2 starts.  But anyway, as I was saying, these cats aren't winning any games, and while I've been rolling out three closers in Papelbon, Marmol, and Bell that also means that I'm dead last in Ks.

ERA and WHIP are great, which is the reverse of a year ago.  It took every fantastic 2 start option I could find last year to pile up enough Ks and every safe SP start to bring down my ERA and WHIP from the mountains they began the year on in 2010.

Although in 2011 I face a similar problem to what I like to call the Lance Berkman fiasco from last season.


I can handle Aubrey Huff not hitting.  That happens.  Frequently.  But Carl Crawford was supposed to walk on water in Boston with PEDroida, Gonzalez, Big Youk, Ellsbury, etc.  Now he hits 8th behind Jed "Career Year" Lowrie and right infront of Jarrod "Way Too Much" Saltalamacchia.

I'm benching Carl Crawford next week, and I'm sick about it.

Week 5 should also mark the return of Evan Longoria.  Finally.  A month without Longo.  Thank God I have Jose Bautista as well.  Chipper Jones and Scott Rolen were both trotted out for a couple of weeks, but they can't seem to stay in the lineup much of the time and Rolen hit the DL already.

The only people I can applaud on this team up to this point are Rickie Weeks and Troy Tulowitzki.  Thank you guys.  Thank you for doing your jobs.  Now let's go out there this week and start the march toward back to back titles.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

2011 Allen & Ginter, the Ginter Code, and my 2010 Ginter Code Diary

While I'm "off cards" right now, I must admit that this design appeals to me . . . a lot.  I dig the logo box in the bottom right corner and how it's offset diagonally in the upper left hand corner.  Oh, and did I mention that I can't wait for the 2011 Ginter Code.

The Ginter Code series is what spawned my interested in cryptography and cryptanalysis.  I've gained another hobby and am very thankful to Topps for that.  For any of you that are planning to pursue the 2011 code I'd suggest gaining a basic understanding of how cryptography works.

For the 2008, 2009, and 2010 Ginter codes, Topps has employed 3 different forms of transposition ciphers.  They stepped up their game last year by adding a layer of message concealment.  While I'm not a fan of how it was handled they definitely needed a way to try and prolong the code-breaking.  The issue I had with how it was handled last year is that the previous champ had all the incentive to break down and email Topps first.

Have any of you ever defended a title?  Sometimes it can push you to a higher level, sometimes it can make you stressed and panicky.  I believe that either way, no matter who had won the 2009 code probably would have found the 2010 ciphertext (code) first.  You'd want to repeat and if you had been banging your head against the wall as much as we all were last year, you'd eventually do the only thing you could do.  Email Topps.  But the previous champ would have been curious first.  He'd be wondering if someone solved it.  And knowing that an auto-reply message from Topps changed to "Thank you for your submission but the code has been solved." in 2009 once the code had been solved provided a huge incentive for the previous code submitters to find the code last year.  It basically took all-out burnout for Nick Jacoby's team to run into the code last year.  A point I was headed toward, but didn't quite hit.  They hit it faster than me, so kudos to them.

I wanted to add my thought process from the 2010 Ginter Code, and this year I'll be blogging about my attempt to solve the 2011 Code - live - as I'm doing it.  I'm okay with someone beating me to the prize using the info I may or may not be able to provide.  I feel like everyone is competing against Nick Jacoby plus anyone who finds a crack first this year.  I'm not against teams or teaming-up to try and solve the code.  It's exactly what a couple of us did last year.  I just feel like whoever finds some information first will likely want to see if the two time champ can help him/her solve it first.  And that's fine - game on!  I'm excited to take my shot at dethroning the champ.  Last year you could have solved the code just by seeing the actual code and having a decent knowledge of cryptography.  It was basic transposition with some nulls added via the non-baseball player cards.

Anyway, back to 2010.  It's great that I have a gmail log of what we were trying last June/July and I'm happy to share how I got from point A to point B and what we tried in lieu of having the ciphertext to work with.

June 28, 2010 -  Noticed there were no code card scans on Ebay.  Assumed the information was contained in a subset or base set.

June 29, 2010 - Realized there was a 401 card set plus a 75 card subset entitled "This Day In History". One TDIH card included in each pack.

"TDIH feels tacked on for 'no reason'.  plus it has numbers, dates, and players birthdays. Feels more plausible than those subsets that come 2 per box.  That would take forever to gather."

A spreadsheet is created noting all the TDIH cards. Noted that some cards were replaced from the original checklist.  Players base card numbers are logged and birthdays.

June 30, 2010 -  At this point nothing is popping out.  Find out that Celestial Star cards are seeded at one per case.  Acquire scans of all these cards.  Sort all TDIH cards by star sign and break the 75 cards into groups to start searching for the transposition key for each of the 12 star signs.  Start looking for a way to pull one letter off each card.  Birth day number.  Month number.  No luck, the letters that are coming back are not representative of English using frequency analysis.  All of this added to the master spreadsheet.

Per the 2010 solution blog, Nick Jacoby finds the ciphertext by emailing that night.

July 1, 2010 - Noting there are many spelling errors and differences between the front tag line and writing on the back of the TDIH cards. Looking at finding a subset of the cards to find an initial message.  No luck.  Logged all the wording from all the TDIH cards into excel to be able to pull letters from the cards via formulas.

July 2, 2010 - No progress.  Cards are still in Zodiac/Star Sign months.  Still looking for local transposition to find partial messages within each group.  The irony here is that if we have the actual code, we're probably done.  This is why I can applaud Topps for message concealment, just didn't care for the method.

July 2 - July 5, 2010 - I'm out of town for the long holiday weekend, no progress made.  Only notable quote from the weekend:

"I just got done watching two shows on TV.  Wonder Pets and Dora.  Both episodes revolved around getting to Coney Island.  I think this a sign.  Need to look at the card that references Coney Island again. :)"

July 6 - July 16, 2010 - Pretty frustrated, but never emailed the Topps address to see if anyone had won.  Since I had had contact with Nick, I figured if he broke it he'd have told me :)

I didn't figure anyone else was close so I didn't bother to email Topps.  In hindsight it would have been a great decision.  Heck, by this point in 2009 I had emailed in 5-10 crazy solutions all of which would have gotten me the code this year.  I almost wonder if Topps realized only the winners and crazy people emailed that address the previous year and thus decided to hide the code there.  Or conversely I wonder if a lot of people emailed in solutions the previous year so they thought it was a good way to slowly distribute the code.  Either way, total failure on my part.

By July 18th the Jacoby team had put their solution online.

As I stated, I'm very much looking forward to live blogging my attempt on the Code this year.  I need to do something with this blog!  So, until this summer . . .

If you get bored, and need something to read you can click through my profile to my other blog where I'm detailing my efforts to solve a cipher that has went  unsolved for over 70 years.  I'm still working toward the solution - slowly.


Monday, March 14, 2011

Hey. Hi! How's It Going?

I haven't posted a single thing since Dec 22nd.  I checked back in the other day to see that I had something like 400 page views in the last month.  I had no idea.  Lots of those were related to the two codes I posted last year - which is fantastic.  Glad to see people are still looking.  Seriously, I'm amazed.  Maybe there's some automated blog crawling stuff out there running me up to 400 hits.  I'm going to chalk it up to that.

I must admit, I did not have a ton of motivation to post anything over the winter, and I can't believe it's spring already.

Spring training is here, Greinke is already hurt, I'll soon be defending my Trevor Hoffman rookie card over 7.86 arduous miles, and my fantasy baseball auction is this weekend.  No better time than the present to post something I guess.

I really only checked in because I heard through the grapevine that SS92 Code Challenge #1 winner Mike Gellner was finally getting a card in this year's Ginter set to commemorate his teaming up with Nick Jacoby (SS Code Challenge #2 winner) to win the 2009 Ginter code.  Well, hats off to Mike!  Long overdue.