Martian Challenge: Mystery Revealed

Last week, we put up a Martian Challenge for y’all. It was pretty cool to see the Sherlock Holmes come out in everyone who was interested. Thanks to all who participated (even if you did so from a distance and didn’t say anything!)

So today, I have the pleasure of revealing the mystery—like that part of a good detective movie where all the dots that were right under your nose are connected.

The first clue was in the post itself:

Somewhere on this website, the obfuscated code names of the three Martians are displayed.

That ‘somewhere’ was our About page. On each Martian’s profile, under their description, is a little grey area. Simply highlighting it with a cursor (or using ‘Inspect Element’) would reveal a short link.

The hidden URL.
The hidden URL.

Following that link would take Mr Holmes to a page like the one below. This is where the actual code name was displayed, along with a clue on how to decipher it.

The code name + clue.
The code name + clue.

The three encrypted code names were:

  • SZMJ

And the clue was Mark 10:31.

But many who are first will be last, and the last first.

There was also another clue if you clicked View Source or Inspect Element on the page that had Wangila’s code name.

The final clue.
The final clue.

If you play the song at that link, at precisely 1:23 (pretty cool, huh) you’ll hear the word Caesar:

Ni kama Cleopatra alivyopendwa naye Caesar…

What those two clues mean is that the word shown is what’s called a Caesar Cipher, and the key to deciphering it is that the first letter is the last letter. That is, A=Z, B=A, C=B, and so on.

And that is how Richard Rio Omolo claimed his KES 5000, just 6 hours into the challenge.

Once the code names were known, the only thing left to do was to figure out why each particular name had been chosen for the respective Martian. Surprisingly, it wasn’t until Thursday (2 days later) that Chris Wanjagi got all the answers right.

Kenyanpoet popped in afterwards, with pretty cool SafariTales branding.
NEBUCHADNEZZAR: coz of the [epic] beard!
BEZALEL: coz he's endowed with ability and intelligence to devise artistic designs.
BEZALEL: coz he’s “endowed with ability and intelligence to devise artistic designs.”
TANK: coz Wangila's workstation resembles the guy from Matrix. Multiple screens.
TANK: coz Wangila’s workstation resembles the guy from Matrix. Multiple screens.

We hope you had fun! This Martian Challenge was only the first of many to come, so don’t touch that dial.

Nice week!

Signed. Martians.