Krakit: The Most Daring Single Action in the History of Combat Aviation   34 comments

Since last time, I made two very important discoveries while researching Krakit:

1.) the contest was indeed officially shelved with no winner, in 1984

2.) later the answers were released, and I have a copy (that I have not looked at)

So for our gameplay, we should make an “entry form” the best we can, and once it seems to be final, I will crack open the “real answers” and we can find out how well we did. Maybe we can “win” unlike everyone else from the early 80s? (I’m honestly happy about this. We’d otherwise get an answer list we only “feel” is correct but can’t do any kind of grand confirmation on.)

I’m also a little unclear on the actual authorship on the game. There’s an article in the 1982 December 13 issue of Infoworld which only mentions International Publishing and Software (out in Buffalo, NY) and 10,000 tapes of the game. Quoting IPS president Howard Gladstone:

Some whiz could pick up the tape and figure it out in one day, or it may take two years. We really don’t know.

He then claims the clues took “three months” to develop as done by “four of his-coworkers” who “labored part-time on the project, testing the questions for clarity, intellectual challenge and entertainment.”

The article doesn’t mention Artic (from the UK) once. Was it devised by Artic and IPS served as an “editor” so to speak? Was the president referring to the number of people who worked on the game as a whole (including people from Artic)? Did Artic really only serve as a publisher (which contradicts what various indexes say, which has Artic as author and IPS as publisher)? Or maybe the entire monologue from the president was just blowing smoke for the benefit of the journalist? IPS was the group officially managing the contest, at least, and entries got sent directly to them.

ADD: Correction, the main company IPS was in Canada, although there was still manufacturing out of New York. It also does seem to be the case (see comments) that Artic was just the distributor.

In the meantime, let’s get at the three clues from last time, and then I’m going to put the next four.

Matt W. got this one, giving the hint that the number is 7464. I tried keypad code but didn’t have any luck, so I’m still thinking on this one.

This suggests “The Big Apple”, as in New York, the Statue of Liberty, and Duke Ellington’s song Take the A Train:

You must take the “A”-Train
To go to sugar hill way up in Harlem
If you miss the “A”-Train
You’ll find you missed the quickest way to Harlem
Hurry – get on now it’s coming
Listen – to these rails a-humming – all board
Get on the “A”-Train
Soon you will be on Sugar Hill in Harlem

This suggests the city, at least, but what’s the number? Is it the date of the song (1941) or the date of the Statue of Liberty’s arrival (1885)? Is the reference there to make sure the city is Manhattan and not, say, Brooklyn?

This is reference a WW2 incident from 1942 where Lieutenant O’Hare of the USS Lexington (who was near Bougainville at the time) ended up doing a 9-vs-1 against Japanese bombers and downing 5 of them. The exact quote is:

As a result of his gallant action — one of the most daring, if not the most daring, single action in the history of combat aviation — he undoubtedly saved his carrier from serious damage.

O’Hare Airport in Chicago is named after the same person.

I’m not sure what “Hyde Park Byrd” is referring to; Carl Muckenhoupt has a theory involving a word-grid coming up with Hart, the main character in the musical Chicago.

Even if we’re talking about Chicago, this still isn’t suggestive of a date, but I’d guess 1942 given a lack of anything else obvious.

I want to save theoretical discussion for when we have some more samples, but it does seem to hold that perhaps the clues are too ambiguous to fully nail down. As pointed out in the comments on the sample which we were given the solution to…

…we could read “Tour” as Tour de France and still get Paris, France out of it. But we’d get a different number: the Tour de France started in 1903. I think “TOUR” in quotes for the Tour de France still parses slightly oddly, so I suppose the Eiffel Tower solution feels better but it really is hard to claim the question is airtight. It may be there are some “unspoken rules” throughout the clues that get followed consistently enough we can at least do a little cross-checking, though.

Now, as promised, here are clues 4 through 7. (7 is split into two parts.) I’ll toss up the last chunk of clues next time.

Posted May 1, 2023 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction, Puzzles, Video Games

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34 responses to “Krakit: The Most Daring Single Action in the History of Combat Aviation

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  1. Clue 4 is a cryptogram. I’ll give the plain text here.

    a divided city,
    but not by hate.
    how often can the
    gnomes cross
    from the little to the

    • Also, it doesn’t look like there’s a meaningful cipher key. The cipher alphabet, in plaintext alphabetical order, is:
      (where the ?s correspond to letters not used in the text — they should be DMOPUV, in some order.)
      I’m fairly sure that this is merely random and that all the meaning is in the text itself.

    • maybe budapest, which had 6 bridges by 1982 between buda and pest?

      Not sure where the gnomes come into that, though.

      • I think that Megyeri Híd wasn’t completed until 2008 but some of the bridges were started and took years to complete. Others were completely replaced so some of the dates are somewhat nebulous.

    • Clue 4 and its reference to gnomes could refer to Zurich. 12 Districts and 34 quarters are its constituent parts.

      Also a possibility is Budapest as mentioned. On the Buda side lies Fisherman’s Bastion and gnomes are often depicted as fishing. There are 8 bridges between Buda and Pest.

      • that makes me think Budapest is the strongest candidate, if it has gnomes

        was it 8 bridges in ’82?

      • I believe so, or so our guide told us when we visited in 2006. There were gnomes hanging down from the ceiling which date back to the pre WW2 days. These questions seem ridiculously hard. The writers weren’t involved in Ferret were they?

  2. Your Computer (December 1982, p21) refer to Krakit as a Toronto-based competition and that Artic were distributing it in the UK; which matches with the known address of International Publishing & Software Inc as 3948 Chesswood Drive, Downsview, Ontario, Canada M3J 2W6

    • There’s a Canadian Krakit advert in Time Sinclair User issue 1, which also has the game advertised again on page 26 with the Buffalo address… oh, and it’s also on page 23… advertised by Buffalo-based Gladstone Electronics, which I’m guessing is run by the Howard Gladstone you mentioned above… and the person referenced later on as having withdrawn the game from sale.

  3. Number 1 is indeed a keypad code! I fed the numbers into some online keypad code suggestors, which didn’t manage to spit out the proper nouns but got me close enough.

  4. LAURY S. SIB is an anagram of SALISBURY. I don’t know how this links to the rest of Clue 7, but it’s a nice enough anagram that I feel like it has to be important.

    • my guess (given the other religious stuff) Salisbury Cathedral.

      (Polycarp was a bishop from 69 – 155, Chrysostom was an archbishop 347-407, and of course we’ve got John the Baptist in there. It doesn’t feel like a chronological sequencing, maybe there’s a series of stained glass windows or some such [at Salisbury?] that match the sequence?)

  5. been spending a while on clue 5

    it seems way too simple and general to nail things down

    there’s not that many prominent canal cities, so I checked each one, but I can’t really narrow down past that

    my best guess from the gut would be Amsterdam but that’s mainly because I just watched in an episode of Ted Lasso (and the Netherlands does have a flowers association going for it)

    what would be the number of seats though?

    • Amsterdam is notoriously flat though, so “house upon the hill” might not work.

      • only if it means a literal hill

        for example there’s a Hotel Notting Hill. still think it’s a dud, though

        (is sugar hill in Harlem on an actual hill, btw?)

      • Budapest which was mentioned before is distinctly hilly on the Buda side though.
        Prague has a prominent castle on the hill on one side of the Vltava.
        But it is still very vague, we could find many of these cities. Needs to be anchored with other parts of the clue.

    • #5 is Ottawa in Canada. The Parliament building, with the Peace Tower, rests on a hill overlooking the Ottawa River and Rideau Canal. Every year in the spring, there’s a tulip festival in Ottawa commemorating Canada sheltering the Dutch princess during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. There are 338 seats in the Canadian House of Commons.

  6. the list of religious figures in clue 7 is, rather more specifically, all _martyrs_

    this indicates to me there’s not something particular to the sequencing of the ones listed, but rather, it is simply asking who “ten” is in context of martyrs. Is there a specific ordering to them somehow?

    (there’s also Ten Martyrs in Jewish tradition, so maybe something with that)

    • I’m going to at the moment register this as the Ten Martyrs, where their deaths happened starting at the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE

      There otherwise isn’t a good sequencing I’ve found for martyrs that works to say a particular one is tenth, and the list is mixed between groups and span a lot of time — Jerome was killed as a heretic for the Protestants in the early modern period whereas Polycarp was a 1st-2nd century martyr killed by the Romans.

      Salisbury is not Greek Orthodox, so no Greek Cross? That feels weak, but I’m ok registering my guess right now as Salisbury, England for the place.

      • Even outside of the Greek Orthodox church, cathedrals are sometimes built on a “Greek cross” floor plan (four arms of equal length). Unfortunately it looks like Salisbury Cathedral is not one of them.

      • I mean, that matches the text, right? It’s saying that the location being referenced is _not_ one with a Greek cross.

    • I’m not sure that this is supposed to be a list of martyrs. I don’t think the obvious candidate for Chrysostom, John Chrysostom, is considered to be one. Chrysostomos of Smyrna is, in the Greek Orthodox Church, but he was only officially declared so in 1992.

      • I think I was hitting Smyrna when searching, was it really needing “official” designation to be considered so, though?

        Doesn’t seem meaningful enough to have a single odd one out but this is definitely not my territory so I’m happy to take alternate suggestions.

        ( includes John on their “martyrs” list btw, even if not official; remember, we aren’t wanting to follow exact rules as much as read the mind of the puzzle creators)

  7. clue 6 is really stumping me hard. My best guess would be something involving hexadecimal (since letters go from A to F) but I haven’t been able to make it work, I have no plausible interpretation of the text, and no way of handling the blanks

    • To add to that, the word “hexadecimal” is often abbreviated to “hex”, which is a synonym for “curse”. So I think that’s what the bit about “A curse?” is hinting at.

      I had this notion that “No, just half” could mean that you’re supposed to convert the numbers to octal, but that didn’t seem to lead anywhere.

      • oo, that interpretation makes a lot of sense

        it makes me feel like hexadecimal is the right track somehow, but I am baffled how to interpret the blanks. Also, if you do straight hex-to-ascii there isn’t anything that starts with “1” that’s normal letters, just goofy stuff like “Horizontal Tab” so that upper left corner digit alone is hard to reckon with.

      • I agree with “curse” cluing hexadecimal, but an odd number of total characters is strange, since most obvious encodings use two hex digits/one byte per character. Being from the 80s does open up the possibility it’s EBCDIC/some other weird code page instead of ASCII, though. (EBCDIC also doesn’t appear to have any printable character as 1X, though.)

        I’m just now realizing that the blanks are never two-in-a-row, so they could be meant as separators (giving a sequence starting 1, 71, 7013, 16…), but I don’t have any good ideas what to do then. It’s odd because one of the terms in this sequence would be 02, with its redundant leading zero.

        Jack Brounstein
      • I think the most likely character set being referred to is the zx81 one,character%20for%20256%20code%20points.

        however, even with that set I haven’t been able to get anything sensible

  8. Pingback: Krakit: Cursed | Renga in Blue

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