Fun puzzle – Christmas Conundrum

Saw this puzzle on Chris Shiflett’s blog and was able to figure it out. Don’t read further if you want to try yourself…





First, I wrote down the numbers, and immediately noticed the first numbers “1024” and “512” were suspiciously binary… though, that seems somewhat coincidental now. However, I plotted all the numbers into a spreadsheet, then did a conversion to binary.  I began thinking that maybe the 1s and 0s were like the beat of a Christmas song, so I tapped them out, and it didn’t seem to be anything.  Though bits seemed to be like “Jingle Bells” or “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”, they never played out for the entire song. I got a bit sidetracked, thinking this was a designer, that maybe the numbers should be converted to HEX values, and use those colors for something.  Again, it didn’t pan out.  Here’s where I was at that point:

Then, as I looked at the column of binary numbers, I noticed there was a pattern… not in the numbers, but in the shape of the groups of numbers. I converted the column to monospace type and started connecting the 1s. It really didn’t make sense at first… but I saw the last group of numbers made a Greek Sigma “Σ” and an “X”. So I thought “Sigma Chi”, a fraternity.  The numbers above it made a “W” and a Sigma, and I thought maybe the “W” was supposed to be a Psi, but I couldn’t find anything relevant for “Psi Sigma”. At that point, I hadn’t connected all the 1s correctly, so I went back and connected all the 1s, even diagonally. The patterns became a lot clearer… but it still didn’t make sense.  At that point, I had my table turned just a bit to the side, and noticed the Sigma could actually be a sideways “M” and the “W” a sideways “E”… so I had “E M M X”.  With that, I saw I already had the “A” and a “Y”. Once I made one more missed connection of 1s, I had the two “R”s and figured the extra bit in the first group was an “!”.  From there, it was a simple matter of re-ordering the letters to make: MERRY XMAS!

Thanks to Chris Shiflett for the fun diversion. Though, it looks like I missed submitting the correct answer by only a few minutes (congrats Cogocogo) … it was still an enjoyable brain exercise.

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