HotStuff's avatar puzzle
- On February 26, 2010, HotStuff changed his avatar to the one shown above. The avatar was clickable and took you to a page containing the following:
| What's Missing?
|Enter your answer (this is not case sensitive, by the way): |
- On March 25, 2010, the puzzling trophy began to appear in the display cases of certain individuals.
- On April 1, 2010, the puzzling ribbon began to appear in the display cases of new people.
- On May 14, 2010, the puzzle's location was mentioned in this thread on the Forums of Loathing.
- On May 15, 2010, a new thread in the Forums of Loathing was created stating that the puzzle was available. Immediately a frenzy of group activity began in the thread and the solution was found by many on the same day.
According to HotStuff, "I posted the puzzle on February 26th of this year. People found it almost immediately, but didn't really make any progress on it for two weeks until Sirris started working on it March 12th. It took him and his very small group 12 days to solve it. Then a handful of clans found it and solved it over a few days. And then it sat mostly untouched for another month or so. Until now."
- On May 18, 2010, HotStuff removed the avatar puzzle from his profile.
- There are eight sets of eight letters encoded differently in the avatar file. Entering one of them into the textbox would give a different message. See this forum post for more details.
- Changing the contrast on the image reveals a musical stave with notes on it in each frame, spelling GAGBADGE.
- The flashing lines around the question mark are semaphore and spell HYDROGEN.
- There are grey boxes around the stave which spell the words MAZELTOV in Braille.
- If you overlay all eight frames there is an octagon around the question marks, which can be interpreted as Morse code spelling JUNKSHOP.
- There is an MP3 contained within the file, the gaps in seconds between sounds in which spells ENTROPIC.
- Checking the green components of the "grey" colour map, the amounts missing indicate the numbers of the letters in the word NONSERIF.
- The spaces between the values of greyscale not present in the image spell PASTRAMI.
- The individual out-of-place pixels embedded in the Braille code, interpreted as letters in a vertically descending alphabet spell KNOCKOUT.
- Taking the words in alphabetical order, you get:
- Taking the gaps between the first letters of the words gives "filo":
- And taking the gaps between the last letters of the words gives "dough":
- Entering the letters "filo dough" in the textbox gave the following message:
Congratulations, that is the correct final answer! Now, you could go post the solution on the forums or in the wiki. Or you could just quietly put the prize in your display case and let some other folks have the pleasure of finding the answer without spoilers. It's up to you.