The promise of “epiphany” resurfaces as solvers have confirmed that a Cicada 3301 puzzle has been back online since Jan. 5, 2016. The comeback happened after fraud puzzles proliferated the web in 2014. The mystery brainteaser also went silent for the rest of 2015.
Instead of excitement, sleuths were actually expressing their disappointment about the comeback. Apparently, the recent puzzle has only pointed snoops back to the runes of the Liber Primus.
Liber Primus is considered the sacred book of “Cicadianism.” The beginning and end have been deciphered, but many pages remained encrypted. The snoops abandoned this book in 2014 out of frustration.
The Cicada 2016 puzzle, however, pointed them back to the book by saying that it is “the way.” This year’s puzzle was:
The path lies empty; epiphany seeks the devoted. Liber Primus is the way. It’s works are the map, their meaning is the road, and their numbers are the direction. Seek and you will be found. It comes with a warning: Beware of false paths. Verify Open PGP 7A35090F.
Progress to solve this year’s puzzle has been a drag, given that it has been in the web for a week now, the Business Insider reported. The slow movement might be rooted to the initial disappointment of avid solvers.
“The runes puzzles sucked, too many ways to interpret them, too many possibilities to hide data in them,” a solver told Business Insider. “It quickly went from a rigorous capture the flag-type of contest to a Dan brown world of magic, hidden messages,” he added.
Another solver who was successful for both 2013 and 2014 had the same reaction. The Liber Primus “felt like a slap in the face to those who thought they’d made it through the 2014 puzzle,” he also told Business Insider.
Marcus Wanner, who also solved the 2012 puzzle, felt dismayed. “I was initially attracted to 3301 because they built the puzzle the same way as I or most other free software developers would have and this kinda flew in the face of that,” he said.
Nevertheless, there were still some spies who were still passionate to jump into the game. A thread on Reddit discussing the Cicada 3301 puzzle has been very active.
Jordan Thompson, who solved both puzzles in 2013 and 2014, said he jumped in because familiar names were back into the chatroom when the puzzle resurfaced. David Gotrik, systems engineer, was never put off. Cicada 3301 puzzle remains the most difficult and challenging brainteaser in the web, he said. “They’ve always been mysterious,” he marveled.