Whatever the motive, I gave it a bash this year and it was an entertaining way to fill a Saturday.
By grouping some of the letters into 16-bit numbers, and interpreting those as Unicode, you get something vaguely Chinese looking, which Google has a pretty good bash at translating into something that almost makes sense... " I spent a good while on this one, even getting a Chinese-speaking friend to take a look (cheers Rafe! The Solution(top) So you know how I said I really wish I hadn't used Python to start with? It seemed reasonable to assume that by replacing the Qs with spaces, we would be back at the original characters, though of course as it is, it still looks like nonsense.
That's because I couldn't see the wood for the trees. Now that we know there's no actual transformation of the text, you can start to focus on how you present it - 143 is a kinda strange number.
The entirety of the first challenge is shown in the image above.
What follows is a description of the challenges, some of the (often wrong) approaches I tried, and the eventual solutions, in the hope that someone somewhere might find them interesting and/or useful.
For each challenge I've also included some code or a script of some sort which shows the method to find the solution. Challenge 1(top) The image above is the only clue you are presented with on visiting the website, and from this you must get 5 answers to enter into a series of boxes.
Here's the clue as a big long string: It doesn't look like much, but the first thing you'll probably notice is that there's an awful lot of Qs.Character Encoding(top) After hitting a brick wall with the Caesar Cipher I started looking at the letters to see what they made in binary.I had read the solutions to the previous year's challenge, and in that case the first clue was hexadecimal code, so I thought I'd give it a shot.For this, (and for many many other things) I cracked out my trusty Python interpreter.In hindsight I really wish I hadn't, because it sent me on a massive wild goose chase, but more on that later.By visiting the web address at end - WWWDOTMETRODOTCODOTUKSLASHTURING we get to the start of Challenge 2 Huzzah!