Week 4, Challenge 4 – “Cold”

Challenge posts will always contain spoilers.

Stella’s challenge today is called Cold and it’s a fun one. Let’s look first, at the clue.

The Path to the Truth is not always so clear.

cope ht

Important words here: “Path” and “clear”.  The first thing that went through my head were geographical features between locations, but there are no obvious reasons to believe that geography is involved, from the beginning. There is also no obvious key for any kind of cryptogram.

Let’s go to the letters directly. We’ve seen patterns of letters this week, so it is unlikely that this puzzle has anything to do finding something similar about a group of letters. Stella doesn’t often pull the same trick twice in a week (colored ancient line emblems and roman numerals notwithstanding). So what, then, do these letters mean?

This is where some players have found use for the first important word: “clear.” This, for some, triggered thoughts of network access. This is probably a stretch, but it’s the correct path. Look back at the letters with that lens. In the first letter grouping are “ly” and “td”, and in the second, there is “co.” Line 5 has a “cn.” If you don’t notice it right away, it’s understandable, but “ly,” “td,” “co,” and “cn” are the top-level domain country codes for Libya, Chad, The Democratic Republic of Congo, and China, respectively.

If we go about the puzzle this way, we build this list of countries.

  • libya, democratic republic of congo, ethiopia, chad
  • colombia, peru   haiti
  • liberia, algeria, cameroon, mali, niger
  • tanzania, angola, mozambique, south africa
  • mongolia, kazakhstan, tajikistan, china, uzbekistan, pakistan, myanmar
  • poland, serbia, austria, slovakia

This is where the second important word comes in: “Path.” Stella likes to get us thinking technically and then force us to think in the bigger picture. Today is no diversion from that pattern. Let’s start with the first group.

Here is a map of the area including the first four countries.

Screenshot 2014-10-30 17.00.29

If we draw a line through the countries listed in order, we get a shape loosely like a “b”. Let’s repeat for the next line.

Screenshot 2014-10-30 17.05.11

This is the only one that can trip you up. Haiti’s TLD was separated from the rest of the line because it “dots the i.” It’s kind of a cute little feature of this puzzle.

If you followed this pattern for the rest of the lines, you get the letters that form the word, “biased.”

The link this round is stl.la/biased. That link takes us to a new page called “Liar”, where we find out that our old friend, Greg Jordan, has become a part of the Endgame: Ancient Truth story. It looks like Stella and Greg are not exactly on the same page. What are Greg’s interests in the Ancient Societies blog, and why is he commenting from a new Google+ account? This is getting very interesting.