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3 x 3 Puzzle Cache

A cache by gallaghd Send Message to Owner Message this owner
Hidden : 06/30/2012
4 out of 5
1.5 out of 5

Size: Size:   micro (micro)

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Geocache Description:

There is absolutely nothing wrong with the coordinates above. I'm sure they would take you to a very nice location where you could enjoy God's creation. However, if you want to find this cache, I don't recommend going there; I recommend solving the puzzle instead.

Do you remember when you were a kid?  They had those little puzzles, usually 4 x 4, where you had to slide the tiles around to either make a picture or put the numbers in order.  There would be 15 tiles and one blank, and by sliding tiles into the blank, you could re-arrange the tiles and hopefully reach your goal. We would play with these things on trips in the car; for me, the usual result was that the tiles would all fall out on the floor.

So, you now have the opportunity to re-live those days and solve a series of puzzles.  To make it easy on you, I am making them 3 x 3 puzzles.  The 8 tiles in each puzzle will be numbered 1-8.  You goal is to re-arrange the tiles from the given starting location so that the '1' is in the upper left corner of the puzzle, and the rest of the numbers follow in sequence, leaving the blank at the lower right corner of the puzzle.  Easy enough?  However, here's the catch.  You must determine the MINIMUM number of moves to get from the starting position to the solution position.  This minimum number of moves will provide you with a desired number to make the coordinates.

So, here is the solution position:

 1   2   3 
 4   5   6 
 7   8     

From the following position, you can slide the '8' to the left to reach the solution position in 1 move; if this was given as a starting position, then the number you would use is 1.  

 1   2   3 
 4   5   6 
 7       8 

So, if the starting position is as below, you first slide the 6 right, then the 5 up, then the 8 left ... reaching the solution position in 3 moves. In this case, the digit you would use is 3.

 1   2   3 
 4   6     
 7   5   8 

However, if the starting position is a bit more difficult and requires 10 or more moves to arrive at the solution, then use the least significant digit of the number of moves.  So, if it takes 15 moves to arrive at the solution, then use 5 as your digit.  Simple enough?

Ok, on to the puzze.  Assume N39 and W084.  

 1   2     
 4   6   3 
 7   5   8 

 2       3 
 1   5   6 
 4   7   8 

 2   4   6 
 8       1 
 3   5   7 

 1   2   3 
 4   5   6 
 7   8     

     1   2 
 8   3   7 
 4   5   6 

 4   1   2 
 7       3 
 5   6   8 

 5   7   3 
 1   4   2 
     6   8 

 5   4   3 
 2   1   6 
 7   8     

 3   4   1 
 5   2     
 7   6   8 

 5   6   7 
 8   4   3 
 2       1 

See, that was easy!  Now go find the cache.

You can check your answers for this puzzle on

Additional Hints (Decrypt)

Chmmyr: V nyjnlf gryy lbh gb hfr lbhe pbzchgre, ohg lbh arire yvfgra!

Pnpur: Fgnl bhg bs gur ynaqfpncvat.

Decryption Key


(letter above equals below, and vice versa)

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