Secret hats are secret.
Public knowledge is not secret.
Therefore, secret hats are not public knowledge.
I've been asked to edit this post to explain what secrets I was talking about. So, here goes. Secrets in this answer! I'm going to go ahead and reveal 'em. Fredley originally added in hidden HTML tags a prompt to add secrets to the answer. So that's exactly what I did - in hidden tags, of course.
added by fredley: This answer needs more secrets, I was disappointed not to find any here.
This prompted me. added by Emracool:
You want a secret? I'll give you a secret. Your link is here:
Oh, what's that? You want another hint?
Have fun, friends. Post a comment if you make progress. I'm curious. Maybe I'll do something special for the first couple who get it. Depends.
So, the question: "what the hell is even going on in this?" The first part was a little obscure (okay, scratch that, very obscure), but after that point, everything else was fairly linear (if organized in a convoluted way). The first "link" actually goes to a Google doc. Google document links come in the form:
The document, in this case, leads here:
Once you got that part, you were greeted with a document titled "BFEncrypt VW5pY29ybnNSYWluYm93UGFydHlIYXRz-64" and the text:
The title here tells you everything you need to know. "BFEncrypt" you need to recognize as Blowfish encryption. The key is actually part of the title, but the "-64" tells you that the key has been encoded with Base64. If you put the string "VW5pY29ybnNSYWluYm93UGFydHlIYXRz" into a base64 decoder, you end up with "UnicornsRainbowPartyHats".
This is the key to the encrypted text. You need to use a blowfish block encryption to decrypt the text with the key, and doing so leads you to:
So you know what? Heres some text. A pile of that will point you to the ANSWER.
You know, the answer. To everything. Everything, ever. Period end. But first, you will need the next password:
WB13BEGINS? - use balpha emrakul servy
The last step of the puzzle is nigh! And it goes right back to where you started. One of the easiest ways I've found to confuse people (and I love doing this in RPGs) is to give them the first and the last clue, and let them try and figure it out.
So, balpha emrakul servy. bAlpha Emrakul Servy. AES.
You've won my little ridiculous WinterBash secret challenge.
Maybe I'll give you a hat. Maybe.
Post a comment on a very, very old post of mine, and let me know. You probably won't get a hat, but I'm curious if anyone makes it through this.
A little anticlimactic, sure. I wish I had been able to put something more exciting in there. Maybe I'd have handed out a bit of dogecoin ;) But who knows. As far as I know, nobody got this far. I hope those of you who played enjoyed the challenge! And hey, if you really want some doge, I'd be happy to give some to ya.