Google / Da Vinci Code Quest Final Challenge Coming

By Nathan Weinberg

Thought the Google/Da Vince Code Quest was over? Well, you weren’t the only one. Turns out the final round has yet to come.

I got this email today, as did probably everyone who finished all 24 puzzles and lives in the United States:

The Da Vinci Code Quest

9:46 pm(1 hour ago)

Thank you for participating in “The Da Vinci Code” Quest on Google.

This email is to confirm that you have completed all 24 puzzles within the quest and successfully registered for a chance to participate in the final challenge. Well done!

We will be contacting the 10,000 finalists on Monday 5/15 via email regarding their cryptex shipment. Within that email the 10,000 finalists will also receive instructions on how to participate in the final challenge.

All remaining players who finished the quest will also receive a surprise message via email.

Thank you all for participating in “The Da Vinci Code” Quest on Google and making it such a success. We hope you enjoyed playing.

The Da Vinci Code In Theaters 5/19


You are receiving this email as part of your participation in THE DA VINCI CODE QUEST ON GOOGLE.

This newsletter may contain links to, or advertisements concerning, various Web sites. Other sites may also reference, advertise, or link to Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) Web sites. SPE is not responsible for the privacy practices or content of other sites and encourages you to read the privacy policy statement and terms of service of any site that you visit. To learn how we handle your personal information, read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service statements.

Privacy Policy:

Terms of Service:

Copyright 2006 Sony Pictures Digital, Inc. All rights reserved.
Sony Pictures Webmaster C/O Sony Pictures Digital
9050 W. Washington Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232-2518

More importantly, readers Mike and Greg located this page at, which currently forwards to a page titled “final_puzzle_too_early“. It reads:

Congratulations! It appears that you have received our message and have completed all 24 puzzles. In order to reach the end of the Quest and be rewarded with untold riches you must quickly and correctly complete the Final Challenge.

The one to complete the Final Challenge in the least amount of time will be our chosen one. Beginning at 1pm EDT on May 19th, the final challenge, which is a time trial, will be made available to you for 48 hours. You can begin whenever you like, but prepare well, for once you begin there is no turning back. The player who completes all five tasks in the shortest amount of time will be declared the winner.

The Da Vinci Code is in theaters worldwide May 19th. Visit the official movie website at

Very interesting. Apparently, on the very day the movie releases, you’ll have to complete five tasks, and be the fastest, to win the big prize.

Wait a minute, what the hell is the prize?

Here’s what the U.S. prize page reveals:

  • First-class round-trip air transportation for four (4) to New York, Paris, Rome and London courtesy of (Approximate Retail Value: $97,000.00)

  • Four (4) nights deluxe hotel accommodations and ground transportation for four (4) at each travel destination courtesy of BooksAMillion and Frommer’s. (ARV: $16,600.00)

  • Four Leisure Select return tickets from London to Paris and London to Avignon courtesy of Eurostar. (ARV: $5,797.24)

  • One (1) Sony® 40″ BRAVIA™ S-Series LCD HDTV Television (ARV: $2999.99)

  • One (1) Sony® VAIO® VGN-TX770P/B Notebook computer (ARV: $2,599.99)

  • One (1) Sony® Cyber-shot® DSC-N1 Digital Camera (ARV: 499.95)

  • One (1) Sony® Platinum DVD Dream™ System (model DAV-X1) (ARV: $799.99)

  • One (1) Sony® NV-U70 Portable Navigation System (ARV: $599.95)

  • One (1) Sony® DPP-FP50 Digital Photo Printer (ARV: $149.95)

  • Four (4) Sony® Walkman Core™ MP3 Players (ARV $639.80)

  • Four (4) copies of the Frommer’s Guide Books and Day by Day Guides to New York, Paris, Rome and London. (ARV: $483.68)

Now, that’s the whole prize. Yes, one person is going to get all of that. ALL OF IT. Jeez.

One (1) Cryptex replica inspired by the film. (ARV: $30.00)

So, if you get an email on May 15 (and, presumably, if you got this email), you will get a cryptex, pictured above. You also get a chance, for 48 hours starting at 1 pm Eastern on May 19, to win $127,170.54 in prizes, totaling 16 plane tickets, 16 nights of hotel accomodations for 4 people and transportation, 8 train tickets, 4 MP3 players, 4 travel guides, 1 LCD HDTV, 1 laptop, 1 8.1 megapixel camera, 1 DVD/speaker system, 1 satellite navigation system, and 1 photo printer.

Now, here’s my advice: Do not, under any circumstances, play the Quest at 1 pm on May 19. Wait. Wait for spoilers to hit the net, wait for me to play the game and post my tips here. This is for over a hundred grand in prizes, and you do not want to go in blind. If you have a copy of the Da Vinci Code, have it next to you (or go out and buy one). Also, go see the movie before playing the Quest. It’ll help keep it in your mind, and get you in the right frame to win.

Remember, you don’t have to be the first to win, just the fastest. If you wait until May 21 at 8 am, you’ll have a much better idea than the people who played at the first possible minute.

Here’s what I’ll be doing: Leading up to May 19, I will reread portions of the book. On May 19, I will watch the Da Vinci Code movie around noon. Following the movie, I will comb the net for posts by people who have played the final Quest and post what I find here. I will also petition my readers to say what happened to them (and given how many comments I have gotten during the first Quest, it should be a lot). Finally, I will reboot, close all programs on my system, save Firefox, open tabs to every Google service used previously in the Quest (Book Search, Scholar, Video, Translation Service, Maps), medidate, and start.

I suspect I will start the Quest around 6 pm on the 19th. I don’t think I will win, but all I have to do is try hard. I get a lot of traffic from this game (hundreds of dollars worth of advertising sold), so as long as I do my damndest for you guys, I get something out of it.

Be here on May 19th. Go to my main Da Vinci Code Quest page, and look for a link to The Final Challenge, and join in. Good luck to everyone.

I’ll make a deal: If a reader who has participated on this blog wins the Grand Prize, and gives me the news and a chance to ask him/her how it feels, I will send that person a gift as well.

This has been a great experience. Again, we will be holding DVD prize contests on this blog starting early next week (I believe), so stick around, even after the contest has ended.

UPDATE: Emails are notifying the winners, and prizes are arriving in the mail. Click the link for more.

UPDATE: The Final Challenge is here. Details are being collected following this link.

May 12, 2006 by Nathan Weinberg in:

308 Responses to “Google / Da Vinci Code Quest Final Challenge Coming”

  1. » Solution To Google Da Vinci Code Quest #1 » InsideGoogle » part of the Blog News Channel Says:

    […] UPDATE: News has come out on the Final Challenge. I have it all following this link. Keep coming to this page for updates. Posted: April 18, 2006 by Nathan Weinberg in: […]

  2. » Google / Da Vinci Code Quest #24 » InsideGoogle » part of the Blog News Channel Says:

    […] UPDATE: Full details on the Final Challenge, and advice, at my latest post. Posted: May 10, 2006 by Nathan Weinberg in: […]

  3. arad Says:

    I never got this confirmation of registration email, even though i did register and everything…. hmmmm

  4. Niraj Says:

    The downside of winning the grand prize? You’ll have to pay something like $40,000 in taxes…and none of the prizes are cash. Can you afford to win? :)

  5. Mike Wyman Says:

    It looks like one of the Final Challenges will be a chess puzzle — without the multiple choice questions to help the non-chess-savvy. At least according to

  6. Rob Says:

    Oh boy a chess puzzle! And me with a Master rating of 2250!

    By the way, I don’t like any of these prizes! Do you think I’ll be able to sell them for cash?

  7. Rob Says:

    I say 4 of us combine our wits and solve the puzzle. Then the 4 of us can be off to Europe.


  8. Says:

    Good point Niraj. I was also looking into that. I can’t really afford to win the grand prize. May be there is a loophole that allows me sell some of the airline tickets to raise the money for taxes? Has someone looked into that?

  9. Says:

    BTW did you guys get two emails? I got one from The Da Vinci Code Quest
    and second from Sony Pictures News
    . Interestingly, the links in two email eventually take me the same page, but have different numbers in URL? Is there a code in there? Or may be I am just crossing the line between obsessed and crazy :)

  10. Uranus Says:

    Who is Nathan Weinberg and why is he such a dipshit? Does anyone know?

  11. Marilyn Says:

    Uranus: He’s being very helpful to the rest of the contestants. What’s wrong with that? Please don’t be rude.

  12. Nathan Weinberg Says:

    Thanks, Marylin. You’d think that, after spending hours providing a forum for contestants, allowing people to share spoilers and posting hints for those who don’t want them, and trying to get free DVDs for the readers that stick around, there wouldn’t be people calling me a “dipshit”. I guess, with over 10,000 people loading up this very page, according to my stats software (forgetting about all the others reading all the other Quest-related pages), at least one was bound to be an ass.

  13. Susie Says:

    Just a troll with nothing to do. Just ignore it and it will hopefully go away.

  14. Kobe Says:

    Uranus you are really an asshole nathan weinberg helped us alot plus he seems to be a really nice guy. if you have nothing nice to post dont post it

  15. Kobe Says:

    Anyone get a confermation email?

  16. lance Says:

    Is the 15th email not sappose to be out at 1:00 PM?
    to answer madearth yes I also got 2 emails I think each of us did!

  17. lance Says:

    Ha anyone finishe the Gallery Challange I have not seen any comments about that, BTW I I found 5 symbols but not the cross yet.

  18. lance Says:

    never mind founf the cross

  19. shannon Says:

    NO email yet. Just sitting here waiting…and checking… and waiting and checking…

    I can’t believe how involved I became in this quest! I haven’t even seen the movie yet. Maybe if I am one of the lucky…

  20. KBAR Says:

    Still waiting.

  21. cdm Says:

    Not yet. Will post if I do.

  22. Niraj Says:

    Kobe, haven’t seen a confirmation email yet.

    Nathan, trying to understand what’s going through the head of someone that posts stupid or useless comments is a lost cause. It seems to be happening more and more frequently now that blogs are so common.

  23. ToddM Says:

    Got my Cryptex in the mail, and managed to open it in under two minutes (without resorting to a hammer). Good luck to all Final Challenge contestants…

  24. Robin Says:

    I cant stand it! When we will know if we’re in the finals??

  25. Marlane C Says:

    Thanks Nathan for this site. I visited and was helped when I was trying to figure out a puzzle and was pulling my hair out at the same time. You were great to do this for the rest of us. BTW, haven’t rec’d a conf email yet (5/15 @ 1:25PM EDT). But, by the sound of the replies left here on the weekend, who can afford the taxes? Oh well, it was fun while it lasted. Good Luck to everyone who gets that coveted conf email.

  26. jw Says:

    cryptex arrived in mail today (we have a great post office) good luck all

  27. mikey Says:

    Take a look, I got mine!

  28. Angie Says:

    For everyone that got the cryptex in the mail already…What was your completion time?

  29. mk Says:

    Are they even sending out emails?

  30. dave Says:

    ToddM & jw, did you get a special email today or just your cryptex in the mail?

  31. for real Says:

    jw i thought we get an email first then we get the cryptex

  32. for real Says:

    the rules say that you cant trade in anything for cash :(

  33. Stephen Says:

    13:30 CST and still awaiting the email about Cryptex shipment… Anyone recieve anything yet

  34. MG Says:

    lance what is the gallery challenge?

  35. mrabon Says:

    Also got mine in the mail today too….what a surprise:)

  36. Peanut Butter Jelly Time Says:

    To those of you that have received the cryptex in the mail; did you get a confirmation e-mail as well or did the cryptex just show up in your mailbox? Has anyone gotten another e-mail besides the two when all the puzzles are completed?

  37. PratikB Says:

    aaah…the wait is a killer…just wanted to thank you nathan…your website was a savior in quite a few puzzles to say the least..a huge thanks! :)

  38. Angie Says:

    Just called home…My cryptex was in the mail (yeah!!!). By the way, I completed the last challenge in about 3 minutes that includes filling out the forms.

  39. sarah Says:

    did those who recieved the cryptex also recieve an email?

  40. robert Says:

    I recieved my cryptex today, yet no email. Go to where I did a brief writeup. I will include cryptex pics tonight when get home.

  41. mikey Says:

    no email yet, just cryptex

  42. Elaine Says:

    It’s 3:05 EDT and I haven’t received an email yet. I also haven’t checked my mail in a few days. I got the impression that the 15th email would say whether you won a cryptex and not that the cryptexs were mailed out already?!?

  43. unionsbuerger Says:

    Der Da Vinci Code ist eine UCHRONIE.

    Diese Uchronie ist nicht unwahrscheinlicher als die Fabeln der Kirche.
    Die “Templiers” sind nicht wegen Blasphemie von Philippe Le Bel und vom Papst erledigt worden. Sie waren einfach zu mächtig und zu reich für die Karolinger geworden.
    Den “Templiers” das Geheimnis der Tochter Jesus: Sarah anhängen zu wollen,
    ist eine schöne kontrafaktische Geschichte.
    Warum sollten wir aber nicht daran glauben ?
    Müssen wir den eidesstaatlichen Versicherungen
    vom Opus Dei und ihrer Benedikten glauben ?

  44. Jen Says:

    No email yet.

  45. Shand Says:

    Ok I got the cryptex in the mail today at lunchtime, but I still haven’t gotten an email but I guess I’m in anyway good luck to everyone else

  46. Gerg Says:

    “Finalists will be notified by email on or about May 15, 2006 and at time of receipt of their Finalist Prize which will be shipped by postal mail to be received by May 18, 2006.”

    To be short and sweet…all those who have said they already received the cryptex are full of crap. Nuff said.

  47. ToddM Says:

    sarah- I recieved the ‘regular’ confirmation email last week telling me that I completed all 24 puzzels, but I didn’t recieve a special ‘you are one of the top 10,000′ email. So apparently they’ve tried to get the cryptexes into people’s hands before they bulk email the 10,000 messages.

  48. rajarshi Says:

    cant believe people have started receiving cryptex. wasnt the cryptex supposed to be mailed out on of after 15th and received by the participants by 18th? we dont yet know who are the finalists?

  49. Alex Says:

    No email- just a cryptex. Opened it in about 1.5 minutes (no hammer- lol). Rajarshi, if you recieve a cryptex, you are a finalist. That’s how we know. I thought we were supposed to get an email too, but I doubt we will. We should still get the one that tells you how to access the Final Challenge- If you are a finalist.

  50. rajarshi Says:

    those who have already received the cryptex please let us know what time did they complete the 24th puzzle?

  51. Kobe Says:

    yo i got my cryptex. i am really happy i havent had a chance to open it yet though and get whats inside.

  52. ToddM Says:

    I completed the 24th puzzle at approximately 1:05. It arrived from, although the return address was for Skycastle Entertainment in Burbank, CA. It has $4.05 of postage on it, but the cancellation stamp is smugged so I cannot tell on what date it was sent.

  53. Greasy Guide Says:

    I got the confirmation lettters in my e-mail but nothing else. I want my Cryptex!

  54. Stephen Says:

    Received the cryptex but nothing in the email yet. My wife says it at home so cannot wait to get to it :-) Finished the 24th puzzle at 12:05 CST.

  55. Wratz Says:

    My cryptex was mailed on May 13 from Burbank, CA. Damn, I’m in Memphis,… that was fast. It came USPS and the code for it was GRAIL. It was written on the bottom of the box, so it doesn’t take a genius to figure it out. BTW, only the last 2 letters matter when entering the code.

  56. George Says:

    I just got mine in the mail. I finished the last puzzle and registered 3 or 4 minutes after 1:00 EDT. I haven’t recieved any email though, and am curious why it didn’t come with “a screenshot of 4 codes” like it says in the rules. I am in Santa Cruz, California by the way.

  57. Victoria Says:

    I got my cryptex today but did not get an email. I completed the form at 1:02.

  58. Nitin Says:

    These guys outta have a 800 number!! :-) ))
    Seems Like everyone got only the two emails, but nothing says about confirmation. I am gonna wait for another hour and quit it..

  59. Datlev Says:

    I just opened my package from Skycastle Entertainment… My very own cryptex. Guess I have to wait a few days to actually play the final phase. Good Luck All!!

  60. Wratz Says:

    For those who didn’t get one, is taking orders for the cryptex that will ship on 6/15/06. It’s list price is $59. So, that $30 retail value is incorrect I guess.

  61. jesse Says:

    i guess i should of checked in here earlier. iv been sitting here all day checking my email waiting for an email saing i won a cryptex when i should of been checking my physical mail box. so i just went and looked and there it was (along with my $300 tax return check, good mail day)it is pretty cool especially for just answering some questions. ok here is some useful info for all still waiting, i was worried when i saw all these 2 and 4 minute times i finished the final puzzle at 1:07 (well 10:07 here but whatever) so yeah if you got in around 7 minutes you can probably expect to get a cryptex. it came alone in a cardboard box no documentation at all on clues as far as i can tell on how to open it but if it is as easy as the puzzles were i should be able to get in in no time. the official rules say ” limited edition Cryptex replica and a screenshot of 4 codes (the “Finalist Prize”). One of the included codes will open the Cryptex” but i didnt get any screenshots of any codes maybe in the email if it ever comes? is this right? did anyone else get screenshots of codes with there cryptex? o well good luck all.

  62. Smithco Says:

    I got my cryptex in the mail today! (AZ)

  63. for real Says:

    i heard that you still get an email even if you werent in the first 10000

  64. Rebecca Says:

    I got my cryptex today! Woohoo! I was a little worried about the mail (it’s still screwed up in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina) but I got it! Yay!

    I finished the 24th puzzle at 1:04pm EST, for those who were asking.

    And the cryptex is really nice! I would never sell mine on eBay like some are doing, it’s just too cool!

  65. jesse Says:

    ah, sorry. i guess i should look before i talk out my ass. the code to open the cryptex was on the back of the box. “cryptex code: grail” it also says manufactured by the noble collection so for all those people who just wanted to win a cryptix but didnt you can still have one., of course it isnt $30 like the rules say (’ARV of each Finalist Prize is: $30″) it is $59.95 this thing is pretty cool for free but i dont think id of paid 60 bucks for one. inside the cryptix is a note “congratulations, you have proven worthy of the da vinci code quest on google, visit to see if your journey continues.” which is the website we all know about already. so apparently you dont even need the cryptix you just need to be one of the 10000 finalists and go to the website. the cryptix provided me with absolutely no useful information or even a challange. o well it does look cool and i am glad to have it. thank you google.

  66. KennyG Says:

    ToddM is right. I got the same thing. It’s nice and solid. Brass. About 4in long and 1.5in diameter. Five dials (plastic, but functional). Mine just fell apart and paper inside sent me to the Quest Homepage?

  67. Scott Says:

    they probably sent all the cryptexes early so that they would reach people by the 18th AT THE LATEST, and no one will be left out of the last challenge that earned the right to be in it.

  68. Brandie Says:

    I got my cryptex today!!! Finished #24 at approx. 1:10 pm EST. I wasn’t sure if I would make it. Oh, and figuring out how to open it was disappointingly easy.

  69. Kandarp Says:

    Got my cryptex in the mail… finished my quest at 1:09 so there is still hope for everyone

  70. Louis DeFargo Says:

    I got my pacakge. Time to sumnit was 1:05.

  71. Krishanu Says:

    I got a cryptex, the note inside only has a link to

  72. Shand Says:

    I finished the puzzle at about 1:15. The paper inside says congratulations and to visit the site to see if your journey continues. I still have not received any more emails though.has anyone else? With or without the cryptex? Maybe they mixed the dates, Cryptex sent the 15th and emails sent the 18th.

  73. fercook Says:

    I think I finished the puzzle and registered before 1:07, at least that’s when I remembered to look at the time after the excitement. I haven’t received anything yet…
    About the answers to the final challenge: Don’t you think the 10000 puzzles can be randomized so that nobody gets help from anybody? Or they don’t care?

  74. Matt Says:

    How did you get your cryptex, the site said that they would not even be mailed until Thursday, May 18. Also, did you get a confirmation E-mail, if so when?

  75. Audrey Says:

    I completed the last puzzle about 6 min after it posted, working in tandem with my husband. Both of us received cryptexes today. Our postmarks are also unreadable.

    If you get a cryptex, the word code for opening it is actually printed on the bottom of the box it is in.

  76. Krishanu Says:

    I still havent gotten a confirmation email.. but I got the crptex… I was kinda dissappointed though because I thought I would have to figure out how to open it.. but it says the code on the back of the box, and they password isnt even unique… both my friend and I got one, and the password for both is GRAIL.

  77. Brian Kortmeyer Says:

    The City where the cryptexs came from is Fairfax, VA. That is where the company that made them resides. My guess is that the Cryptexs had to be sent out last Thursday or Friday from that location to reach eveyone in the EST states by Monday. So, it should by Wed the latest that the Cryptexs show up for the West Coast. Its 7:05 EST here in california…so (4:05PST) I doubt that If I didnt get an email by now, its not going to happen.

    Congrats to all you lucky ones! :)

    Im jelious!


  78. Austin Says:

    I got the cryptex as well. I was disappointed about the answer to the thing being on the box as well. Oh well, it’s nice though. Heavier than I thought it would be.

    I never got an email, and the message inside the cryptex just says, “Congratulations, you have proven worthy of the Da Vinci Code Quest on Google, visit to see if your journey continues.”

  79. Lisa Says:

    Hi! I’m 11 years old, and I past half the quest. It’s just as well I didn’t pass. You have to be 13 or older. :( It was really fun. My sister got the cryptex thing. Shes 19 and she past the quest. I’d really like to help my sister on the quest. Thank you so much for posting the tips! It was an interesting experience.

  80. Austin Says:

    Oh, one other thing… the answer to the cryptex is not GRAIL, as it says on the box. It’s actually xxxIL, with xxx being anything you want. Only the I and the L lock and unlock it. They didn’t even bother to make all 5 characters part of the locking/unlocking mechanism. LOL

  81. Vitruvius Says:

    Please add yourself to the Cryptex Frappr if you have received your Cryptex.

  82. Kobe Says:

    Cryptex is awesome, but i thought itd be a bit bigger. but whos complaining im in the finals. good luck to everyone else as well.

  83. Jenny P Says:

    Hey everyone, I got a cryptex too. I finished the puzzle at about 12:11 PM, and got the cryptex today. I haven’t gotten an e-mail yet either. I took a picture of the cryptex and the note here:

    The box was delivered from Burbank, CA and cost $4.05 in shipping.

    SPOILERS: To open the cryptex, the password is given on the box, but my roommate discovered you only need the last two letter of the password to open the cryptex.

  84. DevilGirl Says:

    I answered all 24 puzzles. I filled out the form after I completed the last one - it took me about 2 minutes. THEN TODAY on my google startup page I have this message:
    “The Quest has come to an end. You completed 23 of the 24 puzzles.
    If you enjoyed the Quest, then you won’t want to miss The Da Vinci Code movie, in theaters on May 19.”

    Quite the BS Slap in the face huh? I think this whole freakin thing was rigged.

  85. Ben Says:

    I don’t think I’m in (or my mail service is slow), but if you want one you can buy them at . A mini (the one given in the quest) is $60 and a normal (same except bigger and w/ box) for $145.

  86. J Smith Says:

    Got a cryptex in the mail today, It’s not as big as in the movie being ~3.5″ long and >1.5″ in diameter. After getting it and messing around I solved it (the code was also on the box….), but it appears that it only looks at the last 2 letters to open. The rest of the dials have notches cut out under the letters which would open it if it were looking to the rest of the dials to open. The thing is that those first 3 letters do not even correspond to the correct letters (should be GRAIL).

  87. ET Says:

    Still no emails, but I did get a Cryptex…I am in California, so it seems the country is covered evenly. Good luck to all…

  88. Stephen Says:

    You can change the cryptex code: The right hand end of the cryptex will unscrew (The piece to the right of the arrow indicator). Once this piece is unscrewed the body of the right hand end will slide off. Underneath there are two screws that hold the body together with the dials. Once the screws are loosened (don’t take them out completely, they are easy to loose) the cap that holds the dials on the body slides off. All of the dials can now be slid off. The lettering is keyed onto a cogged rim. Slide the lettering of and put it back with the letter you want next to the keyway on the inside of the ring. Do the same for the other dials and put it back together. When you tighten the screws just set thenm so the heads are flush with the surface. The other thing to notice is that you only need to get the last three dials correct. I will be adding a piece of metal so that all my dials will be used. Have fun and good luck…

  89. tolwynn Says:

    I had the same thing happen to me as with DevilGirl above. Finished quicker than a number here, registered and got the same message today about only finishing 23 of the 24 puzzles - what a crock.

  90. jaimie Says:

    Just got my cryptex as well, postmark says Santa Ana, CA so they must have covered their bases and had some planted all over the country so that everyone got their’s today. I am in Los Angeles. Finished the final puzzle around 10:05…but my mom was in and didn’t finish until about 10:10. So good luck to all… smart of those Da Vinci Code people. Obviously, the top 10,000 will all see the movie opening weekend to make sure we don’t miss any clue… there’s a good box office trick :)

  91. Says:

    Got my cryptex too… I agree to whoever said above that I wouldn’t have paid to buy it myself. Hey… but it’s free so it’s pretty cool (plus bragging that goes with it! :)
    Nope. I haven’t got any email today.
    My submission time was around 1:04/5 pm.
    Good luck everyone… I will post back here how I do with the final puzzle!

  92. jesse Says:

    this is kinda weak. my box says cryptex code: grail and that works but only because of the cheap way it was made only the il in grail actually do anything and on top of that if the thing had been made right my code wouldnt of been grail when all the ring notches line up it actually spells “yziil”. if that doesnt end up being part of a solution to a puzzle i think i am goint to end up feeling disappointed by the cheap construction of my prize (which is really sad being disappointed by a free cryptex) o well

  93. Elaine Says:

    No cryptex. :( I ended up finishing the quest a little before 3 p.m. last Wednesday, so I guess it was too late. Stupid office meetings.

  94. Tim A Says:

    Hey, did anyone else finish it early and not have a Cryptex yet? I finished the puzzle at like 1:06 EST and completed all the forms and such. Just wondering…

  95. Matt Says:

    I finished the 24th puzzle at 4 minutes after the hour and still have not received a cryptex or E-mail, however, I do live in rural Idaho. So I hope to receive mine in the mail tomorrow.

  96. Chaitanya Says:

    dint get any email yet but same thing happened to me as devilgirl.
    wat the heck??

  97. P.S. Says:

    i live in ny, and i want one…a free one!

  98. Ross Says:

    Actually you don’t need to even know the word to open the cryptex. All you have to do is screw off the right end cap, slide off the next section, loosen the 2 set screw things, take off the ring, and all of the letter collars fall right off.

  99. davidclerk Says:

    I got my email!!!! 9:13 p.m. cst

  100. Rachel Says:

    Received my Cryptex today in the mail, and the email message about 5 minutes ago. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and the cryptex seemed to have shipped from Santa Clara, so I think it’s just because I’m close by. :)

  101. TSW Says:

    I just received the email that says I am a finalist! I finished with 5 minutes.

    Subject: FINALIST - The Da Vinci Code Quest on Google

    (Some of the email is represented in images so not all the text is below):

    Your journey does not end here. You have also qualified to compete for the grand prize which includes trips for four to New York, Paris, Rome and London, a colossal Sony® Electronics package and more valued at over $100,000! See official rules.

    Beginning on or around 1pm EDT May 19th at, the final challenge, which is a time trial, will be made available to you for 48 hours. You can begin whenever you like, but prepare well, for once you begin there is no turning back. The player who completes all five tasks in the shortest amount of time will be declared the winner.

    As for your previous accomplishments, your skill and perseverance will be rewarded with a limited edition replica cryptex arriving in your mailbox in the coming days.
    While you wait, Click here to watch a congratulatory message from Sir Ian McKellen and a sneak peek of The Da Vinci Code and then continue on to view special offers and discounts from our Quest partners.

  102. TSW Says:

    The link to Ian McKellen’s congratulations is:

  103. Ross Says:

    Just got my finalist email, but there is not really any new or exciting info.

  104. Kevin Says:

    Finally got the email. Here’s the text:

    Your journey does not end here. You have also qualified to compete for the grand prize which includes trips for four to New York, Paris, Rome and London, a colossal Sony® Electronics package and more valued at over $100,000! See official rules.

    Beginning on or around 1pm EDT May 19th at, the final challenge, which is a time trial, will be made available to you for 48 hours. You can begin whenever you like, but prepare well, for once you begin there is no turning back. The player who completes all five tasks in the shortest amount of time will be declared the winner.

    As for your previous accomplishments, your skill and perseverance will be rewarded with a limited edition replica cryptex arriving in your mailbox in the coming days.
    While you wait, Click here to watch a congratulatory message from Sir Ian McKellen and a sneak peek of The Da Vinci Code and then continue on to view special offers and discounts from our Quest partners.

    NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Void where prohibited by law. Open only to legal residents located and residing in the 50 United States and D.C., 13 years or older as of 4/17/06. Phase 1 of Contest ends at 1:00 pm EDT on 5/11/06. Final Phase of Contest ends at 1:00 p.m. EDT on 5/21/06. Eligibility, prize and travel restrictions apply. Contest subject to Official Rules.

    The Da Vinci Code
    For rating reasons, go to FILMRATINGS.COM, MPAA.ORG.
    Parents, please refer to PARENTALGUIDE.ORG.

    ©2006 Columbia TriStar Marketing Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
    | See official rules | See Prizing |
    Google is a trademark of Google Inc.

    © 2006 Sony Pictures Digital Inc. All rights reserved.
    Sony Pictures Webmaster C/O Sony Pictures Digital
    9050 W. Washington Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232-2518

  105. TSW Says:

    And here is a link to some “prizes” the finalists get (just some coupon codes):

  106. Brent Says:

    just received the finalist email from Sony:

    “Your journey does not end here. You have also qualified to compete for the grand prize which includes trips for four to New York, Paris, Rome and London, a colossal Sony® Electronics package and more valued at over $100,000! See official rules.

    Beginning on or around 1pm EDT May 19th at, the final challenge, which is a time trial, will be made available to you for 48 hours. You can begin whenever you like, but prepare well, for once you begin there is no turning back. The player who completes all five tasks in the shortest amount of time will be declared the winner.

    As for your previous accomplishments, your skill and perseverance will be rewarded with a limited edition replica cryptex arriving in your mailbox in the coming days. “

  107. Lisa Says:

    On it says that you can set it (cryptex)on any password you want. But, I haven’t figured out how that works… Oh yeah, and the reason the cryptex is smaller than the one in the movie is because this is the Mini Cryptex. You can buy the big one if you want it that much.

  108. Elizabeth Says:

    I got an e-mail saying that I’ll get my cryptex in the mail in the next few days. Anyone know if you can reset the password for your friends to figure out? That would be great. Luck to everyone on the Final!

  109. mikey Says:

    emails went out at 10:15 pm.

  110. NOKS Says:

    i just got an email saying im a finalist.The Da Vinci Code
    Your journey does not end here. You have also qualified to compete for the grand prize which includes trips for four to New York, Paris, Rome and London, a colossal Sony® Electronics package and more valued at over $100,000! See official rules.

    Beginning on or around 1pm EDT May 19th at, the final challenge, which is a time trial, will be made available to you for 48 hours. You can begin whenever you like, but prepare well, for once you begin there is no turning back. The player who completes all five tasks in the shortest amount of time will be declared the winner.

    As for your previous accomplishments, your skill and perseverance will be rewarded with a limited edition replica cryptex arriving in your mailbox in the coming days.

  111. Kate Says:

    How to change the password on the Cryptex:

    When you unlock it, you will find two tiny screws on the side of the large chamber. You can undo them with an eyeglass screwdriver.

    The top ring will come off then all of the rings will come off as well. You can remove the white ring from the gold ring though I think it’s wise to say be careful. You then can change the code to what ever you like.

  112. kandarp Says:

    Just got my e-mail.. it was in my mailbox at 10:13 pm
    Your journey does not end here. You have also qualified to compete for the grand prize which includes trips for four to New York, Paris, Rome and London, a colossal Sony® Electronics package and more valued at over $100,000! See official rules.

    Beginning on or around 1pm EDT May 19th at, the final challenge, which is a time trial, will be made available to you for 48 hours. You can begin whenever you like, but prepare well, for once you begin there is no turning back. The player who completes all five tasks in the shortest amount of time will be declared the winner.

    As for your previous accomplishments, your skill and perseverance will be rewarded with a limited edition replica cryptex arriving in your mailbox in the coming days.
    While you wait, Click here to watch a congratulatory message from Sir Ian McKellen and a sneak peek of The Da Vinci Code and then continue on to view special offers and discounts from our Quest partners.

  113. kandarp Says:

    Here is the link

  114. Rich Says:

    Both me and my fiance received ours just a few minutes ago. She finished it around 12:07.

  115. Gordon Oppenheimer Says:

    I submitted my registration at 1:04 pm ET and I got a rejection letter. I feel totally cheated!

  116. Veebs Says:

    I received my Cryptex BEFORE I got my email today. Good luck everyone!

  117. Ian Says:

    To change the code on the cryptex:

    1. open it
    2. on ring revealed to the right of the last letter, there are two small screws, remove them about half way and that ring will slide off
    3. the individual character rings can now be removed. You’ll see that the letter portion is a plastic shell that slides over the metal base with the locking indentation.
    4. for each ring, remove the plastic shell, line up the new letter you want to the indentation, and replace it.
    5. slide the rings back on, followed by the securing ring.
    6. TRICKY STEP: line the fastening ring’s screws up with the holes visible on the INSIDE of the cryptex, and tighten them.

  118. Loser Says:

    That’s bogus. If it wasn’t for the problems Google had, I probably would’ve been a finalist like most here. I finished about 10 minutes after the start and am NOT a finalist. That’s sad…

  119. Jo Says:

    …Mine got sent to my house, and my dad almost threw it away. I kid you not. I’ll include a transcription of our Skype conversation:

    “You’ve got a package from… Skysomething entretainment… do you know anything about this?”
    “I’m not expecting anything.”
    “Weird. It’s from California– do you know anyone in California?”
    “No…” (I submitted my answers for #24 at 1:27, so I wasn’t expecting anything. I forgot about the puzzle until 1:15ish…)
    “Well, I wonder. Anyway, should I toss it?”
    “Open it, I guess.”
    “What if it’s one of those things they bill you for?”
    “…um, that would be a problem.” (we were both completely serious)
    “Well, I’ll open it anyway.”
    “Eergh…” (the sound from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, in the cave when they read the inscription- cuz he’s funny like that.)
    “It’s a… Da Vinci Code? It’s got five plastic dials, anyway.”
    “*squee!*” ( happy shriek that bothered everyone in the hall)

    So I guess I’m a Finalist. Hopefully I’ll be able to do the puzzles. I just wish I could actually SEE my mini-cryptex.

    Is it true what they say about the taxes? I’m too young to get shafted with lots of money! (Not that I have a realistic chance of winning without chess skillz, but one can always dream- that’s why lotteries work.)

  120. John Says:

    I also received my cryptex today. my code word was grail. the scroll inside just has the website for the final challenge

  121. Iorhael Says:

    Congratulations to all of you who got a cryptex…I got an email saying I was not a finalist :( :( I guess the challenges were indeed timed but they did not make that clear…..The cryptex is really nice…thanks for the photos Mikey (and I love your cryptex kitty ;)


  122. John Says:

    also, the cryptex should have taken no time at all to open, as the code word is on the bottom of the box it comes in. just in case no one saw that

  123. Iorhael Says:

    I forgot to say…a *huge* thank you to Nathan for this site and your helpful hints during the quest!

  124. icnivad Says:

    Finished the 24th in around 7 minutes.
    Got the “FINALIST” email today.
    Have not (yet!) received the Cryptex.

  125. Gwydeon Says:

    In the ‘NOT A FINALIST’ email you get a link to a page with a ’sneak peak’ which is actualy a behind the sceens clip.

    In the clip the names and possitions of the speakers are shown with highlighted letters.

    The letters: HITR MEAN AU NIVNF DTIV

    Become: Find the Vitruvian Man

  126. Gwydeon Says:

    PS: Has anyone who apparently already got a Cryptex tried ‘Apple’ ? (From Nobel site picture heh)

  127. Gwydeon Says:

    er… never mind about apple apparently its supposed to be ‘Grail’ and people already found the ___IL answer to open them.

  128. John Says:

    also, i was just looking at the noble collection website. the mini cryptex on the website shows that all five dials are operational, unlike the one we got, which only uses the last 2. so there’s your $30 bucks, if you wondered. Ours isn’t even the mini cryptex. it’s a cheap version of the cheap version

  129. Joyce Long Says:

    I just checked my e-mail and Not A Finalist jumped out at me. I always take a long time to do things, so wasn’t a surprize. Good luck to all the finalists.

  130. robert Says:

    Finally got the email confirming I am a finalist at 10:14pm. The Cryptex beat it by a good 10 hours. If want to see screenshot of the email along with pics of the Cryptex go to

  131. Cassidy Says:

    Hi, I finished the Quest two minutes after the hour and received my cryptex today. I still haven’t gotten an email though. I saw the cryptex you can buy online, I thought it was funny that it costs $60. I told my friend that since ours only halfway locks, that’s why its retail vaue is half the price, lol!

  132. Ryan Says:

    Got my cryptex and email today.
    In a word - anticlimax. Oh well.
    I will be assembling my team of lifelines for the 19th. (my brother-in-law, Jeopardy champ Ken Jennings should come in handy)
    Good luck to all.

  133. doNald Says:

    Has any one noticed what the screenshot and four codes. The Rules read:
    Final Phase. Finalists will be mailed via U.S. postal service, for scheduled delivery by May 18, 2006, a limited edition Cryptex replica and a screenshot of 4 codes (the “Finalist Prize”). One of the included codes will open the Cryptex. Inside will be a scroll with instructions on how to access the Final Puzzle Challenge online.

    Since “Grail” was easy enough to find on the bottom and several people have already taken the cryptex apart, where is the screenshot and codes? Are we getting another package?

  134. Iorhael Says:

    There are 70-plus cryptexes on ebay right now…I tried bidding on two and was outbid…but now after reading that only the last two dials work, I’m just as glad…but if you don’t mind that and you aren’t a finalist, go to ebay! :)

  135. Gwydeon Says:

    Funny thing - The $145 version on the Noble site shows only 2 lock slots where the $60 shows 5… ?

  136. » Google / Da Vinci Code Quest: Not A Finalist » InsideGoogle » part of the Blog News Channel Says:

    […] Well, got some bad news in the ol’ email today: In spite of completing the last Challenge relatively quickly, it wasn’t quick enough. At least 10,000 contestants appear to have beaten me to the punch, have received cryptexes (cryptexii? crypteces?) and will compete this Friday for the enormous grand prize. I gotta say, I’m feeling kind of bummed. I did my best, answered all 24 challenges, and get for it nothing. […]

  137. Joe Says:

    I too got my cryptex in the mail yesterday and while tinkering around with it, I found that the code to unlock is not actually “grail”. The code is “pqyil”. Of course, it doesn’t matter, since only “il” are needed, but funny regardless.

    Sorry to hear you didn’t make it Nathan, but I do appreciate the forum you have provided here. Thank you.

  138. Kobe Says:

    Just got an email, im psyched. i have a feeling that the final challenge will be a bit harder than we expected. but good luck to everyone.

  139. DevilGirl Says:

    So today I check my email - guess what I got…

    “WELL DONE!” You have completed ALL 24 PUZZLES. HOWEVER… not all who embark on the qwest can succeed as one of the finalists”

    So in a nutshell - get all 24 puzzles done by 10:02 Pac Time, seemingly much quicker then some of the posts I have read - and due to some BS glitch - I get the shaft. Yesterday I am told I had 23 of 24 - today “oh we were wrong you got all 24 but we SUCK at this whole contest rules thing so - screw you…” LOL

    Not Jealous - just stating the facts - good luck to all of you who won - but I still think its a loaded bunch of monkey dung…

  140. Mordy Says:

    So I completed the final task in 90 seconds flat, beating a friend who was playing along with me (by about a minute). HE got in the final 10,000, but I did not? Can someone please explain this to me?

  141. fercook Says:

    Hey Hey !! I arrived late at night to find my cryptex and my email ! I was so sure I hadn’t made it. I posted a pic last night of me enjoying my gift,

  142. Cyrckis Says:

    Today is Tues 5/16. My cryptex arrived Monday. I still haven’t received the email telling me i am a finalist. I submitted my entry at 1:11 EDT, so i was really surprised to win. I wish they were giving out movie tickets; i can’t afford either the taxes on the prize, or that much time off work. Good luck all!

  143. Cyrckis Says:

    Is anyone doing the gallery quest on the Sony site? I have found all six symbols, but can’t get anything else to happen.

  144. Mordy Says:

    Devilgirl: same thing happened to me. Quick entry, yesterday it said I only completed 23 of 24, today I get screwed. :|

    Good luck everyone else!

  145. Gordon Oppenheimer Says:

    DevilGirl, I am totally jealous. I submitted earlier than many of the other submit times I have seen around and didn’t make it.

    I clearly feel that something other than my submit time impacted me not being one of the 10,000.

  146. DevilGirl Says:

    Well I don’t know how many other people suffered the same plight as me from this - glitch or whatever - I say we ask google for an explination… Reading that people completed it 12-15 minutes after it posted and hear they got in the finals - I am not so sure that the rules they posted were indeed followed… :(

    Figures huh? lol

  147. Michael Says:

    Cyrckis - once you do the gallery quest you get a little extra bar in the middle of the screen that has the symbols on it. You can then quickly click on those symbols in different sequences to play little movies. You can find the sequences in various places on the site. Typically they are 3 symbols (greek cross, Blade, greek cross), but I’ve also seen one that was all 5 (in order)

  148. Kobe Says:

    mordy, devilgirl and to whom this may concern i can tell how u r really bummed out. i feel for you, same thing happened to my bud dave. even though i submited at about 1:06 EST and him at about 103 Est. i got in and he didnt. there must be something which counts along with the whole submit and recieve stuff. but anyway for fellow finalists good luck and if you win, have fun paying taxes.

  149. Dave Says:

    I too am disappointed… I finished the final puzzle in under 2 minutes, got the registration confirmation emails from Google & Sony… then yesterday my screen said I only completed 23 of 24 puzzles… and finally last night got an email saying I completed all 24 puzzles but didn’t make the finals.

    I would not be so bummed if I got beat fair and square by 10,000 others. But based on all the confusion and blog entries, I am left with the strong belief that Google clearly fucked up in the administration of this contest, and that my time was actually well within the top 10,000.

    At least it was fun though… and no sour grapes here. Best of luck to the finalists!

  150. DoubleJ Says:

    For the people who think they got the shaft from google, when entering your information for the contest completion form… what email address did you provide (was it an ISP account, gmail account or another webmail account). I did not input my gmail account. I used my ISP email account.Just wondering because I feel I got the SHAFT as well.

  151. Ryan Says:

    I’m pretty sure the rules say something about cumulative time for all 24 puzzles. I get the feeling that it wasn’t only the first 10,000 to solve #24. Sorry to all of you who were shafted. Look at the bright side - you won’t be competing to win a chance at sending a year’s salary to the IRS!

  152. Audrey Says:

    you may not have to pay taxes if you don’t actually recieve any money. It’s like if you get a company car, you don’t have to pay taxes on that car.

  153. Todd Says:

    All the people on Oprah who won a car had to pay taxes on the car…just a thought.

  154. Walter Says:

    I am guessing there will not be any screenshots as stated in the rules…My guess is someone dropped the ball and ran out of time to do all that they wanted to do with the contest. So they gave us the cheaper cryptex with the solution on the box and no screenshot… unless there is another package coming in the mail or another email on the way. Also I just checked Ebay and got 138 hits on the cryptex…. that is pretty funny… I was also suprised to get my cryptex on Monday. I just happened to go home for lunch and there was the box on the table… I am in MD btw.

  155. 3 minute loser Says:

    I solved the final puzzle in just under three minutes, and was NOT A FINALIST. As DoubleJ mentions, I also entered my ISP email, not the email associated with my GoogleID. It appears that Sony added some unknown validation to their entry form, and many people got hosed unknowingly. The rejection letter (which conveniently arrived at my ISP address!) could at least have said why I was a loser.

    Ryan–not true about the cumulative time; it’s just the time for puzzle 24. Cumulative time is for the finals.

    Audrey–yes, you have a tax liability for non-cash income. And since it would be earned income (the rules make a point of this being a skill-based contest), you’d have to pay self-employment tax as well…add another 15% to that check to the IRS!

  156. Joyce Says:

    Did Leonardo paint The Mona Lisa fast? Oddly enough a lot of the people we most admire did not speed through life. So there.

  157. Drex Says:

    Hey, so if you read the rules, it’s your total completion time for all of the puzzles, not just the 24th one. That’s why it “saved” your progress after every puzzle. So, everyone who is posting their completion time, it doesn’t really matter. I completed the last puzzle quickly, but I didn’t do it until closer to 2 o’clock. I still got my cryptex. Not trying to brag, just trying to clear what seems to be a lot of people’s confusion.

  158. colbert Says:

    im not that good in puzzles. I tried to Sony Ericsson quest but failed on the last one.

  159. Mya Says:

    I got my e-mail saying I am a finalist but still no cryptex and my mail has come for today! Has anyone else recieved the e-mail confirming they are a finalist but haven’t gotten their cryptex yet? I am getting worried. I really wanted the cryptex I can’t afford to win the grand prize.

  160. Carolyn Says:

    It seems to me like maybe Google/Sony are banking on the grand prize winner NOT taking the prize (because the taxes on a $100,000 prize would be too much for any normal person to pay).
    There are LOTS of weird restrictions in the rules.
    For example, if you are unable to take the trip, you can’t get the cash equivalent (”No substitution, transfer, or cash equivalent for a prize”)–you just lose that portion of the prize. Plus, even if you only take 2 people instead of 4, you don’t get the money for the other 2. Plus, (correct me if I’m wrong), but the trip can be taken only by the grand prize winner and guests, so it can’t be sold to someone else. Plus, the prize offered by Eurostar is one-way transportation from London to Paris (so you have to pay for the way back), and the London to Avignon transportation is also one-way and must happen between July 8 and Sept. 9, 2006.
    …And for the folks who are threatening to sue Google because it screwed up in deciding who becomes a finalist: “By entering this Contest, participants agree to waive any right to claim any ambiguity or error in the Official Rules of the Contest.” So, apparently, we aren’t even allowed to complain.

  161. Carolyn Says:

    Speaking of the rules, it says that ties during the Final Puzzle Challenge will be broken based on “Puzzle Entry Time.” But they never actually define “Puzzle Entry Time”! It’s not the same as “Puzzle Completion Time” (the time on 5/11 that you submitted your answer to the 24th puzzle), or “Final Puzzle Time Period” (the 48-hour period during which you have to complete the final challenge).

    How do you suppose they break ties? Based on what time of day people log in on Friday to work on the Final Puzzle Challenge?? Or when they completed the 24th puzzle?? Or some other way??

  162. Robin Says:

    I dont think it could have cumulative time for all puzzles. I took over a day to complete a couple of the puzzles (errands, kids screaming, etc) and still got a cryptex. I finished the 24th in about 8 minutes, beginning right at 1pm. I miss my daily puzzles, does anyone know of any web sites with similar puzzles? Thanks!

  163. Tiff Says:

    My mom and I both (over the phone) did the puzzle in about 4 minutes. She used her gmail address… I used my isp address. We both became finalist… but now that I have read on here… neither can pay for the taxes. I thought they were all seperate prizes… and the trip was the grand prize!

    Good luck to all of you that can afford the taxes! Oh… and can you believe all the people selling their cryptex on Ebay??

    I do believe I will keep mine!!

  164. ToddM Says:

    Total time for the 24 puzzles did not matter — just completion time of the 24th puzzle. I find it funny that some people are insisting that total time mattered, and how those of us think differently should re-read the rules. How ironic — perhaps THEY should reread the rules, because this is pretty clearly stated.

    Total time for the finalist challenges DOES matter, of course. As for ties, then whomever submits their entry first wins. For example, if Bob takes 4 minutes and Alice takes 4 minutes, we’ve got a tie. However, if Alice submits her final entry at 3:42p ET and Bob submits his entry at 3:57p ET, Alice wins. (In other words, she started working before Bob, and both finished in 4 minutes.) So if you are thinking ‘hey, I’ll wait until Sunday and get lots of clues of the final puzzles from web sites like this one’, that’s a risky gamble. I suspect the difference between the winner and 2nd place will be determined by who is the faster typist.

    Lastly, if you did the 24th puzzle quickly but were not a finalist, are you sure that you used the exact same email address on your entry form as the one associated with the Google account you used when completing the puzzles? If not, you are out of luck. (The entry form went out of its way to stress this need.) No points for not following the directions.

  165. Brian Says:

    Sad story: I received my email confirming I was one of the 10,000 finalists, but I did not receive my Cryptex - and I know why. Long story short, they said no P.O. Boxes, which is where I get all my mail. So I entered my work address (quickly to complete the entry form “in time”). My work doesn’t accept US Mail - only UPS, FedEx, DHL and the like… so when Cryptex arrived at the local Post Office, it was returned to sender. Wonder if I ‘ll ever be able to “claim” my Cryptex. A co-worker received one and has been kind enough to give me the mailing address they came from so that I can write to them. Any other suggestions?

  166. Drex Says:

    Hmm…been doing the Gallery challenge on the sony site. I’ve found all the symbols. I’ve viewed all of the movie segments also. If you pull back the page on each character, you’ll see the symbol sequences. In the lower right corner of each character’s page, the “paper” is curled. Click and hold and pull it left, you will see a symbol sequence and some other interesting stuff. Every time you plug in the sequence, when you pull the page back again it changes. Everyone has their own segment and there are also a few generic segments. Silas’s segment in the 5 symbol sequence. I feel like these have to lead to something, but I can’t figure it out yet. Any ideas? Does anyone know what the flashlight tool is used for yet? If you look around each person’s neck with the, you can see their symbol hidden there.

  167. Kobe Says:

    who will post answers to the finals

  168. Kris Says:

    Hey all, just to help out here with some info. The full-size and mini-cryptex on Noble Collection’s site (we have the mini-size) are both keyed for all 5 rings. They told me the website will be updated with a new pic next week. The promo one we got was only keyed to 2 rings.

    So, yes, I just preordered one of the full size ones. :)

  169. John Says:

    # Todd Says:
    May 16th, 2006 at 4:11 pm

    All the people on Oprah who won a car had to pay taxes on the car…just a thought.

    very true todd, my girlfriend was one of them. taxes suck

  170. Michael Says:

    Drex… when you finished the Gallery challenge, you got a new little symbol bar in the middle of your screen that has all the symbols on it. When you find symbols on the site behind those curled pages, key them in (quickly) on the new symbol bar. When you do that you’ll get to see a little movie clip.
    That said, I don’t think they have anything to do with the Google contest… just neat things for the movie site

  171. Michael Says:

    So what do you do if you actually win? Anybody want to discuss this? Taxes on the grand prize would be about $41,000. Personally I can’t afford that. If I could, I wouldn’t need the prize, as I could take a sweeet trip to Europe for that amount.
    I’m thinking up some strategies just in case I’m lucky enough to win. Here are my ideas so far:
    The rules say “and no portion may be separated except at Sponsor’s sole discretion.” So I would try my best to get them to separate out the trips to France, Italy and NY, and I’d reject those. Then I’d just take the trip to London with the train side trip to Paris. That would help lower the taxes down to $22,000, which is still alot.
    Then I’d probably have to get my 3 travel companions to each chip in $1,000 or so. Plus I’d probably have to sell all of the electronics. I could maybe get $5000 for those (AVR = $8000). That would leave me with a tax bill of $14,000 for a trip to London and Paris for 4.
    Ugh. That’s still really expensive. Anyone else have any ideas. It’s almost like they don’t want you to claim the prize if you do win.

  172. Drex Says:

    Thanks Michael. I had that much figured out so far. I’m just trying to figure out if there is something more than just those short movie clips to unlock. I feel like there should be something else but I can’t figure it out. Any ideas about the flashlight tool?

  173. Michael Says:

    Oops… my math was off. I forgot to remove the NY trip. Doing so would take off another $3000 in taxes, making it about $11,000 in taxes. Getting better, but still crazy. Might have to reject all of the trips and just keep the electronics.

  174. Joe T. Says:

    I put up a page with text and photos about the disassembly of my cryptex, both to show exactly how to change the key, and to suggest some modifications that might be fun and attractive for it:

    (Apologies in advance for out-of-focus photography, but I do so love my old QuickTake 200.)

  175. Jym Says:

    I finished it in about 4 minutes. A coworker finished in about 10 and was not a finalist. I love my Cryptex. I think it’s funny that these are going on EBay for like 50-100 bucks.

  176. ian nelson Says:

    I may be the only one but today I received an email warning me I was not a finalist even after I had already received 2 emails confirming that I was a finalist. I can’t help but be suspicious.
    P.S. Has this happened to anyone else?

  177. jesse Says:

    in resonse to michael’s post about the taxes if i won i couldnt pay the taxes either, i would probably have to take the trip to europe and never come back and spend the rest of my life hidding out in europe avoiding the irs.

  178. Michael Says:

    Flashlight… I guess is like the blacklight in the book that reveals the “So Dark the Con of Man”

    Around the character pages you can see some writing like this, and some more small video clips, but nothing we haven’t already seen. I’m not convinced that anything on this site will have anything to do with the final puzzles, but it’s fun for killing time until then.

  179. Drex Says:

    I agree Michael. I don’t think it has anything to do with the quest, but it is good for killing time. Also, if you are interested, check out the site It is a “blog” hosted by a girl named “Lisa S.”. Guess what that’s an anagram for. Try emailing her also, it gets pretty interesting.

  180. John Battelle's Searchblog Says:

    DaGoogle Spike: HitWise Data on the Google - Sony Partnership

    Remember the DaVinci code/Google hookup around Easter? (Nathan has a round up of where things stand with the puzzles, etc. here. He apparently is one of 10,000 folks who completed the 24 puzzles and is in the “finals.”) Anyway, the folks at Hitwise …

  181. Michael Says:

    OK, I did some research, and your income is taxed on a progressive basis, so it wouldn’t all be at 32%. I found this handy 2006 tax estimator at
    You just treat the prize winnings as normal income. For me, it would increase my taxes by $32,785. Not great, but not as bad as the $42,000 number I was working with.

    Take out 2 Europe trips and the NY trip, and it would only be at $14,000. Sell all the electronics (lets say you get $6000 of the $8000 ARV) and you get down to $8,000 in taxes. Collect $1000 from each of your travelling guests, and you are down to $5,000 in taxes. $5,000 for a nice first class trip to Europe isn’t that bad. You can maybe get a little more out of your friends. Shame you’d have to sell all the electronics. Maybe you could sell your story for a few bucks.

    The other option would be to keep all the electronics and forget the trips. Apparently that would only cost me $1200 in taxes on some sweet gear.

  182. Shand Says:

    Ok I do taxes for a living, so first of all there is no set percentage of tax. The fair market value of non cash prizes will be added to your income and the tax bracket that you fall in with this income will then tell you the percentage of tax. Mine would come to about 27000.00 (gotta love those kids)but don’t forget that depending on where you live you may have to pay state and local tax also(bummer)i’ve read the fine print and couldnt find anything on it but in some cases prizes are taxable to the state in which they are presented- meaning you may be paying federal, state, local and say new york tax also

  183. Ross Says:

    Don’t feel bad that our cryptexes only have two rings that matter, because they are very easy to open even if they use all five. The far right end piece screws off, then you can take off the next section and get to the tiny screws to take off all the rings.

  184. B Says:

    Game on! My link from the finalist email is working and the game can now be played apparently.

  185. Missy Mehas Says:

    The final quest has begun!!! As of 8:30 EST.

  186. Marcelle Says:

    Don’t do as I did…

    I clicked on the link in the email sent to me as a finalist and I think that I ruined my chances of winning the final prize because it looks like the system tried to download a puzzle.

    I thought that this thing was not supposed to be available until 1:00pm EDT.

    Oh well, if I ruined my chances of winning, I couldn’t afford to pay for the taxes anyways…

  187. JoeDaddy Says:

    The final challenge is available already!

    Good luck to all.

  188. Marcelle Says:

    Were you prompted to log in in any way? I didn’t log in this morning, quickly closed my connection down but I think that I screwed up. It shouldn’t have looked but I did.

    I guess curiosity killed the cat….

  189. BadlyDrawnDuck Says:

    Just finished the final challenge! OMG! My brain is now officially fried. I’m not even sure how long it took me, but I’m pretty sure I don’t stand a chance at the grand prize.

  190. Walter Says:

    Has anyone seen the movie yet? Are there any codes in the credits that looks as if it would help in the final 5 puzzles… I do not know if I should see the movie first or just do the puzzles now.

  191. BadlyDrawnDuck Says:

    At least in my experience, there were no references to the movie or the book in the final five puzzles. They were all amped-up versions of the previous logic puzzles: Symbols (Suduko-esque), Restoration, Curator (paintings & hooks), Chess (knowledge of the game actually required), and a final jigsaw puzzle (pieces’ images change but shapes remain the same).

  192. Ryan Says:

    Does anybody have screen captures of the final challenge?

  193. Jeff Says:

    Hi. Hope this helps clear some of the confusion.

    1. Whoever wins will have to pay Sales Tax on the prizes. Depends what the sales tax is in your state/county what you pay.

    2. After completing the 24th puzzle you had to fill in your Google Id on the submission form, not your regular ISP e-mail ID. This is bold-faced in the rules.

    3. As for the final challenge, the shortest time wins. If there is a tie the earliest submission wins. If there is a further tie the contestants will be required to submit a 100 word essay on a subject related to the Davinci code.

  194. Da Vinci Code Stuff » Google Da Vinci Code Quest Prizes and Procedures Says:

    […] Nathan Weinberg, one of the 10,000 winners of the First Round of the Google Da Vinci Code Quest, has posted the rules and prizes for the Final Challenge.  […]

  195. Jared Says:

    The last puzzle is really up, for you that are curious about if you won, you go to and then go to a google page and sign in.

    If you are in you get this page:

    Good luck

  196. Walter Says:

    Thanks BadlyDrawnDuck, that helps me out…perhaps I will do it afterwork before going to see the movie…

  197. JoeDaddy Says:

    70 Minutes :( Boy the chess puzzle killed me!

  198. Terry Hull Says:

    Is there any use for the cryptex in the final puzzle? I was planning on doing the final challenge tomorrow morning — but I may go ahead and do it this afternoon. But I left my cryptex at home.

  199. Walter Says:

    Even though we thought that the final challenge had been up all day, I just got an email that has a slightly different link to the quest… it seems to send you through Austrailia then back around to the site that we were directed to before… also I think the puzzles are numbered so each person might get a different set of puzzles to hinder cheating (i do not think they would have made 50,000 puzzles but they may have made enough to throw people off)… I guess we will see.

  200. Longster Says:

    JoeDaddy, care to give us a hint as to what to expect for the final puzzles? Is it in the same format as their previous puzzles? Hanging picture frames, sudoku symbols, maps, chess, smudges matching, video clip, etc?

  201. BLR Says:

    So frustrating. I’ve got the first puzzle in the final challenge correct, and the website isn’t recognizing it. I’ve been sitting on the same page for over an hour. No chance at winning this time. Feh!

  202. mikey Says:

    55 minutes for me.

  203. JoeDaddy Says:

    Same puzzles, just without the questions about the book.

  204. Rich Says:

    Was the sudoku puzzle 6×6 this time, or still 5×5?

  205. sandy Says:

    Came from another board

    Same 5 you played in the regular game.

    Soduku Challenge, with 9 symbols
    Restoration Challenge, with a TON of paint splotches
    Curator Challenge, 8 pictures to hang, not a lot of hooks to do it on
    Chess Challenge, no questions, just gotta know chess
    Puzzle Challenge, The image that you are trying to put together is the movie trailer and it is PLAYING while you are putting the puzzle together, i.e. the pieces change colors, etc….

  206. ginab Says:

    I just got finished with it and it took me 32 minutes. The hardest part were those dumb paint blotches! LOL :)

  207. Chrissy Says:

    UGH! I give up, I have been working on the stupid restoration puzzle forever (think more than 45 minutes!!!). I always thought they were easy before but I just cannot get this one no matter how many times I reset it. I know I am out of the running at this point but I would just like to complete this so I can say I did it, anyone have any tips/strategies on how to get past the restoration puzzle, I am about to give up.

  208. Chris Says:

    anyone else care to share their finish time?

  209. mysteryman Says:

    so on the chess challenge , how many moves did you need to make? (in the other chess games previously, there were only 3 moves I believe)

  210. Ben Says:

    Just finished. 80 min. So unless i can figure out how to disqualify mikey and JoeDaddy….

    The challenges are just like Sandy said. The only tips i have are very general:

    * Brush up on your sudoku and chess (my chess sequence was 2-2-4, if it helps).

    * Work your way in on the restoration challenge.

    * Be brilliant.

    * And if nothing else, click on the add on this page (below the comments) for the Eurostar code quest. You don’t even have to be a US resident to win that one.

    Good luck.

  211. Vernon Says:

    Ridiculous!! That puzzle was crazy and I’m not sure if it’s just Firefox but not only did I have the freaking clip moving in the puzzle pieces I could seen the “hidden” layer with the congratulations text on it! I know it took me too long but it was a blast! Hey, that cryptex is pretty heavy too for such a small thing! Take it easy everyone!

  212. C Says:

    Someone said that they got the final challenge in 21 minutes. Do you think that is possible, or are they just trying to stress people who haven’t taken it yet out???

  213. Gwydeon Says:

    Dangit, has anyone found a way to play the puzzle without a finalist login… I don’t get a cryptex (grr grr…) but I wanted to try the final >_

  214. ginab Says:

    No, you have to have a finalists login. But May 26 they are going to have more puzzles back one there.

  215. Jack Says:

    34 minutes. Not good enough but fun. While some puzzles are skill based, some are not. Its like hitting the lottery. Do not bother studying or researching as there is no need for any knowledge about the book or movie. Those good at sudoku and chess will have an advantage.

  216. AR Says:

    Anyone whos done with the final challenge post the screeshots plz (For other finalists as well as non-finalists…)

    Btw I didnt get through to finals…

  217. Jerry Smythe Says:

    How many large paintings are in the hanging artwork (curator) puzzle? How many moves do you have in the chess game and how many pieces are on the board? TIA

  218. Jack Says:

    8 pieces in curator - 3 moves in the chess game. Not sure how many pieces on the board. Looks like 14 or 15.

  219. xogen Says:

    it seems that the level of difficulty is slowly increasing as the deadline approaches. because of the spoilers all over the place, google staff is sending a new batch of puzzles every 2 to 3 hours, which are more difficult than the previous. i shud complete before seeing movie today..
    good luck folks

  220. Ross Says:

    For the restoration (splotches) final puzzle, is the honeycomb type grid the same size with just more splotches on it?

  221. Brian Says:

    32 minutes, 45 seconds

    There are still three moves on the final chess puzzle, but there are a lot of pieces. Still four choices for each move.

    There are three “large” paintings on the curator puzzle. You must use every available space. It was probably my biggest time-drainer.

  222. Nate Says:

    I just finished, the restoration puzzle was rediculously hard. That sucked up a good chunk of my time. I finished in about an hour, 10 minutes, which I feel like I was probably too long. I screen shotted the whole thing but Im not going to post them just yet. If you can go back and practice the restoration puzzle… The Soduko thing is pretty easy, just time consuming (though I had to guess at one point, and luckily guessed right), the Restoration puzzle has 25 ink blots, for picture hanging there are 26 hooks for 8 pieces (this went fairly quickly), and chess was obnoxious. I know how to play chess and it didnt help at all for the challenge. The best thing to do is just to keep to some kind of order, and click rapidly through. The thing resets fairly quickly and this probablly took me about 10-15 minutes. The Puzzle was fairly easy but I didnt get a SS of it, but the picture changes (which is kinda wonky)

    Anyways good luck folks, maybe Ill post some SS’s once people start turning in times WAY faster than mine. I was really frustrated with the restoration puzzle, since there’s no “message” it just felt like alot of random clicking. ALOT of random clicking. I probably spent a good 1/2 to 3/4s of my time on that one puzzle alone.

  223. Nate Says:

    Also, the chess game is still 3 moves, like in the regular mode, but there’s no questions. It just says “What is the best move?” 1-4, “What is the best move?” 1-4, “What move will checkmate the opponent” 1-4. Most of the pieces are on the board, it’s not a full board but it feels like halfway through a chess game.

    The grid for restoration IS honeycombed

  224. heather Says:

    Can anyone esle comfirm that the puzzles are in fact getting harder with time?

  225. Ross Says:

    Is there a place where we can play the old puzzles or at least view screenshots of them or something?

  226. xogen Says:

    Can someone post a screenshot of the chess puzzle?
    Is there a logic behind the restoration puzzle??!

  227. Matt Says:

    Reading the rules about the final phase
    Final Phase. Finalists will be mailed via U.S. postal service, for scheduled delivery by May 18, 2006, a limited edition Cryptex replica and a screenshot of 4 codes (the “Finalist Prize”). One of the included codes will open the Cryptex. Inside will be a scroll with instructions on how to access the Final Puzzle Challenge online.
    My code was printed on the bottom of the box. I was hoping that part of the final contest would be how to open the deviec.

  228. Adam Says:

    I quit during the restoration challenge. It annoyed the hell out of me and I was definitely over 45 minutes when I gave up.

    Good luck everyone else.

    Hint, for the first puzzle. look up a sudoku solver on google and assign each symbol a number and that will cut down your time by alot.

  229. mikey Says:

    anyone notice that you can go back to the page and do it again after you are done? any thoughts on that?

  230. Rich Winslow Says:

    Out of curiosity, I didn’t have a “Submit” button after I finished the 5 puzzles. It just seemed to end automatically with a congratulations. It didn’t give me my time either. One other thing. Apparently, I can play the puzzle again if I go to the page. What do you think?

  231. na Says:

    the taxes on this are a killer lol…im begining to think wheather should i compete in this or not :( ….althou the cryptex ws cool

  232. nivekal Says:

    scarily enough i’ve read reports of times as low as under 4 minutes..

  233. James Tetazoo Says:

    I looked at the tax thing weeks ago. The whole thing is a freaking scam. The ARVs are so bloated that you could buy your own trip for what you’d end up paying in fed/state/local income taxes. The marketing guys are probably graduates of the Enron school of finance. They’ll write off $400k+ for this contest and almost end up making money on this giveaway contest. They probably didn’t even have to pay for programmers to make the puzzles. I’ll bet that Google picked up the tab on that.

  234. mysteryman Says:

    is it true that the soduko is 9×9 … i’ve heard reports its 3×3

  235. Donna Says:

    I finished in just over an hour. I spent about half of that time on the picture hanging. A good hint for the restoration is to reset as soon as you realize you have a piece stranded.

  236. Rich Winslow Says:

    it is indeed 9×9. if it was 3×3, there would be absolutely no challenge, unless of course the reports you’ve heard were referring to 3 9×9 blocks by 3 9×9 blocks.

  237. 0b3 Says:

    yes ^^ the soduko is 9×9

    + i just finish the whole thing in 46 mins .. defenatelly not good enought to make win

    —BAD NEWS—
    Everysingle answer (even for the most time comsuming puzzle the splotches) can be found online some with screenshots and everyting, i just found that out now, it seems the puzzles arent all that different
    so by tomorrow it will come down to whom can copy the answers the fastest, sux for me and all does who used their own skills

  238. 0b3 Says:

    **TipS** (No Spoilers)
    1st Soduko
    - - - - -
    Not much to say here, took me(10 mins)

    2nd Splotches
    - - - - - -
    + Try to keep it in pairs, specially at the begining
    + what i did was i look for as many pairs as possible but didnt connect them, after i found them all i used a marker and scribbled on my screen :) then starting connecting (15 mins or so)

    *3rd up is the chess*
    - - - - - - - - - - -
    Not a chess palyer, all you need to know look at all the moves and which would make it easier to eliminate the king,
    Got it on my second try, (about 5 mins tops)

    #4th its a jigsaw puzzle (pices are palying the preview)
    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    If u suffer from hepylepsi stay away from this1, no really
    -> start from the corners, organize yourself & as you do try the pices where you suspect they may go
    took me 16 mins, what sux is that i got new glasses and well my pupils are still dilated, so i had to pretty much put my face vs the screen to be able to see

    need something else just screem in here and ill see what i can do…Pz

  239. Barb Says:

    I heard while I was doing my final challenge (via instant messaging) that all the puzzles were the same and I remembered someone on this forum saying that the chess was 2-2-4. After a couple of attempts on my own, I tried it and it worked. That’s pretty lame. By FAR the hardest part for me was the restoration challenge - it took WAY too long. The sudoku was relatively easy - lots of spots were prefilled and there was only one guess required. The picture hanging and puzzle were easy. Just the freaking restoration and the chess would have been hard if it weren’t for the post here.

    I, too, am disappointed that the answers are being posted and that the puzzles aren’t being rotated. Knowing that I’m not in the money . . . if I had taken screen shots, I’d never post them. Who do I want to win, someone who is copying the answers and has it easy, or someone who figured it out for themselves? Don’t ruin it for the pioneers who did it earlier today in 20 minutes or less . . . with their own merit!

  240. Richard Says:

    I finished it, but it took me 35 minutes, I lost time at the blobs and sudoko.
    I think it all could be done in around 15 minutes if you now …., but I don’t want to spoil the fun and Brian’s Chances (above)
    I Had a great time, the Cryptex is a wonderful prize.


  241. andrew Says:

    I finished in about 43 minutes. Thank goodness people beat me. I go to college and make about 9,000 a yr. part time and the taxes would have literally killed me. Anyway, the cryptex is cool enough.

  242. andrew Says:

    Did anyone else notice that all of the “costs” for the prized are jacked way up? Cybershot camera $500 and and mp3 player $639.80 is just crazy. Anyways, y’all have a good night.

  243. Kassem Says:

    what are the answers to the chess
    and geography

  244. anonymous Says:

    Final challenge answers here:

    The final challenge puzzle is BS. Everyone got the same puzzles, so naturally people have posted answers. I finished the thing in 15 minutes and have read of people finishing in less than 5 minutes. Google f’d this contest all up, so I’m spreading the answers in effort to make the contest so unfair that they’ll have to do something about it.


  245. Matt Says:

    Got another one with the paintings as 3rd challenge, after 1h, I still cannot find a solution, giving up… :/
    I did not plan to win anyway. It is sad so many cheaters (with several cryptex or reading the solutions online)
    Do you know if everybody got exactly the same puzzles or they are changing ?

  246. Jeff Says:

    Chess should not take anyone more than 3 minutes even if you don’t play. It’s simple mathematics. There are 64 combinations (i.e. 111,112,113,114,121,122,123,124,131,132,133,134,141,142,143,144,211,212,213, etc.) Just bang through them till you find yours.

  247. t-dog Says:

    32-33 minutes here. The paint blotches really slowed me down. I think it took me 11 minutes to finish that alone. I don’t think that 32 minutes will be fast enough though. I am guessing that someone will be around the 25-27 minute range, or if someone cheats they’ll do it much faster than that. Either way it was fun, I wasn’t sure how I wouldv’e paid for the taxes if I wouldv’e won.

  248. Shane Archiquette Says:

    Who so far has the fastest test on the final challenge?

  249. Saksham_Sydney Says:

    Does anyone have any idea if the winners for the “Google Quest - The Da Vinci Code” have been declared or not yet ?

  250. Saksham_Sydney Says:

    Does anyone have any idea if the winners for the “Google Quest - The Da Vinci Code” have been declared for AUSTRALIA or not yet ?

  251. gazoo Says:

    I just finished in 9 minutes and 2 seconds

  252. Blair Says:

    I finally finished. I’ll admit that it took TOO long. The restoration killed me. Would have been under an hour if it wasn’t for that. Sudoku was thought-provoking but not impossible, the curator wasn’t bad at all, and I lucked out at chess. But the restoration has always been my worst, and today was no different.

  253. SHELL Says:

    I CANNOT BELIEVE THIS!!!!!!! some a-hole is SELLING the answers to the final challenge on EBAY!!!! some people are soooo ridiculous, i cannot believe they are doing this, how desperate for money are you, might as well sell your liver while your at it! this is so irritating that most of us worked really hard to finish and some idiot is selling the answers to the highest bidder..NOT FAIR!!

  254. Anon Says:

    Just finished… 9 mins some seconds

  255. Smarf Says:

    Hehe, I’m one of the 10k finalists and I live in Canada. Sent my cryptex off to my friend in the US, so at least you guys don’t have to worry about me winning the grand prize.

    Though it does suck for the American who was the 10,001th person; I stole your claim to fame. :)

  256. Audrey Says:

    If you know anyone else with a cryptex, work together. My husband and I did my puzzles, copied down everything as we went, took us a little over an hour. Then, we sat down and figured out the sodoku and restoration and curator ones step by step and wrote it all down before we signed in with his name and did the puzzles. That way, the only thing that held us up was that frigging blinking jigsaw. We submitted that round in about 10 min. :) I still can’t afford to win, but I’d like to think we got close.

  257. Blur35mm Says:

    Done, 3 hours plus….got hung up on the soduko….

    Oh well, at least I finished it!

    Hope noone posted answers out there to copy down, that would royally suck for everyone else…

    Cheers and good luck!

  258. Blur35mm Says:

    Yeah Audrey, that would be nice, I suppose team work is the best method…oh well…

    sucks for people like me whose friends didn’t make it in…

    You guys may stand the best shot if you did that teamwork approach….

    Kind of defeats the purpose of there being “THE ONE”…


  259. rpggm Says:

    I AM GOING TO WIN!!!!! 3 minutes and 58 seconds baby! Used my three dummy accounts to practice before hand.

    Video of the full run through uploading to youtube right now.

    AND, I live in Oregon and have NO sales tax. Woohoo

    Show me the money!!!

  260. Mikheev Says:

    I don’t think 2 people doing the puzzle twice knowing the answers the second time around constitutes “teamwork”. It’s a shame Google couldn’t come up with a way to thwart cheating. They should have had the final quest start at one time for everyone like puzzle 24 did. Hopefully what goes around comes around.

  261. J Says:

    OK, here’s the deal. I’m one of the “cheaters.” My husband and I did both get the cryptyx, and we did work together–both by reading blogs, printing out screen shots, and being able to try TWICE for the final prize. Even with all of that, I have seen times faster than ours.

    I’m really curious if anyone has any thoughts on either

    1) What could Google have possibly done to make this more “fair?” They can’t do infinite puzzles, and theoretically only one chess game, restoration, etc. is best because then everyone is on equal ground (no one could say “I’m two seconds longer but my chess was harder)!

    2) Where in the rules does it say you can’t do what people are calling “cheating?” It’s a Google promo, so if you can research the answers in any way, even if it’s leeching off of someone else, it does suck for the guinea pigs who went first, but it’s still legit.

    I’m not trying to be sarcastic, I really want to know what Google can do! Because if we can give them good feedback, productive feedback, then the next quest will be challenging, fun, and fair!

  262. Kobe Says:

    i really dislike cheaters. everyone is finishing in one to three minutes. what is going on?! i finished first time round in 7 minutes. and ppl have beaten it. im kinda pissed. but hey its just a game so whatever.

  263. J Says:

    Kobe, you claim to dislike cheaters. Where do you draw the line? Because you didn’t do the puzzle in 7 minutes without help. Sorry, I’m sure you’re MENSA worthy and all, but you didn’t. And no one could finish in 1-3 minutes; I timed the loading and everything independent of skill, and it takes longer than that, even if you’re perfect at everything.

  264. JP Says:

    Well, the secrets are out now. The puzzles do not change, and are not progressively harder. A search for Da Vinci, final, puzzle, and screenshot will tell you everything you need to know - on the first page of results. The blotches took me the longest, since reading a walkthrough would take longer than to actually do it. I messed up the first one, but still had it done in 3-4 minutes. With a screenshot of the solved sodoku, dragging and dropping sybols as fast as my hand could move, it took me about 3 minutes. Probably shorter, since my perception of time is overblown under stress. The chess took me 3-5 seconds, thanks to the answer already posted on this blog, the pictures took me under 10 seconds with a screenshot, and the puzzle took me about 5 minutes, but again that’s likely an overestimate.

    So all-in-all, 10-15 minutes, with a lightning fast connection and the only true guessing being the restoration. I actually found the puzzle to not be as hard as I thought it would be - just drag any non-edge piece off the grid, place all the edges, and if your hand can keep up with your eyes, the picture stays still long enough to see a distict pattern to match.
    Hope this helps others. It sucks that this is not an even playing field, in that those who are pioneers and tackled it head-on got screwed on time. But that’s life when money (or a butt-load of prizes) are involved.

  265. JP Says:

    Where are people getting the stats for other contestants. It is not possible to have finished in one to three minutes, because it takes longer than that to simply click everything into place IMMEDIATELY witha side-by-side answer key!

  266. erwin Says:

    I dont believe when peoople stated that they finished the puzzle in 9-minuteS BULL!!! the ink blotch was unbelievably horrid, the jigsaw made me go blind and i felt like throwing the monitor across the room when i kept on ending up with 3 ink blots. The currator was easy sodku took some time. But the ink blotch COMON! and people with eye problems, sooo biased my eyes are squinting due to the jig saw but anywho…below par time 42:09 Eh oh well as long as i tried. Oh one more thing they took off that da vinci tuturioal on ebay, it voids the rules on the da vinci. But hey cryptex is cool thanks google

  267. Val Says:

    As we all had such a good time with this Quest, perhaps we 10,000 finalists should send two dollars each to the winner to help him/her pay taxes!?

  268. Ryan Says:

    So I with it taking me over an hour I shouldn’t be waiting by my phone next week. Oh well, at least I got it done.

  269. Jenn Says:

    The people who are saying they are finishing in 1 to 3 minutes either have some automated program to put the answers in for them…or they are lying…
    It would take at least two minutes to get through the first few puzzles if you actually had the answers…the sudoku slows you if you want to put the same piece down that you just moved…it takes a little bit of time to reset…the “splotches” aren’t super fast either…and no matter how much someone cheats, they are still going to have to put that final piece puzzle together…which will take a little time too.
    I think the winner will be under 5 minutes, but probably between 3 and 5…unless they had their computer do it for them.

  270. Atlanta Says:

    Sorry to post this so late, but I just did the Final challenge myself this morning…

    Ok, the cat is out of the bag. Information is getting shared, and people are benefiting from that. That being said, I’ll share what happened to me just now.

    Using the information already published and shared by other people (except the idiot selling a video on ebay, the ‘nads of some people). I prepared for this morning as best as I could, but still made some critical errors that knocked my time down to the 6 - 7 minute area. Though I didn’t time it, it does seem possible that a winning time around the 3 minute mark is about right. Shorter than that is gonna be pretty damn tough.

    The scoop:

    FINAL Puzzle #1: Sudoku Symbols. The killer with this one is that when you drag a symbol from the source bar to place on the grid, it takes a precious full second or more to regenerate! Anyone with quick reflexes would greatly benefit from making their next selection a different symbol - each time. Thus, a strategy of utilizing the already published final challenge ( ) and printing a sequence of screenshots representing the placement of each symbol all over the grid is faulty due to this delay. The ultimate winner will invariably be able to quickly assess where these pieces go, perhaps doing two symbols at a time and alternating their placement. Using 2 colors (or highlighters) with printouts of the sequential placement of two symbols at a time is probably the best strategy for someone using published resources. Rest assured, here is where video game players with lightening reflexes will serve them very, very well. If you have time to MEMORIZE them, then you have two advantages. You don’t have to keep looking at your key and you are less likely to place one in the wrong spot.

    As before, you’ll have a break between puzzles & can click when ready for the next one.

    FINAL Puzzle #2: Restoration: I hear the image in the background changes for different people, but he placement of the “smudges/dust-bunnies” is identical each time. Using the screenshot at ( ) and the “honeycomb” sequence published at: ( ) you should memorize the sequence. Since it’s a bit difficult to quickly see where to go for the next pair, print it out and draw a linear path (with a different color) connecting the center points of the pairs…. The published path is very good, but I recommend doing the pairs numbered “2”, then “12”, then “13” first, since they are geographically close, then proceeding with pair “1”. Studying this with the image of the painting, MEMORIZE the sequence…and you’ll do fine. Again, lightening reflexes are key here too.

    FINAL Puzzle #3 Gallery: The published image at ( ) is correct. But note again that the hooks on the two lower right paintings are different! That one snagged me costing precious seconds. Hang paintings in the order you get them and you’ll do fine.

    FINAL Puzzle #4 Chess The answer sequence for everyone has been simply 2, 2 and 4. (Each is represented by a multiple choice selection of 4 possible moves, the correct ones are choices 2, then 2, then 4). If you want the screenshots, they’re here: ( ) Just click the answers in this order which refreshes very quickly, and you’ll get to the last puzzle.

    FINAL Puzzle #5 Jigsaw with changing image. 36 pieces. You might benefit slightly if you are somewhat familiar with the images that the jigsaw will display while you are trying to solve the puzzle, but only a little. Since there’s less than 2 hours before the deadline, you would be better served to focus your efforts on Puzzle #1 and #2. This one is mainly about getting the edges in place and when an image appears, you’ll get a quick sense where a few of the pieces need to go. Keep your focus for the 2 or 3 seconds to move those few then you’ll look for the next one. The images are here: ( ) There is space below the jigsaw area to temporarily store about 1 row of pieces (5 or 6) but that’s about it. This one is clearly the one that people will benefit from the least by having advance information.

    Good Luck!

  271. William Says:

    Not only do I despise cheaters, but I also despise liars. I truly dont believe KOBE when he says he finished the entire finalist puzzles in 7 minutes. As far as the people with multiple email accounts, who use the same computer and one of them does the test and the other signs in afterwards and uses the answers from their partners test, you will be disqualified. When they stamp your time, they also attach your IP address. You may have different email but you have the same IP. Not only is that underhanded but is specifically spelled out in the rules as a means for disqualification. Good luck to those of you who took the test on your own merits

  272. me Says:

    how do you find out what you placed??…or how long it took you?? i know i saw it here but i cant find it again anyone know??

  273. Jeff Says:

    Well it’s over. I wonder what the best time really was. Since I knew I didn’t have it I went back and redid the puzzle several dozen times and the best I could manage was 5 min 13 sec. People can say what they want but there’s no way anybody did it in 1-3 minutes. The puzzle at the end would take that long. I had the soduko all worked out and it still took about 1 min 45 sec, about 1 min 30 on the jumping thing, 30 sec on art, 10 sec on chess, and the rest on the puzzle.

    It said in the rules if you went back in you automatically disqualified yourself, but I wanted to see if I could improve my time. Original time was around 42 minutes, so I did reduce it substantially. We’ll see what the winner comes out at. Should be interesting.

  274. Pablo Says:

    Someone should initiate a class-action lawsuit against google for this mega-sized fuck-up. It’s really not fair. My only consolation is that the cheating fucker that “wins” the prize has to pay so much tax!

  275. mcow Says:

    Check out the entry on May16th and May18th.

  276. erwin Says:

    yeah well i guess 42:09 seems dsecent, considering the F@#^)! cheaters out there with their stupid 20 accounts–unbelievable! Thanks everyone i hope there will be more puzzles for cash and prizes like the cryptex!

  277. Mikheev Says:

    It is interesting that those who used someone else’s work and answers (cheating) avoid calling it that. It is “leeching off of someone else” as J said, but you are still passing someone’s else’s work off as your own. No it doesn’t say anything against this in the rules, and it is partly Google’s fault for setting up the puzzle this way, but if you were the winner would you tell everyone that is the way you won? “Woohoo - I won by copying someone else’s answers - yay!” I’m glad you can justify it to yourself by saying those who took it first (and supplied your answers for you) are “guinea pigs”. I suppose your husband falls into that category too J?

    Hey - if people are proud that they figured out how to get someone else’s answers and pass them off as their own, then so be it. I feel proud knowing I did the work myself - and I don’t have to justify my actions to anyone.

    Google should have made the final quest like the final puzzle. Everyone starts at the same time - that way the puzzles can’t be posted in time for anyone else to find them. By the time someone is done and the answers are posted, it would be too late for anyone else to find them and be able to use them.

  278. Kobe Says:

    william just letting you know when i say first time round, i mean the sudoku puzzle and nothing else, just that. so please take your anger out on someone else. i really dont appreciate your anger. but good luck to you anyway.

  279. CH Says:

    I am thinking, with the ability to get help and actual screenshots of solutions on all the puzzles except the jigsaw, that the winning time might be based solely on the jigsaw. That would seem to be the best candidate for true, skill-based (instead of fastest copycat) competition.

    If you read the rules carefully, you’ll see that multiple entries, electronic solutions (such as using macros), multiple Google IDs of e-mails to the same person, e-mail or Google IDs passed on or bought by others, etc., will disqualify any person suspected of such. Google and SONY have made it clear in the rules that THEY can change the rules whenever they want if they suspect foul-play. So I imagine they will have done so since so many tried to end-run around the stated rules. Maybe there will be so many disqualified that there will only be a thousand or so honest players.

  280. Jason Says:

    Well, considering the overly-inflated retail prices of the grand prize, any winner will come out a loser — many people have determined that the prize can be had for the sales tax alone if shopped for properly (and taking something other than 1st class).

    And there will be some one-minute times. I saw a site after doing the puzzle (10 minutes as fast as I could click) that showed the Flash source code for the game and comments that it could be easily hacked to simply send “completed” for each puzzle as fast as a user wanted — without even having to work the puzzle.

    I did win something — more than a hundred bucks thanks to Ebay and someone willing to buy my cryptex. I saw another person sold their entry as a “practice” entry for $200. Brilliant!

  281. Kevin Armstrong` Says:

    I’m talking to a lawyer today and sending google all of the URL’s for the cheats and when they were posted. This is absolutly rediculous and they should just give us all another final challenge.

  282. J Says:

    I know that people are mad, and I don’t blame you. You had an idea of what fair was, and you got screwed. But as far as the “cheaters” who didn’t violate any official rules (eg, those who–as I said earalier, and including my husband, “leeched” off of others), I’m sorry but it’s just resourcefulness. I know that sucks, but it is! It seems like cheating because you did it the most conservative way, but it’s simply not cheating (I do agree that using more than one ID for multiple entries is cheating, based on the rules).

  283. mcow Says:

    Wei Hwas comments:

    May16th & 18th.

  284. flostog Says:

    First let me say that I did not use any automation, and I have only one account. I finished in about 14 minutes. I was curious however about where in the rules that it forbids electronic solutions. I read and reread and could not find anything. Of course there’s so much in there that I easily could have missed it. I definitely agree with that using more than one account violates the rules. Also I’m not sure how anyone could use a macro without having more than one account to create it in the first place.

    The trick here is to determine what “cheating” is. Using more than one account violates the rules, but as near as I can tell, googling for answers does not. I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s what they wanted us to do - after all it is sponsered by Google. Now if you used MSN search to find the answers, there may be a problem :’}

  285. Guilty as charged Says:

    I am one of th emany who utilized answers out there to solve the puzzle. It became apparently clear to me that it was th eonly way I stood a chance. I feel bad about it…I hated ahving to do it that way…but I saw no other option. I proved my skill,as did the other 10000, in the first round. I was extremly sad to not be able to but my skill to the test on this round.

  286. MJ Says:

    i finished in less than 10 minutes. didn’t time it exactly but it was less than 10. and I did not cheat.

  287. Joyce Says:

    I was not one of the fabled 10,000. Instead I goggled for most of my answers and only came upon the answer site at the end of the first round. Using google was one of the main points of the game. Thanks for sharing your world. I will never be fast enough to be part of it but to talk about cheating is kind of funny.

  288. Kevin Armstrong` Says:

    Well I have the official rules of the contest and showed them to legal representation. They seem to feel we have a very good case should the “winner” be found not to be able to complete the challenges on their own without comming up with the solutions on their own without help. It is one thing to look up answers to questions in order to solve problems. It is an entirely different matter to use a screenshot with the moves already mapped out for you to solve a puzzle you’d never get on your own accord. All I really want is for the person who wins the contest in a time under 10 minutes is to solve a sudoko puzzle similar to the one in this challenge in 5 mins flat or less, and also do the paint splotch in 5 mins or less. If they can do then by all means give them the prize they deserve it.

  289. mcow Says:

    Kevin, move on, it was a game you played for free.
    I dont think we need to let the lawyers be the real winners in this.

  290. mcow Says:

    MJ you are a f***ing genius and should not waste time on these quests. Get the cure for cancer or assist Stephen Hawking on getting the unified theory.
    At worst join Google dude.

  291. mcow hater Says:

    mcow, you are a dumb shit. ppl like you should not be allowed to post. you lie cheat and hey probably steal. i think its best that you dont post anymore for ppls sake. and by the way go f*** yourself in the ass

  292. Audrey Says:

    Oh please, are you really going to pay a lawyer just so that you might have the privilege of paying $40,000 in taxes? I looked up the tax code, and apparently since these games are based on skill, any prize counts as “earned income” and is taxed at whatever your income bracket + the value of the prizes are. Oh goody, lawyer fees plus taxes!

    I heard people that wrote keyboard macros finished in 1-3 minutes. And I think it’s very possible to finish under 15 minutes without cheating. I finished the soduku in about 3-4 minutes because before this, I spent a lot of time playing on and am pretty good at sodokus. Similarly, a lucky start on the restoration puzzle wouldn’t make it much longer. Also, are you really “stealing” answers from people who freely posted them or freely chose to collaborate?

  293. mcow Says:

    Yo hater, hate the game.
    Lick my choclate salty balls.

  294. everyone just stop Says:

    Okay, everyone is just getting way too mad here. It is just a game. The main purpose of it was to have fun with it. Everyone is going to have their own opinions and everyone just needs to leave it at that, as peoples opinions! That is what makes the world go round! So please everyone just calm down so we can have a nice converstation on here.

  295. Cassidy Says:


    Good luck on your lawsuit, though I agree with who ever said don’t let the lawyers be the winners. Your reasoning behind the puzzles is wrong though. Some people happen to be very good at sudoku, and that sudoku was really easy, they gave you so many to start with. I finished that in around five minutes. As for the splotches, that’s pure dumb luck, I finished it in about 45 secs. So should I get the prize?

  296. CH Says:

    @ flostog (post 284)
    From the official US rules #7:

    “General Conditions and Disclaimers: This Contest is subject to these Official Rules and all applicable federal, state, and local laws. By entering this Contest, participants agree to waive any right to claim any ambiguity or error in the Official Rules of the Contest, or the Contest itself, and agree to be bound by these Official Rules and by all decisions of the Sponsor and Contest Administrator, whose decisions are binding and final in all respects. Contest Entities are not responsible or liable for multiple Entries/Puzzles, or Entries/Puzzles that are entered by other than human means or Entries/Puzzles that are late, incomplete, lost, misdirected, forged, damaged, destroyed, tampered with, or otherwise not in compliance with these Official Rules (whether due to the fault of the participant, Sponsor, or any other Contest Entity), and all such Entries/Puzzles will be disqualified. Contest Entities are not responsible for incorrect or inaccurate transcription of Entry Information or Puzzle or if the Web Site becomes corrupted. If, for any reason, Contest is not capable of running as originally planned, Sponsor, at its sole discretion, reserves the right to cancel, suspend or modify Contest or any portion(s) thereof and award prizes from among all salvageable eligible Entries/Puzzles received, if any, in a manner that is fair and equitable as determined by Sponsor. Any person attempting to defraud Sponsor or tamper with Contest in any way will be prosecuted to the full extent permitted by law and will not be eligible for a prize. …”

    and so on.

    So I would expect all non-disqualified players will be entered into a drawing. We’ll probably get an email on Friday to that effect. There is just no way to draw a clean line between who used legitimate help and who didn’t. I don’t even know where I’d draw the line. Using ingenuity is a good thing, but using somebody else’s? Tough call. But for what it’s worth, I enjoyed the hell out of the last month, prize or not.

    I just wish the insults and repugnant verbal abuse would stop. That shows a real lack in personal ethical behavior, and detracts from what has been a good (free, remember) ride.

  297. flostog Says:

    BONES: Lieutenant, you are looking at the only Starfleet cadet who ever beat the no-win scenario -

    SAAVIK: How?

    KIRK: I reprogrammed the simulation so it was possible to rescue the ship.


    DAVID: He cheated!

    KIRK: I changed the conditions of the test. I got a commendation for original thinking. I don’t like to lose.

  298. Kevin Armstrong Says:


    Quit lying. You’d have to know the exact moves of the paint splotches to finish that in 45sec with how many combonations of moves there were. If you can do that do it again with a random puzzle and you should get the prize.

    Google is remaining quiet for the time being. They won’t respond to my emails or to my calls. I’m just waiting for the 26th to see who wins and what their time is to know how to proceed.

  299. CH Says:

    flostog (#297)
    Hmmmmmm…….. VERY good point!

    Anybody else having withdrawal symptoms? I’ve caught up on the Eurostar one & the 2K game (stuck on that one with 9 letters left to find!)…

    Running low on coffee…

    Where’s my meds…

  300. mcow Says:

    I retract any statements regarding people finishing the puzzle quickly. I was shown by a friend who is a Sudoku whiz that there are methods to solve these kind of problems in

  301. Ross Says:

    I’m amazed about the number of people complaining that the contest was unfair and blaming Google for it. Sure Google could have done some things differently, but the contest was totally fair. There was no entry fee, and all of the finalists already won a cryptex. Its like if I were to walk down the street and give $1 to one person and $1,000 to another person, and then have the first person sue me for not also giving them $1,000.

  302. Dave Says:

    I never received a cryptex in the mail, and I received an email last week saying that I was definitely NOT a finalist. But after rearranging the letters in that email (and adding a few of my own), the message actually says that I AM a finalist. Pretty bizarre, huh? I’ve contacted google with the solution to my “rejection” email, but haven’t heard back from them. I guess that is part of the quest… waiting while they test my patience. What a journey this has been! Anyway, I keep checking the mailbox for my cryptex, and I look forward to joining you all on the Final Challenge! Not to brag, but in phase 1, I finished the 24th puzzle in just a shade under 2 hours… yes I said hours, not days, you losers. So watch out… here I come!!!

  303. flostog Says:

    @CH (296)

    Thanks - I missed that piece. So the macros are definitely against the rules per that blurb. The use of googled answers still seem to be fair game (there is no ethical clause in the rules).

  304. leah Says:

    can anyone help me on the circle quest, nothing i do seems to do anything it spins but no changes am i doing something wrong

  305. mcow hater - hater Says:

    @y’all (post 666)
    The end is near.

  306. Charlotte Kaspareck Says:

    I didn’t get a cryptex either, but in the spirit of contests, I had a blast trying. Many thanks for the help, tips and general info on this blog!

  307. holland Says:

    did ne one get a fone call yet?
    who won? and how fast?

  308. Jeff Says:

    Got the official winner announcement in the mail today from the Sullivan Compliance Company. The winner is listed as Anthony N. from Collierville, TN. At least they announced it. No indication of the time though. Guess that was too controversial.

Leave a Reply

Commenting? If there's a contest today, you might be entering to win something. Check it out.

- This blog has coComment integrated.