The Friday Fragment

Published on 4 December 2010
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It's Friday, and time again for the Friday Fragment: our weekly programming-related puzzle.

This Week's Fragment

After last week's commemorative fragment, we'll resume our game bots. Let's make our bots more interesting by letting us play instead of just watching:

Write code to let man compete against machine (a game bot) in rock-paper-scissors, tic-tac-toe, or Reversi (your choice). Present the game board on a web page, let the human player make the next move, and then call the game bot for its move. Continue this until one side wins.

To play along, provide either the URL or the code for the solution. You can post it as a comment or send it via email. If you'd like, you can build atop the bots and/or source code at

Last Week's Fragment - Solution

Last week's puzzle was another cryptogram:


I offered a hint ("try some googling") and a short-cut ("just offer suggestions on how to go about solving it"). And for good reason: this is a somewhat famous unsolved cryptogram. It's Part 4 of Kryptos, Jim Sanborn's sculpture at the CIA headquarters. I posted it last week in celebration of its 20th anniversary, and the recent release of a new clue.

Many experts and other sorts have worked on solving Part 4, in search of fame or just a good challenge. I think it utilizes a one-time pad or a long key, perhaps along with the Vigenere Table found on the sculpture. The key or pad may be located on-site; for example in the underground utility tunnel. Time will tell.

If you think you can crack it, don't just tell me: send your solution to Sanborn for verification.

If you're just interested in Sanborn's work, check out photos online. The CIA Kryptos sculpture is now closed to visitors, but you can visit Sanborn's other sculptures, such as The Cyrillic Projector and Adam Smith's Spinning Top at UNC Charlotte. Just don't show up at his home.