Bad Monkeys puzzle solved by staff of freebase.com

As part of the promotion for the original edition of Bad Monkeys, I set up a puzzle contest on the Bad Monkeys super-secret website. Over the past year a number of people have written me about it, some trolling for hints, some expressing frustration, none coming anywhere near the solution.

Then last Thursday I got an email from Jutta Degener, a programmer for a San Francisco start-up called Metaweb, which runs freebase.com, “an open, shared database of the world’s knowledge.” Jutta and a few of her coworkers cracked the puzzle over the course of several days. Jutta’s story of how they did it is pretty cool, but it also contains spoilers, so for now I’ll just say that having multiple smart people to attack a problem never hurts.

Because the Bad Monkeys paperback is coming out tomorrow, I’m going to leave the puzzle contest running, with a second-place prize for whoever solves it next. Go ahead and take a crack at it if you haven’t already.

In the meantime, congratulations to Jutta, James, Jon, Micah, Nix, Praveen, Tim, and Tyler, and the lucky shareholders who benefit from their cleverness. Metaweb/freebase.com—for all your puzzle-solving needs.

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