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The Mystery Is Resolved: Birds, Cats and All That Malarkey

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Table of Contents

Ah, the good ol’ Smashing Book Mystery riddle. Now that two days after the announcement have passed, it’s time to reveal the mystery and announce the winners. Oh, you want to figure it out first? Well, then please close this window since there are (obviously) spoilers in this post.

The Mystery Riddle

Alright, this second round wasn’t easy indeed. But with a quite smashing prize for the winner, we didn’t want to make it too easy for you. However, we did want it to be hard enough, but not too hard which would make most readers stop trying. So after a series of usability rounds we thoroughly adjusted and edited the copy of the riddle, explaining that the mysterious animated GIF contains a hidden message.

Once you resolved the mystery, you’d see a Twitter hashtag displayed in plain text. So there shouldn’t be any room for vague interpretations. The solution should be displayed in plain text. The only hint was to watch out for the file name.

Smashing Book Mystery
Level 1: The only hint was to watch out for the file name.

Level 2: The Flying Voyage

Well, if you have to watch out for the file name, the first thing you probably do is look up the file name. The file name of the image was http://provide.smashingmagazine.com/mystery-riddle/catch-the-birds.gif. So how were you supposed to “catch the birds”? Since it’s an animated GIF and there are no clickable elements on it, what about… searching for an account on Twitter named @CatchTheBirds, or even @DoNotDrinkHot?

Smashing Book Mystery
@CatchTheBirds would help bring you to Level 3.

Smashing Book Mystery
@DoNotDrinkHot would also help bring you to Level 3.

Yes, indeed, the key is to find the right Twitter handles. Look out for hints in animated GIFs — the keyword is hidden somewhere on Twitter.

— The Flying Voyage (@DoNotDrinkHot) January 16, 2014

Yay, you’ve reached level 2! It’s time for a coffee break. Please proceed with http://smashed.by/thunder. Now, can you get to level 3?

— The Flying Voyage (@DoNotDrinkHot) January 16, 2014

Level 3: The Book Jungle

There were a couple of distractions in this GIF, but nevertheless, you still had to keep an eye out for the file name.

Smashing Book Mystery
Level 3: The file name says there’s “something wrong here”… but could it be?!

Now, if you’re a biiiig fan of Smashing, you’d notice that the Smashing Book #4 in the GIF is upside down! There’s nothing wrong with a cat being afraid of thunder… right?

Here are the Twitter accounts that would have helped you continue to the next level:

Smashing Book Mystery
@TurnTheBook would help bring you to Level 4.

Smashing Book Mystery
@TurnOverTheBook would help bring you to Level 4.

Smashing Book Mystery
@FlipTheBook would help bring you to Level 4.

Smashing Book Mystery
@RotateTheBook would help bring you to Level 4.

Smashing Book Mystery
@TurnOverSMB4 would help bring you to Level 4.

All of these accounts had the same tweet that provded you with a link to the next GIF in order to proceed to the next level:

Yaay, you’ve reached level 3! Warm milk, cookies and doughnuts, anyone? Please proceed with http://smashed.by/doughnut. Ready for level 4?

— The Book Jungle (@TurnOverSMB4) January 16, 2014

Level 4: The Broadway

Smashing Book Mystery
Level 4: These donuts are making me thirsty…

The following Twitter accounts would have helped you continue to the next level:

Smashing Book Mystery
@PlayWithTheCat would help bring you to Level 5.

Smashing Book Mystery
@GiveCatSomeMilk would help bring you to Level 5.

Smashing Book Mystery
@CatWantsMilk would help bring you to Level 5.

Smashing Book Mystery
@BoredBlackCat would help bring you to Level 5.

Smashing Book Mystery
_@feed_cat would help bring you to Level 5._

Smashing Book Mystery
@FeedTheBlackCat would help bring you to Level 5.

Well done! Proceed with the final level: http://smashed.by/map. Always keep in mind the destination of your journey. See you in NYC? ;-)

— The Broadway (@FeedTheBlackCat) January 16, 2014

Level 5 (Final Level): The Dome

Smashing Book Mystery
Final GIF in this mystery game.

Smashing Book Mystery
@TimeSquareLine had one of the final answers: #TimeSquareCircle

Smashing Book Mystery
@TimesSquareLine had one of the final answers: #TimeSquareCircle

Smashing Book Mystery
@ TimesSquareMap had one of the final answers: #TimeSquareCircle

Well done! The secret hashtag is #TimeSquareCircle. Tweet us at @smashingmag right away to reserve your spot! Yes, you are pretty awesome.

— The Dome (@TimesSquareMap) January 24, 2014

The Winners

Well, we knew that the riddle wouldn’t be that easy, but it was remarkable to see the first tweets with all three correct hashtags appear almost an hour after the riddle was announced. In fact, it turned out that our dear readers are absolutely smashing indeed: #TimeSquareCenter, #TimeSquareCircle and #TimeSquareLine.

@smashingmag #TimeSquareCenter

— Typeform (typeform) January 28, 2014

@smashingmag #TimeSquareCircle Expect me! ;-)

— Dawid Gaweł (@dawgawel) January 28, 2014

@smashingmag #TimeSquareLine

— Oliver Long (@oliverlong) January 28, 2014

The first place has earned the person who was the quickest to solve the riddle, i.e. a team member from Typeform. S/he has won a roundtrip flight to New York, USA, full accommodation in a fancy hotel, a ticket to the Smashing Conference New York 2014, any Smashing workshop ticket of your choice, full access to the Smashing eBook Library, a signed edition of the Smashing Book #4, a truly Smashing laptop bag and last but not least, a personalized Smashing caricature.

Tthe requirement was that at least one of the hashtags had to be found. The other two winners can select any prize of their choice (be it a bag, a Smashing Library account, printed books or anything else). And they all get the Smashing Cody Stress-Relief Ball, too. All winners have already been contacted.

Tune In Next Time!

A BIG ‘Thank You’ to everyone who participated! We hope we didn’t waste too much of your productive work time (and didn’t cause too many headaches either). Now, have you had enough or are you ready for the third round? ;-)

Behind The Scenes

Guillaume Kurdjian
Guillaume Kurdjian is a 22 year old freelance illustrator and animator from Nantes, France. Guillaume likes to experiment with stuff on his computer and climb trees.

Do you know that feeling when you find a designer and just want to work with them no matter what? Well, as we had stumbled upon Guillaume Kurdjian’s animated GIFs, we knew that at some point we’d love to work with Guillaume on a series of animations. With the Smashing Book Mystery the opportunity presented itself.

All designs were a series of iterations to make the overall riddle not necessarily perfect, but just right. So a big “Thank You” once again to Guillaume for following through and being so enthusiastic and kind about all the changes made.