Archive for November 20th, 2008

A complicated proposal

November 20, 2008

wedding_cake_2002Matt Snyder and Tanya Hein are getting married this Saturday in Madison. No, I don’t know them, but I read about Matt’s proposal in this afternoon’s Wisconsin State Journal. They’d been dating a few years and were both ready to get engaged, but Matt decided to make it special. And nothing says special like a mathematical treasure hunt. The first key (to one of several locked drawers in a treasure chest) led to a coded message, which ended up instructing Tanya to drive to another location. There she found another key, which fit into another drawer, which had another puzzle in it. Each puzzle, when solved, instructed her to go to a different location where there was another key to another drawer that held — you guessed it — another puzzle.

Each location had a reason — the J.T. Whitney’s parking lot was the site of their first kiss. Some of the encrypted messages, involving complex letter codes, linear algebra and trigonometry, were highly difficult to solve.

Presumably there was no partial credit for getting close to a solution. But neither was there a time limit — this was no weekend jaunt. It took two months before Tanya finally got to the proposal. Her response was to give Matt an envelope with a puzzle inside to decipher.

I can only imagine what their seating chart will be.

Speaking of proposals, are there really a thousand yellow daisies in this scene (about a minute in)? It says there are, and estimation is not my own personal strength in mathematics, but it still seems to me that there’s actually quite a few more than that. Anyone know?