X Marks the Spot

Buried Treasure

As you approach the docks, you see Captain Jack clutching a tattered piece of parchment.

“Ahoy thar! I did bury our treasure but a wee bit yonder,” he says, pointing over his shoulder with a crooked thumb. Cracking a toothless grin, he adds, “Bein’ first mate, you do serve as me backup in case me directions get lost.”

He hands you the parchment. Carefully straightening it, you see a list of letters crossing the page three times over, nearly covering it.

“Each of the letters marks 10 paces in a cardinal direction – them be the points on a compass rose.” He holds up four fingers, stating, “N be north, E be east, S be south, and W be west,” touching each in turn. “At the end of all that pacin’, the booty lies but two feet ’neath the ground.”

Carefully, his brow furrowed in concentration, Jack begins ripping the lower left corner of his page, separating a small piece of parchment from the rest.

Apologetically handing you the scrap and a bulky lump of charcoal to mark your notes, he says, “Err, sorry I did not bring more parchment for ya…"

Can you compress all of this information into a smaller form?


Produce a compressed version of the directions so that a stranger could follow them with minimal instructions and find the location of the buried treasure. Your minimal instructions should be confined to a brief three or four sentence description—one that could be given completely orally and easily remembered.

Create a copy of this spreadsheet to track and compare your solutions. Submit your work when finished.