Monday, June 06, 2011

Fantastic Hunt

(Say the title a few times fast - never gets old.)

How funny is it that Leon's shirt was promoting Polygamy and he
was on a team with two women? Also funny that a random guy
asked us if we were from Utah. (One of my sister wives, pictured here, answered him.)

Yesterday marked the third year that Team Velvet Unitard (polygamists pictured above) attacked the Post Hunt. And yesterday is the closest we have ever come to solving the end game.

Two-thirds of my team live together in DC proper (since they are married, they find this arrangement rather convenient), so they took the bus to Freedom Plaza, slightly cloudy-headed from their experience at Savor the night before. I was coming in from the 'burbs so I took the metro. And upon stepping out of Metro Center Station and rounding the corner onto the street, I texted my team to let them know I was close. (Here is where you will receive a public service announcement about texting and walking: Don't. I managed to miss three steps in front of me and took a pretty spectacular tumble and landed in a painful heap.) A woman walking by (and stifling giggles) asked me if I was okay, and I told her, "No...I really hurt my ankle" and she kept walking quickly toward the Post Hunt stage. (I don't blame her. The Hunt is cut throat.)


So, we had a bit of a rough start which convinced us that it was a good omen for our performance in the Hunt. (If I didn't play little games like this with myself, I'd have no reason to get out of bed in the morning.)

While we were getting our instructions at the Main Stage from Gene Weingarten, Dave Barry and Tom Schroeder, Amanda was following the #posthunt on Twitter. One of the especially prescient tweets she came across stated "dorks #posthunt" - a tweet she read while realizing we were surrounded by at least ten people in t-shirts emblazoned with computer coding jokes. (I know what you're thinking -- that probably every last computer-coding t-shirt wearer made it to the Hunt without falling on his face. And to that, I say, "Touche.")


When the Hunt began, it was apparent that Leon ate his Wheaties (registered trademark) that morning. Within moments, he had figured out the computer keyboard puzzle, then he and Amanda quickly figured out the government agency fill-in-the-blank puzzle. Then we went to the vanity puzzle. We knew that the answer had something to do with the missing mirror, but could not get an answer that we knew was right. (The puzzle at the Post Office seems to be the tough one every year.)

At the Navy Memorial, Amanda took about ten seconds to solve the scratcher puzzle. (And at this point, I was wondering how they were going to gently let me down and tell me they "didn't have a need for my services" next year...).

I somewhat redeemed myself at the Newseum puzzle by understanding that the password we were given to text should be turned upside-down (since an acrobat had provided the puzzle). There were several more steps (literally -- we walked more than a mile to the next clue) in this answer that we solved with a great team effort.

With twenty minutes before we needed to be back at the Freedom Plaza stage to get the final clue, we filled in our grid and came up with a picture outhouse. (We love the Post Hunt creators, even though for the third year in a row we got shy about asking to get a photo taken with Dave Barry.)

We were back at Freedom Plaza for the end game and this year, we split up to follow two different potential thoughts we had on the clue. Mine was a dead end, but Amanda and Leon came up with the next answer on their route, before they eventually hit a dead end (and we found out there were already winners, so they came back to meet me at the main stage).

As the Hunt creators went through the puzzles, it was encouraging to review how well we did this year, and it is always funny to see the winners being presented with a big, ceremonial check. Seeing this reminded Amanda that she owes me money from our last dilettante activity, so she told me that she would pay me with a large, ceremonial check.

Which is fine, really, as my account is at a very large bank.

Still icing and elevating my ankle,

UPDATE: Forgot to mention that Safe House was filming near the site of the Post Hunt. Amanda thought it may be a clue. Or that the Post Hunt staff had ordered craft services for the dedicated Hunters. Alas, neither was true.


Trout Almondine said...

I'm impressed. The puzzles semed tougher than ususal.

So did you ever get the vanity puzzle, or were you just able to fill in the blanks of the grid with the other four?

Also, for those of us that have watched the debrief of the final puzzle on the Post Web site (link below, I forget how to do the html to embed), would you care to provide more detail on how you did on the endgame? Did you get to T2.4? Did you replace the 2's and T's? I would have gotten that part, I think.

Two years ago, by the way, we basically got the endgame, but it took us too long (we got "Hand cell to boxer" but didn't think to go to the place on the map where the boxer was).

And, of course, I assume you have to enunciate the title of this post very, very carefully.


Brutalism said...

The vanity puzzle is the only one we did not get. We only arrived at the right answer by filling in the remaining dots on the grid. That was an excellent puzzle.

Amanda and Leon figured out T 4.2 and got a phone number to call when they arrived at that coordinate. We did not replace the 2s and Ts as there was already a winner at that point.

I think we need more people on the team...mainly for the end game where it seems to benefit you to have people positioned all over the place to run to subsequent locations.

Brutalism said...

And yes...the puzzles did seem more difficult than usual. Though not for Leon and Amanda...

Trout Almondine said...

Yeah, I really wish I could have been there. I would have gotten the vanity puzzle (eventually) and I would have swapped out the phone numbers. The first thing I do whenever I get a new phone number is to figure out what it spells on an "analog" keypad.

Ed said...

Best post title ever.

Game sounds a little nerdy though.

Christian at Point Counter-Point Point Point said...

I'm not sure what you're talking about here but it sounded like a lot of fun.

I'm going to check with my city to see if they have any polygamy puzzle walking tours too.