There's not really that much to tell; I didn't win (obviously). Actually, I didn't even come close: Of the 5 clues, I only got one (and that was largely due to overhearing a bit of info that jostled things into place for me).
I did get most of the way to solving the other 4, but I was flying solo, and I just don't have the temperament to be a puzzle person -- I'm impatient. I definitely work better at something like this as part of a team. So I was looking at this as a test run for future editions.
After some procrastination, I drove in to DC and parked my car in front of the Carnegie Library (which, as it happened, was one of the puzzle sites). Normally, I Metro in, but I'm glad I didn't -- it gave me a base of operations, though that just meant that I had the chance to swap to a more appropriate umbrella. (The rain varied from drizzle to moderate and back throughout the day. Naturally, the sun came out just as things were wrapping up.)
I didn't get a very good start at noon -- I was trying to juggle a cup of coffee, my Sunday Washington Post Magazine, a pen and my umbrella, so it took me a while to get organized. Mostly I followed the crowd in the beginning, which took me to the Presidents Race:
I got the "male hoofed ruminant" clue right off ("buck," though after I couldn't come up with an answer I considered "stag"), but I just couldn't make the presidential coinage connection -- I was stuck on $1.17 (a buck, and 17 -- 1 for Washington and 16 for Lincoln).
That pretty much set the tone of the afternoon.
The Fortune Cookie clue I got (mostly) -- I'd noticed the fake movie listings the night before. Though I didn't make the final connection until I heard somebody saying the cookie tasted like coconut (I'd eaten it without noticing - I was hungry.) I think one of the previous Hunt examples posted somewhere had mentioned a taste being part of the solution.
Now, I should have gotten the Post Comics puzzle. It was pretty clear which comics the standup routines were referring to. (Besides, anyone who reads the chats knows that Gene Weingarten likes Opus, Pearls Before Swine, and Frazz.) Where I failed was looking for numbers that could be gleaned from the comics, instead of looking for numbers that had been deliberately hidden in the comics (due to collusion with the artists). Diabolical.
Also, one of the comics onstage was Dave George. I'd worked with him a bit at AOL; I didn't know he did standup:
For the Second Glance puzzle, it took a moment of seeing all the other folks looking at the page in the magazine to figure what was up. (I don't like the Second Glance feature, so I don't pay any attention to it -- if I want to play Photo Hunt, I'll play Photo Hunt, in a bar or online -- gratification is instant and sometimes they even have naked ladies).
It took a little bit, but I did notice that the V's had been changed to U's. Again, I got stuck on the wrong track, focusing on "15" or "125", instead of simply 5-5-5.
And for the Chinatown Arch puzzle, I got the little clues, but missed the big one. Not much to say there.
Since I didn't have a clue how to use the final clue (I did have an idea that the "crossed swords" were related to the crossword puzzle -- well, especially after seeing everyone else trying to do the crossword -- but with only 1 clue it was pretty futile), I ended up working on the crossword until the winners were announced.
Oh, and I was also wearing the same pants as Gene Weingarten (tan cargo pants):
I also said hi to WashingtonPost.com honcho Jim Brady, and was amused to find out he was the final goal -- the guy at the indicated location wearing a Red Sox cap. You can read more about Washington Post staff cameos in the official post-mortem followup chat. And I've got a few more photos of no consequence in my Flickr set: Post Hunt, 5/18/08.
All in all, it was a good time (would have been a great time if the weather had been a little nicer). I was a little surprised at the good turnout, though I was also a little... wary? of the die-hards who'd come up from Florida and points further to participate. Come on now, it's fun and all, but it's like 3 hours (including a lunch break), and the 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes were stays at a resort in Hollywood... Florida.
Anyway, I feel a little more prepared if and when (barring buyouts) they do it again next year.
"...though that just meant that I had the chance to swap to a more appropriate umbrella. "
So... does that mean you carry around more than one type of umbrella and change depending on how much water is coming down?
I keep a biggish golf umbrella and a smaller collapsible umbrella in the car; for this occasion, I also had an umbrella with a shoulder strap (and that also opens up into a frog head).
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