Puzzle Pursuit: The Fugitive
June 26, 2010,
Race Results


Newspaper front page provided in game packet.
There were a lot of clues in this newspaper front page. The main article would be needed to solve the final puzzle, Catch Me If You Can. It contained a witness stating they saw the Fugitive going from the Santa Fe train depot to Island & 5th. More on that later.
Here's a list:
  • There was mention of a half-off sale for tile. A reference to the tile you would have to find in Little Italy.
  • There was the 5 bonus points for texting the year around the airplane (see ...for your thoughts)
  • There was the location of the Sheriff's Museum in the Jobs section needed for The Informant
  • There was a note about squished pennies and the fact that they could be found in Old Town & along the Bay front.
  • There was an ad to COLORIZE your photos using wax markers. This was indicating how to solve the Postcard Pursuit puzzle
  • There was a classified of someone wanting to trade color postcards, again a clue to Postcard Pursuit.
  • There was a note about exotic jade imports at the Gum Saan store. A hint about the location to solve The Delivery
Inside Information
The picture of the person on the playground dolphin on the right side of the page is actually of me while on vacation in Italy. That is actually the same location as the picture on the postcard for Jessi in the Follow This Sender puzzle.
 



Follow This Sender
The key to this puzzle was the title. You do exactly what the title instructs. There were three different postcards. On each postcard there were three names that had numbers above them. They were the sender, the receiver, and the street name of the receiver. You had to count the words in the postcard text and simply take the numbered words that corresponded to the sender of your postcard. You could ignore the other numbered names on your postcard. The clue to help you figure out you needed to share with other teams was that it said (1 of 3) or (2 of 3) or (3 of 3) on your postcard.
In this example the sender is Camilla so you would always take the numbers that are next to the name Camilla, wherever it appears, on each postcard, and count that many words into the text of the card.
Solution
There were three possible solutions for this puzzle:
  1. (Jessi)The Robinson Rose house was built in 18 fifty what? 3   Also 1853 was accepted
  2. (Camilla)Who is the proprietor of the General Store Sam F. Manlo
  3. (Arnold)In what year was the Seely Stable Barn Reconstructed? 1974
Common Mistakes
The most common mistake for this puzzle seemed to be either that teams were totally lost so they just followed another team and saw what they wrote as an answer and wrote the same thing (cheaters never prosper) or for some reason teams did NOT Follow This Sender but instead followed either the receiver or the street address and thus got the wrong question.
Inside Information
Jessi Arnold is the name of the main character from a series of mystery novels that take place in Alaska. The pictures for ALL the postcards are from my various travels. Mainly Alaska, Italy, Japan, and Walt Disney World.



The Delivery
The first part of this puzzle was to figure out where to go. There were various clues to that end. Near the top of the puzzle in the Delivery to section was actually the name of the store. Gum Saan. Also, on the map you received in your packet Gum Saan was marked as imports. Once you got to the Gum Saan store you had match the Chinese characters (some real, some not) on the crates in front of the store, and write down the word that matched those characters. Some of the crates had no characters on them. For these you simply had to match the number of letters in the word to the characters on the puzzle that had the same number of letters marked with dashes.
Once you had all the words filled in you had to notice the sets of numbers beneath each word. The first number was the position in your decoded message to put the letter, and the second number represented which letter to take from the word directly above it.
For example:
Bamboo
16:4 , 29:6
You take the 4th letter in Bamboo and place it in the 16 position in your decoded position. You take the 6th letter in Bamboo and place it in the 29th position in you decoded message.
The easiest way to accomplish this was to find the largest number in the puzzle and then write the numbers up to that number on a blank page. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7......34  . You could then simply write the letter beneath the appropriate number and soon the decoded question would reveal itself.
The numbers provided 2 important clues as to how to solve this puzzle.
  1. The first number was always unique, indicating it represented an ordering of something
  2. The second number was always less than(or equal to)the number of letters in the word above it. Thus indicating you were probably going to be pulling letters from the word using that number.
  3. Additionally you should have noticed the first number included numbers > 26 and therefore could NOT indicate a simple alphabet substitution of 1=A, 2=B, etc.
Solution
There were two possible solutions for this puzzle:
  1. City on safe in S.D. union building Cincinnati
  2. First district jude in courthouse Oliver S. Witherby

It was pointed out to me by more than one team that there were actually 3 different cities mentioned on the safe. Cincinnati was by far the largest name mentioned as the other 2 were actually very tiny down at the bottom and frankly I didn't even think anyone would notice those (I had to blow up the picture I took before I could read them.) Any of the cities would have been accepted but everyone wrote Cincinnati.
Common Mistakes
This puzzle had one of the highest calls for hints on how to solve it. In most cases we could just point teams at trying to figure out the unique properties of the 2 numbers (as explained above) but many times we had to tell teams how to solve this puzzle. The other big stumbling block was not figuring out that the words with no matching Chinese characters could easily be put in place simply by counting the number of letters in the words.
Inside Information
The name of the shipping company was the name of the shipping company in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.
This puzzle was the first one I came up with upon seeing the crates with the Chinese. I figured it would be a quick, 15 minute puzzle to get things started. We quickly discovered during testing this was one of the trickier puzzles and it became my Shakespearean Code. Those of you that raced last year will remember that tough one.



Trail of Truth
This puzzle started off pretty straight forward. Simply check each witness statement to verify whether or not it was true or false. The building where the statement could be verified was incidated for each one which made it easier to find them. Once you had verified true/false for each statement you could throw out all the FALSE statements. Each of the remaining TRUE statements contained a witness that indicated they saw the fugitive running from point A to point B. You had to recognize that all of the points indicated could be found on the map you were given at the start of the race. Additionally you needed to notice that each of these locations was marked with a unique number on your map.
The final page of the puzzle contained a list of numbers with words beside them. You had to make the conneciton that the numbered witness sighting locations could be translated to the words beside the number in the puzzle.
For example:
Statment: "I saw a man running from the Union Tribune building to the Casa de Rodriguez."
On your map you see that Union Tribune is marked building #14 and Casa de Rodriguez is marked #4.
On the last page of the puzzle you could see that #14 is the words are in and #4 is the words the candelabras.
Once you put all the TRUE statements together it decoded to a question.
The easiest way to solve this puzzle was to write down the numbers that each TRUE witness statement matched on the map.
As in the example above we would have 14 - 4. We may also have 5 - 12 and 4 - 5. From this set of 3 numbers we can then create a continuous trail: 14-4-5-12. Taking the words associated with each number would result in:
Solution
How many candles are in the candelabras on the dining table in La Casa de Estudilla? 20
Common Mistakes
It was pointed out that there was a second dining table in one of the rooms with a candelabra on it. Although we awarded half points if this answer was used, the keys in the question were both dining table and more importantly candelabras plural. There was only one table with more than 1 candelabra on it.
Inside Information
The name of every witness in this puzzle, and there were many, was some sort of funny name or reference to a real person. Some favorites included:



The Informant
The first part of this puzzle was figuring out where to go. The puzzle indicated you were late for a job interview for a curator position so you better hurry there. If you had read the newspaper front page included in your game packet there was a JOBS section and in it a job for a curator at the Sheriff's Museum. It gave the actual address of the museum.
At the museum you had to use the age old method of tying a hook (paper-clip) to a belt (peice of string) in order to fish out your puzzle from the jail. The puzzle then contained a list of evidence that you had to find in the museum.
The key that would have made this task much more simple was to figure out how the tag on each piece of evidence worked. It was actually relatively straight forward had you taken a moment to think about it. Each tag was three numbers.
For example 1-4-7. The first number indicated the floor, the second the room, and the third the location as time on a clock. You may remember there was a note at the end of the puzzle that indicated "I was standing in the center of each room facing the flag poles in the parking area when I tagged each piece of evidence." So if you stood in the middle of the room facing those poles which were outside, at 7 o'clock you would find the evidence.
What? How were we supposed to figure that out?
Again, let's think for a moment. Take two pieces of evidence that you found in the same room. You should have noticed that for both those pieces they had the same first and second tag number. E.G. 1-4 . Even without figuring out what the third number meant, you now know any evidence marked with 1-4 should be in that same area. To figure out he clock time you had to make a bigger connection with why there was the note about facing the flag poles when the evidence was tagged. Definately a difficult step to put together.
Once you had all the evidence you had notice the 5 wanted posters on the wall. To make it easier you had to notice that you could request copies of the posters from the staff member by provind a password. Only 2 of the posters indicated this little bit of information and the wording was such that at a quick glance you would not really notice that those 2 posters had anything other than the bland copyright notice the others had.
Once you had posters in hand, the quickest way to figure out who the culprit was was to start with a single piece of evidence and read through each of the posters. If the evidence supported a suspect put a hash mark on that poster. If it eliminated a suspect, remove the poster. Move on to the next piece of evidence and so forth. By doing it this way (assuming you split the suspect posters amongst team members) you quickly start recognizing evidence and can quickly scan the text of the poster to find it. The further into the process you got the more familiarized you became with the remaining suspects.
Solution
  • Adam Zapel (Eliminated because he never carried a checkbook)
  • Dan D. Lyon (6 pieces of supporting evidence)
  • Iona Frisbee (5 pieces of supporting evidence)
  • Bush McGonnagil (Eliminated because the accompanying officer in the book said McDermitt but on the poster it said Parker)
  • Barb Dwyer (5 pieces of supporting evidence)
So the answer was Dan D. Lyon
Common Mistakes
Many teams did not find the evidence,or make the association, to eliminate Bush McGonnagil. Thus they ended up with 2 suspects and chose poorly. I think other teams simply didn't find all the evidence and ended up with more than one suspect with the same number of suppotive evidence.
Inside Information
The name of every supect was a funny name, take a look. Also all of the photos were from the F.B.I. or C.I.A. most wanted list.



Don't Take the Bus
This was meant to be a relatively simple puzzle, perhaps taking just long enough to make catching the trolley exciting. The puzzle itself mimicked the bus map found at one end of the trolley station: a bunch of red squares. Players needed to recognize that the layout of the squares matched the bus map and had to letter each square based on the map.
The bottom of the puzzle contained a series of named locations (Clairemont Square, Sea World, etc.) and it was simply a matter of matching the location (which was a stop on one of the bus routes) with the bus that went there, and then taking the words next to the red square for that bus.
Solution
Travel trolley south 3 stops, exit, text the words on red building to the south to trolley.
The words were Globe Mills. Upon texting the words you would receive instructions asking for the words on a tile at Island and Beech. There were actually several tiles there with a sun on it and the tile said LVX Veritasa or LVX Veritas. You could text any variation of either word with or without the LVX (even though the clue said so text the word and LVX is NOT a word).
That in turn gave you the password WIPEOUT and told you to go to the arch along India street.
Common Mistakes
I don't know that there were any common mistakes. However when I was creating this puzzle the first time I only saw the word Globe and not Mills as I was standing on the middle of the platform. One of my fabulous testers wanted a better view of the building and discovered Globe Mills, much to my surprise.
That is the same way we discovered that there were more than one tile with a Sun on it and that they had different spellings of Veritasa. That is what testing is for.
Inside Information
Really the only thing that was sort of an inside joke was the password WIPEOUT. Those of you who know me better know that I filmed the very first show of the series (I think it was aired as Episode 8 or 9) and I ended up coming in second place. ARRRRRG! My nickname on the show was Faceplant in case you are a fan.
Oh yeah, the original meeting place was going to be the Princess Pub & Grill but it turned out the World Cup had a game that day and the pub was packed so we had to move it.



Blind as a Bat
I was unsure how hard this puzzle would be. I kind of thought it would be tricky making the connection from the plaques to braile and that's how the puzzle ended up with a semi-obvious grid layout of 2x3 (just like Braille). My hope was that by this point in the race you may have forgotten about the decoding sheet and it would take an a ha! moment from one of the players to put two and two together.
The location to solve the puzzle was indicated with a scribble on the front page, along with a grid. Several more pages contained columns of names. Once you arrived at Piazza Basilone the rows and rows of plaques were to be used to create Braille by marking off in the grid the location of each plaque that had a name matching one of those in the provided list.
Solution
The braile ultimately decoded to:
Num men army on memorial
The answer could be found by counting the number of plaques on the memorial on the opposite side of the Piazza that referenced men in the Army. The number was 6.
Common Mistakes
The easier way to solve this puzzle was to realize that each column of names in the puzzle mapped, in order, to a row of plaques. Simply turning the puzzle sideways would have turned each column on paper into a row that would match in location the row of plaques that all the names came from.
I stood and watched teams solve this puzzle for a while and saw many teams struggling to find each name. I hope some teams did figure the trick, but I don't know for sure.
The most common mistake was decoding NUMMEN and then stopping because that didn't make a word. In fact we had several calls for hints asking was NUMMEN and NUMMENARMY was. The word of the day for me became nummenarmy.
Inside Information
There really wasn't anything here in the way of jokes. But let me tell you it was quite a pain to try and get all those names and everything to line up.



Eye Spy With My Little Eye
This was one of my favorite puzzles, and it turned out to be a fairly difficult one. I knew I wanted to do something with transparencies and the buildings and it took a number of failed attempts before I came up with something that worked. Basically you just had to find the building outline that matched the outline on the transparency and then line everything up. Then you could take the letters that appeared outlined by the boxes and unscramble them to make a word. There were 6 different locations and 6 different words.
Solution
The words ultimately unscrambled to:
Number fish outside net on arch
The answer could be found by counting the number of fish outside the net on the tile mosaics on the arch over India street. The number was 13. Although 14 was also accepted as there was a man holding a fish and technically it was outside the net.
Common Mistakes
The most common mistake was not finding the exact location to match up the outline and not getting the correct letters. The key was to line up the building roof-line EXACTLY and then you could move your face nearer/further or left/right from the transparency to make everything line up.
Many people had a hard time unscrambling the word outside. Or they unscrambled it to tedious which I didn't realize was even possible until teams started doing that.
Once you finished BOTH this puzzle and Blind as a Bat you were instructed to text various parts of both to get your next instructions. Basically you had to text 6 13 to outside_memorial@puzzlingthings.com and it then told you to open an envelope.
Inside Information
Again, no inside jokes here, but this puzzle was the reason everyone received several Puzzle Pursuit business cards to hand out during the race. As I was creating this and everytime we tested it there were always people watching us very closely and then finally coming over and asking what we were doing.



Seeing Through the Music
This puzzle was just a sheet of numbers. All the numbers in the rows/columns in the middle were either 0,1 or 2. All the other numbers were unique, indicating a sequence to put things in. The key here was to realize the title of the puzzle was a clue that you needed to use the CD you received in your initial game packet. By placing the CD such that an arrow on it lined up with the number 1 it would reveal 3 numbers you could see through the hole of the CD. These three numbers were a Base 3 letter that you could use your decoder sheet to decode. Put all the letters in order and it created a phrase. This puzzle appeared very daunting at first because there were about 70 different numbers on the page. The key was to realize that many of the numbers were repeats of other numbers, so if 24 and 33 both appeared at the same location then they both decoded to the same letter.
Solution
The phrase was:
county admin building. Add day on Leon plaque(24) to num trees on fountain(100) and text to harbor
Teams had to discover that the fountain was NOT, in fact, the fountains by the plaque but was in fact on the opposite side of the building. The giveaway should have been that the trees were on fountain in the text, and the trees by the fountains in the back were actually just planted around the fountain, not on it.
Your answer here was ultimately the word Pacific as given by the text message you received in response to your text. It also instructed you to tell the contact your parrot had laryngitis. I was happy to see the contacts at this location not giving out the next clue until they received the proper code phrase.
Common Mistakes
The most common mistake was thinking this was Octal, not Base 3, because it sometimes appeared that only 2 numbers were seen through the CD if you did not line up the arrows properly. Of course it could NOT have been Octal as that contains the numbers 0-7 and there were clearly ONLY 0, 1, and 2. Other common mistakes were, as mentioned above, counting the trees around the fountains in the back of the building rather than finding the fountain with the trees actually on it in the front of the building.
Inside Information
This puzzle began as the puzzle at the trolley stop in Old Town. It was going to be short and sweet.
But as I started to make it I thought it was really cool and deserved to be a full fledged puzzle of it's own.



...for your thoughts
This puzzle was just a sheet of intertwining circles with a letter inside each circle. There was also a bunch of paper scraps with helpful (or not) hints. The keys to figuring this out were to realize that the tile referred to a penny for your thoughts and thus you were to use the bag of pennies you received at the start of the game. If it wasn't obvious you would have to use the pennies to cover up many of the cirlces to reveal a message, the Fugitive left a note about a list of things you are better off not seeing. It was literally a list of which circles you needed to cover up. Or really just a very SHORT list of SOME of the circles you needed to cover up. Hopefully enough to get you started.
In reality I don't know how helpful that list was as it was probably harder to figure out the answers on that list than it was to just brute force this puzzle.
That is, place a penny on a cirlce, place another on the next circle, then move the second penny over one cirlce and see if the letters visible could possibly go together to form a word, and so on and so on. Teams were given the exact number of pennies needed to cover the cirlces that would reveal the answer.
Solution
The phrase was:
The answer to this puzzle is the name of the place the Star Of India left from each season starting in 1902. Now Read the message beneath pennies backwards for your next clue
When you read the letters beneath the pennies backwards it read:
Eager to continue you open the envelope labeled with the word appearing after the word famous on the ferryboat Berkeley historic landmark
The answers to both could be found on the plaques across the street near the Star of India and they wereAlameda and Union.
Common Mistakes
The most common mistake was not trying to brute force this puzzle and not reading the Fugitive's note that clearly stated the list provided would only get you started and then you would have to do the rest on your own.
Also the wind was picking up at this time and more than one team had their sheet blown into the air by the wind and all then carefully placed pennies fell off. Other teams started to use a pencil or pen to black out the circles they knew they didn't need, not knowing they DID need them. When I saw that happening I tried to subtly hint that they might want to use the provided objects (the pennies) to cover the cirlces instead.
Also, the tile mosaic of an airplane appeared on the front of this building and by texting the year around the airplane you could receive bonus points. This little piece of the puzzle could be found by sharp teams who read the Newspaper front page provided at the start of the game and found the for 5 bonus points column in the personals.
Inside Information
This puzzle started out involving pennies with specific years on them and clues that would require you to find all the provided pennies of a given year and cover circles based on that. I spent many nights sorting through all my pennies and putting them into bags by decades (I found some really old pennies too). It wasn't until I started realizing how many pennies were needed by each team that I realized it would be a nightmare to try and find 50 1984 pennies, and 64 1992 pennies, and so on. So I changed course to how the puzzle ended up.
Additionally there was originally no message beneath the pennies and then when I finsihed I thought "how cool would that be to put a message beneath the pennies" so I went back and did that (no easy task I must say).



Catch Me If You Can
This puzzle required players to realize that the witness sightings they had been getting all day inside other puzzles needed to be put to use. You needed to draw a line on the map from the start location to end location of each witness statement. For example the first one was in the newspaper front page and said someone saw the Fugitive going from the Santa Fe Depot to Island & 5th, so you needed to draw a line on the map between those two locations. You did this for each witness statement. Then you needed to put the statements in order by the time of the witness sightings. You then folded along each line, in order, either forward or backward. All of this information was given by the fugitive in the following little note:

Iíve been up front with you from the beginning, so I hope youíve been paying attention? The clues have been
coming your way all day and are right in front of you. I hope someoneís watching your back because this most devious
puzzle may be an afront to your sensibility. But letís get back to the issue at hand. My location. Iím waiting for youÖfront
and center. If you could only bear witness to folding all the pieces together, it would reveal exactly where you can find me.
Looking for a little order in this madness? Well I havenít got the time, and I trust youíll figure it out.

Notice the words in italics. They basically told you to use the witness statements, by time, to fold the map, and you used the fronts and backs in order to decide which direction to fold.
None of the teams had time to solve this puzzle, which was a pity, but a number of teams did actually start it and I saw several teams did figure out what they needed to do. You had to be very exact in your folding and then you would have seen words appear on the front and back of the map.
Solution
The words were:
TEXT COVER TO FRANK
And when you did that you would get a message back indicatin that the Fugitive was at the Elephant & Castle.
Common Mistakes
From the few teams I saw doing it, not folding exactly on the lines was the most common mistake.
Inside Information
This was actually one of the very first puzzles I knew I wanted to do. I had an old pirate map puzzle sitting on my computer desk from years ago where you folded the map to reveal a treasure and I wanted to do something simlar. In practice this was the very last puzzle to get done. It turned out to be very difficult to print a map on both sides of a paper such that when folded things lined up properly. You don't realize how imperfect printers really are until you need something so exacting.
I actually had to make up a few locations on the map in order to get all the folding to work, and I added a few streets and highlighted some others, but otherwise it was a map straight off Google Maps.



Postcard Pursuit
The main idea here was to get teams interacting with other teams. The main clue to figure this puzzle out was in the Newspaper front page. The article about colorizing things and using wax markers. Also that fact that over the course of the day you never used your crayons. You basically needed to look at the name of the city in the postmark and match that with the five crayons you had. So if you had a blue crayon, you needed a postmark with a city with blue in the name. Like Blue Lake, and so on.
Solution
Find postcards where the city in the postmark matches each color crayon you had.
Common Mistakes
Teams tried to match the color of the stamps with their crayons. They also tried to get stamps with the numbers 1 through 5, without any regard to color. Teams that did this correctly may have noticed they did, in fact, end up with stamps numbered 1 - 5, but that had nothing to do with this puzzle. (See Hidden Puzzle)
Inside Information
I had a lot of fun putting together the postcards. Each one had a person with a funny name and some random vacation blurb I made up. All the pictures were from various trips I've taken. I also tried to match the stamps in some way to the puzzle, or where the ACTUAL picture had been taken. An Alaskan stamp, a sherlock holmes stamp, an Italian stamp, etc. All of the stamps displayed are taken from real stamps. All the cities in the postmarks are real cities.
Some of the locations in the postcards were:



Penny Pursuit
Nothing tricky here, just find the pennies to smash.
Solution
Three of the pennies were along the main street in Old Town. One was down by the Ferry Boat Berkley at the bay. There was a note in the Newspaper front page that told you these two locations.
Common Mistakes
Simply not finding the correct penny. The Padres one was the hardest in Old Town as it was back in a corner down on the way to the Sheriff's Museum.
Inside Information
Nothing really. I just saw the penny machines during puzzle testing and decided it might be fun to have teams collect pennies.



Hidden Puzzle
I was hoping someone would find the hidden puzzle this year, but I'm okay that none of the teams did. Every year teams will get better and what to look for and it'll get found. This years hidden puzzle was in the postcards, and if you read the instructions for the Postcard Pursuit puzzle carefully you would have seen:

And remember, this is Puzzle Pursuit, there might be something else, unrelated to this puzzle, hiding in all these postcards.

It basically told you that the hidden puzzle was in the postcards. Did anyone catch that? If you collected all 5 of the correct postcards you would have noticed that the cost of each stamp was in sequence from 1 to 5. If you put your 5 postcards in order by stamp, and then read the word on the front of the postcard represented by the amount of the stamp, it would ask a question. For example one postcard said on the front: Boaters Paradise at Lake Avalon. The stamp on that postcard had a 4 on it. So you would take the 4th word, in this case Lake.
Solution
There were actually 2 possible questions.
city north of lake Tarrabool (Mythica)
city north of lake Dresden (Serka Zong)
The answer could be found on the back of the postcard about either Lake Tarrabool or Lake Dresden in the little description about the picture. For example on the back of the Lake Dresden postcard it says
Lake Dresden with Serka Zong to the north and Everest beyond
Common Mistakes
Teams were too wrapped up with everything else to find the hidden puzzle.
Inside Information
A few tweets were sent out during the day with clues to the hidden puzzle, among other things. Most teams I spoke with failed to actually look at the tweets during the day. Bummer. If teams were paying attention they may have noted while trading postcards that there seemed to be 2 related postcards of each type. That is there were 2 with the word city on it and two with the word Lake, etc. This was just another subtle (very subtle) hint that there was something going on with the postcards.