Team Clavis Cryptica made it to the final location! But only because it started raining and GC took pity on us =) In Part 3, we had just finished up Puzzle #7 – The Statue of Liberty, with some massive hints. Time was running out, so we had to get on with the next puzzle.
Puzzle #8 – The Tower of Babel
Just two pages: the first page had a list of help wanted ads with descriptions, and the second page had a list of “applicants” with images. We took our usual strategy and just tried going through and identify each item at a time. Several were pretty ambiguous, but we managed to find a few we felt confident on. Then, pretty quickly in my opinion, we deduced that each word described on the first page would correspond to an image name on the second page. The words would be spelled the same except one letter would be different between the two. And so, we continued on and found what we thought were all the correct words and connections. And then we got stuck again. We asked for several hints, but GC seemed hesitant to give too much away. At some point we found the word LANDMARK which seemed promising, but GC said no. Then, we were informed that a few of our answers were wrong! This information didn’t really end up helping, they all seemed right! For the curious, here is what we turned out to have mixed up: We had decided “Aggressively mismatch” would be “Fight”, which would match with “Eight” on the second page, and we thought “Illumination” would be “Flash”, which would match with “Slash.” Looking back, we thought “Fight” seemed a little off at the time, but we ended up forgetting about it when everything else seemed to work out.
It was almost 7:30, the ending time, and we finally got someone to just walk us through the end of the puzzle. We had done some of it correctly, making the lists of the letters that had been changed between the two words, but we only needed to do the ones from the Help Wanted part. From there, we had missed the vital last step which was to use the “looked good on paper / didn’t sound good” clue to realize we needed to only look at the word pairs that didn’t rhyme. I tried to do what the GC said, but my brain was so fried at that point I kept getting mixed up and doing the opposite along the way, I was a mess! Finally, we got it all sorted out and were left with the phrase ROSETTA BLANK, which would be STONE, the answer.
Puzzle #9 – El Castillo
The GC who was helping us said it was fine to go ahead and get the meta and try it out even though it was past 7:30 by then. I went and got the instruction sheet and a few additional yellow pieces similar to the ones we had been collecting at each puzzle site as we solved. After fumbling around with it for a while and trying to make connections, another GC (maybe the same guy) walked us through what we were supposed to be doing: matching up words that, if one letter were switched between them, would make two words that are related somehow. For example SPRANG and FILL make SPRING and FALL. We didn’t get much further before it was time for the ending wrap-up.
Those last few puzzles were a weird time for us. The location was great and helped bring down the stress levels a bit, but I was feeling super rushed while somehow simultaneously being completely oblivious of the actual time. I was really surprised and disappointed when we finished the 8th puzzle and it was already 7:30, even though Nick P had been trying to explain the time situation to me earlier. I am just not a numbers person in any capacity, even time! I think there were also a few other stressful factors involved, one being that nobody really wanted to go ask for hints. I had gone up a few times, and hadn’t really been able to get a big enough hint out of the GCs (either them trying not to nudge too hard or me not being assertive enough, probably the latter), so when I stopped going, nobody else wanted to go either and we all kind of sat there. Also, people from other teams kept coming up and asking me questions about the collaborative puzzle. I apologize to anyone I might have been rude or dismissive to! I was so frazzled and that puzzle had made me so mad earlier! And I really didn’t feel like I knew enough about the puzzle to help out.
We headed over to the area where they were having the wrap-up, which was just an area of the food court that nobody was using. I spotted Todd Etter (who was thankfully wearing a nametag) and introduced myself. Todd joined East Coast Puzzlers a few weeks ago and mentioned he would be at DASH D.C.. I don’t know much about Todd, but I heard his interview on SnoutCast and learned that he makes in-house puzzle hunts for his company, he’s in charge of the Shinteki Puzzle of the Month, and his team won a Post Hunt! He is also a fellow Wahoo =) It was great meeting him and hopefully we can hang out again and talk puzzles soon!
The wrap-up was quick. They announced the top times on each of the puzzles, which was a hoot for us considering we only managed to beat the GAST once or twice. Then they announced the top teams overall. First place won by one point/minute! Amazing!
The location and length of the wrap-up was perfect. We were in the mall, which meant we didn’t have to go back outside in the rain to get to our car (except for Snooze who would have to walk to the metro station. Why didn’t we offer you a ride, Snooze??), we were in a food court so we could grab something to eat and sit down for a while, and the wrap-up was quick and the mall didn’t close until 9 so we had plenty of time to sit, eat, and chat afterwards (actually, I’m pretty sure we must have stayed way past 9!). Nick P hadn’t eaten all day, so he got some Chinese food, I was super thirsty and got a strawberry-lemonade smoothie, and Snooze got a milkshake (Nick W attempted to get an Arby’s shake, but they were closing up shop and refused!). Then we spent a good hour or more discussing the day and all the fun we had!
And you’ll have to wait til tomorrow to hear all about that =)