Thursday, August 15, 2013

Day 2, Part 5: In Which we end up Seeking the Dead

We're riding up a funicular and making stupid pun jokes about the name.
All the stupid jokes were about the "fun" part of the word, though.
I guess we weren't very particular.

Having just done a 30-minute wild goose chase and driven past an obscure photography studio, we're back on track.
Someday we might figure out a better way to copy-paste SMS.
We have a cryptic phone message  riddle that we'll have to solve when we get up there, which is repeated below for your convenience:

head up to monongahela
if you are so inclined 
where the severed head of washington 
feeds the second silver eye 
seek until you find someone 
very much like you 
staring with her green eyes 
to help you crack the clue 
last fourteen letters at the very end 
serve as your final key 
to crack your final cipher and set the cryptex free 

We know that the answer to the riddle is going into this Vigenere decode:
OTFFTTPQ... One, Two, Four, Twelve, Thirteen, ... uh, Pentillion?

And so we get to the top of Mount Washington and we see a wonderful view of Pittsburgh:
And a not-so-wonderful view of my thumb.
And.... we're stuck. There seems to be no strong direction to go. There's a small shopping district which might have murals but it's a bit of a walk. I notice that way far in the distance there's a billboard that shows a woman holding two slices of kiwifruit over her eyes, which maybe fits the description of "her green eyes":
Enhance!  Enhance!  Real life is not like CSI.
But the billboard is way far away and there's no way to make out the text written on it. So we walk into town, looking for anything that might match the poem. Eventually we see a sign with some green "i"s on it:
We also considered the stripes on the awning, but that felt like a stretch.
They don't have the answer to the riddle, but they do have ice cream. So we stop and get that. The ice cream is long gone by the time we have combed a quarter-mile radius and found three murals and bupkis (not necessarily in that order). We decide it's time to give GC an update on our progress, or lack thereof, and GC offers an unsolicited hint:  It's the kiwifruit poster.
Enhance, darn you!
Now Josh gets to hear the collective groan from our team. There's still no way to make out the text on the poster from this distance (we don't find out until hours later that "silver eye" is a hint to put money in the pay-binoculars), so we make our way back down until we're close enough to make out the text on the poster (it's UPMC HEALTH PLAN, if you were wondering). This gets us the phrase GRAVE UNLOCKS YOUR CRYPTEX TO SET YOU ON YOUR WAY TO ALLEGHENY CEMETERY FOR THE NEXT FEW CLUES TODAY. We open the Cryptex and a sheet of clues pop out:
It's a good thing GC gave us more clues at this time, as we had
clearly demonstrated that we were lacking in clues.
And we're off to Allegheny Cemetery.

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