Thursday, August 15, 2013

Day 2, Part 7: Columbus Voyage

The driving clue is amusing.  The CD contains a bunch of unfinished Chuck Norris jokes, and our job is to finish them.  This is a nice and casual puzzle and we stop for dinner while in West Virginia.  Not too soon after dinner, we have enough to get a message:
I can't think of any caption funnier than the actual text here.


We groan because if only we had solved this 20 minutes earlier, we'd have access to the freezer at the gas station.  As it is, we stop at a Walmart and put the sheet of paper into a freezer:
See anything yet?
The cold-sensitive ink activates to give us the message "SEEK IN DORRIANS COMMONS PARK BOX".  Okay, we now know where to go when we arrive in Columbus.

We can't find Dorrians Commons Park on the map, so we settle for the next best thing: Dorrian Commons Park.
The park is about 1000 times bigger than the area covered by this photograph.
We're almost certain that we were supposed to have arrived at this location before sundown.  But now we are looking for a box in the park and it is very dark everywhere.  The park has about 50 electrical outlets in it (must be some sort of Ohio statute) but we didn't bring any houselamps.  After what seems like a long time to search we text Josh our progress, and he volunteers the hint that the box should be emitting light.  We comb the park again, looking for maybe a box in the trees that has blinking LEDs.  We wonder if perhaps such a thing would have been noticed and taken by a passerby.  We wonder if the guy who has been sitting in the park since we arrived might be a plant, to make sure no one steals the clue.  We comb the park again.

Just as we're about to consider maybe asking for another hint, I walk part the front of the park and say out loud... "You know, I think that thing shining on the rock could be considered a box that is emitting light."
Rich yells "get the remote-pincer-picker-up-thing".  Sure enough, there's a sheet of paper wedged inside that box:
Da-da-da-daaaah!  You found the Fairy Slingshot!
And on it is yet another page of clues:
The bottom middle encoding is actually quite cute.
Maybe I'll explain how it works someday.
And a page of rune-looking glyphs that probably is yet another cryptogram followed by a Vigenere cipher.  I don't have any photographs of that page in an unsolved form, so you'll see it at the end of this post.

Having very little idea of where we're supposed to go, we figure it can't hurt to guess that "stately house" refers to the Ohio Statehouse and we drive there.  When circling the block I notice a wall with a pattern similar to Clue 11.
What made it especially noticeable was the fact that
Dan was standing in front of it.
It turns out that all four of these clues refer to things that can be found on the grounds of the Statehouse.  #11 refers to this Veteran's Wall (and very fortunate for us, we found the one of the two that actually decodes to a message).
Clue #12 refers to a watery fountain on the other side:
When they said that this puzzle would get your
feet wet, I didn't think they meant it literally.
Clue #13 refers to two sundials found on the premises:
If I read the sundial correctly,
it's saying that it's night o'clock.
And Clue #14 refers to a stone dedicated to Peace:
It wasn't until the 1940s that someone had the idea
to use a space, instead of a bullet, between every pair of adjacent words.  
This saved a lot of bullets, which contributed greatly to the war effort as the
military definitely had a shortage of bullets.
We did not solve any of this in a clean or methodological fashion (and the puzzles weren't completely free of errors).  But if we had (and the puzzles were error-free), we would have the message: LOOK UPWARD UNTO THE GENTLE SKY FOR THE ONLY KEY after solving all four puzzles.  This would have pointed us to look at a skyscraper across the street:
And I'm guessing "Chase" means "run around looking for clues"?
And noticed that it had a big glowing sign saying KEYBANK.  We would have then put this word and decoded the Vigenere on the runic page.
Later on in the hunt GC would start encoding the Arabic numerals, too.

What *actually* happened is that we decoded the first message to the phrase LOOK UPWBED.  Since there didn't seem to be a radio station named WBED in the area, we just looked up and noticed the Keybank sign.  Jonathan hadn't finished doing the cryptogram yet so we just joked about BANK being the key to the puzzle.  Then the three of us split up and ran around haphazardly around the Statehouse and found bits and pieces of the other puzzles while Jonathan continued working on the runes.  Just as we were about to put all four puzzle answers together, Jonathan proudly proclaims "I solved the Vigenere, the key is KEYBANK!"

In any case, the final message told us to go to a location called the Char Bar:
Parking around there was a different problem.

We went there and met the other teams, and GC, and learned about the intended way to solve puzzles.  A lot of good chatting happened, but since it was past midnight we decided that we needed to get to the hotel and sleep.  It was awfully convenient that our hotel was, coincidentally, only a 5-minute drive away.

It ended up taking 40 minutes to drive to our hotel, but that's a different story that you might hear about later.  Wei-Hwa out.

No comments:

Post a Comment