- a set of 5 linear clues in Cincinnati
- a driving puzzle to Indianapolis (which would unexpectedly add Indiana to my puzzle hunt in every state goal!)
- a set of 10 parallel clues in Indianapolis that we can solve in any order
- a driving puzzle to Chicago
- a set of linear clues in Chicago leading to the final location.
|Josh and Sean kicking it off in Cincinnati's Lytle Park.|
As a result, we started this leg with our game faces on, an agreed upon hint strategy (we'd take hints if we were ever stuck for 20+ minutes without progress, to be sure we would keep moving and not overpenalize ourselves when we were spinning our wheels), and some great enthusiasm for a long day of puzzling.
We grabbed our supplies for the day - another cryptex (one of the small ones this time!), some wood slats with holes in them that Wei-Hwa quickly identified as a "guess what number I'm thinking of" parlor trick aid that he'd seen before, and a set of 5 (apparently linear) clues to work on in Cincinnati.
|What's with the key next to Caesar on Clue 5? Took us our first official hint to figure that one out...|
We pull the van right up to the mural to the point where you can almost read the plaque from inside the car, and find that the mural contains the name Tim Parsley, an anagram of "Salty Prime", and thus, the key to the associated Vigenere. Decoding the message and reading backwards gave us: LOOK ON MEMORIAL HALL.
A search for Memorial Hall in Cincinnati returned two results - one on the campus of the University of Cincinnati, and the other more formally known as the Hamilton County Memorial Building. Since the latter was closer to where we were, we decided to try that first. Fortunately, that was the right call, and we soon thereafter arrived at this building.
|The inscription we were looking for was on the left side of the building.|
A quick search on "Martha" in Cincinnati indicated that there was a famous passenger pigeon for whom a new mural had just been painted in downtown Cincinnati. Confident that was the intended destination, we headed out just as the two other teams (who had joined forces and were now working together as one) arrived at Memorial Hall. We hoped that would be the last we'd see of them until the finish line...
|A very nice mural, but not the right Martha.|
So we drive back to Washington Park, just in time to see the other team starting to search the park for Martha. I walk by the sign first, and hoping not to give away the location, I keep walking right by it hoping the other teams don't notice before I would circle back and take a quick photo. This doesn't work at all, as Devon notices it not seconds after I pass it, and this of course makes it look like I'm just following them. Jeez.
|The obstructed view of the Martha Stites sign I finally got after I foolishly pretended I didn't see it.|
|Hecker memorial, but which date do we use?|
After a few minutes of doing some internet research and looking around our surroundings, one of us notices that across the street, right next to Memorial Hall, is the Cincinnati Music Hall, which is nineteen letters long, and written on the eaves in giant letters beneath 5 giant wreaths! Not wanting to tip off the other team to this discovery, we retreat to the van (in the opposite direction) and discreetly drive over and park in front of the Music Hall to work on the clue.
|You can only barely see the tops of four of the wreaths here.|
Anyway, this final clues decodes to a phone number which, when called, gives us a poem that suggests the location of our drive-to-Indianapolis puzzle, behind a sign with a polka-dotted guy near the Taft Museum.
|Jonathan poses with the Indy driving clue in hand.|
So not only did we finish this about 30 minutes after the other team, we also incurred a 30 minute penalty for taking a hint. So we've completely blown that hour lead we had at the start of the leg, and it is like the race is now starting from even. So we head off to Indianapolis in what we believe to be a virtual tie for first, and hope for the best! Next up... the driving clue to Indianapolis!