Race ResultsParticipants were in for a very challenging day of puzzles, even more challenging then was intended. We'll bring it back down to a more reasonable level next year, we promise. But most persevered and since everyone was on the same page it turned out to be a close race overall.
A BLUE notation indicates a previous years winning team.
Puzzle BreakdownPuzzles were arranged in order in the Diary such that the first 4 were in Seaport Village, then there were entries of "days at sea" (that contained the bonus puzzle), and then 4 entries that were on Coronado.
So You Want to be a PirateThis puzzle consisted of 5 pirate trading cards. Each team had a captain and they needed to find 4 other crewmates that contained exactly the SAME TWO THINGS in common. The idea was to get teams mixing and talking with one another in order to trade pirate cards.
Once a team had their 5 unique cards they needed to form a quarum, which according to the Glossary in the Pirate Handbook meant 4 unique captains and their crew. Teams had to join up into group of 4 unique captains and crews at which point they could place all the cards end-to-end and read the text along the bottom which read as follows:
You’ll need to add some words together for this puzzle to be in site.
Some words have double meaning though they may not be spelled right. What I ATE is a good example FOR you can add that TO all you see. Then take the sum to a nearby rock where merchant seaman were lost at sea. Compare your sum to the dedicated day in May and the difference you will be saving. Then follow the one matching path as you start your quest to find the Midnight Raven.Teams needed to add together all the words that were also numbers (one, to, ate, etc.) and then find the date on a nearby marker (May 23) and take the difference.
ANSWER: The sum was 29 so the difference was 6Teams then followed a path spelled out in the puzzle that was designated by that number.
Fun FactsThis puzzle took a bit longer than anticipated to complete, but teams certainly had to work together. Each of the pirate trading cards is a famous person (the photo) and many of the names are actual pirates. One of the cards had my face on it. Did you spot it?
From Here to ThereThis puzzle consisted of a long string with a bunch of words scattered along the length. You had to go out by the Fish Market restaurant where there is a tribute to Bob Hope that consists of about 12 different bronze statues. Using the words in the diary and the definitions in the Glossary you had to place one end of the string on one location (for example a certain persons nose) and then stretch the string to another location. The distance would land on (or very near) a word. Take the words in order and it asked:
QUESTION: According to Eisenhower a soldier's pack is not so heavy a burden as what?
The answer could be found about 20 years down the path on the ground.
Answer: A Prisoner's Chains
Fun FactsDuring the summer as I developed and we tested this puzzle there was always a lot of foreign tourists in the area. A lot of people are going to get home and look at their photos and wonder what the crazy people stretching strings all over were doing there.
WildlifeTeams had to figure out that they needed to go find a bunch of animals which turned out to be on the carousel. They first had to figure out all the animals and their order (although you could solve this puzzle without the order). You then needed to take the map and find the circled numbers which were scattered on different continents. The diary told you that those numbers represented the number of letters in the animal that was seen there. There was also a series of dashed numbers on each continent. These numbers represented the letter to take from the animals found there. Teams should have noted that the numbers included values greater than 4 or 5, therefore they would need to use the letters from ALL animals found there and the order would be the order in which they appeared on the carousel.
For example on Africa you would find a 4 and 5. There were 2 animals with 4 letters in the name and 2 with 5 letters. So you would have to try the combinations. It turned out to be LION and CAMEL and that was the order they appeared on the carousle. So you would have LIONCAMEL and taking the indicated numbered letters(6-4-2-7-6-9) you get ANIMAL.
Doing that for all the locations on the map and unscrambling the words you ended up with:
QEUSTION: Animal on fallen log on carousel panel
Many teams didn't figure out they needed to put all the animals found on the continent together (there were at most 2) and that they were supposed to use the other string of numbers on the continent. All the info needed to solve the puzzle on the map was within a few inches of each other and teams that realized it were able to use the clues to solve it. Ideally teams should have started with Kanata (Canada) or the piece of land above Japan as both had only a single animal with a unique number of letters making those straightforward to do and leading into how to do all the others.
Fun FactsI got very dizzy watching that dang carousel and trying to catch all the animals. During testing the DOG and the DONKEY seemed to be commonly missed.
Compass RoseTeams first had to find the big compass rose on the ground by the water fountain in the middle of Seaport Village. The diary mentioned a "waterfall" at the compass rose and that was the clue that it could be found near some sort of water feature. The diary also mentioned a second compass rose of "saphire green and ocean blue". This compass rose could be found on the captain's map each team was given. My hope was that at this point teams had realized that the large captain's map they had was going to be used in most of the puzzles.
On the compass rose on the map were numbers, a larger number nearer the center and 1 or more smaller numbers in a ring further outside that. Shops surrounded the compass rose in Seaport village. The idea was to stand in the middle and look around and notice that the building numbers all around you matched the numbers that were represented on the compass rose on the map. For example looking South West the building there had an address of 66. On the compass rose the number 66 appeared to the South West. The addition numbers immediately next to the 66 on the map indicated the number of the letter to take from the name of the shop at that location. For example 66 was "For Bare Feet Originals" and the numbers were 17 and 5 so you were take the 17th and the 5th letter. You were to do this for all the shops around the compass rose. One shop, the one in the lower North West direction, had no visible number on the building but by process of elimination it was the only remaining shop and was located in the right location.
Once you had all the numbers there was a series of numbers in the diary:
64-63-66-58-65- -59-63-61- -59-64-65-59-61-58-66-58
The idea was to take the numbers you found at the indicated location and place them on the indicated number in the string. Since most numbers appeared more than once you would have to try either of the letters found there. For example at 64 we found a W and a C so we know the first letter is either a W or a C. The second letter, 63, could be an H or an M. The next nubmer, 66, was either an A or an N. At this point we really can only have WHA or CHA. When we find the next letter choice includes a T it is likely we find the word WHAT. The entire phrase was:
QUESTION: WHAT ITEM CHUCK PLANTThe answr could be found on a plaque to the left of the Northern end of the compass rose.
ANSWER: Succulents and Cacti
I'm not sure what tripped up teams here. I think some teams thought the blanks indicated breaks in words rather than simply an unknown letter. Those unknown letters came from the Pet Hideaway shop (the shop with no visible number on it) but once you had all the other letters they were really unnecessary.
Fun FactsThe American Heroes shop was a Camera shop up until mid-way through puzzle testing when suddenly testers couldn't make letters work and we realized the name of the shop had changed. While this puzzle tested a bit more difficult than some of the others it seemed to turn out much more difficult during game day.
NavigationTeams had to figure out they they needed to go "out past the edge of town" near where "the really big ships docked" to find a big map on the ground. This was out near the Midway and near the location of the From Here to There puzzle. Once there teams had to use the star chart in the navigation section of the Guide in order to translate the given bearing points to actual stars that were in the ground on the map. The exact method of how to navigate was spelled out in the Guide. An astute team also pointed out the I actually had the definition of a stars magnitude backwards in the guide. Fortunately the guide had an example that used the magnitude as defined by the guide and that was the correct way to do it in this case. For basic teams the final answer was simply the final island you landed on.
BASIC - Isla NublarAdvanced teams had a further task. Using the cargo manifest in the back of the diary, and a starting manifest from Santa Cruz, teams had to drop off and pick up cargo at each island and come up with a final manifest of items. The final set of numbers in the manifest were then used with an inscription on the wall to pluck a single letter from each line of the inscription. Those letters could then be unscrambled.
ANSWER: JOLLY ROGER
The clue for what inscription to use came from words in the diary as well as one cargo list whose words were arranged in the same angle that the inscription on the wall was in. It was, in fact, the starting cargo list from Santa Cruz
Fun FactsMany of the islands are real or fictional islands. For example Membata was the name of the island from the television show LOST. Isla Nublar was the name of the island in Jurassic Park. Kongalosh is a reference to an old club called the Adventurer's Club that was at Walt Disney World.
Originally this puzzle involved the trading of goods at every island where each trade was a tiny little puzzle like "you have 2 crates of mangos, what can you get for those if the worth of mangos is XXX etc. etc". This became crazy hard while I was making it. There were also originally nearly twice as many island ports to start with and I kept cutting it back and cutting it back. Partial credit was given for teams that wrote down final island or even the final cargo manifest. While many teams go the final island or manifest, only 2 teams got the final answer of JOLLY ROGER.
Bonus PuzzleThe bonus puzzle was located in the diary entries in the middle of the diary as "Bonus Days as Sea". This was the point at which teams should have been on the ferry to Coronado. All you had to do was read the last letter from each line on those two pages, backwards. The clue to how to do this was on the very first diary entry where some text indicated that there was a hidden message on that page reading the FIRST letter from each line. Reading that it said:
QUESTION: BACK COVER LINES UNSCRMABLE ISLANDIf you looked on the back of the dairy the image had a compass rose with lines emanating out from it. Those lines crosed 4 letters.
Esme is an island on the captain's map and in fact is the location of the object that was on the Midnight Raven.
Fun FactsNo one got the bonus puzzle. It was actually added at the very end of puzzle creation when I realized I needed some "days at sea" in the middle of the diary to indicate the time on the ferry.
Ferry WordsearchDirections for the ferry wordsearch indicated to do this puzzle while you were on the ferry. Most teams opted to do the puzzle immediately and several teams then followed the directions in the puzzle and got on the ferry. Of course that was the wrong thing to do. In any case, the word search contained most of the words from the Glossary in the Guide. When you found all the words the remaining letters told you to:
Find the matching diary entry for the island of Membata when you arrive on the island do the same thing that the writer does good luckTeams were to go onto the beach and find a girl with a flower in her hair. They had to give her some coins and in return they got a pirate pouch with little vials in it, a card, and a map in a bottle.
Fun FactsI accidentally reversed flora and fauna in the diary so the girl on the beach in the diary had animals in her hair instead of flowers. Duh! The penny you were asked to bring was originally going to be what you gave to the girl. When I got the little black pirate bags they were all full of coins so I decided to use those instead. Several teams asked me at the end of the race what the penny was supposed to be for. I really just wanted you to carry around a penny. ;)
Flagship RoseThis puzzle was located on Membata (Coronado) over by the Burger King where another large compass rose could be found on the ground. Teams had to stand in the middle of the rose and use the lavendar arms of the compass rose to define an area in which to count the blue flags. The text indicated you could move around in the little circle and would have to stand on tip-toes to see some of the flags. You would then end up with 4 numbers: 7,14,1,0
You then had to use those numbers to find which of them were represented on the captain's map. For that you had to figure out that represented was indicated by counting the number of sails on the ships on the map. As it turned out there was a ship with 0 sails and a ship with 7 sails and 1 and 14 were NOT on the map. You were then told to take the first letter from those ships on the map (0 and 7) and text that along with the numbers that were NOT on the map (1 and 14) to ship. To figure out the names of ships you had to look in the Guide where a listing of flags and ship names appeared.
TEXT 114DF to SHIPThe response you got back was:
Take the second number of the marked latitude and/or longitude, or the first if it be zero. Take that letter or letters from the ship name. Ignore ships on the compass lines. Unscramble and text that to SHIP for the final piece of the puzzle. Basically you had to look at the ships that were on marked lat/lon lines on the map and use that lat/lon number to take that letter from the ship name. This resulted in the word DUNES which you then texted to SHIP.
Text DUNES to SHIP. RESPONSE: The word you just found is a Park that appears on a plaque near the water. Your final answer is the number of that park.
In retrospect this puzzle had too many steps and the counting of the flags either should have been the extent of the puzzle or done in such a way that the hidden flags didn't matter because many teams were simply not seeing the several hidden flags that required tip toes.
Fun FactsThis was the last puzzle created. I tried many different things before finally settling on the blue flags. Originally there were flags in shop windows and other color flags that would appear one day and disappear the next so I finally had to settle on ONLY the BLUE flags OUTSIDE of buildings.
X Marks the SpotThe backs of your 5 pirate trading cards contained the pieces of a map. The Guide book on reading treasure maps indicated the most important part of reading a treasure map is finding the start. The start piece of the map was missing. When you arrived on Coronado you got the missing card (see the Ferry puzzle).
Putting the map together teams were to follow the map and find the items indicated. Since the map was written long long away the items had morphed into what they might be today. For example the starting location on the map showed 4 geysers spewing water. In the middle of Coronado landing was a long pool with 4 bubbling, raised rock waterfall areas. These were the 4 fountains. Othe items included:
_W_ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ _W_ __ __ __
was the sequence of dashes that was indicated to be at location 2 which was the Weights of Burden. On the scale the words West Bromwich could be found and those fit the spaces above. Below many of the blanks were numbers. The numbers ran from 1 to 50 something. Once you had all the blanks filled in you could take the numbered letters in order to read:
Put found words letters into path dashes unscramble footsteps
If you then returned to the treasure map you just used you would notice that the number of dashes in the paths between each location matched the number of letters in the words you just found at each location. For example for West Bromwich there were 12 dashes. Some of the dashes were footsteps. You needed to take the letters that fell on the footsteps and unscramble them. Teams should have realized that they were going to get over 20 letters and to unscramble that was unreasonable. The trick was that there were 5 different sizes of footsteps on the map. You needed to group the letters that were on the small footsteps, and the ones on the next bigger, and the next bigger, etc. Then you ended up with 5 short words that were relatively easy to unscramble.
QUESTION: YEAR FERRY LANDING SITE DEDICATEDThe answer could be found on one of the same plaques that you used as the final location on the map.
Fun FactsI had a lot of fun putting this puzzle together but trying to figure out what to use to represent the Village Pizzaria took me a loooooong time. I was not really happy with the Pie Cave but I hopped that people would think Pizza Pie and make the connection. Many teams had difficulty finding the items in the Pie Village Cave. If you actually went in the entrance around the front, as is indicated on the map, it was immediately up on the wall to the right. This was one of the few places where you needed to be at the doorway of the place to see it.
Scent of a RoseThis was probably my favorite puzzle. When teams arrived on the island one of the things you got was a little black pirate bag with 5 viles of water with numbers on them. The diary entry for this puzzle talked a lot about smells and scents. The island girl even says "I need just a few more cents", the word cents a stand in for scents. In any case there was a make in the diary of the Coronado landing shops. Five of the shops were highlighted with color. Teams needed to figure out the names of each of those shops. This turned out to be tricky because one of the shops had removed it's signs from the building and I didn't realize that had happened. Fortunately the map of Coronado Landing still had the proper names on it so you could find the name there.
As indicated by the diary entry there was also a grid involved. In the back the Guide book you would find a grid of 5 columns and 4 rows. You first had to figure out that the amount of water in each vile indicated which column of the grid that vile represented. The viles actually had number markings on them (not the hand written numbers) and the water level was set at the numbers 1,2,3,4, and 5. So the vile with the water level at 1 was the first column and so on.
The trick here was to open the viles and discover that each one was scented. The scents each represented a very definite color as follows:
QUESTION 1: telegraph sail to discoThis should have been recognized as text or email the word sail to disco. Doing so would have gotten the following response:
add 1 to each number, water is ROW, and use the map to solve
So now you just added one to each number on the vials and the amount of water in the vial now represented the ROW instead of the COLUMN so this resulted in a 4 x 5 grid instead of the original 5 x 4 grid. You then needed to look at the pirate map and notice that 5 of the islands had the same color coding that the shops on the diary map had. IE there was a green island, a red island, a yellow island, etc. Using the island names to fill in the grid you then revealed the following:
QUESTION: One island thats edibleLooking on the pirate map there was one island that was something that was edible.
Fun FactsI now have about 50 different candy flavorings at my house as I tried over and over to find 5 flavors that actually smelled like what they were AND were clear. Many flavors, like maple, are the color that they are (brown) for cooking purposes. Many of the obvious, like blueberry, didn't smell anything close to what they were. I had everything from cotton candy to mango to blackberry and everything in between. The rootbeer scent was one of the very last I found and in fact it is an oil based scent for making candles rather than a flavor for cooking. During testing none of the testers ever though about smelling the vials. I actually kind of figured that would happen and hoped that teams would have an ah ha! moment when they finally figured out they needed to open and sniff them.
Message in a BottleThis puzzle did not appear in the diary. Teams received a bottle with a map inside when they arrived on Coronado island. Once the maps was removed from the bottle, which was no easy feat in an of itself, teams were to follow the map to get a password from a nearby plaque and then follow the map to the X. There they received instructions on their task and were then sent down to the beach. On the beach there were two sectioned off areas of sand. One section contained a coded message while the other contained the key to decode it. Teams choose two people to dig for the golfballs that were buried in the sand. It turned out to be relatively challenging to find all the necessary balls in each pit. There were two different coded messages but teams needed to decode only one.
The golfballs were each colored and had written on them either colored numbers or colored letters. Once teams found everything they needed they could use the section in the Guide on Codes. The code involving the colored planks of wood with the colored fruit explained how to decode the message. It was a relatively long process to decode the message and teams that were not careful in keeping track of where they were during the decoding process had to start over if they got of course. The best way to approach the decoding was to have two people, one in charge of the coded message and one in charge of the decoding numbers.
Message 1: Nearby marker 1911 Curtiss what?
Answer 1: 1A Triad Seaplane
Message 2: Nearby marker words found on ur map
Answer 2: Sandy Flats
Both questions referred to a nearby marker which teams had to pass right by to start this puzzle. It was over on the grassy opposite the beach. The trickier of the two questions, the second one, could be answered by finding the only words that appeard BOTH on the marker and on the map. Since the only words to appear on the map were island names it was relatively straight-forward to scan the marker text and pick out the 2 or 3 words that it could be.
Fun FactsMany teams struggled to find all the balls while on their hands and knees. It turned out the quickest way to uncover the balls was to use your feet and just shuffle them along in the sand. The balls seemed to pop right up to the surface when you did this and it was easy to cover the entire area very quickly. When we finally left for the day there was one ball we never did find. The last team to do the challenge never found it either and eventually we had to give them the letters and color of the missing ball. I don't know if some team accidentally took the ball or what, but perhaps it will show up some day.
Hidden PuzzleThe hidden puzzle could be found in the Cargo in the diary. The Map in the bottle actually had the words hidden in cargo on it in ink nearly the same color as the parchment paper. Several teams told me that saw the words accidentally but either didn't have time or could not figure it out.
It was actually quite simple. Put the cargo listings in order by date. Then take the first letter of the island name at each listing, in order. It would have revealed:
SIGNAw JACK TO SKULL
The 'w' was out of place but it should have been obvious it was the word SIGNAL so you were to send a text. The response was:
number of shells on page with Okhotsk bayOhtosk Bay could be found on the back cover of the diary and there are 5 sea shells bording the edge of the diary.
Fun FactsNo one found the hidden puzzle this year. Likely because all the other puzzles were more difficult than expected and took longer so there was little time to work on other things like this.