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Posted at 01:20 PM ET, 06/06/2011

2011 Post Hunt overtakes downtown D.C.


The hunting and the hunted. (Photo by Matt McClain/For The Washington Post) (Matt McClain)

(An earlier version of this story incorrectly spelled the last name of one of the winners, Amy Posten.)

The crowd simultaneously emitted murmurs of sheepish “ohh’s” and loud cheers as Dave Barry explained the answers to the puzzles from the fourth annual Post Hunt on Sunday afternoon.

Thousands of hopefuls spent nearly four hours solving five incredibly complicated and unusual puzzles set up along the downtown Pennsylvania Avene stretch. Post Hunt founders Dave Barry, Gene Weingarten and Tom Shroder dove straight into the adventure providing five coordinates that sent the contestants sprawling throughout the city.

The answer to each puzzle is a number; those answers culminate in the final game.

New to the Hunt, the Artis family drove from Chesterfield, Va., to flex their puzzle-solving muscles while enjoying some family bonding time. While they didn’t win, they still dreamt up a compromise of what they could have bought with the prize money: a flat screen television and a donation to Relay For Life. Their strategy:“gathering information first and then piecing it together later.”

Not that game veterans always fared much better. The Besser family jokingly called themselves as “team loser” as they went for the win again this year. Tara Besser, 28, of Gaithersburg, Md., said they were learning from past years’ mistakes.

“We didn’t follow through enough on some clues and were getting stuck at the same spots,” she said.

Jamie Valentine, 36, played solo this year and laughed that even her Ph.D. in physics won’t help her win. “You have to think outside of the box and be creative,” she said. “But when you know the answer, it just clicks.”

As the sun unexpectedly beamed bright all afternoon, participants pored over copies of the June 5 Washington Post magazine searching for any clues that might help them win the coveted $2,000 prize. Downtown vendors sold a steady stream of drinks and candy that served as brain food for the contestants.

Despite the teams’ collective brainstorming, homemade t-shirts and positive attitudes, only the top three teams enjoyed the spoils of making
Players closely examine one of the clues during the 2011 Post Hunt on Sunday in Washington, D.C. This was the fourth year for the event. (Matt McClain - The Washington Post)
all the clues fit in time and successfully racing to the finish.

But for those weary players feeling the sting of defeat, the Beatles tribute band provided a much needed song and dance break.

Second- and third-place teams each won $500. The second-place team was a D.C.-based team called “Awesome Explosion” and the third-place team was a duo from New York City.

But the 2011 winning team is from the Washington area, “Cheesy Burghers.” The extra “h” is a nod to the fact that some of them hail from Pittsburgh, Pa., and attended Carnegie Mellon University. Sean Viera, Diana Viera, Alexis Elliott, Kevin Chang, James Auwaerter, Amy Posten and Galen Mullins excitedly stepped on stage and proudly accepted their oversized white-and-orange check.

You tell us: Was the Post Hunt as hard as it sounds? Do you have any tips or strategies on how to win the big money? If you were at the hunt today, tell us what you thought of this year’s puzzles — and remember to upload your photos to our hunt gallery!

By Fahima Haque  |  01:20 PM ET, 06/06/2011

 
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