Wednesday, May 13, at 12 Noon ET

2009 Post Hunt

Dave, Gene and Tom ham it up at last year's hunt.
Dave, Gene and Tom ham it up at last year's hunt. (Nikki Kahn - The Washington Post)
Dave Barry, Tom Shroder and Gene Weingarten, Post Hunt founders
Wednesday, May 13, 2009; 12:00 PM

Ready for another wild, wacky afternoon of brainteasing puzzles in Washington, D.C.? It's almost time for the second-annual Post Hunt. Hunt founders Dave Barry, Tom Shroder and Gene Weingarten took your quest, comments and general insults Wednesday at noon ET.

Learn more about the 2009 Post Hunt here. First time at the Hunt? Check out our FAQ, or revisit last year's puzzles for a taste of what you're in for.

The transcript is below.


Gene Weingarten: Good afternoon.

Through the magic of internet technology, Dave, Tom and I are going be conducting this chat simultaneously, from different locations. Unfortunately, because our chat publishing engine is from the Kaypro II era of internet technology, we're doing this half blind and half-assed, meaning we will probably be stepping all over each others lines, duplicating each other's jokes, etc.

We're now going to reveal exclusively here, for the first time, just for all of you, the time and location of the beginning of the Hunt: Noon on Sunday at Freedom Plaza, which is on Pennsylvania Ave. between 13th and 14th Streets N.W. This inside information will be yours alone to cherish and feel smug about until Saturday, when everyone gets it in the magazine anyway.

Dave, Tom and I spent the last few months planning The 2009 Hunt, which, in terms of sheer bigness and excitement, is going to make the 2008 Hunt resemble the 1995 Tropic Hunt, which, if memory serves correctly, was the boring one where people actually fell asleep on the pavement and tragically got flattened by the steamrollers.

On to your questions.


Arlington, Va.: My boyfriend wants to participate but he had ACL surgery not too long ago, and is still in a big brace. How much travel do you have to do on foot to complete the hunt? Thanks!

Gene Weingarten: Awww. The poor thing. He had ACL surgery! I'll bet it's still a big ouchie owie boo-boo, right?

Nine weeks ago, a surgeon cut open both my legs at the knee, sawed off the bottom of both femurs and the top of both tibias, drilled holes in everything, literally HAMMERED in steel and plastic plates, and secured them with epoxy. Then he sewed me back together. I will be at The Hunt, and I will be walking as best I can.

But no, to answer your question, I think your boyfriend shouldn't go. It will probably be too much for him.


Tom Shroder: Let me get some biz taken care of. The Amazing Amanda, the Post Hunt Webbie, has asked me to share the following Hunt info:

a) if you're twittering about the Hunt before, during or after it happens, use the Post Hunt hash tag: #posthunt09 (If you don't know how to use hash tags, go here:

b) Fan us on Facebook! Just go to

c) Everyone should come back to Monday morning -- they'll be able to upload their own photos, watch videos of all the puzzles, and join you guys for a chat at 12 ET.


Arlington, Va.: What happens if lightning starts streaking through the sky right at noon?

Tom Shroder: That happened last year, I believe, right before the rain of squid.

Dave Barry: I saw Rain of Squid open for the Grateful Dead.


Reston, Va.: What good restaurants will be nearby? Going Out Gurus Julia and Fritz pulled together some lists of the best restaurants and bars near the Hunt.

Dave Barry: Also there are a lot of good places in Baltimore.


Arlington, Va.: Will this year's Post Hunt have some more DC-centric puzzles to give us locals an advantage over all the interlopers who will be flying up from Miami? Not that I'm worried about a certain redhead named Andy... but I enjoyed the home team advantage you gave us last year. Knowing some D.C. trivia helped with last year's end game.

Gene Weingarten: Yes, the dog-sniff puzzle is also going to require you to identify various lobbyists by their cologne.


Arlington, Va.: I understand that Hunt teams are flying in from all over the U.S. -- teams of super-geniuses who spend their waking hours solving fiendish puzzles, building supercomputers, mind melding, and eating arugula with their dainty fingertips.

Does a certain D.C. team of government employees, jobless winos, and cranky bookworms have any chance at all of winning?

Dave Barry: Is this the vice president?


Chevy Chase: How come Dave keeps looking younger and Gene keeps looking older?

Gene Weingarten: Caitlin Gibson just sent me a theory about this, minutes ago. She said that Dave had obviously sold his soul to Stan.

She then corrected the typo: She meant Satan, but we both decided she was right the first time. Dave has sold his soul to Stan.


Site Celebrities: So will we have the honor of seeing Ms. Manteuffel, Ms. Gibson, Ms. Kelly and Mr. Stuever workin' it at the Hunt this year again? They are soooo hot.

Tom Shroder: Is that you, Rachel?

Gene Weingarten: We banned Liz Kelly because she showed up last year without pants. The rest will be there.


Washington, D.C.: I have a question about Puzzle 4 (Presidents' Race) from last year. The correct answer was 126, because the three winners were a buck ($1.00), Washington ($0.25), and Lincoln ($0.01). But there was emphasis on the fact that they always finished the race in that order (1, 2, and 3), so why wasn't the correct answer 153? (1 x $1.00 plus 2 x $0.25 plus 3 x $0.01) For the correct answer to be 126, those three could have finished the race in any order.

Just prepping for this year! Video: Solving the Presidents Race Puzzle

Gene Weingarten: Most of these puzzles operate on the principle of Occam's Razor, which says that the simplest obvious answer is usually the right one. On the clue page you saw that 126 was a possible answer. No need to further crunch and manipulate numbers -- if 126 WASN'T the answer, it wouldn't have been fair.

Dave Barry: What Gene is trying to say is: You're right, but we never thought of that. In other words: Shut up.

Tom Shroder: I doubt that 153 was a possible answer on the clue page. So if you came up with it, or any possible answer to a puzzle, you have to check the clue page to see if it is a possible solution.


Arlington, Va.: First timer here! Is it possible to bring dogs, or will be required to go inside buildings, etc.?

Gene Weingarten: You will not have to go inside a building. Dogs are welcome. In fact, a dog will give you a major advantage inasmuch as (I hope I'm not disclosing too much here) one puzzle involves distinguishing the smell of a decomposing squirrel from the smell of 12-day-old fish.


Rockville, Md.: The FAQ says that we don't have to get naked and wrestle a giant otter. But you're not saying we can't, right? Here's the FAQ.

Gene Weingarten: Noted.


Re: Name: Any thought given to re-christening this the Potomac Hunt or the Republic Hunt, as was suggested? Or is Post Hunt here to stay?

Tom Shroder: I see Gene's chat fans are in the house.

Gene Weingarten: I just want to state, for the record, that we do not get this dirty joke. Otherwise we would not publish it.


Austin, TX: I am going to be in DC for the Hunt. Do you need twitter or text services for any of these fiendish puzzles?

Tom Shroder: At least one person per team needs to have a text-capable phone. Says so right in the di-rections. Also, there will be twitter activity, tweeting and so forth, but that is not essential to solving the Hunt, or to anything else, for that matter.


New York, N.Y.: More importantly, what do we do if Gene starts streaking right at noon?

Dave Barry: Vomit.

Tom Shroder: Worst part is, if he does streak, it will be in extreme slo-mo.


Miami, FL: What forms of weapons are allowed in this year's Hunt?

Dave Barry: Just what you usually carry in Miami, minus the grenade launcher.


Weirton, WV: Hi Guys;

Thanks for keeping this fun tradition alive. I remember the days of giant cue balls, Greyhound buses, and inflatable parade animals. Those couldn't have been cheap. Have you considered charging a small price for players? I can't imagine anyone who has played refusing to pay $5-$10 for this fun event!

Mike Whalen Weirton, WV

Dave Barry: The easiest thing would be to just quietly hand us cash.


Arlington, Va.: I have tried to solve the Virtual Hunt Puzzles on the website. I have looked back at some of the old Hunt puzzles. Oh man.

Do you guys take bribes? Seriously. The Virtual Hunt and videos of last year's puzzles.

Dave Barry: Duh.


Arlington, Va.: Right now, are each of you three guys at about 25% excitement, 25% irritation, and 50% trepidation?

Dave Barry: Also maybe 15 percent constipation.

Gene Weingarten: Dave, may I remind you that boogers are your beat. Colorectal humor is mine.

Tom Shroder: I'm all about checking the weather every 15 seconds.


History: What was the original inspiration for the first Tropic Hunt? What did management say when you guys told them?

Tom Shroder: We forgot to tell management.

Gene Weingarten: The only reason we were permitted to do it the first time, in 1984, was that management had no idea how potentially disastrous it could have been. That first year, we separated each Puzzle by miles. The winners drove 100 miles an hour.

Dave Barry: More like 120. But that was in Miami, where people routinely reach these speeds in parking lots, and sometimes in residential buildings.


Post Hunt: Is the D.C. area code still 202?


Gene Weingarten: We have a security leak. Cancel The Hunt.


Arlington, Va.: Did the brilliant Otis Sweat draw a Post Hunt Map again this year? Last year's was GREAT. Last Year's Map (pdf)

Dave Barry: You should see his pornography!

Gene Weingarten: The heck of it is, Dave's not kidding. You can look it up.


twitt,ER: does the post hunt have its own twitter page? Yep. And again, if YOU'RE twittering something about the Hunt, include the Post Hunt hashtag: #posthunt09 (I'll be beating this dead horse till the end of the chat.)

Gene Weingarten: I am so glad this is happening before my column comes out on Twitter. In three weeks. By all means, Twitterers! Twit! We love you!


Liz: If Liz was pantsless last year, those were the longest pair of undies I've ever seen. Just sayin'

Dave Barry: Or the shortest legs.


Arlington, Va.: Did anyone ever volunteer to participate in the Date-Lab-Date-During-the-Post-Hunt experiment? Yes! We actually got some really good candidates. Look for the story in our June 14th issue, in print or at (Date Lab, Meet Post Hunt)

Gene Weingarten: There's also going to be a Singles Table, where singles can pair up.

Local hotels are offering special one-hour post-Post Hunt rates.

Gene Weingarten: Okay, kidding about the hotels. The lawyers made me add this.

Dave Barry: We're also just kidding about the Hunt.


G'burg, Md.: If my daughter and I wear our "Stop staring at my cleavage" t-shirts to the Hunt will you stare at us? (yes these are the Smith Bio Dept. t-shirts discussed on a previous Tuesday chat)

Gene Weingarten: What kind of a sick question is this? Your daughter is nine years old.

Dave Barry: You have beautiful eyes.

Tom Shroder: Just hope it doesn't rain.

Gene Weingarten: Last year it did rain and the friendly and courteous and mostly female Post Hunt staffers were all wearing white Post Hunt Staff t-shirts. This year we were informed they would be blue, and that's that.


Arlington, Va.: Just how long have you been planning this event?

Dave Barry: We have a meeting planned for Friday.


Washington, D.C.: Is it still possible for the slower, feeble-minded among us to purchase 2008 Post Hunt shirts? And are there shirts for 2009? Do the answers change if I have been known to wear boots with skirts?

Dave Barry: Wait... there are skirts on your boots?

Tom Shroder: There are ALWAYS Hunt T-shirts. It is federal law.

Gene Weingarten: AND THEY ARE BLUE.


Downtown D.C.: Just so everyone knows, I tried the date of the Hunt as a phone number (202-517-2009), and got a fax machine.

Gene Weingarten: Do you seriously think we would go to that well two years in a row?

Dave Barry: I hope they don't figure out about sending the fax.


Arlington, Va.: First timer here who needs advice! Will stopping in bars between puzzles help or hurt our team?

Dave Barry: Stopping in will help. Leaving will hurt.


Arlington, Virginia: I would like to participate in the Washington Post Hunt. If my team were to win, I have no problem with the Washington Post Company using my name, likeness and voice for promotional purposes on the Planet Earth. But I would like to reserve the rights for the use of my voice on other habitable planets in the galaxy. Is there a way I can arrange this with you?

Dave Barry: Yes, but for legal reasons we will need to take your house.


Centreville, Va.: I. Can't. Wait. My family had such a great time at the Post Hunt last year. We're counting down the days!

Also, I want to say that Dave Barry must be the nicest person in the world. Although he is probably constantly being asked for autographs, he acted like there was nothing he'd rather be doing than signing my 11-year-old's book. He (my son) was thrilled.

Dave, please send all Post Hunt '09 answers to suckup (at) gmail (dot) com.

Dave Barry: Did you also notice how young I look compared to Gene?

Gene Weingarten: Yeah, well wait till you have to answer to Stan.


36yo fangurl: I'd be happy to come up from Richmond and participate in the Hunt, but only if there is any likelihood that I would get to meet you guys. Will there be such opportunities?

Gene Weingarten: Yes. But I don't like the "fang" in your name.


Arlington, VA: I've seen Freedom Plaza (where the Post Hunt starts). Do you think 5,000+ people are going to fit onto it?

Tom Shroder: Actually, we also have all of Pennsylvania Avenue bordering the plaza, which is closed to traffic, which can accommodate, roughly, the population of China.


Arlington, VA: Do you think we could get Alexander Ovechkin on our Hunt team as our Enforcer?

I don't know what he'd enforce, exactly, but it sounds cool.

Tom Shroder: It would be a good idea, since two of the five puzzles are in Russian.


O Bitter Clue?: Guys,

Today's Post carries the obituary of one Jean Hatton Fangboner. This is significant, right? Obit: Jean Hatton Fangboner

Dave Barry: Wow.

Gene Weingarten: The truly amazing thing is that this Fangboner does not seem to be related to "Paula Fangboner," a Washington-area publicist whom I have mentioned several times in my chat.

Tom Shroder: We would never use this name in a Hunt clue. Too obvious.


Arlington, VA: Are we allowed to hijack a Gray Line trolley and ride it around to the different clue sites?

Dave Barry: I don't see why not. And I am on the Supreme Court.


Arlington, VA: Vice President Cheney has recently resurfaced. Will he be at the Hunt? If so, will he be armed?

Tom Shroder: He will only be there in his official capacity, as the designated interrogator for making sure that the alleged "winners" actually solved the Hunt fairly.


Arlington, VA: Should we be worried about Swine Flu?

Dave Barry: Yes, until you get to the vaccination puzzle.


Washington, DC: Hey guys -

Submitting early - I am making my boyfriend skip our soccer game Sunday morning because I've been pumped about this for about two months now.

Is it worth it? Please give me a great response so I can send it to him. He says he's "not very good at puzzles" and doesn't want to go.


Tom Shroder: He may not be very good at puzzles, but how is he at sleeping on the couch?


Arlington, VA: Did you get the deluxe Port-O-Potties this year? You know, the ones with toilet paper?

Dave Barry: Why do you think we tell you to bring the magazine?

Tom Shroder: True story: One year the final solution to a Miami Hunt was to find Gene, lurking in the stall of a public restroom. Or wait, maybe I'm confusing that with Gene's rap sheet.

Gene Weingarten: This is true. And when they answered my question correctly, I gave them a certificate to present to Tom and Dave. It was on a square of toilet paper.


Alexandria, VA: Does any aspect of the Hunt hinge upon the successful repair of the Hubble telescope?

Dave Barry: We have no comment on that, except to say: yes.


Albany, NY: Last year, I did respectably well. This year, I want to compete. I have assembled a crack team. We have a mathematician, a reference librarian, a pregnancy super sniffer, a Fulbright scholar, an economist, and a guy who can't tell us what he does for a living but I suspect he is a part of the US's elite omega ninja force of international assassins.

Among us we have encyclopedic knowledge of college football, stupid presidential trivia, game theory, the do-ability of world leaders, the electoral process, 1980s tv and music, and Jack Bauer interrogation techniques.

Which of the skills will be most helpful this year? Is there someone else I need to recruit?

Should I just prepare for the inevitable disappointment and look for somewhere to drown my sorrows in beer and bacon cheese fries?

Dave Barry: A "pregnancy super sniffer?"

Gene Weingarten: I get this. Clearly Dave has never been in the presence of a pregnant woman in a urine-drenched corridor in the NY subways.

Dave Barry: Clearly.

Tom Shroder: My daughter suggests you bring someone who is expert in "old people knowledge."


BOOOOOOOOOO: Just wanted to boo you in advance, in anticipation of some groan-inducing puzzle solutions.

Dave Barry: In professional Hunt planning, we have a saying: "The bigger the boo, the lower the IQ."

Tom Shroder: One of the eternal mysteries of he Hunt: When all the people out there are booing the solution, why are they also raising their hands to affirm that they solved it?


Washington D.C.: So - what are the prizes for winning this year? Details are in the Official Rules

Dave Barry: I believe we are giving away large sectors of General Motors.


Herndon, VA: Dave looks younger due to his LeaveItToBeaver haircut. . . .

Tom Shroder: Dave's haircut actually IS the beaver.

Dave Barry: No, my hair is cut BY a beaver.

Gene Weingarten: I won't say it.


Let's just get this out of the way: Are you three in the same room? If so, could you just go through some sort of Three Stooges routine...maybe Dave could slap Gene, Gene could poke Tom in the eyes, and Tom could bop Dave on the head. If you aren't in the same room, could you do this virtually?

Then Gene could explain who the Three Stooges were to all the whippersnappers in the audience.

Dave Barry: We never do this in the same room, because if there were a nuclear attack we'd need somebody to be able to continue chatting.

Tom Shroder: That's why Dave always participates from an undisclosed location. I can only say it is in Dick Cheney's basement.


Miami, FL: The Herald invited everyone after the Hunt to socialize with Dave and Tom at a Hunt after party. Is the Post doing something like that for the Post Hunt?

Dave Barry: Also, Tom gives everybody a foot massage.


Charlottesville, Va.: Will this Post Hunt be easier or harder than last year's?

While we crushed the puzzles in record time (being our first year this was rather easy), the end game led us all to drink (thanks for that).

Tom Shroder: Depends if you speak Russian.


Alexandria, VA: Will the magazine be available online early? Just like last year, we'll have a downloadable PDF of the whole issue up late on Friday at The hard copy will be in the Sunday paper.

Dave Barry: And some day the magazine will be online ONLY.


Stratford-upon-Avon: Which one of you would be best at the pole vault, provided you could only utilize the double-leg drop swing method?

Tom Shoder: Given that Gene just had double knee-replacement surgery, my guess is that the only way he could participate in this competition is if we used him as the pole.


Arlington, VA: Is there any way to tell if a clue is fake? A couple years ago at the Tropic/Herald Hunt, I (and a lot of other people) spent about 20 minutes staring at and counting the multicolored venetian blinds in an office window. Of course, as it turned out, they weren't one of the clues.

Tom Shroder: Real solutions to puzzles definitely have an "ah-ha" factor. If you're staring at something and it might produce a number, some how, some way, but there's no accompanying cymbal crash and rim shot, it's probably just a spot on a pavement that vaguely resmbles a 7, and not a Hunt puzzle solution.


Previous Post Hunt Participant: Are the roads going to be closed from traffic this year? Last year they were not and "we" had challenges getting across the roads.

Tom Shroder: Penn Ave in front of Freedom Plaza will be closed.


Blacksburg, Va.: Tom, what are you looking at in the photo on this chat page? You're certainly not "hamming it up," that's for sure.

Dave Barry: He had just finished hamming it up, and at that moment was hamming it back down.

Tom Shroder: There's a picture of me? That's it, I'm firing my publicist.


Off-topic: Dave, do the Rock Bottom Remainders have any gigs lined up in the near future? If so, when and where?

Dave Barry: We were considering a performance at Carnegie Hall, but then the management there found out about it and got an injunction.


Arlington, VA: We can drop by and visit with the Obamas while we're in the area, can't we?

Dave Barry: Just stand on their lawn and shout out the secret code phrase. Somebody will be with you momentarily.

Gene Weingarten: One year, the Style Invitational did a contest to give bad advice to tourists. One, as I recall, informed people that a popular street game is to try to pole-vault over the White House fence.

Tom Shroder: They love to have random people stop by. They even have "greeters" up on the roof, looking out for drop-in visitors just like yourself.


Obama: I can't wait to see if you took my suggestion - having Obama participate in the end game. I passed this idea to Gene a couple of times, without response. I'm guessing that's a good sign, right?

Tom Shroder: He was eager to do something. Unfortunately,we couldn't fit him into our appointemnt schedule.


From a secure bunker at an undisclosed location more than 100 miles away: Is it possible to participate in the hunt from my computer, or is it necessary to venture out?

Dave Barry: Is this Martha Stewart?


Alexandria, VA: How much more difficult was it this year, given the economic conditions, to get corporate sponsorship and support? Is that why the prizes are cash this year, or is that just a placeholder for "prizes to be named later"? Or did you not want Washington winners using their prize to travel to Miami for the Herald Hunt (which is what we did - last year's 3rd place team)?

Tom Shroder: All of the above. Just think of it as The Post Hunt Stimulous Plan.

Gene Weingarten: Tom meant Stimulouse.


Arlington, VA: You just gave us a clue, didn't you?

Gene Weingarten: Maybe.


Redhead, FL: I would like to mention, as the forementioned red-head from Florida, that even though I am present and a veteran of all the prior Hunts, I have no chance at winning.

Which begs the question...what's the prize for losing?

Dave Barry: A really fun day, at the realization that, when all is said and done, you're stupid.

Gene Weingarten: Speaking of which, we need to discuss the misuse of the term "begs the question." Not now, but someday soon, and for the rest of our lives.


Washington, DC: Do you tent your fingers and cackle when you are writing the puzzles for the hunt?

Tom Shroder: Mostly, we just drool.

Dave Barry: Have you ever tried writing with your fingers tented?


Rockville, MD: I can't get there by Noon. What happens if I show up at 1 or 1:30?

Gene Weingarten: You will have fun watching someone else win The Hunt. But that probably would have happened even if you had been there on time.

Dave Barry: Why does everything always have to be about you?


Arlington, VA: Hey, if all the Post Hunt participants wore tie-dyed shirts, bellbottoms, peace signs, and garlands of flowers, do you think one of the Hunt founders would happily swoon into a Woodstock flashback?

Tom Shroder: What are you implying?

Dave Barry: My life is a Woodstock flashback.


How come Dave keeps looking younger: Actually, I thought it was a pic of Gene with an older married couple who won previously. Dave is looking quite androgynous (sp?) in that pic.

Tom Shroder: Gene and I actually ARE an older married couple.

Gene Weingarten: Oh, shut up, you bitch.


Washington, D.C.: Will the answers always be numbers?

Gene Weingarten: Yes.

Tom Shroder: Let me just add, YES.

Dave Barry: The answers to what?


Brooklyn NY: I've never actively participated in the Hunt, but have enjoyed the antics from afar and thanking the good Lord that I did not waste my money or time traveling to the dangerous streets of Miami from the relative safety of New York City. So what i want to know is this. Will there be any airborne livestock in this years hunt? If not, then why not? Discuss.

Dave Barry: You are referring to the cow that flew over the orchestra in last year's Herald Hunt. That was a great visual, even before for the meadow muffin landed in the Sousaphone.


Cluess: If I were to use your singles table to meet a teammate, will you have any legal contracts ready and available so that I can keep the prize and, possibly, kick the person if they turn out to be a jerk?

Tom Shroder: I'm afraid your partner took the last available contract.


1600 Penn Avenue: I'd love to be there with you all, but I have to spend the weekend in Indiana angering Catholics.

Dave Barry: Somebody has to do it.


Baltimore: I just via email convinced friends to join me for this insanity. What is the worst torture they can inflict in revenge?

Dave Barry: They could make you live in Balt... Oops. Never mind.


Alexandria, VA: Will T-shirts, posters, answers to the riddles etc. be for sale?

Tom Shroder: E-mail me at my private address, and we'll discuss.


DC: Will any of the clues involve smell? It might rain Sunday and I always remember hearing that water deadens smells. At least, it usually does when convicts are running from bloodhounds.

Tom Shroder: Only in the sense that the clues stink.

Dave Barry: If the bloodhounds run away, what gets sent to find THEM?


Southeast, DC: Can black people participate?

Gene Weingarten: I think so. This is okay, right, Tom?

Gene Weingarten: Okay. We'll get back to you on this.


Tysons Corner, VA: What measures are being taken to ensure that there is no repeat by the team that won last year? It's ok, you can tell me. I promise I won't tell them.

Gene Weingarten: We will taser them near the end.


Miami, Florida: Our team doesn't arrive at the airport untill 11:30 am on Sun. How about a tip on getting picked up?

Gene Weingarten: It's easy. Just look like horny tourists with a lot of cash.


Dave Barry: I just want to remind everybody, as I do every year, that there is no need to refrigerate ketchup.

Tom Shroder: What if you like your ketchup cold?


Operati, ON: So Gene, has your mobility improved any from last year?

Gene Weingarten: It's about the same, but the comic knock-knee walk is gone. I no longer look like a man being constantly hit in the groin with a line drive.


Anonymous: Last year, what was the clue with the fortune cookies? I remember hearing that a little boy yelled out that they tasted like something and his mom shushed him. Turned out to be the answer to the clue. Video: Solving the Cookie Puzzle

Gene Weingarten: There ya go.


DC: Who among you is the most susceptible to bribery?

Tom Shroder: See the above reference to my private e-mail address.

Gene Weingarten: Tom is frugal. So, yes, money talks.


Alexandria, VA: Is Fatso going to bring his roll of $5 bills this year, just in case someone takes him up on his offer from last year?

Gene Weingarten: No, I AM fat this year.


Albuquerque, N.M.: I have been Hunting since 1985 and will be there on Sunday with my wife and our 8-month-old girl. Sunday is our 7th wedding anniversary. Would you be willing to send Libby and Neil good wishes from the stage?

Also, with an infant, would you go with a stroller or a Baby Bjorn?

Tom Shroder: I believe you have mistaken us for Garrison Keillor. Or possibly Dr. Spock.

Dave Barry: I should go with a Sherpa.


Springfield, VA: I'm having trouble getting my friends to go to the Hunt with me. Any tips on the best way to force and/or blackmail them into it?

Tom Shroder: Why not just write them big checks? Always works for me.

Gene Weingarten: See? See?


D.C.: How can I ensure that, if I use the singles table, I'll get a hot (at least one) teammate. Preferably a brunette. With big.... eyes.

Tom Shroder: It might help if you've just signed a 4-year, $120 million contract with the Redskins.


Toronto, ON: The Official Rules state that the Post Hunt is open to all persons who are legal residents of the United States. If someone who was a legal resident of another country wanted to participate, would this be okay as long as the team leader was a US legal resident?

Gene Weingarten: You'd need at least one black person with you.


Cow that flew over the orchestra last year: No no no! It was a SHEEP!

Dave Barry: Oh, that's right. It was a sheep. Man, there are a LOT of inaccuracies here in The Washington Post.

Gene Weingarten: Also, online. Remind me to tell you all a fascinating story about Howard K. Smith..


dc: How can I ensure that, if I use the singles table, I'll get a hot (at least one) teammate. Preferably a brunette. With big.... eyes.

Tom Shroder: Well, it might help if you've just solved a 4-year $120 million contract with the Redskins.

Gene Weingarten: How do you solve a contract?

Dave Barry: I think you divide by the cosigner.


You know rain won't stop us: It didn't last year

Tom Shroder: We've thought of that. That's why we ordered the dogs and the firehoses.


Could you have a gay wedding during the Hunt?: Or will Miss California and her mother be there to denounce them ?

Dave Barry: We're hoping she shows up at the singles table.


Match, MA: Doesn't the "Match Me Up" table cater only to desperate losers who cannot come up with even a single friend in the world? Aren't teams of such losers unlikely to have the chemistry that allows them to win, or even the social skills that allow them to speak to each other, thus further reinforcing their hopeless loserdom? Won't the winners be drawn from the the same pod of greyhound-sleek overachievers that get all the good jobs and have fancy vacations in places like Laos and have kids who are BFF with Malia and Sasha at Sidwell BFF? Don't you get tired of enabling these automatans? Why can't the clues to each puzzle be written at the bottom of a beer can? Could you at least make it a requirement that the final answer be burped out, and that the burps cannot smell like anything organic or cage-free?

Dave Barry: You have GOT to adjust those dosages.


Dog Ai, DE: "In fact, a dog will give you a major advantage inasmuch as (I hope I'm not disclosing too much here) one puzzle involves distinguishing the smell of a decomposing squirrel from the smell of 12-day-old fish."

How would my dog help with this? He would eat both at exactly the same speed.

Gene Weingarten: But he will only puke up the fish.


Washington, D.C.: How do you know how to get to each of the 5 clue sites?

Dave Barry: Practice.

Gene Weingarten: It's where the Sherpa comes in.

Tom Shroder: OK, I'll be the adult: Answer the multiple choice Opening Questions in the Hunt issue. That will give you five letters.We give you five numbers to go with those letters from the stage at noon. That gives you five map coordinates that locate the five puzzles on the Hunt Map. Easy peesy.

Gene Weingarten: Tom said pee.


Post Hunt: If you can't find friends that will go with you, you need new friends.

Tom Shroder: Harsh, but I'll allow it.


Gene Weingarten: Okay, we're out of here. And onto the Hunt. We hope to see many of you on the streets Sunday. And remember: BRING CASH FOR TOM.


Editor's Note: moderators retain editorial control over Discussions and choose the most relevant questions for guests and hosts; guests and hosts can decline to answer questions. is not responsible for any content posted by third parties.

© 2009 Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive

© 2009 The Washington Post Company