Here are the explanations for the 2014 Post Hunt puzzles. The solution to each is a number.

The Remote Control

Participants of the 7th annual Post Hunt in Washington, D.C. were put up to the task of surfing channels for one clue.

Hunters gathered around a giant video screen on New York Avenue to watch a pre-recorded program of channel surfing. A series of channel numbers flashed on the screen, each followed by a brief segment of a classic TV show. Five channel numbers and five shows appeared in all: I Love Lucy, The Honeymooners, Gilligan’s Island, Green Acres, and Mr. Ed. Hunters were also handed the image of a TV remote. Observant Hunters noticed that buttons on the bottom of the remote clearly related to the five shows: a heart for Lucy, a moon for the Honeymooners, a palm tree for Gilligan, a pitchfork for Green Acres and a horseshoe for Mr. Ed. All five channel numbers were possible answers. Which one was right? This became clear when Hunters actually traced the channels as they appeared on the remote. When pressed in sequence -- 25, 80, 7, 8 and 90 –the digits formed an arrow on the remote. The point of the arrow was aimed directly at the horseshoe button. So Mr. Ed’s channel, 90, was the solution.

A performed marched in front of the White House asking people to follow her as part of a clue for the 7th annual Post Hunt in Washington, D.C.

A performer marched around on Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House. Every minute or two, she plopped down a soapbox, stood atop it, blew a coach’s whistle and said through the megaphone, “Follow me to the solution!” The whistle, a tweet, was a hint: the performer wasn’t urging people to literally follow her physically, she was telling them to follow her on Twitter. In the Hunt instructions, for the first time, Hunters were told that at least one team member would need a Twitter account. If that person followed @metothesolution on Twitter, they discovered the following three tweets:

I am hott. How hot? As hot as the hottest temperature ever recorded in the U.S.

I am on a casual, first-name basis with the preacher of Feldick Ministries in Kinta, Okla!

I turned the Yankees down because they wouldn’t give me Whitey Ford’s uniform number.

Using a smart phone to look up all the above, Hunters found that the hottest temperature ever in US was 134 degrees, the first name of the Oklahoma preacher is Les and Whitey Ford’s uniform number was 16. Put that together and you got: 134 less 16, which equals 118, the solution to this puzzle.

Jigsaw

Participants of the 7th annual Post Hunt in Washington, D.C. had to mentally arrange a jigsaw puzzle for one clue.

At McPherson Square Hunters discovered eight giant jigsaw puzzle pieces arrayed in a circle. All they had to do was to mentally assemble the jigsaw, using the shape and color of each piece to imagine where it would fit. Properly assembled, the puzzle simply said “Stars and Stripes,” a clear reference to the American flag, which has 50 stars and 13 stripes. Fifty plus 13 equals 63, the solution to this puzzle.

States

Participants were asked to come up with a number from the states displayed in Franklin Square for a clue in the 7th annual Post Hunt in Washington, D.C.

In Franklin Square, six large shapes covered an open area. Hunters had to recognize these shapes from the map of the United States. Each was the cutout of a state. In order, they were Washington, Colorado, Massachusetts, Illinois, Colorado again and Delaware. How did that give a number? The Postal abbreviations for the states are WA, CO, MA, IL CO, DE. Given the way the states were grouped on the ground, the intials combined as follows: WACO MAIL CODE. The only possible answer that was also a zip code in Waco Texas was 76711, the solution.

YMCA

A Village People tribute band performed a clue for the Washington Post’s 7th annual Post Hunt in Washington, D.C.

On the Hunt stage, a Village People tribute band performed the song, YMCA while volunteers handed out a handbill with a photo of the five member group. However, only four members were on the stage. In between renditions of the song, the lead dancer kept saying he felt something was missing, and he wished they could find what was missing. The member of the group in the photo that was missing on stage was the cowboy. But where was he? Astute Hunters noticed that as the performers made the hand gestures that spelled out the title, they periodically changed things up and gestured MACY instead of YMCA. That was a Sign. There happened to be a Macy’s store labeled on the Hunt Map. If they went there, they saw a poster with four NFL players in uniform. One of the players was in a Dallas Cowboys uniform – the missing cowboy. The number on his chest, 88, was the solution to this puzzle.

ENDGAME

Participants were asked to turn around 180 degrees for their final clue in the 7th annual Post Hunt in Washington, D.C.

At 3 o’clock, Dave, Tom and Gene announced the final clue. It was one sentence long:

“Turn around 180 degrees, 180 degrees.”

Many in the crowd turned 180 degrees away from the stage and got … zilch. But the cleverest noticed something that had been staring them in the face all day: In the Hunt cover illustration the exclamation point following the WWIII type headline (WOW!) was actually a thermometer. Those who looked carefully at the thermometer’s gradation and counted, saw that the mercury was bursting to 180 degrees. THIS was the 180 degrees referred to in the final clue. If you turned the thermometer, and therefore the cover, around 180 degrees, as instructed, the WOW became MOM.

On the Hunt Map, one figure in the middle stood out: a woman holding a tiny baby. This was MOM. Her feet were standing on a small street called Zei Alley. Hunters who went to that location got a handout with four paragraphs, and an instruction telling them that only one of the four paragraphs was the key to the Hunt, and if they were there for the right reason (as opposed to following the crowd) they would know that the one titled “This’ll WOW ‘em” was a clear reference to the 3 pm clue.

That paragraph was:

“A key tool of life is to be clear at all times.  Speak and write in ways that a dunce would grasp.  How do you do that? Talk as if to a young kid. Strip things down as much as you can, as we have done with the words in these lines. Words like these are what to look for if you want to have a clue what to do.”

All the words in this paragraph share one thing in common: they are a single syllable. The winners of the Hunt realized that, as instructed, they should look for the one-syllable words in the clues they got from solving the five Hunt puzzles. When they did they got this: “Take a shot of state of mass text to two zip too ate O five eau Juan oh ate.”

Which rendered in a meaningful sentence was this: Take a shot of state of Mass. Text to 202-805-0108.

Thee state of Mass. meant the large cutout of the state of Massachusetts in Franklin Square. The first genius to text a photo of that prop to 202-805-0108 won the Hunt.